Ride IllinoisRide Illinois

2021 Grand Illinois Bike Tour

Join us June 13, 2021 through June 19, 2021 for our 18th annual Grand Illinois Bike Tour! Our 2021 loop will tour the Trails of Madison County, on the Illinois side of the St. Louis area.  We will start and stop in Litchfield, with overnights in Lebanon (one night), Edwardsville and Godfrey/Alton (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 375 miles, consisting of quiet rural roads and 140+ miles on trails (almost all asphalt-surfaced) on old railroad corridors.  Pick between our camping and hotel options, and enjoy evenings filled with good food and fellowship with riders hailing from around the country. Proceeds benefit Ride Illinois, a nonprofit bicycle advocacy organization, 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 52 miles. Longer route and layover day options are available. Routes are marked, and both cue sheets and RideWithGPS navigation are provided.
  • Campers will tent in parks and college grounds, with showering facilities on-site (four nights) or nearby via shuttle bus (one night). All breakfasts and dinners (10 meals in total) are included.
  • The hotel 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 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 250 riders. Registration will open on November 1st.

Registration will is available online as well as via a PDF that you can print and mail to Ride Illinois.

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:

  • “I had a great time. The folks who do the ride were interesting and funny. I felt welcomed as a lone first-timer and really had a lot of fun.”
  • “The routes were enjoyable and varied.”
  • “This ride was perfect for me! The mileage options, camping, Velosophie, meals, layover days, and location = perfect!”
  • “Great ride. Liked the small size.”

Want more details and more reasons why you should join us? Check out our 2019 Grand Illinois Bike Tour video:


Registration Rates

Regular Rates (after Dec 1)
Non-Ride Illinois member $515
Member $480 Join here or email us to confirm status
17 and under $365 (must be accompanied by an adult rider)

Optional Hotel Package  (in addition to the registration fee)
Single Occupancy $635 (plus registration fees)
Double Occupancy $385 per person (plus registration fees)

Questions? Email info@rideillinois.org.

Please read our cancellation and refund policy below – it has changed to encourage riders to get trip insurance.

The ride is limited to 250 riders.

Route & Mileage

The tour begins and ends in Litchfield, with free parking for the week, and stops in Lebanon, Edwardsville (two nights) and Alton (two nights).

On each of the four days when we move to a new town, we offer a basic route of 45-53 miles with longer options for an extra 20 miles or so.  Ride at your own pace on quiet, rural, mostly flat roads and on the area’s trails, 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 on somewhat shorter options around Edwardsville and Alton.  Or, just enjoy the days however you wish.

Preliminary Route Mileages (subject to change)
Day 1: Litchfield to Lebanon
Basic Route – 52.4 miles, +808 ft climbing (camping) or 51.9 miles, +689ft climbing (hotel)
Long option – TBD

Day 2: Lebanon to Edwardsville
Basic Route – 45.3 miles, +971 ft climbing (camping) or 50.1 miles, +1,043 ft (hotel)
Long option – TBD

Day 3: Layover day in Edwardsville
Long Route – 49.6 miles, +743 ft climbing (camping) or 48.6 miles, +683 ft (hotel)
Shorter options – TBD

Day 4: Edwardsville to Godfrey/Alton
Basic Route – 52.9 miles, +1,045 ft (camping) or 50.4 miles, +835 ft (hotel)
Long option – TBD

Day 5: Layover day in Godfrey/Alton
Details TBD.  Longer options will include riding adjacent to the Mississippi River and its bluffs to Grafton (est. 40-44 miles) and/or Pere Marquette State Park (est. 53-57 miles).

Day 6: Godfrey/Alton to Litchfield
Basic Route – 45.1 miles, +1,333 ft (camping) or 46.3 miles, +1330 ft (hotel)
Long option – TBD


Designated group camping sites will be at Lebanon’s Horner Recreation Park, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Godfrey’s Lewis and Clark Community College. Those camping before the tour on Saturday night are encouraged to book reservations at Lake Lou Yaeger, in Litchfield, about three miles from the start location.

All breakfasts and dinners (10 meals in total) and luggage transportation are included for campers. SIU-Edwardsville and Lewis & Clark have shower facilities; shuttling to showers will be provided in Lebanon.

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 take 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 hotel to hotel each day, a welcome wine and beer reception on the first evening, and a farewell gathering on the final night.

Those wishing to stay in a hotel before the tour on Saturday night are encouraged to book reservations at the Baymont Inn & Suites – Litchfield.

Sunday night: Best Western Plus MidAmerica, Mascoutah/Lebanon
Monday night: TownePlace Suites & Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Edwardsville
Tuesday night: TownePlace Suites & Holiday Inn Express and Suites, Edwardsville
Wednesday night: Best Western & Hampton Inn and Suites, Alton
Thursday night: Best Western & Hampton Inn and Suites, Alton

All dinners will be at the campgrounds except Tuesday night, when hotelers will be on their own for dinner (factored into the price) and have many restaurants to choose from. Bus shuttling to/from Mascoutah/Lebanon (Sunday), Edwardsville (Monday) and Alton (Wednesday and Thursday) campground for dinner will be provided. Because all hotels will provide breakfast, there will be no shuttle service to the campground in the morning.

Bikes will be kept in hotel 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 hotel 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 encourage 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 strongly 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. 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. 

The cancellation fee is almost always higher than the cost of buying travel insurance.  In recent years, well over 10% of GIBT registrants have had to cancel due to their or loved ones’ medical conditions, or for other reasons.  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 hotel, to cover 100% of their ride payment costs.

If needed, riders may transfer their registration to another rider at any time, for any reason, at no cost.  This is also true if the ride is full and there is someone on the waiting list willing to take your spot.  However, after May 18, we cannot guarantee the correct t-shirt size for the substitute rider.

The following applies if no one can take your spot:  Until May 6, a cancellation refund will be issued for any reason, minus a cancellation fee of 15% of your total payment (includes hotel option) and any nonrefundable credit card fees.  From May 7-27, the cancellation fee increases to 25% of your total payment and the credit card fees.  From May 28 until the ride, no refund will be issued. 

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

Please note that the Grand Illinois Bike Tour is Ride Illinois largest annual fundraiser. The funds raised from the Grand Illinois Bike Tour helps us to continue our advocacy work to make Illinois a land of safe and enjoyable bicycling for all; and to promote bicycle access, education and safety.


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.