Ride IllinoisRide Illinois
06/12/2016 06/17/2016

Grand Illinois Trail and Parks Bike Tour

Join us in June for the 14th annual Grand Illinois Trail and Parks (GITAP) Bike Tour. Our 2016 route will cover almost entirely new ground, highlighting some of the best sections and attractions of Illinois’ Route 66 Trail – a.k.a. the “Mother Road” – an international draw for bike tourists. GITAP 2016 will also feature the I&M Canal Trail, the Mackinaw Valley Trail, and more. This unforgettable six-day ride will make a loop starting and ending at Coal City High School, with stops in Oglesby, Washington, the Bloomington-Normal area (two nights), and Pontiac. Enjoy days filled with bike touring, good food and fellowship, all in support of Ride Illinois.

Our fully supported tour basics:

  • Basic daily route distances range from 43 to 63 miles, with an average of 50. Longer route options are up to 70-80 miles. Routes are marked and maps are provided.
  • All breakfasts and dinners included, along with refreshment stops and a GITAP t-shirt.
  • Showers and luggage transportation provided.
  • SAG ride support provided for mechanical and medical problems. Expert bike repair available.
  • Nightly meetings include ride information, awards, and our fun (optional) Velosophie program – discussions of bicycling-related literature led by our own experienced riders.
  • Tent camping at designated city and county parks and school grounds.
  • An optional five night package of motel accommodations (at extra cost) within 2 miles of the campsites, with shuttling to campgrounds. Read more below.

Registration is now closed. Please contact us by phone at 630-978-0583 for last minute inquiries or registrations.

Registration Fees and Options

Online Registration is now closed. Please contact us by phone at 630-978-0583 for last minute inquiries or registrations.

Basic: $475
Ride Illinois Member: $440 – Join here or email us if unsure of your status
Children 12-15 years old: $355
Children 11 or under: $240

Optional Motel Package – (additional cost beyond the online registration fee above)

Single Occupancy Room: $600
Double Occupancy Room: $660 ($330 per person)

Cancellation and Refund Policy:
Full refund minus a $15 cancellation fee before April 15
Half refund before May 15
No refunds after May 15

Ride fees may be discounted or waived for those able to help at least part-time during the ride – see Volunteers info below.

Route and Mileage

The tour begins and ends in Coal City, with free parking for the week, and stops in Oglesby, Washington, Bloomington-Normal area (two night layover), and Pontiac.

Each day’s ride offers a basic route (43-63 miles, average 50) and a longer option (up to 70-80 miles). You will ride at your own pace on quiet rural roads and some trails. Lunch, snacks, drinks, and bathrooms along the route are on your own, with rest stops provided on long stretches lacking these essentials. There will be plenty of time each day to explore and enjoy 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 Constitution Trail and the Route 66 Trail, explore Bloomington-Normal, or just rest.

Basic Route Mileage
Day 1: Coal City to Oglesby – 52 miles
Day 2: Oglesby to Washington – 63 miles
Day 3: Washington to Normal – 47 miles
Day 4: Layover day in Normal – rest or optional routes available
Day 5: Normal to Pontiac – 44 miles
Day 6: Pontiac to Coal City – 43 miles


Designated group camping sites will be at Oglesby’s Lehigh Park, Washington High School, Comlara County Park north of Bloomington-Normal, and Chatauqua Park in Pontiac.

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

Most riders camp, but a motel option is available for an additional cost. A limited number of rooms (55) are available on a first come basis. 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: Days Inn and Best Western, Oglesby
Night 2: Sleep Inn, Washington
Night 3: Country Inn, Normal
Night 4: Country Inn, Normal
Night 5: Best Western and Quality Inn, Pontiac

A shuttle bus will transport motel stayers to the campground for all dinners except the second night in Normal (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.


Do you know someone — perhaps a significant other — who would like to be a part of GITAP, but not participate in the biking? Perhaps you’re with a group of riders that want to take turns riding your bikes and driving a vehicle. We are looking 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 gitap@rideillinois.org if you are interested.