The League of American Bicyclists is in the process of studying its membership, presumably for the purpose of deciding their future direction. If you're a League member, you may have participated in their online survey (which is now closed).
The League has hired International Cycle Works to further survey League membership. I participated in a focus group in Boulder tonight where we talked about cycling issues, membership, programs and communication. About half the participants are League members (including myself). The other half are not League members. Some interesting things that came out of the discussions.
Among members, the general feeling was that the LAB is doing a decent job given the limited resources the League has. The members feel good about giving money to the League for their lobbying efforts in Washington DC.
The non-members, although they were typically fairly involved in cycling, were members of local groups or national organizations like Rail-Trails and IMBA, and were well-read on cycling issues, knew nothing at all about the the LAB. They suggested that perhaps the League should focus more marketing effort on growing their membership through IBD's and direct mail. Everybody has heard of AAA, but nobody knows about LAB.
The LAB members tended to be somewhat knowledgable about some of the internal politics and squabbling that has occurred, especially since Andy Clark became executive director. It was noted that LAB membership is tiny and the League is relatively unknown and obscure because the "old guard" liked it that way. It was also expressed that Andy Clark has brought some much needed change to the group and is doing a good job in his efforts.
The group seemed about evenly split between VC and PnP riders, although the VC'ers weren't militantly anti-facility. A desire for more motorist education was strongly expressed. There was not much discussion of a need for cyclist education.
Almost everybody in the group are commuter/utility cyclists. We all do other types of cycling -- for example, we had a couple of roadies, there were a couple of people who tour, and we had a licensed mountain bike racer/IMBA member in the group.
Among the PnP'ers there was some griping about how crowded and dangerous the paths in Boulder are.
Among some VCs, there's a perception that cycling on roads outside of Boulder becomes more dangerous the further you get from Boulder.
Several members expressed that they would be willing to help promote the League and their activities, but they don't know where to start. The League has never asked for help and, in Colorado anyway, does not have a strong local or regional network. Colorado has several cities that are designated by the Leagues as "Bicycle Friendly Communties," but nobody knows about the League or their activities. The state of Colorado benefits from League activities, but the League does not seem to benefit from the strong cycling community in Colorado.
I didn't take notes at this meeting so it's likely I missed something important. If you have additional thoughts about what the League of American Bicyclists can do to better serve its members and/or promote bicycing in the United States, please feel free to comment below.