A local race promoter recently implied our sport is on the decline. It's unclear if this is mere promotion of his events or a genuine worry.
I admit, I've had the same thought.
According to USAC, licenses issued nearly doubled from 2002 to 2013. From 2013 till today the number of USAC members has declined.
Note, the 2015 value is certainly an underestimate, since it does not include riders yet to become members in 2015.
However, the general arc of membership has obviously flattened, if it is not in outright decline.
Especially troubling for the future of cycling is its aging membership--half of members are between 35 and 54. Less than 20% are under the age of 25.
Our sport, just like most of us, is also failing at attracting women. Only 16.8% of USAC members is female, only a slight increase over last year's 16.3% gender ratio.
Generally, I'm not overly concerned. Do I really want the sport to continue growing? Bike racing isn't District Taco--the world isn't made better when office parks around the globe become the complete dominion of bike racers.
On the other hand, the sport is much like Sophia Loren--it is, at its best, a vision too beautiful to be enjoyed only by crusty old guys like me.