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:
Registration is now open and is limited to 230 riders. (Feb 18, 2017: If you want to stay in motels, our motel package is at capacity – but see the note on the waiting list in “Motel Option”, below.)
Regular Rates – After December 1
Optional Motel Package (in addition to the registration fee)
Single Occupancy Room: $610
Double Occupancy Room: $345 per person ($690 total)
Please read our revised cancellation and refund policy below.
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 email@example.com 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.
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.
Feb 18, 2017 – While many camping slots remain, the motel option has now reached its capacity. A waiting list is being started, and further *online* motel registrations have been disabled. However, each year there are several cancellations which open up a few rooms. So, you are encouraged to mail in a ride and motel option registration form [download here] with a check for the total amount. We will keep you up to date with where you are on the waiting list, and return your check if no slots open up for you. Watch this page for updates, including number of people on the waiting list (now zero).
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.
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:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you might be interested.
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.