Ride IllinoisRide Illinois

2019 Grand Illinois Bike Tour

Our next Grand Illinois Bike Tour will be from Sunday, June 7, 2020 through Friday, June 12, 2020 in Metro East, Illinois side of the St. Louis area. Our theme will be Trails of Madison County, with more than half of the miles on paved trails. Early bird registration opened November 1.

Join us June 9, 2019 through June 14, 2019 for our 17th annual Grand Illinois Bike Tour! Our 2019 loop will tour through beautiful Amish country and east central Illinois.  We will start and stop in Tuscola, with overnights in Mattoon (one night), Effingham and Charleston (two nights each). Join us and invite your cycling friends (non-riding volunteers needed too). 

Choose among our daily mileage options for a total ranging from 200 to 395 miles. Pick between our camping and motel options, and enjoy evenings filled with good food and 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 between towns range from 45 to 53 miles. Longer route and layover day options are available. Routes are marked and cue sheets are provided.
  • Campers will tent in parks and campgrounds, with showering facilities provided. All breakfasts and dinners (10 meals in total) are included.
  • The motel option, available for an additional fee, accommodates approximately 100 riders and sells out early. Nine meals (all breakfasts and four dinners) and evening receptions are included.
  • Luggage transportation is provided in separate vehicles for campers and hotelers.
  • Emergency SAG, refreshment stops, and t-shirt are included. Expert bike repair, as well as professional massage, are available every day to hotelers and campers, at the campsites. (In addition, other services are available including tent setup and takedown, towel and sherpa services.)
  • Nightly meetings include ride information, awards, and more.
  • Velosophie, an optional reading discussion group, meets before dinner each day.  Join the fun after dinner at camp, as fellow riders play guitar and banjo.

The ride is limited to 240 riders. (We are now full and only accepting people on a wait list.)

Why should you ride GIBT? We will let some of the riders in this year’s GIBT answer that with their favorite parts of the ride:
• Seeing old friends and spending a week with like-minded people.
• Loved the small group size
• Velosophie, meeting new people, visiting the local sites, and challenging myself and succeeding.
• Enjoying the daily luxury of just having to ride, the old eat, ride, sleep and nothing else.

Want more details and more reasons why you should join us? Check out our video:

Planning for the 2020 Grand Illinois Bike Tour is already underway! To be added to our 2020 GIBT email list, email Gina Kenny.

Registration Rates

Regular Rates (after Dec 1)
Non-member $505
Member $470 Join here or email us to confirm status
17 and under $355 (must be accompanied by an adult rider)

Optional Motel Package  (in addition to the registration fee)
Single Occupancy $630 (plus registration fees)
Double Occupancy $380 per person (plus registration fees)

Questions? Email info@rideillinois.org.

Please read our cancellation and refund policy below.

The ride is limited to 240 riders.

Route & Mileage

The tour begins and ends in Tuscola, with free parking for the week, and stops in Mattoon, Effingham (two nights) and Charleston (two nights).

Each day’s ride offers a basic route of 48-51 miles with options for an extra 20 miles or so.  Ride at your own pace on quiet, rural, mostly flat roads and enjoy plenty of time each day to explore the small towns and attractions along the route and in our overnight host towns.

The third and fifth days will be layover days, during which you can explore sites and other local attractions, ride trails and rural roads around Effingham and Charleston, or just enjoy the days however you wish.

Preliminary Route Mileages (subject to change)
Day 1: Tuscola to Mattoon
Basic Route – 47 miles, +435 ft climbing
Long option – 72 miles, +784 ft climbing

Day 2: Mattoon to Effingham
Basic Route – 54 miles, +744 ft climbing (hotel) or 48 miles, +600 ft (camping)
Long option – 73 miles, +1,165 ft climbing (hotel) or 65 miles, +986 ft climbing (camping)

Day 3: Layover day in Effingham
Rural loops of up to 60 miles

Day 4: Effingham to Charleston
Basic Route – 48 miles, +997 ft climbing (hotel) or 51 miles, +1,113 ft (camping)
Long option – 76 miles, +1,530 ft climbing (hotel) or 78 miles, +1,699 ft climbing (camping)

Day 5: Layover day in Charleston
Rural loops of up to 58 miles

Day 6: Charleston to Tuscola
Basic Route – 45 miles, +280 ft climbing (hotel) or 51 miles, +441 ft (camping)
Long option – 64 miles, +525 ft climbing (hotel) or 66 miles, +669 ft climbing (camping)


Designated group camping sites will be at Mattoon’s Peterson Park, Effingham’s Larson’s Landing, and Charleston’s Lake Charleston. Those camping before the tour on Saturday night are encouraged to book reservations at Walnut Point State Park, in East Oakland Township.

All breakfasts and dinners (10 meals in total) and luggage transportation are included for campers. All camping sites have showering facilities.

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).  Contact Events Bike Ride Services.

After your day on a bike, join the fun at campsite evening singalongs.  Two returning campers plan to bring a guitar and banjo – let us know if you’d like to bring an instrument, too.

Hotel Option

Over the years, our hotel option has grown in popularity. This year, 100 spots will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. The hotel option fills up quickly, so we encourage early registration. Both single and double occupancy options are offered. Hotel fees are listed under Registration Rates 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. (Please note that the meals not eaten by hotelers are already factored into the hotel option cost.)

Those wishing to stay in a hotel before the tour on Saturday night are encouraged to book reservations at the Holiday Inn Express Tuscola.

Sunday night: Suite Dreams Hotel, Mattoon
Monday night: Hampton Inn, Effingham
Tuesday night: Hampton Inn, Effingham
Wednesday night: Unique Suites Hotel, Charleston
Thursday night: Unique Suites Hotel, Charleston

All dinners will be at the campgrounds except Thursday night at the hotel and Tuesday night, when motelers will be on their own for dinner and have many restaurants to choose from. Bus shuttling to/from the Effingham (Monday) and Charleston (Wednesday) campground for dinner will be provided. Mattoon’s hotel is walking distance from the campground and dinner. Because all motels will provide breakfast, there will be no shuttle service to the campground in the morning.

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

Each year, a few riders want to sign up for double occupancy without already having a roommate in mind.  Please email us and we can put you into contact with others in this situation, to find a roommate.

Contact info@rideillinois.org with any other questions regarding the motel option.

Ride & 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 encouraging 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.

The fundraising program is optional but is encouraged. Riders can also make a donation in lieu of fundraising.  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.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Please review our revised Cancellation and Refund Policy – which applies for all situations including unforeseen medical emergencies.

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 February 1, a cancellation refund will be issued for any reason, minus a $30 fee and any nonrefundable credit card fees.  The same is true between February 2 and June 1 – IF the ride (or hotel package, for hotelers) is not full.

However, after February 1, if the ride is full and registration has been closed, no refund will be issued unless a rider on the waiting list – or someone else you know – can fill your spot. 

Similarly, after February 1, if the hotel option is full (even if the ride is not), no refund will be issued for either the hotel option or ride registration unless your spot can be filled.  

Sorry, but to protect us from both unused expenses and lost income (from potential riders who could not sign up earlier and then made other plans), 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 $46 if camping, $61 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

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 are 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, water stops, and to give us a hand in case of emergencies. Please contact us at info@rideillinois.org if you might be interested.