Bicycle Group Cycling Across Illinois Will Stop in Champaign July 13th Champaign, IL – On Wednesday July 13, about twenty tired bicyclists will stop for the night in Champaign on the fourth stop of “Bicycle Illinois,” a 500-mile, six-day bicycle tour that calls on riders to cycle the entire length of Illinois from Cairo to Chicago.By the time the cyclists begin arriving at the new University of Illinois Activities and Recreation Center in the early afternoon, each one will have already completed about 325 miles of their total journey, having ridden at least 93 miles from Effingham that day, stopping along the way in Neoga, Mattoon, Arcola, and Pesotum. The riders will spend the night either indoors on the gym floor or outdoors in tents and depart the next morning for the ride to Kankakee, stopping along the way in Rantoul, Loda, Onarga, and Ashkum.The next day, every cyclist will have to test their endurance by completing a mandatory 100 mile ride. Known as a “century ride”, this single-day challenge is the cycling equivalent of running a marathon. While many of the cyclists will be completing a century ride for the first time and will undoubtedly be relieved once they’ve successfully arrived in Kankakee, a few of the stronger cyclists will have also completed a century ride every day of the tour. These extreme riders will be
trying to earn membership to Bicycle Illinois’ exclusive “700 Club” by cycling at least 100 miles seven days in a row, including the Tri-State Tour, a one day ride from Hammond, IN to Kenosha, WI that immediately follows Bicycle Illinois.Bicycle Illinois is not a race however and there is a strict “no one left behind” policy so each cyclist can travel at his or her own pace and not need to worry about being left behind. The ride is also fully supported and every necessity is prearranged and included in the price of the trip such as nightly lodging arrangements, meals, baggage transportation, the route, and vehicle support on the road. Other services, such as massages and hotel rooms, are also available for an additional cost.While the tour’s participants come from a broad background, they quickly develop a common bond through their love of cycling. Ability levels range from recreational riders who have never attempted an extended cycling trip to competitive athletes who have completed several triathlons and multi-day bicycle tours. Riders’ ages range from teenagers to senior citizens and women make up about a third of the riders. While about half of the participants live in the Chicago area and another 25% are from other parts of Illinois and surrounding states, the remaining 25% have travelled across the country to participate. Tour director Rob Layton’s goal is for Bicycle Illinois to become the largest annual cross-state bicycle tour in the country and a destination for cyclists from around the world.This is the eighth consecutive year for the ride, and participation in each year’s event continues to grow. In fact interest in next year’s tour, to be held from July 8-15, 2012 is already building. The Champaign County Convention and Visitors Bureau continues to support this event by providing community resources for the riders while they are in Champaign County. For more information contact Bicycle Illinois at (877) TOUR-ILL (868-7455) or visit www.bicycleillinois.com.Organization founder and tour director Rob Layton is a native Chicagoan. He is an accomplished bike rider, having cycled across the entire country and an experienced trip leader with active membership in the National Bicycle Tour Directors Association.