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2023 Grand Illinois Bike Tour

2023 Grand Illinois Bike Tour

Join us at next year’s GIBT which will take place June 9-14, 2024 using a route that resembles a figure eight. The route will start and stop in Maroa, with overnights in Springfield, Forsyth, and Champaign.
Registration opens on November 1.

Join us June 11-16, 2023 for the 20th annual Grand Illinois Bike Tour (GIBT)! Our 2023 loop will tour northwest Illinois including the Mississippi River and the Quad Cities. We’ll start and end at Kewanee High School with overnights in Moline (two nights), Savanna (one night) and Rock Falls (two nights). Join us and invite your friends.

Choose among our daily mileage options for a total between 210 to 375 miles, consisting mainly of quiet rural roads as well as some paved trails around Kewanee, the Quad Cities, following the Mississippi River to Savanna and then to Rock Falls. Pick between our hotel and our modified, semi-independent (details below) group camping options.  [Note: We do still have space for our semi-independent camping option with information on how to register in that section below.]  Enjoy evenings filled with good food and socializing with riders from around the country. Proceeds benefit Ride Illinois, a nonprofit bicycle advocacy organization, and support our mission to make Illinois better through biking.

Our fully supported tour basics:

  • Daily route distances between 47 to 58 miles. Longer route and layover day options are available. RideWithGPS and cue sheets will be provided for navigation. (Find more information in “Route, Mileage, and Navigation” below.)
  • SAG (pickup) support, refreshment and water stops, and t-shirt are included. Local bike shops will be providing expert bike repair. (See “Extra third-party services” below for other offerings including camping rentals and set-up services, as well as massage service.)
  • Hotelers get luggage transportation, hotel breakfasts and two catered dinners, and evening receptions.  (Three dinners will be “on-your-own” at nearby or adjacent restaurants.)
  • A semi-independent group camping option (different from past years, see below) at state and county campgrounds and a city park includes two catered dinners at the hotels.
  • Important updates during GIBT will be sent via email (with printouts for those without smartphones) or text, when necessary.
  • Join the fun after dinner, as fellow riders play music and invite you to sing along.
  • Velosophie, an optional reading discussion group, meets before dinner each day. (You can view the 2023 reading list in the Velosophie section below.)

The ride is limited to 130 hotelers and 190 total riders.

Registration is online. (If you would prefer a PDF, that can be printed and mailed to Ride Illinois, please email us.)

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:

  • “Overall, have to say the GIBT was a really great experience. The routes were fantastic and well thought out. On the last day, our entire group agreed that we were sad it was coming to an end, and had had some of our best riding experiences in many years!”
  • “GIBT was made great by an amazing group of people including the staff, volunteers and riders. We’ve done a lot of tours and this group is just really congenial, supportive and fun.”
  • “We had a great time at our first GIBT! Everyone was SO NICE. We will definitely be doing it again…Communication was excellent and kudos to all of you for pivoting so quickly when routes had to be changed last minute. And thank you to SAG who did not make us feel bad when we had to be driven in 6 miles from the end because of health issues. GIBT rocks!”

In our 2022 post-ride survey, riders rated GIBT 3.78 (out of 4) overall and 3.80 in value for the money. Want more details and more reasons why you should join us? Check out our Grand Illinois Bike Tour video:

Registration Rates

Please note: To receive our discounted member rates, log-in to our membership portal.

Not sure if your membership is current? You can also log on to check! (Any questions, email us at info@rideillinois.org.)



Single Occupancy Hotel Rooms: $1,165 (Member rate: $1,130)

Double Occupancy Hotel Rooms: $915 per person (Member rate: $880 per person)

Group Camping (see details below): $330 (Member rate: $295).

*Please note that our online registration system allows for credit card users to donate the amount of credit card processing fees to Ride Illinois. PayPal does not have an option to donate processing fees.

Questions? Email gibt@rideillinois.org.

Please read our revised for 2023 cancellation and refund policy below.  It reflects stricter group cancellation policies now common at hotels.  Be sure to get trip insurance!

The ride is limited to 130 hotelers and 190 total riders.

Registration will open online November 1, 2022 or email us to request a PDF registration form.

Route, Mileage & Navigation

The tour begins and ends at Kewanee High School, with free parking for the week and post-ride showers available on Friday. Overnight stops will be in Moline (two nights), Savanna (one night) and Sterling/Rock Falls (two nights).

On each of the four days when we move to a new town, we offer a basic route of 47-58 miles with longer options of 62-74 miles. Ride at your own pace on quiet, rural roads and some paved trails. Enjoy plenty of time each day to explore the small towns and attractions along the route and in our overnight host towns. 

The second and fifth days will be layover days, during which you can explore sites and other local attractions, choose between the route options we provide, or just enjoy the days however you wish.

Preliminary Route Mileages (subject to change)
Day 1: Kewanee to Moline
Basic Route – 54.6 miles, +1002 ft climbing (hotel) or 51.6  miles, +944 ft climbing (camping)
Long option – 73.8 miles, +1900 ft climbing (hotel) or 70.8 miles, +1842 ft climbing (camping)

Day 2: Layover in Moline
QC Trails Route – 43.2 miles, +1041 ft climbing (hotel) or  58.8  miles, +1324 ft climbing (camping)
(Shorter distances are possible by skipping parts of this route.)

Day 3: Moline to Savanna
Basic Route – 58.5 miles, +1081 ft climbing (hotel) or 53.5  miles, +884 ft climbing (camping)
Long Route – 67.8 miles, +1596 ft climbing (hotel) or 64  miles, +1400 ft climbing (camping)

Day 4: Savanna to Sterling/Rock Falls
Basic Route – 51.4 miles, +1416 ft climbing (hotel) or 53.4  miles, +1482 ft climbing (camping)
Long option – 71.1 miles, +1813 ft climbing (hotel) or 73.1  miles, +1879 ft climbing (camping)

Day 5: Layover day in Sterling/Rock Falls
Long Route58.3 miles, +1821 ft climbing (hotel) or 50.1  miles, +1674 ft climbing (camping)
Intermediate option – 44.4 miles, +1477 ft climbing (hotel) or  36.2 miles, +1330 ft climbing (camping)
Shorter option35.2 miles, +1125 ft climbing (hotel) or  27.0 miles, +978 ft climbing (camping)

Day 6: Sterling/Rock Falls to Kewanee
Basic Route – 47.3 miles, +1043 ft climbing (hotel) or 51.1  miles, +1087 ft climbing (camping)
Long option – 62.2 miles, +1476 ft climbing (hotel) or 66.0  miles, +1530 ft climbing (camping)


In 2022, we successfully switched our primary navigation method from paint-marks to RideWithGPS – supplemented with printed cue sheets and overall segment maps. Smartphone-based RideWithGPS provides audio instructions for navigation with the ability to add other cues about rest stops, points of interest, etc. Because it uses GPS signals, which are everywhere, it will work for you in places of poor cell phone coverage, too.

We will continue to help our riders make the switch to RideWithGPS, with steps including:

  • Editing RideWithGPS’ default audio cues for better user-friendliness, and adding key info on services and sites along the route.
  • Providing in our pre-ride Rider Info Letter tips on using RideWithGPS’ audio cues and maps effectively on your phone.
  • Offering a directory of RideWithGPS practice routes for several sample routes throughout Illinois – and elsewhere on request – so you can get used to using this method before you get to GIBT.
  • Asking riders who are already comfortable with RideWithGPS and are willing to have newbies ride with them to let us know, so we can give them a different-colored name tag on the back of their bike.
  • Adjusting our printed cue sheets to be more user-friendly.

May 27, 2023 — There is only one room available for our hotel option. 


Sunday night: Moline’s Stoney Creek

Monday night: Moline’s Stoney Creek

Tuesday night: Savanna’s Savanna Inn & Suites

Wednesday night: Rock Falls’ Country Inn & Suites, and if needed, Super 8

Thursday night: Rock Falls’ Country Inn & Suites, and if needed, Super 8

Catered dinners will be provided at the hotels on Tuesday and Wednesday, with “on-your-own” dinners at nearby restaurants the other three nights. All hotels will provide breakfast in the morning. We will have evening receptions for hotelers on some nights.

Bikes will be kept in hotel rooms. One 40-pound bag per registrant will be accepted. Please, no oversized luggage!

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 gibt@rideillinois.org with any other questions regarding the hotel option.

Semi-independent Group Camping

While Ride Illinois is not able to fully organize and staff its GIBT camping option in 2023, we are partnering with some longtime GIBT campers to offer a more independent camping option based on groups of riders.  Here is what is provided by Ride Illinois/GIBT:

  • Stay at group camping sites arranged and paid for by Ride Illinois:  Quad Cities’ Illiniwek Forest Preserve  (Sunday and Monday), Savanna’s Mississippi Palisades State Park (Tuesday), Sterling/Rock Falls’ Sinnissippi Park (Wednesday and Thursday)
  • Normal GIBT ride services included are:  on-route SAG support (with drop-offs at camp), rest and water stops, RideWithGPS routes/maps and cue sheets (tailored for campers), rider communications before and during the tour, bike repair availability, tour insurance coverage.
  • Tuesday and Wednesday catered dinners at the hotels.

Riders in the group camping option will sign up in small groups, with each group having its own vehicle.  The group chooses its own size, perhaps based on the vehicle’s capacity. 

Each group is responsible for its own luggage transport; camp supplies (including air pumps); snacks and drinks at camp; breakfasts all five mornings; dinners on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday; transportation to the Tuesday and Wednesday catered dinners at the hotels; and picking up repaired bikes.  Each group is also responsible for their own group vehicle driving and task scheduling, as well as splitting their expenses (beyond the registration costs). 

Ride Illinois personnel will NOT staff the campsites, although we would be available for emergencies.

The registration cost of this scaled-down camping option is $330, or $295 for members.  (The cost for non-riders in a group is $120.)  When registering, provide the group name as identified by the group vehicle’s owner.  If you do not have a group, or your group is seeking additional riders, contact Bill Bellman (bbellman1@icloud.com) before registering, for help matching people to groups.

Extra Third-Party Services

Events Bike Ride Services is back for 2023, offering other options for all riders including massages, bike cleaning, and transport for those leaving the ride early.

For campers: Tent, towel and chair rental is available, as is tent set up/take down.

Make arrangements with Glen Morey directly online at www.eventsbikerideservices.com, by email at glenma21499@peoplepc.com or call/text at 727-457-6994.

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 $150 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 gibt@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 2023 revised Cancellation and Refund Policy – which applies for all situations including personal or family medical emergencies:  

  1. At any time, for no cancellation fee, you may transfer your registration to someone else having the same lodging arrangement.  Same thing, if there is someone on our waiting list able to take your spot (this is uncommon).
  2. Between registration and Feb. 5, the cancellation fee is the sum of $100 and any nonrefundable credit card fees if you paid that way.
  3. Between Feb. 6 and May 11, the cancellation fee is the sum of $100, a hotel cancellation penalty ($440 single occupancy, $220 per person double occupancy, $0 for campers), and any credit card fees.
  4. Between May 12 and June 1, the cancellation fee is the sum of $200, a hotel cancellation penalty ($540 single occupancy, $270 per person double occupancy, $0 for campers), and any credit card fees.
  5. No refund June 2 or after.

Hotel cancellation penalties that we incur (and pass along to those canceling) have become much more severe since COVID.  Due to this, and the fact that each year many riders (>10%) have to cancel, we HIGHLY recommend that YOU get trip insurance!   Third-party trip insurance is quite affordable for many medical and other unexpected situations leading to cancellation – and historically in almost every case, it cost less than the cancellation fee. Travelex is one provider option.

Finally, no refund will be given for:

  • Participant’s late arrival
  • If a participant chooses to leave the tour for any reason after the first day
  • 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.


2023 Velosophie – proposed readings:

  • Quad Cities: “The Road to Perdition” by Max Allan Collins – graphic novel and a Tom Hanks movie – QC gangster written by a local.
  • Quad Cities: An essay – “The Fourth State of Matter” by Jo Ann Beard (a local)
  • Savanna: “A Sand County Almanac” by Aldo Leopold – a classic of the conservation ethic written by an Iowa/Wisconsin native.
  • Sterling: Spoken word Poetry by Carl Sanburg (Illinois poet), Amanda Gorman, and slam poet champion Harry Baker
  • Sterling: “The Hunt for Red October” by Tom Clancy (also a movie) – a favorite book and author of Ronald Reagan (a local).