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In search of Illinois riding....(14 posts)

In search of Illinois riding....HBPat
Apr 22, 2003 3:11 PM
Alas, I am leaving my coastal paradise where I can always seem to find a mountain to climb and a sea breeze to cool me. I'm heading to central Illinois and was wondering if anybody knew of any cycling groups or clubs in that area, or just some good (though I imagine flat) rides.
re: In search of Illinois riding....GregJ
Apr 22, 2003 4:12 PM
Well I was born and raised on a farm in Central Illinois 20 miles or so from Peoria. I keep an old bike at my parents home and ride when I am back. There is no shortage of open country with quiet roads for the most part. It is fairly flat although you may find some small hills around the Illinois river or some of the other river valleys. If you are willing to travel a bit(really for a weekend at least), the area around Galena is very scenic and rolling. Southern Illinois is great for cycling. I am sure that all the cities have club rides of some sort, just out of curiousity, where are you going to end up?
re: In search of Illinois riding....HBPat
Apr 22, 2003 4:23 PM
I'm going to be in Champaign-Urbana. I'll miss my painful mountain climbs but I guess I'll make up for that by suffering through sub zero rides in the winter.
re: In search of Illinois riding....Lone Gunman
Apr 22, 2003 5:44 PM
I understand that the U of I area has a somewhat active road cycling scene. I lived in Danville, IL for a brief time and virtually NEVER saw another road cyclist there. Many MTBers at a State Park that had some good trails. Being from Western PA, Illinois ruined me as a cyclist for the short time I was there. One dimensional riding; FLAT and the wind always seemed to be blowing. I really did not like it there and was glad to be gone.
re: In search of Illinois riding....MR_GRUMPY
Apr 22, 2003 6:19 PM
You won't have to search very hard. University town= lots of bikes. There are a few racing teams there, so I sure there are quite a few bike clubs also.
You'l learn to appreciate riding into a stiff wind...asphalt assault
Apr 22, 2003 5:06 PM
I call it hill climbing's all we'v got in this God forsaken flatland:/
re: In search of Illinois riding....Juanmoretime
Apr 22, 2003 5:14 PM
I live in Urbana, email me a phone number and I'll give you a call.
i'm against itJS Haiku Shop
Apr 23, 2003 5:43 AM
but if you insist, methinks you'll grow to enjoy gentle breezes and long false flats.

(un)luckily i spent a few months of my "youth" in C-U. if i remember right, i was chastised by three or four different police departments during my stay--they have plenty of law enforcement. also plenty of recreational chemicals. strange combination, that. "burritos as big as your head" really made up for the towns' shortcomings, though.

beautiful area, but that was the first time i'd ever seen a 2" blanket of ice cover **everything**. i rode there from memphis on a motorcycle in january many years ago; the rain and snow during my trip was an appropriate precursor to the weather observed during my stay.

enjoy, and if you dare venture a little south, you may enjoy the St. Louis brevet series, held out of Edwardsville, IL.

The Peoria area has some great stuffgreg n
Apr 23, 2003 6:28 AM
I went to school down there. And lived there for a few years after. Unfortuneately, I was more of a mt. biker then than a roadie, so I don't really know any real road routes.

Basically any road starting at the base of the river and heading East or West will give you some decsent climbing. There are good rollers all over down there.

One good road worth riding is Grand View Dr. Start at the base off War Memorial Dr. and take Grand View up. There are at least 5 or 6 switchbacks and the view from the top of Grand View is beautiful.

There are a couple shops in the area that sponsor teams. One was called Vitese and the other was in Washington (town east of Peoria) but I forget the name.
re: In search of Illinois riding....truman
Apr 23, 2003 8:12 AM
I live about 25 miles SW of Champaign/Urbana. There are many good roads in this area. You will learn that the most important thing is to check which way the wind is blowing and to set off into it so you can enjoy the tailwind home. There are few hills but you do get a little bit of rolling terrain out here near the Sangamon River. Cars are generally scarce in the country and drivers are usually very considerate. It is not at all unusual for me to do a 30 mile ride and only encounter a couple of cars along the way. You do need to watch out for massive combines and grain trucks in the fall that tend to be slow moving and relatively unyielding. You will see lots of wildlife (deer, pheasant, coyote, rabbits) and eventually you may learn to enjoy watching the cycle of corn and soybean growth and harvest. Riding within Champaign/Urbana is not too unpleasant. Lots of secondary roads to get crosstown and even a couple with a bike lane.

Good group rides can be found through the U of Illinois bike racing team and there is a more tourist-oriented Prairie Cycle Club also that organizes some centuries. Good racing opportunities exist within relatively easy driving to St. Louis, Chicago, and Indianapolis, although there are a few local races as well.
Mclean County WheelersZeGopha
Apr 23, 2003 8:24 AM
depending on where you are I gues there is a pretty good group (in Mclean County, i.e. Bloomington/Normal)and there is are a couple of pretty good day rides. I haven't personally gone with the wheelers, But I did go on the Pedaling for Kicks on Route 66 ride and it was well done, not to mention it gets bigger and better each year. Around here though we have some really big hills (like a highway over pass, dripping with sarcasm.) Seriously though, Wind can be a very good friend once you get used to it and learn how to work with it. You will be suprised to see how many riders have big trouble in a little wind (like thirty mph with gusts) Spend enough time here and you'll learn to love it, or have a mental breakdown, either way,, welcome the the midwest.
The Gopher from around these parts.
Apr 23, 2003 8:56 AM
That certainly was a wealth of information. I guess there are a lot of riders, going into headwinds, wishing they were somewhere else. I shall soon join them.
re: In search of Illinois riding....4bykn
Apr 23, 2003 1:29 PM
I'm about 60 miles away in Normal (home of the mentioned McLean[pronounced "Mc-Lane"] county Wheelers). As all stated, don't come here looking for hills, but we simulate long climbs with never ending winds. For more info on the Illinois scene try
There are ride listings, club listings, etc at the LIB web site.

A nice century at Springfield in September, beer and brats provided. For hills, I go to the "Hilly Hundred" in Bloomington IN in October.

Any more specific questions, feel free to email me also at mhannah59(at)
Almost forgot...Lone Gunman
Apr 23, 2003 2:41 PM
If you want to find some hills there is this little ride in the fall down in Bloomington, IN called the Hilly Hundred. Rivaled anything I have here in PA. And if you really get the travelling bug you could drive on over to Indianapolis to the Major Taylor Veleodrome and check it out. Very active cycling community in Indianapolis.