Ride IllinoisRide Illinois
06/11/2017 06/16/2017

2017 Grand Illinois Bike Tour

Click here for 2018 Grand Illinois Bike Tour info and registration.

The information below is from our 2017 tour which has ended. Our routes and plans change yearly, so please view 2018 link.

Join us in June for the 15th annual Grand Illinois Bike Tour. This year’s route will feature the Rock River and Mississippi River valleys in scenic northwestern Illinois, with charming towns and great bicycling on quiet roads and some trails. Our unforgettable six-day ride will make a 300 mile loop starting and ending in Byron, with stops in Dixon, Savanna, the Quad Cities area (two nights), and Sterling. Choose between our camping and motel options and enjoy overnights filled with good food and good fellowship with riders hailing from around the country. Proceeds benefit Ride Illinois and support our mission to make Illinois a better, safer, and more enjoyable place to ride.

Our fully supported tour basics:

  • Basic daily route distances range from 43 to 59 miles, with an average of 51. Longer route options are available. Routes are marked and maps are provided.
  • Those camping will tent in parks near the banks of the Mississippi and Rock Rivers. All 10 breakfast and dinners are included and showers are provided every day.
  • Those staying in nearby motels (at extra cost) have 9 meals and evening receptions included, with bus shuttling to dinners. Our motel option which has grown to just over 90 riders sells out earlier than the camping option.
  • Luggage transportation provided in separate vehicles for campers and motelers.
  • Emergency SAG support, refreshment stops, and t-shirt are included. Expert bike repair is also available every day at the campgrounds.
  • Nightly meetings include ride information, awards, and more.

Route and Mileage

The tour begins and ends at Byron High School, with free parking for the week, and stops in Dixon, Savanna, the Quad Cities area (two night layover), and Sterling.

Each day’s ride offers a basic route or longer option on quiet rural roads and some trails including the Mississippi River Trail and Rock River Trail bike routes. Ride at your own pace and enjoy plenty of time each day to explore the small towns and attractions along the route and in our overnight host towns.

The fourth day will be a layover day, during which riders may ride the Quad Cities’ extensive trail system, tour attractions in town, participate in a Mississippi River canoe trip, or enjoy the day however they wish.

Preliminary Route Mileages (subject to change)
Day 1: Byron to Dixon
43-46 miles basic (+1134 ft of climbs, -1214 ft of descents)
or 69-72 miles long option

Day 2: Dixon to Savanna
55-56 miles basic (+1455 ft, -1473 ft)
or 57-61 hillier option

Day 3: Savanna to Quad Cities
54-59 miles basic (+684 ft, -720 ft)
or 79-82 miles long option

Day 4: Layover day in Quad Cities

Day 5: Quad Cities to Sterling
50-56 miles basic (+675 ft, -568 ft)
or 69-71 miles long option

Day 6: Sterling to Byron
43-45 miles basic route (+1178ft, -1129 ft)
or long option TBD


Designated group camping sites will be at Dixon’s Page Park, Mississippi Palisades State Park in Savanna, Illiniwek Forest Preserve in Hampton, and Sinnissippi Park in Sterling. Those camping before the tour on Saturday night are encouraged to book reservations at nearby White Pines or Lowden State Parks.

Most riders provide their own tents and camping gear, but you can also consider using our Sherpa service (tent, towel, chair rental, as well as tent set up and taken down) through Events Bike Ride Services.

Motel Option

Over the years, our motel option has grown in popularity. This year, just over 90 spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The motel option fills up more quickly than the ride as a whole, so we encourage early registration. Both single and double occupancy options are offered. Motel fees are listed under Registration Fees above and include transportation of your luggage from motel to motel each day, a welcome wine and beer reception on the first evening, and a farewell gathering on the final night.

Night 1: Comfort Inn, Dixon
Night 2: Savanna Inn & Suites, Savanna
Night 3: Stoney Creek Inn & Suites, Moline
Night 4: Stoney Creek Inn & Suites, Moline
Night 5: Holiday Inn Express, Rock Falls

A shuttle bus will transport from motels to the campgrounds for all dinners except the second night in Moline (day 4). Because all motels will provide breakfast, there will be no shuttle service to the campground in the morning.

Bikes will be kept in the your motel room and not at the campground. One 40 pound bag per registrant will be accepted.

We do not provide a roommate service, but if you are interested in the motel option and have no one to room with, we can put out the word to other riders.

Read further information on the motel option or contact Bob Hoel by email or phone at 630-240-0219.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Please review our revised Cancellation and Refund Policy.

If needed, riders may transfer their registration to another rider at any time, for any reason, at no cost. However, after May 25, we cannot guarantee the correct t-shirt size for the substitute rider.

Until June 1, a cancellation refund will be issued for any reason, minus a $30 fee and any nonrefundable credit card fees.  However, after February 1, if the ride (or motel option, if selected) is full and registration (or the motel option) has been closed, no refund will be issued unless a rider on the waiting list – or someone else you know – can fill your spot.

Sorry, but to protect us from both unused expenses and lost income, we cannot offer exceptions for any reason, including medical or other emergencies. Third-party trip insurance is highly recommended for these unexpected situations.  Silent Sports is one provider option  – for example, a rider aged 60-69 would pay $48 if camping, $59 if double-occupancy motel.

We will email registrants if/when the ride (or motel option) is full.

Finally, no refund will be given for:

  • Participant’s late arrival
  • If a participant chooses to leave the tour for any reason after the trip start date
  • Food, lodging, side trips or other services for which a participant paid but did not use
Ride and Fundraise for Better Biking in Illinois

The Grand Illinois Bike Tour is the only multi-day ride in Illinois that specifically raises money to support the goal of a more bike-friendly Illinois. Proceeds benefit Ride Illinois, a nonprofit advocacy organization working to make bicycling better in Illinois.

We are asking all participants to fundraise a minimum of $100 on top of the registration fee to better support the costs of the ride and help propel Ride Illinois’ mission to make biking safer and more enjoyable statewide. 

All registered riders will have the opportunity to create a personal online fundraising page to use in the months leading up to the tour. We’ll provide helpful tips on how to reach out to friends and family for their support as you prepare to pedal 300 miles in 6 days for better bicycling in Illinois. Top individual fundraisers will be recognized and have the chance to win great prizes and tour perks.

The fundraising program is optional but will be strongly encouraged. Riders can also make a donation in lieu of fundraising here. More information and instructions will be provided once registration is received. Contact info@rideillinois.org with any questions.

Ride Illinois is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Donations supporting a rider are tax deductible. Registration fees paid by participants are partially tax deductible. All donations from personal fundraising will be distributed to Ride Illinois and are nonrefundable.


Would you like to participate in the tour but not ride every day?  Or, do you know someone — perhaps a significant other — who wants to come along but not bike? Maybe you’re with a group of riders that want to ferry a vehicle around for the week. We are offering discounted or free registration for volunteer drivers and extra vehicles to help with SAG ride support and to give us a hand in case of emergencies. Please contact us at info@rideillinois.org if you might be interested.

More Photos

Check out photos of Day 1 of the 2016 Grand Illinois Bike Tour on our Facebook page. Last year’s tour started and ended in Coal City with stops in Oglesby, Washington, Bloomington-Normal, and Pontiac.