Friday, January 21, 2011

Ride Across the State, Part 1

We are approaching Blue Monday.  January 24th has been officially declared the most depressing day of the year.  Worst weather, no holidays coming up, too many bills from the holidays.

Let's look past Blue Monday and start looking forward to the happy days of summer and bike touring.  Here's a summary of past rides I have done.  I'll follow up soon with some other rides around the country.

Bike Ride Across Georgia, June 4-11 - This ride has been running continuously since 1980 and usually draws about 2000 riders.  The route varies each year.  This year's route will start in Atlanta and finish in Savannah.  Georgia's weather is usually still mild this time of the year.  Lodging is in gyms or in tents, although a few hotel rooms are available.  About 60 miles a day over moderate terrain, although some years include days in the north Georgia mountains.

RAGBRAI, July 24-30 - RAGBRAI is the granddaddy of the cross-state bike tours.   The ride started in 1973 and has now grown to an official 10,000 riders with an estimated additional 5000 riders just jumping in, despite being in Iowa.  The tour always starts on the west side of the state and finishes on the Mississippi River.  Patience is a virtue on this ride.  With 15,000 people, you will wait in line for nearly everything, including showers and kybo's (port-a-johns). Many of the towns you stay in have fewer residents than ride participants and tent space is at a premium.  But it's a big party and a lot of fun.  Everyone who likes to bike should ride this one at least once.  Around 70 miles a day over flat to moderate terrain.

Bicycle Illinois, July 9-16 - This ride is almost the exact opposite of RAGBRAI.  This is a six day ride from Cairo to downtown Chicago.  About 50 people are on this ride and lodging is in schools or rec centers.  There are no lines.  Average 85 miles a day, with century options each day.  Although Illinois is flat in some places, much of the first three days are fairly hilly.

POWWOW Fox Valley Tour, June 12-17 - This is not really across state, but it's a nice tour.  This ride starts in Watertown, Wisconson and travels to Green Bay and back over the course of the week.  About 100 riders participate and enjoy housing in college dorm rooms with beds.  Many of the riders have done this ride 10 or 15 times.  Average 61 miles a day over moderate to flat terrain.

Katy Trail Ride, June 20-24 - This ride is sponsored by the Missouri State Parks and takes place entirely on the Katy Trail, a crushed limestone rails-to-trails conversion.  The ride is limited to 300 riders.  This is a very scenic trail and a well-run tour.  Average 45 miles a day on flat terrain, although riding on the trail is not a fast as riding on a paved road.


  1. I can't wait for this summer's bike tour. Or next summer's. Or the summer after that...

  2. Thanks for all of the good info.