Have a grand biking tour, traveling along portions of one of America's best and longest trail systems, the Grand Illinois Trail. Discover northern Illinois - its towns, its terrain, its people and its parks. Enjoy an unhurried week-long trek, using many of the completed GIT trail segments (or close-by road alternatives). A special aspect of the ride is the use of Illinois State Parks (for the most part) for overnight camping stays. A joint undertaking by the League of Illinois Bicyclists and the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, GITAP promises in this, its inaugural tour, biking, culture, nature, fitness, outdoor living, good food, and great vistas. In short - a grand tour on a grand trail.
The Route - GITAP makes a clockwise circle of about 445 miles starting in the western Chicago suburb of Oswego. From there it heads west, using the I & M and Hennepin Canal State Trails to the Quad Cities, where it turns north and follows the Great River Trail along the Mississippi River. Then heading northeast, it follows country roads to Rockford. Further east it uses the Long Prairie Trail before turning south at Richmond and heading back to the start, using the Prairie Trail and the Fox River Trail. The terrain utilized is, for the most part, relatively flat with some rolling hills.
Accommodations - Riders will tent camp in five state parks and one high school along the route, although nearby motels are available. Showers and luggage transportation will be provided.
Food - Breakfasts and dinners are included in the tour fee. Cue sheets will identify possible food and drink locations along the route. Short, informational meetings will follow the dinners and other entertainment will be available at some sites.
Dates and Sites - The ride begins on Sunday, June 15, 2003 at Oswego's Fox Chase Elementary School. Sunday, 6/15 - 65 miles to Starved Rock State Park Monday, 6/16 - 80 miles to Geneseo High School Tuesday, 6/17 - 70 miles to Morrison-Rockwood State Park Wednesday, 6/18 - 60 miles to White Pines State Park Thursday, 6/19 - 55 miles to Rock Cut State Park Friday, 6/20 - 50 miles to Chain O' Lakes State Park Saturday, 6/21 - 65 miles to Oswego Shorter routes will be available on some segments - along with on-road alternatives close to paths and trails.
Fees - $265 before May 1, 2003; $315 after. Fees include camping sites, all breakfasts and dinners, t-shirt, cue sheets, marked route, luggage transportation, sag vehicles, parking for the week, bike repair available, evening meetings and programs. Pick up packets on Sunday morning (6 to noon) at Oswego's Fox Chase Elementary School.
Questions? 309-788-1845 or e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org