What you need to know before the event
After you register you will be added to the event participant e-mail list. Check your e-mail often for updates and additional, more specific information about the event only for participants such as our specific routes.
If you do not have an e-mail address we will inform you of event updates and other information via such means as personal phone calls, snail mail, and/or faxes, but we strongly prefer not to do this due to the time lag involved in you receiving pertinent information.
Once registered you should also check our website regularly for updates for the most current information.
Getting to the start from the end
The logistics of how you do this can be a BIG planning factor, particularly in terms of transportation in each town and also your own personal schedule.
There are pros and cons for each travel method in regards to you, your baggage, and especially your bicycle, and these considerations are particularly important if you will be travelling a long way to get to or from the event. We strongly recommend researching each available transportation option in order to select the one that will best meet your needs.
When our transportation service occurs on the day before the start of the event and lodging in the starting or stopping town is not included in registration, you will need to secure lodging there.
Most participants from areas in and around the ending town initially arrive there and take our transportation service to the starting town before the start of the event. If you parked your car in the ending town during the event, you can pick it up immediately after you arrive back there at the end. This is the option we highly suggest!
If you decide to initially arrive at the ending town you may need to drive there and pay for a room at the optional lodging. In addition, you may need to take our transportation service before the start of the event in order to get to the starting town. However, you may not need to spend an extra day after the end of the event for transportation service back to the starting town or arrange or pay for a room at the optional lodging the previous night.
Most participants from areas in and around the starting town initially arrive there and arrange for pick up or transportation back to the starting town after the event. We will not be offering transportation services after the tour and it will be up to the participant to secure transportation back to the starting town after the tour.
If you decide to initially arrive at the starting town you may need to drive there and pay for parking and a room at the optional lodging if lodging there is not included in registration. In addition, you will need to arrange for transportation after the end of the event in order to get back to the starting town.
Mid-route stops (pickups and drop offs) are most popular with participants from the middle of our events.
If you decide to initially arrive at a mid-route stopping town you may need to drive there and pay for parking but you will not have to drive to either the starting or stopping town.
If you decide to depart from a mid-route stopping town you will not need to drive to or from the starting or stopping town but you will need to arrange for transportation after the tour in order to get back to the mid-route stopping town.
Remember to bring a bike rack to carry your bicycle outside your car otherwise you will need to leave enough space inside your car to carry your bike, particularly if you will be transporting a boxed bicycle. You should leave locked inside your car during the event itself - you will not need it.
Avoiding Driving and Parking
We strongly recommend avoiding driving entirely to and/or from the entire event if at all possible.
You may be able to save time by arriving immediately before and/or departing immediately after the event and also money by not having to pay for such things as parking, a room at our supported hotel, our transportation service, and/or bicycle shipment fees. You can also avoid the risk of something happening to your car while you are away during the event.
In addition, it could be unsafe for you to drive when you are very, very tired immediately after the end of the event.
Getting Dropped Off/Picked Up
You could get dropped off and/or picked up by friends or family or arrive with another participant in their vehicle.
This option may work well for you if you live very close to the start or end of one of our events or want to participate as part of a long distance cycling touring adventure!
Please note thought that it can be difficult to also carry lots of baggage with you on your bike.
Most (but not all) local public transportation services allow unboxed, fully assembled bicycles to be carried aboard. Information about specific local public transportation options and their ability to transport fully assembled bicycles is listed under the information for each stopping town for each event.
Expect the possibility of encountering some difficulty carrying your bicycle and baggage on local public transportation options as you may need to climb up and down stairs, go through turnstiles and doors, and have to deal with other people. However, don't hesitate to ask the local public transportation employees for help.
Our transportation service is very popular and convenient!
You won't have to worry about finding a way to get back to the start, particularly if you drove there yourself, or have to convince your friends or family to drive you twice, once to the start and again back home. You'll be able to get a great start to the event since you won't spend the stress or time driving - you can relax along the way sleeping, reading, or just socializing with your fellow participants.
Individual Arrival Time
There will be only one designated arrival time for our transportation service. All participants must arrive at the transportation staging point at or before this designated time. We will not have a range of arrival times or a specific departure time because if we did, most people would wait until the end to arrive!
This is because the faster we can complete check in and loading all people, bicycles, and/or baggage the sooner we can depart and having everyone and their bikes and baggage ready to be loaded at the same place at the same time is the most efficient way to accomplish this.
PLEASE DO NOT ARRIVE LATE – OTHER PEOPLE WILL BE DEPENDING ON YOU.
DO NOT plan on arriving later than the check in time. In fact, we strongly recommend planning on arriving at the transportation staging point even earlier than the designated check in time and waiting for us to arrive. Doing this allows you ample time to handle any potential delays, particularly if you will be relying on any means of local and long distance public transportation to arrive.
We cannot wait for you if you are not at our transportation staging point by the time we are ready to depart for any reason. If you are left behind it will be your responsibility to find another form of transportation to the start or from the end of the event on your own and no refunds will be issued.
Event Check In
When you arrive, you should report to our check in table which will be set up in front of our support vehicle.
The main event check in for participants taking our transportation service before the start of the event will occur directly at the transportation staging point(s). Doing this allows us to track who has arrived for the transportation service and also distribute any registration materials that you might need before you depart (such as the parking sign, individual bus or train tickets, etc.)
As you travel to the start of the event, you will be able to review the registration materials (cue sheets, maps, etc.) and not having to check you in after you arrive will speed the process of unloading your bike and baggage and also checking in other participants initially arriving at the start of the event.
Please arrive with your bags fully packed and your bicycle ready to be loaded. Your items will be loaded promptly after you check in.
If you will be transported aboard a public transportation carrier (such as an Amtrak train, Greyhound bus, or MegaBus bus) you may need to transport yourself between the transportation staging point and the bus train or bus station, and we recommend either walking or splitting a taxicab (when available) with your fellow participants. Cue sheets and a map will be available for the routes.
If you will be transported aboard a private vehicle instead of a public transportation carrier (such as a private coach bus or one of our support vehicles) DO NOT leave the staging area after your bike and/or bags have been loaded or you may risk getting left behind. We cannot wait for you if you are not at our transportation staging point by the time we are ready to depart for any reason.
Departure and Arrival
Vehicles will depart our staging points promptly after all bicycles, baggage, and/or people have been loaded and we have conducted our final head count as necessary.
While we will provide estimated travel times, it is impossible to guarantee the exact times when we will be able to depart or arrive since these times depend on factors such as:
• The number of participants for each transportation service
• Any complicated loading and unloading situations
• Traffic or road construction
• Train or bus service running ahead or behind schedule
• Mid-route stops
• Other things we may have to attend to
• When all participants have arrived safely at the ending location
If you are planning on meeting someone upon arrival the best thing to do is to call them from your cell phone as we get closer as you get a better idea of our actual arrival time.
Promptly after we arrive we will begin unloading and will distribute all items to back to you. The unloading process will go much faster than the loading process.
You must reclaim all of your personal items yourself immediately after we arrive and bring them with you. For security purposes we cannot hold any personal item for you in or on any of our vehicles overnight or while you do anything else, such as look for a camping location, get your parked car, wait to get picked up, go meet someone, or pick up your bike if you had it shipped to the start of the event.
Each individual will be allowed one bicycle for transportation with registration for each transportation service and you will indicate what type of bicycle you will be riding when you register.
There may be an additional charge to transport non-upright bikes such as recumbents and tandems because these types of bikes take up more room in our vehicles than standard upright bicycles. In addition, they also generally cannot be transported outside on the roof rack of our trailer and must be transported inside a support vehicle, and also may require special handling and care.
There will not be an additional charge to transport a tandem bicycle if both people riding it also both register for the same transportation service. This is because we would have to transport two bicycles (one for each participant) anyways.
Bicycles with three wheels (trikes) are not allowed on our events because we cannot guarantee we will be able to easily and quickly transport them in any support vehicle at all times.
Preparation for Transportation
All bicycles can be transported fully assembled and unboxed - you will not need to remove your pedals or loosen your headset and turn your handlebars or disassemble it in any other way. The only exception to this is that we may require you to remove your front wheel and/or any racks if they do not fold up or take up an unreasonable amount of space.
Before your bicycle can be loaded, you must have at least your name and your cell phone number on a piece of masking attached tape directly your bike frame and your front wheel. If we need to remove your front wheel to transport your bike it's amazing how alike bike wheels look, especially in the dark, and identical wheels have gotten mixed up before. We will not have extra masking tape or markers available.
In addition, we require that you remove all loose items from your bike that could easily fall off or get lost, damaged or mixed up in transit and store those items in your baggage. These items include such things as water bottles, frame pumps, saddlebags, panniers, cycle computers, and anything else which might fall off or takes up more significantly more room that a normal bike frame. You should have the bare minimum number of items on your bike in transit to minimize the possibility that something could get damaged or lost. If your bike is transported outside a vehicle, these items could easily get lost or damaged in the wind or if your bike is transported inside a vehicle they could get easily damaged from another bicycle or heavy item placed on top of them or confused with someone else's identical item. You should also prepare your bike for being transported outside in the wind, such as making sure you have no loose handlebar tape. Aerobars are not required to be removed, but it is strongly recommended. We will not transport any bikes that have not had all loose items removed that could easily fall off or get damaged in transit.
You should not plan on relying on us if you know or will reasonably expect to need any parts, tools, or mechanical work done at all in order to prepare your bike to be transported or ridden again. We cannot guarantee that we will have the part, tool, or mechanical ability you need, especially anything uncommon, or the time to do it.
We can also transport your boxed bicycle if you would like but it will be your own responsibility to unbox it and reassemble after we reach our destination. However, it may be better to ship it directly to or from the stopping town you will be arriving at or departing from instead.
If there are multiple arrival locations, such as a main lodging site and supported hotel, you will put your bicycle in separate piles going to each location because we need to load all items going to each location together so they are easier to unload when we arrive.
You will help our staff member load your bicycle and once loaded he will then check it off our master bicycle loading list. That way every participant will be assured that their bicycle has been loaded and has not been left behind and that we don't have any stowaway bicycles.
When available, bicycles will be transported on outside racks as much as possible to leave as much room as possible inside vehicles to transport baggage and gear. This is because baggage and gear must be transported inside vehicles and to prevent it from getting wet, particularly if it is raining.
Upright bicycles will be loaded on roof racks first because they fit on the roof rack structure the best and are generally the most lightweight to lift. Bicycles with aerobars will be also loaded on roof racks as much as possible to prevent damage from heavy items being placed on top of the aero bars inside a vehicle. This also allows us more room inside our vehicle to transport bicycles that do not fit the roof rack structure well or are very heavy or not upright such as recumbent or tandem bicycles.
We will leave spaces on the outside racks available to quickly load bicycles if we need to stop at multiple transportation staging points in one town.
Once the outside racks are full, any remaining bicycles will be loaded inside a vehicle and protected during shipment from scratches and other damage by putting moving blankets between them which we will provide. Bicycles will also be tied down snugly to prevent movement in transit.
If you want your bike to be protected with more than a moving blanket, we recommend taping cheap pipe insulation or other packing material onto all frame tubes and your fork which you can buy at any hardware store. If you choose to do this you will need to store these materials in your personal baggage yourself - we can't store your packing materials loose on our vehicles during the event itself.
Once loaded, you will not have access to your bicycle until we arrive at the destination.
Although we do not require you to have a cell phone to participate, if you do not have a cell phone, get one for our events. If you don't want to get a cell phone long term, we recommend either borrowing one for the event or getting a pay as you go type phone plan.
Above and beyond anything else, having a cell phone could save your life should a life-threatening medical emergency arise. You can save precious time and contact emergency medical services directly yourself rather than relying on us if you don't have a cell phone, which could literally mean the difference between life and death in an emergency situation.
You should carry your cell phone with you at all times. This includes while you are riding, at the rest stops, and in our stopping towns. It is quite likely that we, another participant, or someone else not participating in the event will need to contact you directly while you are participating in the event, especially in case of an emergency.
You should have your cell phone turned on and at both the maximum ringer volume and on vibrate if possible so you can both hear and feel your phone, considering there will be such background noise as wind and other people, among other things. You should keep your cell phone located where you can easily hear and/or feel it, such as in your jersey pocket when you are riding or in your pants posket when you are not.
Recommended Service Carriers
For service carriers we recommend using either AT&T or Verizon. Our staff will use AT&T and since AT&T customers get free in-network calling neither you we will use any minutes to communicate. If you prefer, Verizon supposedly has the best coverage across Illinois from what we've heard, but we have yet to verify this ourselves.
Don't choose T-Mobile since their coverage is lousy along our routes from our experience. We haven't had any significant experience with any other carriers, and can't give any other recommendations. If you have had any experience with any other cell phone carriers across Illinois, good or bad, and would like to share your experience for the benefit of other participants we would greatly appreciate hearing about it!
To account for unlikely but potential lapses in consistent cell phone coverage you can also send us a text message in case you are unable to call us directly. Text messaging has proved very useful in the past since text messages will sit in a queue until there is an adequate signal for them to be sent and don't require a long consistent signal, as opposed to trying over and over again to talk to us only to be cut off from poor coverage. Please try calling us first before texting though since direct voice communications are by far the best way to communicate and we and you both may have to pay for each text message sent and received.
Cell Phone Charging
It is very important that you remember to charge your cell phone at night before the ride the next day.
All staff members will each carry an individual cell phone that will be on at all times during our events. Their individual direct cell phone numbers will be on our cue sheets and maps distributed to all participants so that you can contact them individually as well, or if you are unable to reach us at the main phone number. You should also program all staff members' cell phone numbers into your cell phone as well. Except for our main phone number, staff cell phone numbers will expire shortly after our event season is over.
If you need something from a staff member we encourage you to call them directly instead of walking around looking for them. Calling them will be the quickest and most efficient way to get in contact them.
If we need to individually contact you for any reason we will attempt to contact you by first calling or texting your cell phone. This is the fastest, most efficient way to contact you rather than going around looking around for you. It is also just about the only guaranteed way to be able contact you while riding. Please check your missed calls, texts, and voice mail often.
Bicycle Illinois will not be responsible for any text message charges you may incur as a result of us texting you.
Receiving Pertinent Tour Information on the Road
Group Text Messages
In order to inform every participant about pertinent information as it comes up directly during our events, we will send out a general group text message to every participant's cell phone (which is yet another reason to carry a cell phone with you directly on the road). This way we can quickly distribute any necessary information to everyone without having to contact each participant individually.
This information can include such things as impending inclement weather, detours due to road construction, or changes to supported services in the next stopping town.
Daily Ride Information & Updates Lines
If there is too much information to be shared in just a text message we will leave all relevant information on the answering message to our Daily Ride Information & Updates Line at (206) 339-3766. This phone number is listed on every map and cue sheet, both on-road and in-town.
We will still send out a group text message to let you know that more information is available on the Daily Ride Information & Updates Line.
Do not leave voice mail messages on the Daily Ride Information & Updates Line since it will not be regularly checked for voice mail and we have no way of being notified that there is a new voice mail on it during our events. If you have any questions or need on-road assistance you should call SAG dispatch at 877-TOUR-ILL [868-7455] or 911.
All information on the Daily Ride Information & Updates Line will be cleared out at each night.
This phone number may only be used to contact a participant or staff member on an absolute emergency basis only. It may not be used to contact a participant or staff member otherwise and should only be used if the person has been unable to be contacted otherwise.
Anyone may leave an emergency message with us that we guarantee will be relayed to the appropriate person, although we can't guarantee when.
On road support
Specific information about any part of any route including but not limited to cue sheets, maps, satellite imagery overlays, and GPS dataset files, may not be disclosed in any part through any means (electronic, verbal, or printed) and to anyone who is not an official participant of the related Will to Ben event.
Options are just that – options. You do not ever have to ride an option if you do not wish to. Options are intended to challenge more advanced cyclists and/or visit specific unique historical, cultural, or natural attractions close to our main routes; they are not a required part of any event.
Satellite Imagery Overlay
The best way to understand the terrain of the route is through the use of our route overlaid on satellite imagery.
After officially registering, a link will be sent that includes every road and bike path overlaid on satellite imagery – down to every individual turn!
Roads & bike paths
Will to Ben's routes are suitable for all types for bicycles. You will never ride on a road or path whose suitability for cycling has not been personally verified by us directly in person.
Unless otherwise noted, our entire routes are on fully paved and smooth roads and bike paths.
Because of the lack of vehicular traffic, we will follow paved bike paths whenever possible. Bike paths also tend to be easier to follow than roads.
When a bike path is available but unpaved, the surface will consist of a hard-packed, but loose, limestone or dirt surface that is suitable for road bikes. Fully paved, on road routes will always be available as an alternative to following the limestone paved sections if you do not wish to ride on any unpaved surfaces.
We follow roads deemed to be the most suitable for bicycling in each area by authorities such as the Illinois & Wisconsin Department of Transportation, the Active Transportation Alliance, Google Maps, local bike clubs and shops, and individual cyclists familiar with the area. Although the type of road surface will vary, you will never have to ride on any dirt or gravel roads.
Road selection in more rural areas depends on the ability and experience level of the participants of each event.
Our routes primarily follow pristine, remote county back roads. You will rarely be passed by a car on these back roads, much less a large truck or semi. Most likely, vehicles will be visible miles away, so if one does pass you you'll be prepared. Except for the rest stop locations, you will not generally cycle through towns. In fact, we route our rides through a minimum number of towns in order to minimize your exposure to vehicular traffic. The only time we cycle on major roads, such as state or U.S. highways, is when there is absolutely no alternative way to go. Even then, the distance we ride on these roads will be minimized to the greatest extent possible.
A larger percentage of the route may occur on heavily traveled roads, particularly state and U.S. highways, in events where most participants are avid, experienced cyclists who are comfortable riding in heavy traffic. When following these roads, your exposure to vehicular traffic will be higher, including heavy trucks at highway speeds, and you will generally cycle through more towns.
In more populated areas our routes primarily follow residential streets and paved bike paths whenever possible. Most of the roads have very low traffic counts, and some have designated bicycle lanes or have been designated as preferred bicycle throughways by local municipalities. When we must cycle on busier roads, these distances are kept to an absolute minimum.
It is not possible to clean riding surfaces from such hazards as gravel patches, broken glass, or road kill before the start of our events. Please to be aware of and watch out for these types of road hazards as you're riding, especially gravel patches on turns.
If there is a particularly large patch of broken glass or unpleasant road kill that you would like to see cleaned up please contact us and we will take care of it.
Doublebacks are where the route goes forward and backward on the same road or path. This happens especially into and out of rest stops, and main lodging sites, and can be very confusing. They will be minimized and well-marked where they cannot be avoided.
Always follow the road markings on your right on a doubleback.
Just like death and taxes are unavoidable facts of life, road construction and reroutes are unavoidable facts of cycling. We have neither run a cycling event, nor participated in any one run by another organization, where some sort of road construction hasn't been affected the ride in some way.
Although we won't know when, where or how, we can almost guarantee you that our plans will change in response to road construction. The best thing for our participants to do is be open-minded and mentally ready for these situations.
We cannot completely eliminate road construction on our route, but we do minimize the amount we have to deal with. About two to three weeks before the start of the event we make any necessary route changes due to existing road construction. Unfortunately, this still leaves two to three weeks when road construction can still occur. Time is needed to change our route documentation (cue sheets, maps, GPS dataset files, etc.) as necessary.
As much as we would like to know about and be able to avoid any road construction, this is not logistically possible considering the myriad of separate federal, state, county, township, road district, and municipal transportation authorities we would have to contact about our routes. It is much more effective and efficient to reactively respond to any new road construction during the event itself than to try to avoid it beforehand.
The below situations happened during previous Bicycle Illinois events, and hopefully will give you an idea of what can (or cannot) be expected in terms of road construction - and also a little snicker as well. We apologize in advance if you're a road construction worker - you guys do a remarkable job - but road construction can be a real nuisance during our events!
During an event, we received word from a few participants that we had supposedly "missed" painting directional signage marks at one of our turns. We found it odd that two members of our staff would both miss a mark since the turns are painted before the start of the event and also double-checked during the event itself, but hey - no one's perfect!
The staff member who scouted the route quickly drove back to that location to fix the situation. The marks were in fact missing, but the reason was not because we had missed a turn, but because a road construction crew had laid down fresh pavement on top of our markings! This had to have happened after the time our staff member had gone through in the morning, but before all the riders had arrived there. At least it was fresh pavement for us!
It was approximately 7:00 in the morning when our scout came up on a road construction worker stopping traffic on a part of our Northbound route that went for about a mile and a half. They were resurfacing half of the road at a time and had luckily started repaving the Southbound side first instead of the Northbound side. The scout informed the road construction worker that a number of cyclists would soon be coming through, and asked him when they would begin resurfacing the Northbound lanes. The worker said he thought maybe around 11:00 am but couldn't make any guarantees.
The scout immediately phoned ahead to all the previous rest stop attendants who would then inform our participants. Our participants would have to ride at a faster pace and not waste time so they could make it through the road construction zone before the Northbound side got repaved. Thankfully, everyone made it through in time, and we were lucky no one got stuck in fresh pavement!
As you can see, we encounter some completely unpredictable construction situations, but at the end of the day we are happy our participants have arrived safely and it always makes for a great story!
Before the Ride A rest stop will be available at the start of every ride where you will have the chance to stock up on snacks and drinks for the upcoming ride.
During the Ride Rest stops will be set up at pre-designated locations along the route, typically at park type facilities. Bicycle Illinois banners will be hung on our vehicles at every rest stop location and will be easily visible from the road.
All rest stops will have bathrooms stocked with toilet paper and paper towels, running water, and picnic tables or benches to relax on. Extra toilet paper and paper towels will be provided in case the bathrooms run out. Most rest stops, except the final rest stops at the main lodging sites, will have a shelter for shade (or to avoid the rain) and a spray hose for a quick cool off.
The average distance between rest stops, and the total number of rest stops throughout the route depends on the overall length of the ride and will also be listed in the ride itineraries for each event.
After the Ride A rest stop will always be provided at the end in order for our participants to replenish themselves from the previous ride.
Due to the fact that participants will be arriving at the final rest stop sporadically, the rest stop at these locations will be fully stocked but may be lightly manned. If you require assistance at the final rest stop please contact us at (877) TOUR-ILL [868-7455] and it will be promptly attended.
When we have a separate main lodging site (or ending location) and a supported hotel in the next stopping town, the final rest stop will be provided at the main lodging site (or ending location) and not at the supported hotel. In this case, you will first arrive at the main lodging site (or ending location) where you will replenish from the previous, and then continue riding to the supported hotel.
Opening and Closing Times Unless otherwise indicated, all rest stops will stay open as long as needed. In this case there will not be a set closing time and they will stay open until the last rider arrives or nightfall, whichever comes first.
When a rest stop opening and/or closing time is indicated, services will be guaranteed available during the stated service times. The opening and/or closing times will be shown on both on the cue sheets and also online.
Opening Times The rest stop opening times are the earliest times that the rest stops will be guaranteed to be open in order to accommodate the planned maximum pace. Occasionally, rest stops may open earlier than the posted time depending on when the attendant is able to arrive at the location and prepare for riders. When a rest stop opens, the route segment immediately after it will officially be open as well.
In the very, very rare situation where you arrive at the rest stop before the opening time you can call our SAG dispatch who will give you an estimated time of when the rest stop attendant is expected to arrive. In most instances, you will likely only have to wait a few minutes, but you may want to slow down your riding pace so you are not stuck in this situation again.
Closing Times The rest stop closing times are the absolute latest times possible to depart the rest stop and still be able to maintain the minimum cumulative riding pace while still enjoying a 15 minute break at each rest stop. When a rest stop closes, the route segment immediately preceding it will officially close as well.
For safety reasons, all riders must depart each rest stop by the posted closing time; there will be no exceptions. If you have not departed a rest stop by its posted closing time, we must assume that you have become too physically exhausted to complete the ride during the allotted time and your pacing pace will not increase as the ride progresses. Since it would be unsafe and irresponsible for us to allow you to continue riding, you and your bike will be transported to the ending location in a SAG vehicle.
If you have not arrived at the rest stop by its posted closing time we will either have you continue riding to the rest stop or make you stop riding and wait where you are at a safe location on the route for us to come pick you up, depending on your location at the rest stop closing time.
It is our expectation that our participants will want to ride as far as they possibly can during our events. We expect our participants to never intentionally want to be transported in a support vehicle at any time.
While we will never force you to ride, we expect that you have the desire, and physical capability, along with the appropriate equipment to complete the event.
Every ride will begin with a group departure, unless otherwise noted. It is extremely important that all participants depart at the same time since our on road logistic support plans depend on the same group departure time for all participants regardless of where you start the ride from.
By leaving early in the morning, we can take advantage of daylight hours while assuring a comfortable arrival time in the next stopping town, including plenty of time to replenish at our rest stops. There will also be sufficient time to handle unexpected things that may arise during your ride, such as flat tires, mechanical problems, and severe weather conditions. Not only is it safer in the morning because there is less traffic, but it is generally cooler, making a more enjoyable ride.
Departures from Optional Lodging Participants staying at optional lodging will start the ride from the main lodging site at the group departure time.
We will only have a rest stop set up with our snacks and drinks at the main lodging site. If you want these for the upcoming ride you please pick them up at the main lodging site prior to the group departure time. Make sure to give yourself plenty of time to be able to depart the main lodging site at the group departure time.
Following the Routes
While we will provide several redundant navigational systems, there is one fatal flaw in every single one of them - YOU HAVE TO PAY ATTENTION!
From our experience, 99% of the times when participants have gotten lost were simply due to not paying attention to the route and consequently "falling asleep at the wheel." Our routes are not straightforward, but include hundreds of individual cues, turns, and tricky spots – all places where you could easily get lost. It is up to you, and you alone, to properly follow the route; we simply cannot do it for you.
Imagine that you are driving a car on an unknown route, but are aware that hundreds of turns will be coming up. Most likely you would constantly be checking your map, reading road signs, and paying attention to your surroundings. This is the same mentality needed when riding our routes.
If you're not sure about something take it slow. It's easy to miss a turn but very difficult to find the route again once you're lost. The few extra minutes spent while going slow and looking for a turn will eliminate the time spent trying to find the route again. Continuously use all of the navigational systems provided to you!
We will always determine a new, safe route around adverse cycling conditions on roads and bike paths.
Identification and Communication
Adverse cycling conditions can be identified by the scout (the lead vehicle) or by our participants themselves. Once identified, we will call all rest stop attendants before the start of the reroute and give them as much information as we can, such as the starting and ending location of the reroute and any additional mileage incurred. The rest stop attendants will then warn the participants at the rest stops by relaying the new information. We also ask you to inform other participants of the situation to aid us in our communication process as well as ensuring the safety of other participants.
The rest stop attendant at the last rest stop before the reroute occurred will also update the scout of any riders that have already passed through and are currently riding between the rest stop and the start of the reroute. If there are any, the scout will double-back on the route to intercept those riders, and notify them of the reroute situation.
It is also possible that a participant will identify an adverse cycling condition after the scout has passed. If you find yourself in this situation, please contact us immediately letting us know where and what the adverse cycling condition is so that we can manage the situation and notify other participants promptly.
We will attempt to make reroutes as short as possible, but in most cases the reroute will add extra miles onto the route. In the rare case where a reroute is shorter than the original route, the route may be less than 100 miles with the century option. In this case, we may not scout out extra optional miles to complete the century option; you may need to doubleback on the route after you arrive at the main lodging site to complete the century.
Because we have to create new reroutes during the event itself, we will not be able to write down the route on your cue sheets, and the painted marks on the road will become your primary navigation system during the reroute. In this situation, and we guarantee the existence and accuracy of painted marks on the road at all action points.
"DT" (short for DeTour) will be painted with all marks on the reroute. Depending on the situation, we may be able to either show you or highlight the reroute on your maps. Please note that we do not use "RR" as the abbreviation for a reroute because it is too easily confused with "RailRoad", another common abbreviation used in cycling.
No matter how clear cut our cue sheets, maps, road markings, or any of our other navigational system are, someone, somewhere is going to get lost - it's the inevitable truth. Instead of ignoring this reality, we want our participants to be prepared and informed of the best way to get back on route in case you are or even think you might be lost.
What To Do If You May Be Lost
If you are lost, or even think you may be lost, contact us for assistance IMMEDIATELY. We will be more than happy to confirm if you are still on route, and if not, we will direct you back to the route.
From experience, people who have become extremely lost could have quickly gotten back on route if they had simply called when they first realized they might be going in the wrong direction. But instead of calling, they continued to ride for miles trying to get back on the route, which only complicated the matter.
Determining If You Are Lost
A useful way to determine if you are still on route is to make a note of your mileage on your cycle computer at the point where you become aware that you may be lost. If after three miles from that point you don't see any confirmation mark at all, most likely you are lost and should call us for support.
Getting Back on Route
If it is confirmed that you are lost, the first thing we will do is determine your location. Any information you can provide will speed up the process. Information such as where you think you may be, the last time you knew exactly where you were, how long it's been since you knew where you were in terms time and/or miles, any landmarks or street signs you've seen, and any other tips will be extremely helpful. We will direct you back to the route from your current location, but you may need to continue cycling to a reference point from which your location can be verified, such as a street intersection with posted signs.
If you are lost and need a SAG vehicle to come pick you up, it is crucial that you stay where you are and do not continue to ride. We have already verified your location and a SAG vehicle is already on its way at this point – it will make it extremely difficult if you are not where you say you are.
Intentional Route Deviations
All participants must ride only on the published route in order for our support logistics to operate properly.
You must follow the published route at all times and may not intentionally deviate from it (such as a side trip on your own). This policy will not apply in cases of unintentionally deviating from the route, such as getting lost; however, if you do find yourself lost (or think you might be), contact us immediately.
This policy ensures that we always know where you are within the scope of the route, and it is possible to always locate you by travelling back on the route itself, if necessary.
Events Where Rest Stops DO NOT HAVE an Opening or Closing Time
When a rest stop does not have a specific opening or closing time, but remains open until our participants come through, it is extremely critical to stop only at our supported rest stops in order for our logistics to run smoothly.
You may not stop at an unsupported location such as a restaurant or bar on the route for an unreasonable period of time solely because the rest stops will remain open until all participants come through to ensure that our good faith "No Man Left Behind" policy will not be abused.
This policy does not apply in instances of stopping for a brief period of time such as resting or catching your breath after a challenging ride.
Events Where Rest Stops DO HAVE an Opening and Closing Times
When rest stops do have a specific opening or closing time, you may stop at an unsupported location on the route for lunch. However, we only recommend stopping if you're absolutely positive that doing so will not interfere with your ability to depart the rest stops by their closing times.
For safety reasons, all riders must depart each rest stop by the posted closing time. No exceptions.
Stopping at Bars to Drink Alcohol
Stopping at bars to drink alcohol is not only unnecessary, but extremely dangerous to yourself and other participants. The consumption of alcohol will never be tolerated while riding.
If alcohol is consumed on the road, we will deny you all event services from that point forward, and you will be completely on your own. Absolutely no exceptions.
If you want an alcoholic beverage, please wait until after you've safely completed the ride. At the end of the day most everyone will want to enjoy a cold beer or two - staff and participants alike!
Our on road support services are planned to support a wide range of riding paces.
The average riding pace of our participants is around 14 mph, not including stopping time at rest stops. We can easily support you if your average riding pace is either below or significantly above this average, including riders whose pace averages well above 20 mph.
Your arrival time in the next stopping town is highly dependent on your average pace, the daily distances and terrain, the options you choose to ride, how much time you spend at the rest stops, inclement weather conditions such as rain or headwinds, and any mechanical or medical problems you night encounter on the road. Arrival times range anywhere from late morning for our fastest participants on shorter days to late evening for our slowest participants on longer days.
Maximum Average Riding Pace
We will plan on accommodating a maximum cumulative riding pace of 24.0 mph which is the fastest pace that has actually been experienced. This pace includes time at rest stops so your cumulative on road riding pace can actually be even higher than that if you stop at rest stops.
Minimum Average Riding Pace
In order to complete the ride during the allotted riding time, you must ride fast enough to maintain the minimum cumulative riding pace throughout the entire ride. This pace INCLUDES the time spent at rest stops and is calculated simply by dividing the total length of the ride by the total daylight time available to complete the ride.
In addition, based on our experience we plan on the slowest riders being able to spend 15 minutes at each rest stop. The minimum cumulative ON ROAD riding pace is the slowest pace you must maintain actually riding on the road in order to account for the non-riding time spent at rest stops. This pace DOES NOT INCLUDE the time spent at rest stops and is calculated by dividing the total length of the ride by the total daylight time available to complete the ride minus 15 minutes spent at each rest stop.
Unless otherwise noted, our minimum cumulative ON ROAD riding pace for all events is 8.0 mph.
Riding in pacelines is not only permitted, it is encouraged! Our routes are absolutely world class, and some of the incredible long, flat, straight stretches are textbook perfect for pacelining!
Please practice safe pacelining though and do not paceline where it would be unsafe such as on bike paths and through populated areas.
Riding in a Group
We strongly recommend riding in a group, preferably people who are carrying a cell phone if you are not. In case something unexpected happens, they can also assist you or get more help. Two heads are also definitely better than one when looking for turns, and you can share your cue sheets and maps in case one set gets lost or destroyed on the road.
It is also best to ride with other participants in heavier traffic whenever possible because you will be more visible in a group and therefore safer.
Don't hesitate to introduce yourself to someone who you think might be a good person to ride with. Remember, every single person on our events shares the common bond of a love of cycling with you. Most likely you'll meet a new friend you didn't know before.
No participant has ever not been able to find someone to ride with at their pace and ability level.
Watch Out for Each Other
Cyclists as a whole vigilantly watch out for each other on the road, and we ask that you do the same for your fellow participants. If you see another participant in need on the road, please offer to help them. It is very possible that they will return the favor the next time you are in need. Even if they don't, you will appreciate the next time someone unexpectedly offers you assistance on the road, and one good turn begets another.
If you run into mechanical problems, often times you can also get help from another participant, so don't hesitate to ask. Many of our participants are very mechanically knowledgeable and may have the tools, parts, and/or expertise to help you fix your bike if you do not.
Sharing the Road
No roads or bike paths will be closed to other forms of traffic for our exclusive use; we will be sharing the entire route with vehicular traffic and/or other cyclists. Please take care of yourself on the road and cycle defensively. Use caution at all times while riding!
Helmets must be worn at all times while riding, both on the road and in town.
You must obey all traffic laws at all times.
The best riding maneuver we ever learned when approaching a vehicle is to always aim your bike for just behind the back bumper of the car. That way you will always avoid getting hit by the front.
Also do not stop in middle of the road, and never cross the center line or try to beat traffic. Never ride more than two abreast, and always ride single file when not doing so would impede traffic.
If you are turning left or right, indicate you are doing so by fully extending out your left or right arm and pointing the direction you are turning and yelling "LEFT" or "RIGHT" very loud so other people can hear you, especially cyclists behind you. These are the safest, most intuitively obvious signals on the road you can possibly make.
IF YOU ARE TURNING RIGHT DO NOT PUT YOUR LEFT ARM UP AT AN ANGLE LIKE MOST CYCLING BOOKS TELL YOU TO DO. MOST OTHER PEOPLE WILL NOT HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT DIRECTION YOU ARE TURNING AND IT IS NOT NEARLY AS OBVIOUS AS SIMPLY STICKING OUT YOUR RIGHT HAND AND POINTING YOUR FINGER TO THE RIGHT.
Slowing and Stopping
IF YOU ARE SLOWING OR STOPPING ABSOLUTELY NEVER REMOVE EITHER HAND FROM THE BRAKES AND POINT DOWN TO INDICATE YOU ARE SLOWING OR STOPPING. This is one of the stupidest and most dangerous actions you can possibly do on a bicycle because you are taking your hand off the brakes at the moment you need to use the brakes the most. Doing this significantly decreases the likelihood you will be able to stop in time before going into oncoming traffic or cross traffic and significantly increases the chance that you can get hit or killed by an oncoming vehicle.
If you are slowing or stopping the best thing to do is check to see if there are any cars behind you, then just yell "SLOWING" or "STOPPING" very loud so other people can hear you, especially cyclists behind you.
Keeping hydrated is the single most important thing you can do to maintain your stamina while riding so be sure to continuously drink both water and sports drinks as you're riding. Do not wait until you feel thirsty to drink liquids, drink before you feel thirsty. If you feel a thirst sensation, you are already becoming dehydrated. As you sweat your body loses essential minerals that sports drinks replace. Do not drink only water!
Urination is one of the primary ways to tell if you are dehydrated. You should be urinating regularly during the ride, and your urine should be the color of pale lemonade. If you are not urinating regularly or if your urine is a dark color, you are becoming dehydrated.
Personal Water Supply
It will be very hot while you're riding and you drink a LOT of water. It is very important that you do not run out of water on the road. We strongly recommend carrying as much water with you on the road as you can.
At the bare minimum, carry at least two water bottles with you on your bike, ideally the larger 28 oz. ones, and/or a Camelback. Do not just carry one water bottle – you will definitely run out of water. We will not dispatch a SAG vehicle to your location on the road simply because you run out of water except in an emergency situation. If you lose a water bottle on the road we will have water bottles for sale at every rest stop.
We recommend carrying sports drink in one water bottle and plain water in the other. That way if you get something in your eye while riding or need to wash something off yourself will have plain water available instead of just sports drink. This will also prevent you from accidentally squirt sports drink in your eye if you forget what is in your water bottle (yes, this has happened before to the ride director and it really sucks).
Drinking Alcohol on the Road
Drinking alcohol on the road, such as stopping at bars to do so, is not only completely unnecessary but also very dangerous and will never be supported for any reason.
If you drink alcohol on the road we will deny you all event services from that point forward and you will be completely on your own with absolutely no exceptions.
If you want to drink alcohol, please wait until after you've safely arrived at the next stopping town/ending point. Heck, after the day is done we'll probably enjoy a beer or three with you!
Unexpected situations can and do arise that we need to inform you about especially situations that could directly affect your safety. These situations include but are not limited to reroutes, sudden severe weather, a major accident, and reckless or drunk drivers.
During these situations we reserve the right to temporarily close all or part of the route and stop you from riding at any time. We also reserve the right to require you to stop at a safe location from which you may not leave until the route officially reopens. In cases where the situation is location specific (such as reroutes, a major accident, etc.) the primary staging point will be the last rest stop before the location of the incident so you can take advantage of the rest stop amenities while you wait for the route to reopen. In the case where the situation is not location specific (such as sudden severe weather) all rest stops will be staging points.
On Road Staging Points
If a staff member has his arms crossed in an 'X' out in front of him on the road that means you must stop. He may also place himself directly in front of you and/or yell and scream to catch your attention. This typically happens if a situation has quickly come up and we were not able to inform you of it before you left the last rest stop. In this case, we reserve the right to stop you on the road and make you wait at a safe location until the route reopens.
Although exceedingly and incredibly rare, it is possible that a situation could arise in which a safe staging point is not available on the road and we reserve the right to either make you cycle to the nearest rest stop or transport you there ourselves. Although we have never experienced a situation that would justify these types of actions on any of our events, the ride director was personally riding in a situation in which a semi-truck driver openly and clearly expressed his intent to "kill every cyclist on the road" (it was in a western U.S. state, not Illinois). These drastic actions would clearly be appropriate in this type of extreme situation.
In general, we will ride in all weather conditions including rain or other precipitation, extreme heat or cold, or strong headwinds. If you feel that the weather is too bad to ride, you may wait at a safe location until the weather becomes better to begin riding again. No one will ever be forced to ride in any weather condition.
Riding at Night
Riding in the dark is inherently unsafe and will not be supported in any way.
You should plan to complete all your cycling within daylight hours, especially century options. Sunset times will be listed on all on road and in town cue sheets. There will be plenty of daylight available every day and you will have plenty of time to both complete the ride for the day and anything you need to do in the stopping town.
If you have not made it to the next stopping town by sunset, a SAG vehicle will transport you and your bike there.
Our navigation systems are excellent. We rarely have any lost cyclists and if we do, it is almost invariably because they were "sleeping at the wheel" and not paying attention.
Because no one navigational system is best for cycling on the road, we use up to six separate, redundant systems of navigation to help ensure that you do not get lost on the road. They work just as well in the middle of cornfields as in the middle of Chicago.
The primary navigation system means are:
• Cue sheets on road and in town
• Handlebar mounted GPS units
The secondary navigation system means are through on road signage:
• Directional marks painted directly on the road
• Orange ribbons
• Sidewalk chalk marks
Cue Sheets & Maps
Our cue sheets and maps and your cycle computer will be your primary means of navigation. They are the only navigation means we have complete control over and the only one not subject to degrading from forces beyond our control (such as weather, traffic, and other people) and we absolutely guarantee their accuracy and precision.
We completely understand that you get in a zone when you're riding and it's much easier and you much prefer to use the signage marks than get out the cue sheets and maps every time you need to make a turn or do something on the road. We're the exact same way. But it is critical that you bring the cue sheets and maps with you to be able to navigate the route in case something happens to the supplementary signage due to factors beyond our control.
All participants will be supplied with a full set of cue sheets and maps at check in for the entire route. Extra cue sheets and maps will also be available at all rest stops on the road in case yours get lost or destroyed while cycling.
Our cue sheets and maps are accurate within 20 feet over every inch of our routes and guaranteed 100% correct. All cumulative and incremental mileage distances have been verified using satellite imagery software and GPS data points collected and verified ourselves. The accuracy of every road name and landmark listed on the cue sheets has also been verified on the road ourselves many, many times both in a car and on a bike and also through the collective experiences of our previous participants. In fact, the cues themselves were actually written by us from the seat of a bicycle because we know how different things can look from a bike than from in a car!
All map sheets are generated directly from these actual GPS data points collected directly on our routes. Routes are represented by an unmistakable solid, thick black line punctuated by white dots which represent the actual GPS data points. Generating the map this way is also extremely accurate for following bike paths since bike paths are normally not included on regular road maps. The data points for the bike paths were also obtained by us directly by cycling the path, not by just drawing them in by hand like other bike rides are forced to do.
We design our cue sheets and maps to contain and present as much information as clearly as possible in as little space as compactly as possible. We want to give you all of the information you need without giving you too much and making them too cluttered.
Our intent is to have as many side streets named as possible, even the dirt ones, so that you can always tell that you are following the route correctly. For the sake of clarity we do not list every possible road name change. If we did there would be too much information on the cue sheets across the entire state and it would be too confusing to follow. In addition, we do not list gravel patches on the road because there are too many to list. You will have to watch out for them on your own.
All cue sheets and maps will also list the sunset time for each day, the main emergency support contact phone numbers ((877) TOUR-ILL [868-7455] and 911) and the direct cell phone numbers for all staff members.
Deciding what information to include and omit on the cue sheets and maps is incredibly difficult and subject to debate and invariably some participants feel that we provided too much information while others feel we didn't provide enough. If you have any feedback regarding our cue sheets or maps please let us know - we get our best feedback about the usefulness of our navigational systems directly from our participants actually using them on the road!
Our cue sheets and maps follow a consistent format and are extremely easy to follow.
The cue sheets and maps are printed on standard 8½ x 11 size paper and are designed to be folded into quarters to fit perfectly inside most handlebar mounted route holders or inside a sandwich size plastic bag - perfect for keeping the cue sheets and maps protected in your back jersey pocket on the road from getting rubbed away or destroyed by water from rain or sweat. If you don't have a handlebar cue sheet holder, we recommend bringing along some binder clips with you to attach your cue sheets and maps to your brake and gear shifting cables. They work very, very well!
On road and in town cue sheets and maps will be printed on separate sheets so that you can look at them at the same time to see where you are and where you're going and don't have to constantly flip the page back and forth.
The cue sheets and maps will be printed in black on white paper. To make it easier to see and follow the route while you're actually cycling on the road we recommend using highlighter pens to highlight the route directly on the cue sheets and/or maps before the ride. You will also become more familiar with the route in the process. You can also use different colors for different things such as the main route, rest stops, century options, etc. You will need to highlight your own cue sheets and maps and bring your own highlighter pens.
The sunset time for each day will be listed on every cue sheet and map as well as the contact information for emergency support. The text will be big enough to read clearly but small enough to include as much detail as possible.
Single vs. Double-Sided
From our experience, most people either forget or neglect to bring their in-town cue sheets and maps with them on the road. This can be very unfortunate if something happens on the road because the in-town maps contain the pertinent contact information for all the supporting facilities and services in the next stopping town. It is quite likely that you’ll need to contact a facility or service in the upcoming town from the road, such as calling the bike shop to let them know that you'll be coming in if you need mechanical support services.
Therefore, the in town map for the stopping town you are biking to will be printed on the back of the on-road cue sheet for the day (or on the first page of the road cue sheets if there are more than one) and you're guaranteed to have the information you need to make the appropriate arrangements in the next stopping town from the road.
The in town cue sheet(s) for the stopping town you are biking to will also be printed on the back of the last on road map sheet(s). That way if you need to care of something in town you will have the cues you need from the instant you arrive in town. You will also not have to hunt through your baggage to find the in town maps and cue sheets which is much more convenient for you and decreases the possibility that you will not make it to a facility or service in town before it closes for the day. You will also be able to more easily bike there while you are still in your cycling clothes after you arrive in town.
All other maps and cue sheets will be single-sided so that the text and detail doesn't crack off from being folded or rubbed on the road in your pocket. We realize this may mean having to carry a little extra paperwork on the road, but we felt it was more convenient to carry a few extra pages with you than continuously flip back and forth between the map and cue sheet every time.
Cue Sheet Forms
Specific cues consist of written descriptions of the route directions (actions you need to take to follow the route) and major landmarks on the route for reference, and the incremental distances between these directions and/or landmarks.
Directions will be indicated in bold and in the cue itself to quickly and easily discern the actions you must take on the road. Specific directions are also abbreviated before the written cue so you can quickly see your next action as follows:
• R - turn right
• L - turn left
• Bear R - bear right
• Bear L - bear left
• Straight - continue straight
• Stop - stop at a specific service or facility (rest stop, dinner, etc.)
• Turn Around - turn around
Specific cardinal directions (N, S, E, W) will not be listed directly on the cue sheets. Specific cardinal directions are superfluous information and unless you are carrying a compass on the road, which most cyclists do not, and are effectively useless to navigate by. All maps are prepared with the top of the page as due north, and you will quickly and easily be able to see what direction you are or will be heading by referring to our route overlaid on the map.
Landmarks and Route Notes
Landmarks and route notes will be [denoted in brackets in regular type]. A dash "-" will be used in place of a direction abbreviation. Major landmarks indicated include such things as: • Crossing a major state or U.S. highway or major local road
• Crossing over or under an interstate highway
• Major rivers
• Beginning or end of a specific bike path
• Do not continue to do something when the road goes in a different, unexpected direction
• When the road is extremely busy and a sidewalk or shoulder is available where you should bike on
• Major obstacles to watch out for, such as wooden bridges and steep curbs
• Other landmarks that significantly aid in navigation
• Other major pertinent landmarks
Route notes refer to how to follow the cue sheets themselves, mainly in the case of options. They indicate which cue number to follow depending on the specific option you choose, and the cumulative mileage followed after each option.
Cumulative and Incremental Mileages
The cumulative mileage is shown for the total route as well as the incremental mileage between directions and landmarks. They do not show the cumulative mileage between each rest stop, or the distance to go to the next rest stop or the end of the ride. Like most cycle computers, they are specified in 0.1 mile increments. If your cumulative mileage varies from the cue sheets due to getting lost or an inaccurate cycle computer, you can still easily navigate the route using just the incremental mileages.
Unique Cue Numbers
Every line on every cue sheets has a unique cue number which makes referring to specific items on the cue sheets very easy, especially if you get lost, and follow a number-dash-number format. The first number refers to the specific cue sheet itself and the second number refers to the specific cue number on the specific cue sheet.
For the in town cue sheets the first number refers to the number of the stopping town, and will always be followed by an "I" to designate an "in town" cue. If it is followed by an "H" it refers to the route from the main lodging site.
On Road Cue Sheets
Most on road cue sheets will be in a landscape format and one page including all options. When there are many options available, they may be more than one page long.
Each on road cue sheet will list the ride at the top for quick reference and the official sunset time past which on road riding will not be supported. The page number for the cues sheets for each day and the main numbers to call for emergency support - (877) TOUR-ILL [868-7455] or 911 will be listed on the bottom of the sheets.
There will be separate sets of on road cue sheets that originate from the event starting location & main lodging site, as appropriate. This is because the cumulative mileage for each day's ride depends on where you initially depart from.
The rest stop cues are much larger than the other cues so you can quickly and easily see how far away the next rest stop is. The distance for each ride segment between each rest stop is also listed.
The specific cues for each option are set apart from the other cues with separate sections and headers. When a specific option adds additional mileage onto the route, this additional mileage is specified on the option header so you can easily decide whether or not you want to do that option.
If an optional route ends by merging back with the main route the header states that you are resuming the ride on the main route and the cumulative mileage followed after each option will be the cumulative mileage of the shorter option.
On Road Maps
There will be several sheets of maps for each riding day. Each day's route will be listed at the top center of the page and each page will be listed as page # of # so you can make sure you have all the maps you need for that day's ride and easily follow them in order on the road. Each map is also designed to be folded into quarters so you can easily fold them up in a clear plastic sandwich size bag in your jersey pocket for quick reference.
The maps are comprised of the actual route itself overlaid onto map plots, which were then compiled together into a comprehensive map of the routes for each ride. As a result not all roads on the maps will line up perfectly due to the curvature of the earth.
Scale and Detail
In rural areas the left side of each map sheet will contain the main map for the ride. The scale for the main maps will be lower in rural areas because there will be fewer potentially confusing cross streets. The right side of each map sheet will contain large, highly detailed separate insets of every town we pass through including the stopping towns as well as confusing or tricky spots as necessary. You will be able to easily notice an available inset by a reference box placed on the main map.
In more populated areas our main maps will be much higher scale, more numerous, and contain much more detail due to the additional cross streets and potential confusion.
Every route location (such as rest stops, main lodging sites, etc.) will be clearly identified on all maps with a large, unique, easily recognizable symbol to quickly identify their location on the road in relation to yours.
All route options will also be clearly labeled including such options as century options and optional routes. When two optional routes overlap and could be confusing to follow they are separated into distinct map insets and clearly labeled.
Specific mileages and cues will not be placed on the maps to maintain clarity. You will need to reference this information on the cue sheets themselves.
In Town Cue Sheets
In town cue sheets and maps will be available for the routes to and from every supported facility and service in each stopping town.
Our routes in each stopping town work off the "main line" concept where there is one main route through each town from which all other routes to each individual facility and service "spur" off of. These routes are not necessarily the shortest but they are the safest and avoid major streets and intersections in each town.
Each in town cue sheet will list the stopping town at the top and the official sunset time for quick reference.
All in town cue sheets are one page. Some are in a letter format and some are in a landscape format, depending of which format is easier to follow.
Where appropriate, there will be two sets of in town cue sheets. One set will originate from the main lodging site and the other ones will originate from the supported hotel, because the routes and mileages to and from each supported facility and service in each stopping town will depend where you stay.
In Town Maps
An in town map sheet will be available for every stopping town that shows the routes to and from the main lodging site and/or supported hotel to all other supported facilities and services. All in town maps are one page.
The location of each facility and service will be clearly identified by a circle and a unique letter that corresponds to a list of pertinent information about each facility and service directly on the map itself as appropriate. This list will contain such information as the address, phone number, business hours, and after-hours availability of each facility and service.
Note that the abbreviations listed below will correspond to the following facility or service location on the in-town cue sheets and maps in each town.
Abbreviation/Facility or Service Location
TS-Tour Starting Location
TE-Tour Ending Location
A-Amtrak Train Station
GB-Greyhound Bus Station
When more than one facility or service location type is listed in a stopping town (such as two grocery stores) the letter will also be followed by a corresponding number (G1, G2, etc.).
Individual GPS Units
Navigating via individual GPS units is a groundbreaking, cutting edge, state of the art tool for following cycling routes. We strongly believe it is the wave of the future for cycling events and we will continue to incorporate, support, and encourage and the use of GPS technology on all of our events.
Since 2006 we have been widely incorporating GPS technology into our navigation systems and now heavily rely on it ourselves. We use the actual GPS track points we take in person to define all of our master routes and we use these master GPS routes as the actual route on our road maps. In fact, the routes printed on our paper maps are exact same as the ones loaded onto individual GPS units since we generate our paper maps directly from our GPS mapping software. We also use the master GPS routes to determine the specific distances listed on our cue sheets, acquire elevation data, and generate our elevation and gross climb profiles.
On Road Routes
We will use individual GPS units to support all on road routes, including the route itself and also all on road service locations (rest stops, starting and ending locations, main lodging sites, etc.)
Even if we do not paint the entire route, we will still paint road markings and put orange flags up at a limited number of places on the route where it can be tricky and confusing to follow on the GPS, such as at triple points where the route does not proceed in only one direction and can become confusing to follow, such as at the start/end of options and doublebacks or where the route crosses over itself. So when you reach one of these points look on the ground for our road markings to get more information about how to properly proceed.
In Town Routes
Information about in town routes and services (dinner, bike shop, etc.) will only be provided on paper cue sheets and maps and will NOT be provided for any GPS unit. This is because the paper cue sheets and maps contain pertinent information about the in town service locations such as phone numbers, hours of operation, etc. that cannot be loaded into the GPS units. In addition, the numerous overlapping routes in each stopping town can easily become very difficult to follow on a GPS unit. However we do recommend using the GPS unit in conjunction with the paper in town cue sheets and maps so that you can know your exact location in each town at all times.
You should prevent your individual GPS unit from being lost or stolen by never leaving it unattended. If you are not directly using it for navigation, it should be off your handlebars and stored securely. You should remove it from your handlebars when you are finished with that day's ride and never leave it on your bike in any town.
Riding with an individual GPS unit provides so many significant benefits and advantages over other traditional navigation methods such as paper cue sheets and maps and painted road markings that we believe once you ride with one you won't be able to ride without one again – we know we can't! Riding with a GPS unit will totally enhance your cycling experience forever!
Real Time Positioning, Getting Lost, and Getting Back on Route
It is impossible to get lost when using a GPS unit because you will always know exactly where you are at all times! You never have to worry about getting lost again!
You can also easily see if you are off route and if so, most of the time you can also see where you got off route and how to get back on route. This also makes our job significantly easier because we don't have to figure out where someone is in order to direct them how to get back on route and significantly decreases the chance that we will have to go pick a rider up if they get horribly lost in a worst case scenario.
Advantages Over Traditional Navigation Means
One fatal flaw with using maps and cue sheets that can never be overcome is that if you don't actually know where you are they are effectively useless. GPS units completely solve this problem by showing you your exact current position at all times!
In fact because all you need to navigate with the GPS unit is to track your progress along the route overlaid on the GPS map, paper cue sheets and maps effectively become unnecessary. As you follow the route on the GPS you can intuitively see the next direction you need to take and the distance to it just by looking at the map. Road names and road name changes also become effectively irrelevant, which is great because sometimes the name that is actually on a road sign does not match what is printed on a map.
The maps loaded onto the GPS units have detail down to individual streets and rivers and contain infinitely more information than any paper map or cue sheet ever could. By zooming in and out on the GPS map, you can show as much or as little detail as you want, from showing exactly how far you have progressed across the entire route to the name of the nearest cross street you'll be passing next.
As opposed to paper cue sheets and maps, the GPS map screen automatically adjusts and moves to be centered on your exact current position while riding so you'll never have to stop and refold it or change it over. In addition, GPS units are waterproof and can't blow away and get worn out or destroyed from rain, sweat, or being rubbed bare in your jersey pocket.
And as opposed to painted road markings that can fade or get worn out or torn up and orange flags that can easily come off, the route information on a GPS unit on remains completely within our control and cannot be affected by any external factor such as weather conditions, traffic, road construction, or vandals.
Post Event Analysis
Out GPS units log the actual progress across the route of the participants we provide them to. After the event is over, we download this data and analyze it so we can see the route they actually took in order to indentify tricky spots on the route where they may have gotten lost or confused and improve our navigation means accordingly. In addition, we also analyze their riding paces and times in order to assure efficient and complete route staffing and support coverage for future events.
Here are the definitions for some common terminology related to GPS technology and how they specifically relate to incorporating GPS technology into cycling navigation.
A map set contains specific information about the geographic features of an area. Different map sets can contain such information as such as cities, roads, parks, railroads, bodies of water, topography, as well as the names of these features. Some map sets also contain individual "points of interest" such as restaurants, gas stations, churches, hotels, local businesses, hospitals, transportation hubs, etc.
In general, a map set is uploaded into an individual GPS unit and displayed as the base image for the map that GPS displays. All other user features (waypoints, tracks, routes, and courses) are displayed overlaid on top of the map set image.
A "waypoint" is simply a specific, pre-identified location indicated with a specific indicator overlaid on the map.
All important points on the route, such as rest stops, starting and ending locations, main lodging sites, and supported hotels will be indicated with a waypoint.
GPS Routes, Tracks, and Courses
While the terms "tracks", "routes", and "courses" can generally be used interchangeably in common everyday language, there are very important differences between them when it comes to GPS terminology.
A GPS "route" is the path a GPS unit automatically calculates between two (or more) defined points based on different specified criteria. Routes are appropriate when the specific path you take to get somewhere does not matter, and most GPS units used in cars operate by following automatically calculated routes between two specific points (usually your current location and the destination). Some different route calculation criteria include shortest distance vs. least amount of time, major highways vs. minor roads, and avoiding toll roads, unpaved roads, carpool lanes, and u-turns.
Routes will vary greatly depending on the criteria specified and the further away the starting and ending points. For example, if you wanted to travel from Seattle to Miami there are many ways to do so, depending on whether you wanted to primarily follow interstate highways, state and US highways, residential roads, or paths and trails. Your travel preferences would define the specific criteria against which the GPS unit would calculate the route.
An important consideration about routes is that GPS units will only calculate a route following roads or paths within its loaded map set data. So if a bike path is not contained within the map set, it could not route you onto it, and unfortunately most bike paths are not contained within most GPS map sets. Because routes follow roads with the map set, the GPS unit can provide you turn by turn directions and indicate or "tell" you when to turn, such as a beep, having a box flash up, some lady's voice saying "right turn in half a mile".
A GPS "track" is a series of individual points connected in a line, and each individual "point" is a specific location defined by a latitude and longitude coordinate. Tracks are also called "breadcrumb" routes because they resemble the fairy tale about leaving a trail of breadcrumbs along the way you travelled in order to find your way back.
Because the points that make up tracks are absolutely defined by specific latitude and longitude coordinates, tracks will never vary. They are not automatically calculated by any GPS unit or software and do not rely on the presence of any map set information (such as road names). Accordingly, turn by turn directions do not automatically come up or beep when you are following a track. To properly follow a track you simply have to make sure that your location indicator is on top of the indicated track at all times.
All of the cycling routes we follow are defined by tracks, and every one of the points within every track were taken by us in person actually on the road. The GPS units we use to take track points also collect time and elevation data with each point, and we use this data to directly generate all of our elevation and gross climb data and profiles.
A GPS "course" is actually a route that is automatically created from the data points in a preexisting track. Courses combine the best features of both tracks and routes because they allow on screen turn by turn navigation while still maintaining a path that is absolutely defined and does not vary.
Unfortunately courses are only currently used in the Garmin Edge 800 units. While this is an exciting capability and we look forward to course capability being incorporated into other GPS units as technology progresses, unfortunately we cannot provide Edge 800 units to our participants for navigation purposes because they cannot be quickly or easily charged on the road in case they run out of power.
Why We Use GPS Tracks Instead of Routes
We must provide the safest possible route for our participants to follow, and it is absolutely critical that all participants follow our predetermined, published routed at all times for both logistic and safety reasons. Therefore we use must tracks to define our cycling routes instead of routes because they do not vary. If we followed automatically calculated routes it would be impossible to ensure that all participants would be following our predetermined routes at all times. In addition, bike paths are generally not included in map set data so it would be impossible to have our route follow bike paths at any time if using routes.
Running out of power is the most common way GPS units fail on the road and is a problem that is best prevented through proper planning beforehand. It is absolutely critical that you ensure your individual GPS unit will have enough power to last throughout the ride before you depart that day because we cannot guarantee that you will be able to charge or buy any batteries on the road and we cannot charge any individual GPS unit in our vehicles if you run out of power.
We strongly recommend testing how long it takes your GPS unit to run out of power well before the start of the event so you know how long it will operate on a full charge and also how long it will take to fully recharge your unit's batteries. That way you can make sure your unit will have enough power for the entire event and be prepared accordingly.
If your GPS unit uses removable batteries, you should always carry at least one extra set (preferably two) of fresh, fully charged spare batteries with you on your bike so that you are fully prepared in case your unit runs out of power.
We feel it is best to wait until the unit completely runs out of power before replacing the batteries in order to maximize the unit's usage time. This also prevents mixing up batteries and accidentally using ones that are only partially charged, particularly if your GPS unit uses two or more of the same batteries. Otherwise you can place fresh, fully charged batteries in the unit before the ride if you prefer to have the maximum amount of continuous riding time without having to change the batteries.
We also recommend coming up with a system for knowing whether your batteries are fully charged or not. For disposable batteries we recommend just keeping new ones in their original package and discarding them as they get used up as soon as possible so that you don't mix new and used batteries. For rechargeable batteries, we recommend numbering each battery with a permanent marker so it is easier to track which batteries are fully charged and which ones need to be.
And even if you know exactly what to expect with your unit's operation and/or are carrying extra batteries with you on the road, it's still best to conserve power anyways just in case because you never know when a battery might unexpectedly die.
Units Powered by Standard Removable Batteries (e.g. Garmin eTrex and GPSMap60 series units)
Units powered by standard, removable batteries (AA, AAA, 9V, etc.) are unquestionably the best option. These types of batteries are light, inexpensive, easily replaced, and readily available anywhere. If you completely run out of batteries you can run into almost any store and buy new ones in an emergency, and you can use any extra batteries left over after the event for lots of other purposes around the house.
If your unit uses standard, removable batteries we recommend using disposable batteries instead of rechargeable ones, particularly for multi-day events. Doing so eliminates having to bring a battery charger, plugging it into a wall outlet, and keeping track of which batteries are charged or not. If you do decide to recharge your batteries nightly on a multi-day event, we recommend bringing a charger that can show you when the batteries are fully charged (such as a light that changes color, etc.) and that can charge double the amount of batteries your unit uses (i.e. a four battery charger for a unit that takes two batteries) to ensure you can always carry an extra fully charged set of batteries with you on the road.
We also recommend initially packing a full set of new or fully charged batteries necessary for the entire event (plus a couple extras) in your baggage so you won't have to worry about any buying extra batteries or recharging them during the event.
We will carry extra standard disposable batteries in our vehicles as a "part" according to our mechanical support services policies.
Units Powered by Non-Standard but Removable, Rechargeable Batteries (e.g. smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy series)
The battery in these types of units is rechargeable and can be easily removed, but is not a standard battery type (AA, AAA, etc.). In order to recharge it you can either plug a power cable into the unit or you can just swap out the battery with a fresh, fully charged one.
If you only have one battery for your unit, it is absolutely critical that you bring a way to charge it with you such as a wall charger. If you do not remember to plug the unit in and fully charge it the night before the ride and it runs out of power, you will not be able to use it at all.
For these types of units we strongly recommend purchasing at least one extra battery (possibly 2) and an additional separate wall charger just for the battery (see pictures above). That way you can charge two batteries at one time and carry at least one extra fresh, extra fully charged spare battery with you on the road. Ideally, the wall charger will also indicate when the battery is fully charged (see pictures above). Extra batteries and chargers can easily be purchased online or at a specialty store, such as a cell phone store. Otherwise if you do not purchase a separate charger, you will need to swap out the batteries after one becomes fully charged.
Units Powered by Internal Rechargeable Batteries (e.g. Garmin Edge and Forerunner series units and smartphones such as the iPhone)
The battery in these types of units is internal and cannot be easily removed and replaced. In order to recharge the unit you have to plug a power cable into it, such as a wall charger, USB computer cable, or 12V car charger.
We do not recommend using these types of units because it is absolutely critical that you bring a way to charge it up with you and also remember to plug the unit in and fully charge it the night before the ride. Otherwise you will not be able to use your unit at all because it cannot be quickly or easily charged on the road.
On Road Support
On road navigation will never be performed exclusively through individual GPS units only. Although it is rare, if your GPS unit fails to perform properly you will still be able to rely on the myriad of other available navigation systems in order to continue riding. On Road Support
We consider all individual GPS units (whether personally owned or provided by us) to be an "accessory" and will provide technical assistance and support for them as a Level 1 mechanical situation according to our mechanical support services policies.
Paper Cue Sheets and Maps
Paper cue sheets and maps for all routes will still remain our primary navigation means and will always be provided to all participants regardless of whether you will ride with an individual GPS unit or not.
You MUST ALWAYS carry all paper cue sheets and maps with you on the road as a backup against any type of GPS failure, particularly in case you end up riding alone with no other navigation means. Accordingly, a SAG vehicle will NOT come out to your location on the road and provide additional assistance in case your individual GPS unit fails because you will still be able to ride because you will still have the paper cue sheets and maps with you.
Having many participants riding together as a group significantly decreases the effect of any one individual GPS unit failing. In fact, even if only one person in a group has a GPS unit that group can still ride as long as that person calls out turns, lets everyone else know where they are at, etc.
Extra GPS Units
We will also carry a couple of spare GPS units with us as a backup in case of unexpected technical problems. We would much rather have an extra unit and not need it than for you to need a unit because yours won't work properly and not have it. If a technical problem does occur on the road, we will generally swap out an entire unit instead of attempting to fix the specific problem so you can continue to ride without delay.
Personal GPS Units
If your personally owned GPS unit fails during the event we cannot guarantee to be able to provide you one of our GPS units even if there are extras available. This is particularly true if we provide GPS units to other participants who do not own their own as a contingency against one of our own units failing and you may need to rely on another alternate means of navigation to continue riding instead.
By far the most common way that a GPS unit will fail on the road is simply running out of power.
Weak or Lost Satellite Signal Reception
Although it is extremely rare, it is possible that satellite signal reception could be become weak or lost due to weather or other conditions. If this happens your specific location indicated on the GPS may become much less accurate and bounce around and drift. This is particularly possible going through downtown Chicago due to tall buildings blocking the satellite signals. Since we began using GPS units for navigation in 2006 however, we have never had an issue where our GPS units lose satellite reception for more than a few seconds and we test every one of our GPS units for the proper functioning of its satellite reception hardware before each event.
Luckily, the loss of satellite reception is only a temporary condition, although it is impossible to know how long it will last. You will need to rely on another alternate means of navigation to continue riding until satellite reception is restored.
Even though most GPS units are waterproof and very rugged and resistant against shocks and impacts, it is possible that they can become broken and inoperable by getting wet, cracked, crushed, etc. In addition, units can also get lost or stolen.
If your individual GPS unit becomes inoperable due to some type of physical damage or is lost or stolen, you will need to rely on another alternate means of navigation to continue riding.
Riding with your Own GPS Unit
When you register you will indicate if you will be riding with your own personal GPS unit and if so, the specific brand and model (e.g. Garmin Edge 800, Garmin eTrex Legend Cx, Garmin GPSMap 60CSx, etc.). This will also allow us to send you the link to download the GPS route dataset so and allows us to know how many participants will have their own individual GPS units so we can decide whether we should paint the route or provide other participants their own GPS units instead. It allows us to provide route downloads for and support not only your GPS unit but also an increasing number of different GPS units as well.
If you are looking to purchase your own GPS unit we highly recommend using one of our events as the excuse/opportunity to do so.
Incorporating the GPS Route Dataset Files into Your Personal GPS Unit If (and only if) you indicated that you will be riding with your own personal GPS unit when you registered, we will send you a separate e-mail shortly thereafter that contains a specific link to download the GPS route dataset files.
It is absolutely critical that you are able to upload all routes for the entire event into your GPS unit and ensure it works properly before the start of the event, particularly for multi-day events. We will not be able to upload them into your individual GPS unit for you during the event itself and we do not recommend bringing your laptop on any event because we can't guarantee it won't get damaged as we move baggage around. We also can't let anyone except staff members use our laptops for any reason during the event to prevent them from getting broken.
Before we finalize the route for the current year's event we will post an initial set of GPS route dataset files (either last year's routes or new, tentative routes) for you to download so you can practice uploading them into your GPS unit and make sure they are going to work. As you do so, please feel free to ask us any questions and let us know any about problems you might have.
After we perform our pre-event route scout and finalize the route we will post the final GPS route dataset files (updated with any changes) and let you know they are available. You will need to remove any old routes from your GPS unit and update it with the most current one.
We also want to learn from your experience in order to add specific GPS units to the list of units we can support below, especially the ones more popular with cyclists, and we would greatly appreciate letting let us know how well (successfully or unsuccessfully) you were able to make our GPS route dataset files work with your GPS unit. After the event, we may also follow up with individual participants in order to get a better understanding of how well the GPS route dataset files worked with their specific unit.
GPS Route Dataset Files
Our route and all GPS route dataset files are the proprietary, copyrighted intellectual property of Bicycle Illinois and are provided only for the private, personal use of officially registered participants of the related event. Considering the countless hours and miles and money we've invested into the route in order to perfect them if we give away our routes, we give away our events. If you download any GPS route dataset file please do not share it with anyone else or post it publicly such as on Garmin Route Connect, mapmyride.com, or any other similar route sharing site.
GPS route dataset files will be available to download for every event in the following formats:
• .gdb (versions 2 and 3)
If the file format you need is not listed, please let us know and we will try to create it for you.
For shorter events, routes will be by individual ride segment from rest stop to rest stop for all file formats in order to best incorporate different route options.
For longer multi-day events, routes will be by individual ride segment from rest stop to rest stop for all .fit format files in order to best incorporate different route options. For other file formats, the routes will generally be available by day, although some days will have several routes depending on the length of the route and also the number of different options each day.
Supported Personal GPS Units We guarantee that the .gdb version 3 and .gpx file formats will be able to upload into and be followed by the following GPS units:
• Garmin GPSMap 60Csx
• Garmin eTrex Vista HCx
• Garmin eTrex Legend HCx
• Garmin eTrex Venture Cx
• Garmin eTrex Legend Cx
The route dataset files must be uploaded into these units through Garmin MapSource software and a USB cable connection.
We guarantee that the .fit format files will be able to upload into and be followed by the Garmin Edge 800.
The route dataset files can be uploaded directly into the Edge 800 unit through just a USB cable connection (additional software is unnecessary). We do not recommend copying any files to a MicroSD memory card installed in the Garmin Edge 800 because the Locations.fit file cannot be read from any location on the memory card. All downloaded files will fit within the unit's base memory.
Unfortunately we do not have nearly as much hands on experience with or intimate knowledge about any other GPS unit and with the myriad of different GPS units and manufacturers and we cannot guarantee that these route dataset files will be compatible with any other one.
If you own a smartphone with GPS mapping capability (e.g. iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.) we recommend using it on a supplementary basis only since there are several significant limitations to using it as your exclusive GPS unit at this time.
Right now, the biggest limitation to using smartphones is that we have been unable to find a specific reliable application to install on your smartphone that will allow you to upload our GPS route dataset files and then navigate by them on the road. If you are familiar with such an application please let us know - we would be VERY interested to hear about it and try it out!
Another significant limitation with smartphones is that most smartphone GPS mapping applications rely on continuously downloading base map data into order to keep the map current with where you are at as you travel. Accordingly, they must rely on cell phone coverage which can be unreliable in some places. In addition, downloaded data can count against your monthly data quota based on your specific cell phone plan and if you exceed your monthly data quota you might not be able to download data and update maps at all.
Relatively short battery lives are also a major issue with smartphones, particularly if you cannot easily replace the battery (such as the iPhone). If you can easily replace the battery however (such as the Samsung Galaxy), this problem can be overcome by purchasing an extra battery (or two) and carrying it with you on the road to make sure you have enough power to last throughout the entire ride.
We do see the progression and increasing prevalence of smartphone GPS technology as the next technological wave of the future for GPS based cycling navigation and will continue to work on incorporating this exciting new capability into our events as the technology improves.
Personal GPS Unit Usage if We Provide GPS Units to Other Participants
When we decide to provide individual GPS units to every participant who does not already have their own instead of painting the route, we strongly prefer that you still use your own personal GPS unit.
This is because your own GPS unit will probably already be installed on your bike and you will already be very familiar and comfortable using it, or you will want to use the event as an opportunity to learn how to use it better. Also, you won't have to install our handlebar mount or rearrange anything on your handlebars or learn the operation of an entirely new GPS unit. In fact, we have our own GPS units so well set up on our bikes and we're so familiar with using them that even if we got another GPS unit to use for free during an event we would probably turn it down because we wouldn't want to install it or be able to use it nearly as well as the units we already own. If you continue to use your own GPS unit you will also be more likely to take better care of it and remember to remove it from your bicycle after you are done riding for security purposes, and using your own unit instead of one of ours will allow us to provide more GPS units to more participants who don't have one and also have more units available as backups on the road in case of any type of GPS malfunction.
If you indicated you will have your own GPS unit when you registered we will assume that you will use your own GPS unit, batteries, and handlebar mount for the entire event (even if we are supplying them to other participants). Accordingly, we not provide one for you unless you specifically request to use one of our GPS units before the end of regular registration.
In addition to our maps and cue sheets, we will also use additional navigational means including painted road marks, orange ribbons, chalk on the ground, or additional signage as secondary aids to help you follow the route. All signage is considered supplemental because we cannot keep their availability and accuracy completely within our control. They are subject to degradation from such external factors such as getting worn out by traffic running over it on busy streets, rain, wind, road construction, vandals, etc.
Despite this, we really do a fantastic job marking all the turns on the route, literally putting down thousands of additional pieces of signage along our routes every year. It is our intent to make our signage big, bright, obvious, and intuitively simple visual beacons for you to be able to easily recognize and follow but still discreet enough to not stand out to any of the communities we pass through.
We also verify that all the signage is in place and accurate as we scout the route during the event itself and on the rare occasion that a piece of signage is missing on the road, once notified of the situation we always come out and fix the problem immediately. If for any reason you think we may have missed a piece of signage on the routes please contact us and let us know. All staff members will carry orange paint and ribbons with them and are authorized to fix signage problems.
Signage will only be used on our routes on the road. They will not be used on in town routes within our stopping towns. Please note that we may not use all possible secondary navigational means for every event.
We will paint directional signage marks directly on the road at every point on the route wherever you need to do something and will be the only "permanent" signage used.
The directional signage marks we use are called Dan Henry marks (I don't know who Dan Henry is or was) and are incredibly simple. They consist of a circle approximately a foot in diameter with a tick mark painted on the outside that indicates the direction you should go. They're that simple, and that effective.
We paint the marks using a fluorescent orange marking paint which is very easy to recognize on the road surfaces and is rarely used as utility markings. While the Dan Henry marks look like utility markings to the untrained eye, they cannot be confused with any other utility markings on the road once you what they are. We've heard horror stories about other bicycle rides that used marks and paint colors similar to those for a gas line, and the participants ended up following the gas line instead of the route!
There are three types of Dan Henry marks – warnings, actions, and confirmations.
A "warning" mark will be placed approximately a hundred yards before something you have to do, known as the "action." The warning mark's tick mark of the will indicate the upcoming direction of travel you will need to take. Sometimes the warning may be a little closer than a hundred yards depending on the circumstances and we also try to put the mark on an uphill slope whenever possible so you can see it from farther away.
The "action" mark will be placed directly on the road at the spot where you need to do something, such as in front of an intersection, and its tick mark will indicate the direction of travel you need to take at that time.
Shortly after you perform the action there will be a "confirmation" mark whose tick mark points forward so you know that you did the right thing.
If you do something and do not see a confirmation mark, it is always to good idea to go back and make sure that you see the confirmation mark to make sure you didn't do the wrong thing. It's a lot better to take a minute or two to make sure you did the right thing than to bike several miles out of your way because you did something wrong and didn't know about it.
A single mark pointing forward will also be painted on long stretches to confirm that you are travelling in the right direction. We will place these marks no more than 3 miles apart, often closer, and they will generally be in between intersections so that you know it is a confirmation mark because it couldn't possibly be anything else because there's nowhere else to go.
Marks may also have an additional letter abbreviation to designate certain parts of the route with as follows:
• RS – Short for Rest Stop. Used to designate the route into a rest stop or main loading site.
• CT - Short for ConTinued. Used to designate the route out of a rest stop or main lodging site, especially on doublebacks.
• BP – Short for Bike Path. Used to designate when the route goes onto a bike path from the road.
Where an option branches off the main route, there will be two Dan Henry marks at the warning point and action point, and one confirmation at the start of each route option. The marks for the optional route will also be designated by an additional letter abbreviation as follows:
• 100 – Century
• EZ – the less challenging or easier option
• H - the more challenging or Harder option
Changes to Marks
Any old or incorrect marks on the road are marked as invalid by applying black paint over them. If you see a mark that has been "blacked out" you should ignore it.
Although our route generally remains the same year after year with only a few minor changes, it is possible that an old, now incorrect mark could still be on the road from previous years. For example, an old mark could still be at an intersection where last year's route turned right while this year's route goes straight, and thus we wouldn't have needed to mark it now.
Any remaining marks from previous years will be very faded and worn compared to the ones from the current year, and you will definitely be able to notice the difference in color and brightness since the paint we use is designed to degrade over a couple months. Regardless, we will still want to remove any old marks to prevent confusion so if you see an old, incorrect mark on the ground please contact us so we can come out and black it out to prevent confusion. And if you have any questions, as always check your cue sheets and/or contact us.
Orange fluorescent ribbons (the kind used for construction flagging and surveying) may be tied onto such things as sign posts, telephone poles, trees, etc. at action points on the route. They will generally be tied so that there are two tails of the ribbon about 2 or 3 feet long or so. Orange ribbons will only be used at action points and never just for confirmation purposes only.
The orange ribbons act like a warning. You won't know exactly what you will need to do, but at least you'll know you need to do something. Unlike the Dan Henry marks painted on the ground, the orange ribbons are raised off the ground and really stand out. You can easily seen them as you're actually riding and can often be seen from a quarter mile away or more especially if they are flapping in the wind.
There may be some locations where there simply are not any good places to tie the orange ribbons so we may tie one onto a tall blade of grass since something is better than nothing. We will never tie an orange ribbon to a stalk of corn or any other crop.
We may also mark the roads with sidewalk chalk. This signage will be purely supplementary and done directly during the event. Chalk marks wear out very, very quickly, especially in the wind or on a busy road and obviously cannot be used in the rain.
Generally these markings will be very large arrows chalked onto the road where the route becomes a little tricky such as on a doubleback or into and out of the main lodging sites, or where it might be easy to miss a rest stop.
All SAG service will be logged to ensure quality SAG support.
Situations Justifying SAG
SAG vehicles will only come to your location only if you are unable to ride.
SAG vehicles will not come to address medical or mechanical situations of a convenience or comfort nature that normally arise while cycling. We expect you to continue riding to the next rest stop to address these problems if you have a reasonable ability to do so.
We understand that sometimes it can be a judgment call if you are unable to ride. Like deciding whether or not it is appropriate to call an ambulance, we ask that you use good judgment as to whether or not it is appropriate to call a SAG vehicle or if you can wait until you get to the next rest stop. Remember if you call for SAG support and it is not an actual emergency situation it decreases the likelihood that SAG support will be available should an actual emergency situation arise.
Please respect the safety of your fellow cyclists and ensure the availability of emergency assistance and do not call SAG drivers unless you are truly unable to ride.
“On Call” SAG Support
If you or a fellow rider is unable to ride and needs SAG vehicle support, call SAG dispatch from your cell phone. The main SAG dispatch number is the same as our main phone number at (877) TOUR-ILL [868-7455]. This phone number is very easy to remember, just remember the prefix is "877" not "800". If you do not have a cell phone, almost every other participant will have one so ask them to call SAG dispatch for you.
Provide the SAG dispatch your name, the nature of the situation, where you are if known or your best guess if unknown (providing your location using the cue numbers on the cue sheets is very helpful), and any supplies or equipment the SAG vehicle should bring with him, or the same information for another rider who needs assistance. If for some reason you are unable to reach SAG dispatch via cell phone on the road, give this information to the SAG driver at the next rest stop when you arrive there.
If we cannot find you, we will travel back on the route itself until we do.
Patrolling the Route
SAG vehicles will not continuously drive the route and "patrol" it. Being on call, we can immediately address any need that comes up efficiently and as quickly as possible. In addition, it is impossible to "patrol" the route with a SAG vehicle when the route follows a bike path.
Patrolling the route wastes gas and vehicle and manpower resources and there is no extra likelihood that the SAG vehicle will pass by a rider when and where help is actually needed (think about how the police are never there when you actually need them but do arrive promptly if called).
Service Locations & Response Times
SAG vehicles will be stationed at each active rest stop location and will cover the ride segments both before and after their rest stop. They can carry any item available at the rest stops such as water and snacks, a basic first aid kit, and basic bicycle tools and parts.
We will attempt to assist you directly at the location from which you are unable to ride so that you can keep riding from there but if we cannot quickly, easily, or safely assist you there we will transport you and your bike to the rest stop the SAG vehicle departed from and assist you there. If we transport you and your bike to the next rest stop, we may not be able to transport you and your bike back to the location on the route from which you got transported.
If after making a reasonable effort to address your situation in a timely manner at the rest stop you are still unable to continue riding, you and your bike will be transported to the next stopping town/ending location.
Once informed of a necessary support situation the nearest SAG vehicle will be dispatched to your location either from the rest stop you most recently left or the rest stop you are biking to. The longest distance between any rest stops is at most only half the ride segment distance (since SAG vehicles will be stationed at the rest stops both at the beginning and the end of each ride segment).
The longest distance between any rest stops is at most only half the ride segment distance (since SAG vehicles will be stationed at the rest stops both at the beginning and the end of each ride segment). For example, if the ride segment is 25 miles you are at most only about 12½ miles (approximately 15 minutes) from SAG vehicle support at any time.
Our goal is to provide support to you on the road as quickly as possible once requested, but depending on the nature of the situation a SAG vehicle will not necessarily be able to come to you immediately. If you or another rider has a life threatening situation the SAG vehicle will leave immediately to address the situation. If your bike has broken and is unrideable but you are not in any danger it may take longer to come and address the situation.
In all situations, maintaining the ability of SAG support to handle any potential life-threatening situations will always take precedence.
Assistance from Passing Support Vehicles
Every staff member with a support vehicle is authorized to provide on road support as needed in the midst of cyclists on the road, whether or not SAG dispatch had been previously called.
Whenever any official support vehicle passes any rider, the staff member will naturally be paying attention to see if you need assistance, so make sure to yell, wave your arms, jump up and down, etc. to catch our attention if necessary. Don't worry about whether you're supposed to have your thumbs down, thumbs up, pat your head and rub your stomach etc. to catch the attention of a support vehicle because you're not going to remember what you're "supposed" to do on the road anyway. If you are standing on the side of the road and with your bicycle upside down the driver will always stop and check to make sure everything is OK.
Support vehicles will assume that everything is OK and will not necessarily stop unless you specifically indicate for him to do so.
All assistance from support vehicles will be logged to ensure quality future SAG support.
Transportation to the Next Stopping Town
Transportation to the next stopping town/ending location will primarily occur from the rest stops. You may have to wait until the last rider has departed the rest stop and the rest stop has been packed up before being transported to the next stopping town/ending location. You may also need to travel with the SAG driver as he performs his other responsibilities.
Though unlikely, if there are more participants than can fit in the SAG vehicle at one time you may need to wait at the rest stop while the SAG driver transports other participants to the next stopping town and comes back to get you. No one who is unable to ride, however, will not be transported to the next stopping town or left on the road.
On our way into the next stopping town from the road we will transport you to the supporting hospital if you cannot walk or ride there on your own due to a non-life threatening medical condition and/or transport your bike to the supporting bike shop if it cannot be ridden due to a mechanical failure that occurred on the road and cannot be fixed otherwise.
Due to logistic constraints, we cannot transport you in a support vehicle and "leapfrog" you to a subsequent point on the route in order to make up time and distance.
In addition, bicycles with three wheels (trikes) are not allowed on our events due to our inability to easily and quickly transport them off the road in any vehicle in case of mechanical breakdown.
Consequence of Using SAG Support
If you request SAG support service, we reserve the right to deny you on road support service for the remainder of that day.
If you refuse to be transported in a support vehicle we reserve the right to deny you all event services from that point forward and you will be completely on your own.
In addition, we have a "three SAGs and you're out" policy on multi-day events and reserve the right to deny you on road support for the remainder of an event once you must be transported in a SAG vehicle three times.
These policies exist to discourage you from planning properly, becoming overly dependent on, and/or abusing SAG support service. This includes such practices as such as depending and planning on SAG support to supply you with repair parts on the road (such as tubes, tires, and CO2 cartridges) so you don't need to carry as much while riding or to "leapfrog" you between rest stops because you know you will not be physically able to complete each day's ride before you register. In addition, they exist to discourage people who are not physically capable of completing the event from registering. We do not have the resources to accommodate these type of riding practices or riders and we will not support them.
These specific policies will be reviewed and applied on a strict individual basis and it is our sincere hope we will never have to enforce them.
Mechanical Support Services
You should always plan on arriving at the start of the event with all the bike parts, tools, and accessories you need already and all of your gear and equipment in great working order and ready to be used. We cannot guarantee that we or any bike shop will have the specific part, tool, accessory, or mechanical ability you want or need.
Please plan on visiting the bike shops during their normal business hours if possible. The hours and phone numbers for the bike shops will be listed on each in town map.
If you know you're going to need parts, tools, accessories, or repair services at the next supporting bike shop, we strongly recommend calling them as soon as possible to give them a heads up and let them know that you'll be coming in and confirm that they will have these items available and/or be able to complete the repair services. They may be able to prepare to service your bike or have your parts or accessories waiting for you to pick up ahead of time, saving you time in the process, and also may stay open later if they know you'll be coming in late.
Many of our supporting bike shops will also be available "on call" for participants after hours in case of emergency. Because the on call phone numbers listed are typically the private home or cell phone of the bike shop owners, we will distribute them to participants only. However, do not assume that the bike shop will be available after hours even though they say they will be.
If and only if our local supporting bike shop is not available after hours, we will sell you parts on an extreme emergency basis only. We strongly prefer not to do this however because we need to maintain our parts stock for emergency situations. We reserve the right not to sell parts if doing so would jeopardize the availability of emergency parts for other participants.
Our rest stops will be the primary location for mechanical support on the road.
We will have the ability to fix common problems such as flat tires, loose seat posts, handlebars, and nuts and bolts and will attempt to fix all other mechanical problems to the our best of our ability. Although we will carry a full bicycle tool kit and set of commonly used bicycle parts, tools, and accessories with us, these items are intended for emergency on road use only and not for general, expected usage. Doing so ensures that we will have enough parts, tools, and accessories for all participants as necessary.
Due to the myriad of potential problems that can occur we absolutely cannot guarantee that we will be able to fix all mechanical problems or have the specific part, tool, accessory, or mechanical ability necessary to do so. Our staff members are not professional mechanics and we are not a bike shop. Our mechanical support is intended for emergency use only and should not be relied upon on a normal or expected basis. We will definitely not have the ability to fix any major problems ourselves that require major parts or special tools such as a bent rim.
You should not rely on us if you know or will reasonably expect to need any parts, tools, accessories or mechanical work done at all since we cannot guarantee that we will have the part, tool, accessory or mechanical ability you need, especially anything uncommon, or the time to do it. You will need to carry all necessary parts, tools, and accessories with you if you know you will need them and also know how to perform any necessary mechanical work yourself. That way you are guaranteed that the part, tool, or accessory you need will be available when you need it and the work can be done properly. Doing so will also ensure that we will have enough emergency parts, tools, and accessories for all participants as necessary.
Handling Situations Requiring Mechanical Support
Mechanical problems will be handled according to following levels of decreasing severity. If there is any doubt regarding the severity of a mechanical problem, the procedures for the more severe level will be followed.
If we cannot fix a mechanical problem on the road, you will need to get it fixed on your own at the supporting bike shop in the next stopping town.
The phrase "Level 3" will only refer to a medical situation that requires immediate medical attention and never to a mechanical problem in order to this situation distinct.
A Level 2 mechanical problem is one in which you cannot ride. Such problems include but are not limited to broken cables, badly bent rims, a broken spoke, a broken chain, and repeated flat tires.
If the mechanical problem occurs on the road, call us and a SAG vehicle will come out to your location and provide additional assistance. We will attempt to assist you at your location so that you can keep riding from there but if we cannot quickly, easily, or safely assist you on the road, we will transport you and your bike to the rest stop the SAG vehicle departed from to assist you there.
These problems will need to be addressed at the supporting bike shop in each stopping town.
A Level 1 mechanical problem is one in which you still have a reasonable ability to ride. Such problems are of a convenience or comfort nature and include but are not limited to such conditions as loose seat posts, derailleur misalignment, wheel truing, brake cable adjustments, and all individual GPS unit related problems.
Level 1 mechanical problems are the most common and will be addressed at the rest stops. If you are unsure about your ability to continue riding, you should treat the situation as a Level 2 mechanical problem and call SAG vehicle dispatch to come to your location and provide additional assistance. We will never force you to continue riding if you are unsure of your ability to do so.
Parts & Accessories
We will have a supply of commonly used bicycle parts and accessories for sale on an emergency basis only. We are not a bike shop and will not be able to sell parts otherwise.
We will charge very high prices for our parts and accessories. This is not because we want to gouge you but because we must rely on you carrying your own necessary parts and accessories with you on your bike. We know you will not want to pay the prices listed below for common parts and accessories. Charging these amounts will ensure that that you will you have the parts and accessories you need and also that our parts and accessories will be always available for emergency situations. We will be entirely satisfied if we do not sell one part or accessory on the road because everyone brought all the parts and accessories they needed with them.
• Regular length 700c Presta tubes - $10.00 each
• Long-stem ultra light 700c Presta tubes - $12.00 each
• 650c Presta long stem tubes - $10.00 each
• 29" Presta long stem tubes - $12.00 each
• 26" Shraeder tubes - $10.00 each
• 26" Presta tubes - $10.00 each
• 26" Presta long stem tubes - $10.00 each
• 24" Presta tubes - $10.00 each
• 24" Shraeder tubes - $10.00 each
• 20" Shraeder tubes - $10.00 each
• 16" Shraeder tubes - $10.00 each
• 16g CO2 cartridges (threaded and non-threaded) - $5.00 each
• Water bottles - $8.00 each
• 700c folding road tires - $50.00 each
• 26" folding tires - $60.00 each
• AA batteries (for individually owned GPS units) - $2.00 each
• Bungee cords (for securing your bicycle aboard Metra trains) - $5.00 per pair
• Other repair parts available will include rim tape, spokes, and spoke nipples.
The prices of all parts and accessories will also be marked on the item itself.
If you think we missed a common emergency repair part or accessory please let us know. Although we can't guarantee that we will be able to stock this part or accessory based simply on your request, we will definitely consider it, sincerely appreciate your suggestion, and will let you know if we decide to stock that part or accessory.
You will need to bring your own floor pump with you to inflate your tires in the morning. Our floor pumps are for emergency use only and will not be available for general participant use in the morning before the ride. This policy exists for two major reasons.
First, we simply do not have enough floor pumps to offer to all participants. It would take too much time for our existing floor pumps to go around and be used by everyone when our number one priority in the morning is getting our stuff together to be able to begin the ride!
Second, it is extremely important to maintain working floor pumps for both the comfort and safety of all participants. In the past we have had an absolutely horrible time keeping our floor pumps in operating condition because too often participants either didn't know how to correctly attach the pump nozzle to their valve stem or were too harsh with the pump and ended up breaking it. If a floor pump were to break not only would we unnecessarily spend time repairing it, we would also have to assume that any necessary repair parts for the pump would not be available in town in which case we would have to buy a new pump if one was even available, which can't be guaranteed.
Floor pumps will be available at every rest stop upon request for tire pressure top offs. This is particularly convenient if you get a flat tire on the road and are unable to fully inflate your tire with your hand operated frame pump or CO2 quick tire inflator. Pumps will be able to accommodate both Presta and Schrader valve types and have built in pressure gauges.
Participants may not operate our floor pumps themselves to prevent misuse and breakage. Only staff members are allowed to operate our floor pumps.
Since flat tires are a common occurrence in the sport of cycling we expect you as a cyclist to have the parts, equipment, and ability to fix flat tires yourself directly on the road.
We do not consider simply having a flat tire an emergency situation and generally will not dispatch a SAG vehicle to your location simply to fix one for you except in extreme circumstances such as running out of tubes or CO2 cartridges or having a frame pump break.
Frame Pumps vs. CO2 Quick Tire Inflators
We strongly recommend relying on carrying a hand operated frame pump with you while riding to fix flat tires on the road rather than a CO2 quick tire inflator. Other than being able to inflate your tires a little more quickly and easily, there aren't any other benefits to CO2 quick tire inflators while there are a lot of drawbacks.
Most importantly, it is impossible to run out of air using a frame pump on the road as opposed to running out of CO2 cartridges, particularly if you're having a bad flat day (we've all had them). If you run out of CO2 cartridges you must either wait for another cyclist to assist you or call SAG support. In addition, on a multi-day event you will have to visit the bike shop in the next stopping town to buy more CO2 cartridges.
Because it is free to use a frame pump as opposed to having to buy a new CO2 cartridge (roughly $5.00 each) every time you fill up a flat tire, a frame pump is also significantly less expensive than a CO2 quick tire inflator over the course of their lifetime.
In addition, there is no time related benefit to a using CO2 quick tire inflator on our events since all our events are recreational in nature and not competitive or timed.
Many newer frame pumps have a built in pressure gauge and can get your tires at or at least very close to a high pressure for riding, particularly for road tires. And if you can't pump up your tires to full pressure on the road, we will have floor pumps available at every rest stop for tire pressure top offs.
If you will be flying to and/or from our events, CO2 CARTRIDGES CANNOT BE TRANSPORTED IN ANY AIRCRAFT.
If you must rely on CO2 cartridges to inflate your flat tires we will have a supply of both threaded and unthreaded 16g CO2 cartridges for sale on an emergency basis only.
Medical Support Services
Emergency Medical Services
Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be our primary provider of medical support services and our only provider on the road.
When a 24 hour hospital is not available in a stopping town, Emergency Medical Services (EMS) will be our primary provider of medical support services in that stopping town.
Where available, the supporting hospital in each stopping town will be our secondary medical service providers. All supporting hospitals are open 24 hours.
Medical Services Provided by Bicycle Illinois
All staff members are trained in CPR and first aid and will perform these procedures as necessary on an emergency basis only on a good faith i.e. "Good Samaritan" basis only. No staff member is a licensed medical professional and cannot and will not diagnose or treat any medical condition or offer any medical advice. We ask that you also assist your fellow participants on a good faith basis as necessary as well.
First aid products and printed reference information will be available for you to use at your own discretion and are intended for emergency on road use only and not for general, expected usage. You should not rely on us if you know or reasonably expect that you will need any medical items or medicine. We cannot guarantee that we will have the medical item you will need, including common items such as bandages or pain relievers. You need to bring these items with you, and carry them with you on your bike if you know you will need them on the road. That way you are guaranteed that the medical items you need will be available when you need them. Doing so also ensures that we will have enough first aid products for all participants as necessary.
Where available, the phone number for the supporting hospital in each stopping town is listed on the in town maps. All supporting hospitals are open 24 hours.
We can always be reached at our main phone number at (877) TOUR-ILL [868-7455].
If you or anyone else needs medical support use your cell phone. If you do not have a cell phone, inform a staff member and they will immediately contact medical support services. If a staff member is not available, inform another participant or anyone else nearby so they can contact medical support services for you. After contacting medical support services, call us to inform us of the situation so that you or the person experiencing a medical situation is accounted for.
Level 3 medical situations are situations that require immediate medical support services. Such situations include but are not limited to heart attacks, heat stroke, and severe trauma and injuries such as broken bones and severe lacerations.
In a level 3 situation call 911 to have EMS come out to your location, then call us to inform us of the situation. If the situation occurs on the road a SAG vehicle will immediately come out to your location to provide additional assistance.
Level 2 medical situations do not require immediate medical support services but you are unable to ride. Such situations include but are not limited to heat exhaustion, physical exhaustion, and trauma and injuries such as sprains and severe bruises. If the medical situation occurs while riding, call us and a SAG vehicle will come out to your location and provide additional assistance.
If a medical situation cannot be adequately addressed on the road, you will need to get it addressed on your own at the supporting hospital in the next stopping town. If you cannot wait to receive medical support services we will consider the situation a Level 3 situation and will have EMS come out to your location.
Level 1 medical situations do not require immediate medical support services and you still have a reasonable ability to ride. Such situations are of a convenience or comfort nature and include but are not limited to minor bumps, bruises, scrapes, cuts, and chafing. Level 1 medical situations are the most common and will be addressed at the rest stop locations.
If you are unsure about your ability to continue riding, you should treat the situation as a Level 2 medical situation and a SAG vehicle will come out to your location to provide additional assistance. We will never force you to continue riding if you are unsure of your physical condition to do so.
Food & Beverages
In order to maintain the integrity and safety of our food supply, we ask that you remain aware of the importance of food safety and watch your actions around all food items both for the benefit of all participants, including yourself. If we feel a food source may have become contaminated we will be forced to discard it, which could also affect the safety of other participants if our supplies run low, especially if it is the ice supply.
What You Need to Do
The basic rule to remember regarding food safety is that if something will go inside your body or will touch something that goes inside your body it should not come in contact with anything that is unclean. This sounds like a very simple rule and it really can and should be. Unfortunately this basic rule of food safety is violated systematically and repeatedly on many other cycling events because either the staff and/or the participants are not aware of what they need to do to stay safe.
Take a second to really consider what can be on your hands and gloves after cycling twenty miles or more. Here's some hints: dirt, snot, sweat, bugs, blood, urine, feces, dog poop and god knows what else. Don't forget - these things will be on the hands of other participants as well. YUCK!
Accordingly, we require you to remove your cycling gloves and wipe your hands with the baby wipes we will provide at all food service locations before you reach for any food or drink items. Ideally, you should wash your hands with soap and water as well. Doing these simple actions will significantly decrease the risk of foodborne illness that can be transmitted from your filthy hands, a known and proven source of food borne illnesses from the major cycling event described below.
Quick Food Safety Story: On another major cycling event in 2003 there was a severe outbreak of diarrhea and the health department had to get involved to determine the source of the contamination. They determined that it was from the event ice supply because one of the riders had decided it was OK for him to stick his hands directly into the ice supply to take ice for his water bottle after going to the bathroom and not washing his hands. You get the idea.
Ice supply contamination is one of the most serious things that can and has hurt other people on other cycling events in the past and directly put their health at risk. We absolutely cannot allow it to happen on our events.
You will not be allowed to put ice in your individual water bottle from our water coolers or ice chests or allowed in the ice supply at any time for any reason nor will the rest stop attendant be allowed to dispense ice for you. Doing so could compromise the cleanliness and safety of our ice supply, which every participant depends on to prevent overheating on the road.
We will have all the ice water you can drink at every rest stop so you can cool off from the road but if you are so hot that you cannot ride without maintaining ice in your water bottle we will consider this to be a non-life threatening medical situation where you are unable to ride and therefore must be transported to the next stopping town.
STAY OUT OF THE ICE!
Participants absolutely may not enter our ice supply at any time for any reason, including our ice chests and the water coolers themselves. Doing so constitutes a selfish, dangerous act which has been proven to be a direct and significant threat to the safety of every single person through the experience of the other bicycle events. Do not even jokingly reach into any part of any container with ice in it.
Any participant who violates this policy will be immediately expelled from the event. There will be no exceptions to this policy at any time for any reason.
Open Food Items
There will be a few food items that will not be individually prepackaged. You should never reach for or touch these items with your bare hands because doing so could contaminate our food supply.
Fresh Bread Items
These will include our fresh bread items – bagels at breakfast and bread slices for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches at the rest stops. These items will be served from their original bag containers and we will have tongs available which you should use to pick them up. Please do not grab these items with your bare hands.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
The other food items that you will need to be aware of from a food safety standpoint is the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches which you will make yourself at each rest stop.
You will dispense both the peanut butter and jelly from closed containers so the only actual exposure of the food itself will be at the openings of these containers. Please do not touch the container openings to keep them clean.
In addition, when you shake the jelly to the bottom of the jelly container it to squeeze it out please close the cap of the container and do not just use your finger.
Prepackaged Food Items
As many of our food items as possible are prepackaged to systematically prevent contamination of our food supply.
It will be OK for you to take these individually wrapped food items yourself since you won't risk putting anything in your body that could have been in contact with an unclean surface or contaminating the food supply of other participants.
This includes food items that are prepackaged at the factory, such as granola bars and bags of cookies or pretzels, and fruit that is in its own skin such as uncut bananas and oranges. This also includes items that we prepare ourselves into plastic bags such as cut oranges and grapes, and we will always wear sterile rubber gloves when preparing these items.
Food will not be available at any other time and you will not be allowed in the food stores at any time such as in refrigerators, the stock truck, ice coolers, or rest stop supply bins.
We closely and constantly inventory and monitor our stock of food and other supply items to make sure that we do not run out of anything.
To make sure that our food is as fresh as it possibly can be, we purchase all perishable items the day before each day's ride directly in our stopping town. These items include bananas, oranges, grapes, and bread so you won't have to worry about being served brown, overripe bananas, oranges that have sat out in the sun too long, withering grapes, or smashed bread.
Non-Perishable & Dry Good Items
We overstock our supply of all non-perishable and dry good items before our events. And we don't base the quantities of these items we purchase simply on our best guess, we use the actual amounts used per participant we have actually experienced on previous events plus some extras just for good measure.
In Town Facilities
• Main Lodging Site
• Starting Location
• Ending Location
• Swimming Pool
• Bike Shop
• Grocery Store(s)
• Hospital (all supporting hospitals are open 24 hours)
• Amtrak Train Station
• CTA L Train Station
• Metra Train Station
• Greyhound Bus Station
• In Town Transportation (taxicabs and local bus service)
We will consolidate the facilities and services in each stopping town as much as possible to minimize the amount of travelling. For example, we would prefer to have our parking directly at an Amtrak Train station rather than at two separate locations, particularly if they are relatively far apart.
All relevant information about each facility/service (such as address, phone number, business hours, after-hours availability, etc.) is listed on the in town map for that town.
Directions to Supported Facilities and Services
You can easily create directions from your location to any of our supported facilities and services using the satellite imagery overlays listed under the information for each specific event.
The facilities we use as our main lodging sites at are typically either large schools or a community recreation centers. They fit our needs perfectly and are really nice compared to some of the facilities other cycling events stay at.
Abundant bathroom facilities will be available at every facility whether you choose to sleep indoors or outside. There will be separate bathrooms for men and women and we will constantly check them to ensure they remain stocked with such items as toilet paper and paper towels. Please contact us though if you notice the bathrooms are running low on these stock items and we will replenish them promptly.
Numerous showers with ample hot water will be available at every facility with separate shower facilities for men and women.
We do not use shower trucks because we have ample showers at every facility.
Air conditioning will be available at most but not all facilities. The availability of air conditioning is listed under the specific information about the main lodging site in each specific stopping town for each event.
If you want to sleep in air conditioning you will need to reserve a room at the supported hotel and inform us of your supported hotel baggage delivery service needs.
Open common areas with tables and chairs for eating and lounging are available in most facilities.
An ample number of electrical outlets are available at every facility to charge your cell phone. You will need to bring your cell phone wall charger with you and plug your cell phone to recharge at night.
Staff members will have priority use of any electrical outlet for event support purposes and we reserve the right to have you move where your cell phone charger is plugged in.
The indoor and outdoor lodging locations are always at the same facility in every stopping town.
Indoor lodging typically consists of setting up an air mattress and sleeping bag on the floor of a gym or large multipurpose type room. Generally about 75% of our participants choose to sleep indoors.
Outdoor camping typically consists of pitching a tent on a large field or the lawn of the main lodging site grounds.
At some main lodging sites outside security lights come on at sunset and remain on all night so you should set your tent up away from these lights if possible as well.
You will not be able to pitch your tent directly near the main access door at most main lodging sites because we need to leave access open for support vehicles to unload and load event related supplies and gear. If you pitch your tent where it is not allowed we reserve the right to have to move it later.
No campfires or open flames will be allowed.
Pros and Cons of Each Sleeping Arrangement
There are some very significant pros and cons of each type of sleeping arrangement. The only way to completely avoid all of these problems is to get a room at our supported hotel.
One of the main benefits of sleeping indoors is that you can avoid the extra work from pitching a tent at the end of an already long, challenging day and scrambling to get it taken down, packed up, and on our vehicles before they leave in the morning. You also won't have to worry about inclement weather if you sleep indoors, and you can enjoy the air conditioning in the main lodging sites where it is available. If you sleep indoors every night, you won't even have to bring a tent at all!
The major cons of sleeping indoors are that you may have very little privacy since all the other participants staying indoors will also be staying in the same room with you. You will need to change your clothes in the locker room or bathrooms or do so discreetly in your sleeping bag and it is absolutely impossible to simply be alone.
It may also be difficult to get a great night's sleep if you do not use earplugs since other participants will snore and move around and get up and go to the bathroom during the night. If you want to go to bed earlier than 9:00 pm you might not be able to because the lights for the indoor sleeping area will be turned off at that time. In the morning, once the first person gets up for the day pretty much everyone else gets up too when his alarm clock goes off and he starts moving around getting his stuff together for that day's ride.
The benefits and drawbacks to sleeping outdoors are just about opposite to those sleeping indoors. You will be have the extra work of pitching your tent after you arrive in town and taking it down in the morning and you might get wet if it rains, but you will also have infinitely more privacy than you would sleeping indoors and be able to go to bed earlier than lights out at 9:00 pm and as a result might get a better night's sleep.
Night Time Plans
Quiet hours will be from 9:00 pm until 5:00 am everywhere at our main lodging site, both inside and out. Quiet hours will be strictly enforced since it is very important that all participants have the opportunity to get a good night's sleep to recover from that day's ride and rest for the ride the next day.
If you decide to go out in town and return to the main lodging site during quiet hours please be considerate of your fellow riders when you return.
We reserve the right to perform event related services as necessary during quiet hours to prepare for the ride the following day.
Lights out in the main sleeping area will be from 9:00 pm until 5:00 am. Although it will be minimized, there may be a small amount of ambient light in the main sleeping area at some main lodging sites from security lights that remain on all night and cannot be turned off.
Nightly Facility Access
One single access door will generally remain unlocked at each facility throughout the night so that you can use the bathrooms or come inside in case of inclement weather if you sleep outdoors. This access door will generally either be the one closest to the outside camping area so you won't have to walk very far or the one closest to the main facility entrance for security purposes.
Otherwise each facility will be entirely locked for security purposes and you will need to contact building security directly for access.
Although we've never had any problems and there's been very little history of theft on other rides in the past, theft can occur at any time in town and we recommend following these procedures to be better safe than sorry.
All staff members will wear Bicycle Illinois uniforms and be easily identifiable at all times.
Keep your bicycle locked at all times when not directly in use without exception.
Valuable Personal Items
Always either carry any valuable personal items with you or keep them out of sight when this is not possible.
We will not have a "lock box" available or be able to store any valuable personal items in a secure area for you. If a personal item is that valuable you probably don't need it or shouldn't have it with you on our events in the first place.
If you sleep outside, keep as many of your personal items inside your tent as possible.
Watch Out For Each Other
All of our participants get to recognize each other very quickly and it's pretty easy to identify someone who is not associated with our events. Other participants will watch for your things, so please return the favor and watch out for theirs.
If you feel there might be some suspicious activity going on or see a suspicious individual who looks like they might not be associated with our events please do not hesitate to immediately contact a staff member or 911, especially if that individual is messing with someone's personal items or bike.
Cycling cleats will not be allowed in any facility. You will need to remove your cycling shoes before entering any facility.
Bicycle cleaning is not allowed in any facility and you will need to clean your bike outside.
Nightly Bicycle Storage
You will not need to lock up your bike at night if you don't want to since every main lodging facility will allow you to store your bikes inside. Some facilities may require you to store them in a special room or area though.
Please be mindful of tracking dirt and grease from your bike as you pass through the facility.
Several of the swimming pools have free admission for Bicycle Illinois participants, so be sure to show the pool attendant your wristband. If there is an admission charge, it will be your responsibility.
Please plan on visiting the bike shops during their normal business hours if possible. The hours and phone numbers for the bike shops will be listed on each in town map.
If you know you're going to need parts, tools, accessories, or repair services at the next supporting bike shop, we strongly recommend calling them as soon as possible to give them a heads up and let them know that you'll be coming in and confirm that they will have these items available and/or be able to complete the repair services. They may be able to prepare to service your bike or have your parts or accessories waiting for you to pick up ahead of time, saving you time in the process, and also may stay open later if they know you'll be coming in late.
Many of our supporting bike shops will also be available "on call" for participants after hours in case of emergency. Because the on call phone numbers listed are typically the private home or cell phone of the bike shop owners, we will distribute them to participants only. However, do not assume that the bike shop will be available after hours even though they say they will be.
If and only if our local supporting bike shop is not available after hours, we will sell you parts on an extreme emergency basis only. We strongly prefer not to do this however because we need to maintain our parts stock for emergency situations. We reserve the right not to sell parts if doing so would jeopardize the availability of emergency parts for other participants.
All laundromats have change machines and individual laundry supplies such as detergent and dryer sheets available. However if you know you will need to do laundry we recommend bringing a lot of quarters and laundry detergent and dryer sheets with you just in case the Laundromat is out of these supplies or the change or supply machines are broken.
Administrative Policies & Procedures
• Plan around the dates and avoid unexpected work/family conflicts.
• Be assured a spot when we reach our registration limits.
• Have a set, motivating fitness goal to work toward and train for.
• Convince your friends and riding partners to participate with you.
• Make sure that you and your bike are physically able to complete the event and you won't run into any unexpected problems along the way.
• Sign up for potentially limited extra services and merchandise such as: Transportation service for you, your bike, and your gear to the start/from the end
Registration for all our events is first come, first served. We do not offer any type of "preferred" registration order.
We are not a cycling club and no separate additional membership fee is required to participate in any event.
We will offer both online and paper registration forms for each event. Although the format of these two types of registration are different, the information and fees we collect will be identical, including the waiver and release forms.
The registration process can be a bit involved but that's because we need a lot of information for our logistic plans and to make sure everything runs smoothly for you.
If you have any questions or experience any problems with registration please call us at (855) 354-BIKE  or email email@example.com. We will be happy to assist you with the registration process and resolve any issues promptly.
Please keep a copy of all registration forms for your records. If you have any questions at all regarding your registration, please feel free to contact us at any time.
Registration Confirmation and Guarantee
Your registration is confirmed and guaranteed when we accept your payment. We do not have a separate application and payment process.
Deposits and Payment Plans
Payment of all registration fees is required in full at the time of registration. We do not accept any deposits or offer any payment plans.
Online Registration Forms
active.com Policies and Procedures
Online registration will be conducted through active.com and you will sign and submit the waiver and liability release electronically. Once registered you will receive a confirmation e-mail from active.com.
You must pay by credit card if registering online. Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express are accepted.
active.com also has a no refund policy so all refunds will be processed by us. We will not refund any additional processing fees charged by active.com for any reason at any time.
Active.com charges an additional processing fee for their online registration service depending on the options you select.
Paper Registration Form
Paper registrations are in Adobe Acrobat format and require Adobe Reader to open.
You must pay by check, money order, or credit card if you register through the paper registration forms.
You also must to sign and date the paper copy of the waiver and liability release. Minors under the age of 18 at the time of registration will both need to sign and date the waiver and liability release and also obtain the signature of their parent or guardian. We will require anyone who does not sign a waiver and liability release to do so at check in.
Once complete, please mail all paper registration forms with a check or money order made payable to "Sparta Chamber of Commerce" to the following address:
Sparta Chamber of Commerce
111 Milwaukee St
Sparta, WI 54656
If you register through paper registration you will receive a confirmation e-mail or phone call from us. You will not receive any registration items in the mail, such as a letter, postcard, or confirmation package.
You may send in all paper applications for a group together but each person must submit an individual paper registration form.
Additional Ways to Submit Paper Registrations
Although it is not required, we would appreciate it if you could also send us your completed paper registration forms in one of these additional ways to begin processing your information and expect your completed paper registration in the mail.
• Scan in your completed paper forms and e-mail them to us, firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are submitting a paper form, please call us at (855) 354-BIKE  and give us a heads up so we know to be expecting it.
Even if you submit your information to us in one of these additional ways you must still mail us all completed paper forms and your payment.
It is impossible to know exactly how many participants we are going to have each year, and we use our event deadlines to make specific reservations and contractual obligations with our facilities and service providers such as the main lodging sites, rest stops, and restaurants.
All registrations must be received by the regular registration deadline to guarantee the availability of all services and merchandise and to avoid late registration fees.
Day of event registrations will not be available for any event.
Online registrations must be received by 11:59 pm CST on the regular registration deadline. After then, the online registration forms will automatically update to include late registration fees as applicable.
Paper registration forms that are not submitted to us in an additional way must be postmarked seven days before the regular registration deadline to account for extra time in transit.
Paper registrations must be postmarked on or before the regular registration deadline if you also submit them to us in an additional way.
After the regular registration deadline, a late fee may be assessed and late registrations must be completed online to ensure that we receive your information and proper payment in a timely manner - paper registrations will not be accepted.
As long as the registration links are still available for an event we are still accepting registrations for that event, but we cannot guarantee the availability of registration for any event or service or merchandise items after the regular registration deadline and we strongly recommend contacting us first for availability. We also reserve the right to refuse any registrations for any service or merchandise items purchased after the regular registration deadline.
We will ask you for the following information as part of the registration process.
Our primary means of communication before and after the event will be via e-mail. Please include both your primary and an alternate e-mail address if possible when you register.
You will provide us your cell phone number when you register. Unless you provide us with your cell phone number, we will assume that you won't be carrying one, although it will be very helpful for us to know that for sure. If you get a cell phone after you register or your cell phone number changes you can always contact us and give us your updated information.
Distribute my Contact Information to Other Participants
You can choose to have us distribute your personal contact information to other participants. This option has been very popular since it allows you to be able to communicate with other participants before, during and after our events.
We have a strict "opt in" policy regarding distributing your contact information to other participants. We will only distribute your contact information with your direct permission, and your information will only be distributed to other participants and not to anyone else. Information for minors will only be released with the consent of a parent or guardian. All participant contact information will be distributed to all staff members for safety and on road communications purposes.
You will also have the opportunity to let us know about any special food considerations you may need (such as food allergies, lactose intolerant, vegetarian/vegan, Kosher, etc.) and any additional considerations you may need (such as special lodging requirements, travel plans, transportation of shipping containers, disability accommodations, etc.) We will make every reasonable attempt to try to accommodate your needs but cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
Emergency Contact Information
Although it is not required, you will have the opportunity to list someone for us to contact in case of an emergency.
Agreement, Waiver & Release Of Liability
All participants must sign our Agreement, Waiver & Release Of Liability before they receive any services. This includes all people who will actually be riding on the road, and any friends and family who are not but still receiving services from us. If you do not sign a waiver and liability release you will not be allowed to participate. There will be no exceptions to this policy.
Bicycle Type and Wheel Size
You will indicate the type of bike you will be riding and what size wheels you will have. This will help us ensure that we have the spare parts and tools necessary to support you, especially tubes and tires, and is particularly important if you will not be riding a road bike with 700c tires.
PERSONAL RIDING AND EQUIPMENT
What is your average riding pace? mph
This is to ensure you are fully supported during the entire tour.
What type of bicycle do you plan on riding?
Wheel Size and Valve Stem Type
to ensure we stock the proper tubes
Transportation and parts
Do you plan on using a personal Global Positioning System (GPS) unit to navigate while riding?
Route dataset files will be available for download to participants who own a personal GPS unit. If yes, please specify the brand and model (example: Garmin Edge 800, Garmin eTrex Legend Cx, Garmin GPSMap 60CSx, etc.)
What is your handlebar diameter?
This is to ensure you have the appropriate handlebar mount if we provide individual GPS units.
Do you plan on having your own additional on road SAG support?
Contact to see if you might be interested in volunteer opportunities
Friends & Family
We encourage your friends and family to join us! They may register for any of our services or merchandise items including:
• Motor coach Transportation to the start from the end • Main Lodging (camping indoors or outdoors at the main lodging site) • Food
If your friends and family will be joining you but not riding they must still register due to liability reasons and to ensure that we can accommodate them. They must also follow all event policies and procedures at all times for safety reasons. Discounted registration will be available for non-riding friends and family members.
Changes & Cancellations
It will be your responsibility to contact us as soon as possible to request any changes or updates to your information after your initial registration. We will make all reasonable attempts to accommodate your request but cannot guarantee we will be able to do so and this also strongly depends on when you place your request.
All change and cancellation requests must be received in writing by email, or postal mail or must be personally accepted over the phone (voice mails are not acceptable) and will not be valid until it they are confirmed by us in writing.
You may exchange/transfer your event registration with another person for any event if you arrange it on your own.
The replacement person must complete a registration form and submit full payment to us. After we receive full payment from them we will remit your registration refund to you minus the administrative fee and any unrecoverable costs as appropriate.
We will charge a $75 administrative fee for all cancellations and registration exchanges/transfers and reserve the right to do so for all other registration changes. The administrative fee covers the costs of us processing your registration and also prevents people from registering for events only to end up cancelling later.
Unfortunately we cannot make exceptions to our cancellation or refund policies at any time for any reason. These reasons include but are not limited to your personal inability or choice not to participate either before or during the event itself due to
• an illness or serious injury
• damage to or loss of personal equipment or property
• unavoidable work responsibilities
• work relocation
• employment termination
• child care
• family emergency or death
• military duty
• jury duty
• adverse weather conditions or natural disasters
• missing the departure time of our transportation services
• any delay preventing you arriving at the event including: traffic accidents, and public transportation service delays
• any other circumstances encountered
Our refund policy applies to all fees collected - both the main registration fee and all extra services and merchandise.
Refunds will be issued after the completion of all events for the season. If you paid by credit card, refunds will credited back to the original credit card if possible. All other refunds, including registrations received online through active.com, will be issued by check.
In the event we cancel an event, we will not be responsible for any non-refundable fares you purchased on a local or long distance public transportation carrier as part of the transportation services for that event.
No refunds will be issued in the event we must cancel an event due to circumstances beyond our control.
Refunds will not be issued for any non-refundable goods or services purchased by us on behalf of you as an individual including but not limited to tickets on local or long distance public transportation carriers, custom merchandise, bicycle parts and tools, or food to accommodate dietary restrictions or preferences.
Two Months Before the Start of the Event
If you cancel your registration more than two months before the start of the event, we will issue you a full refund minus the administrative fee and any unrecoverable costs.
• If the event starts on July 6th, you would receive a full refund minus the administrative fee and any unrecoverable costs if you cancelled your registration on or before 11:59 pm CST on May 6th. • If you had paid $699.00 in registration fees and had no unrecoverable costs we would issue you a refund for $624.00 ($699.00 - $75.00). • If you had $50.00 in unrecoverable costs we would issue you a refund for $574.00 ($699.00 - $75.00 - $50.00).
Less Than Two Months But More Than One Month Before the Start of the Event
If you cancel your registration less than two months before but more than one month before the start of the event, we will issue you a 50% refund minus the administrative fee and any unrecoverable costs.
• If the event starts on July 6th, you would receive a 50% refund minus the administrative fee and any unrecoverable costs if you cancelled your registration between 12:00 am CST on May 7th and 11:59 pm CST on June 6th. • If you had paid $699 and had no unrecoverable costs we would issue you a refund for $312.00 (50% of $699.00 - $75.00). • If you had $50.00 in unrecoverable costs we would issue you a refund for $287.00 (50% of $699.00 - $75.00 - $50.00).
Less Than One Month Before the Start of the Event
Fees are not refundable at any time for any reason.
• If the event starts on July 6th, you would receive a 50% refund minus the administrative fee and any unrecoverable costs if you cancelled your registration on or before 11:59 pm CST on June 6th. You would not receive any refund if you cancelled your registration on or after 12:00 am CST on June 7th.
Unexpected things can and do happen out of anyone's control that might force you to cancel participating in our events. To mitigate this risk of incurring penalties due our refund policy we highly recommend purchasing travel insurance, particularly a policy that includes trip cancellation.
Cancellation insurance is available through McKay Insurance (800) 942-0283 and other agencies.
Adding Extras After You’re Registered
You can add any extra service or merchandise item later if you are unsure about it when you initially register. The availability of all extra service or merchandise items are guaranteed until the regular registration deadline unless stated otherwise.
We strongly recommend signing up for all extra services and merchandise items once you're sure you want them though so you don't run into any potential availability problems later.
After the regular registration deadline, extra service or merchandise items may not be available and an additional administrative fee may apply.
The prices of each individual registration item will be listed on the prices page.
Prices listed do not include sales tax where applicable and are subject to change without notice.
Sometimes we want all participants to arrive at the same time and sometimes check in will remain open for a specified amount of time so participants can arrive when it is most convenient for them.
We will have one main check in for all events, with the exception of check ins for participants taking our transportation service before the start of the event. The main check will be held the afternoon or evening before the first riding day. When we expect a significant number of participants will arrive in the morning of the first riding day, we will also have a secondary check in that morning before the opening meeting.
Afternoon and Evening Check Ins
Participants can check in any time when check in is open. We do recommend planning on checking in as early as possible to account for unforeseen things that might affect your arrival time such as traffic, getting lost, and last minute problems. In addition, the earlier you check in the more time you have to:
• Get your bike ready to ride the next day
• Get dinner
• Review the registration materials
• Familiarize yourself with the route
• Relax and get a good night's sleep
• Meet your fellow riders
• Find a campsite and get your tent set up
• Check out the stopping town
Morning Check Ins
PLEASE PLAN ON CHECKING IN TO THE EVENT PROMPTLY WHEN CHECK IN OPENS – OTHER PARTICIPANTS WILL BE DEPENDING ON YOU.
It is critical that we leave promptly on time in order to maximize the amount of time everyone has to prepare for and/or complete the event. When check in is open for a length of time, we will not be able to assure a timely departure if all our participants decide to check in 15 minutes before check in closes and if you are late we cannot wait for you.
Planning on checking in promptly when check in opens also allows your account for unforeseen things that might delay your arrival time such as traffic, getting lost, and last minute problems. In addition, the earlier you check in the more time you have to:
• Get your bike ready to ride
• Stock up on snacks and sports drinks
• Review the registration materials
• Familiarize yourself with the route
• Meet your fellow riders
For weekend based events we also STRONGLY encourage you to check in the night before if at all possible. That way you'll be able to better review the registration materials and familiarize yourself with the route before the ride and also won't feel so rushed in the morning before such a long ride.
All participants will receive the following registration materials as appropriate and/or available by event and participant:
• Event wristband
• All on road cue sheet(s) & maps
• All in town cue sheet(s) & map(s)
• All cue sheet(s) & map(s) to all local public transportation stations near our rest stop locations in case you depart early
• Clear plastic bag to keep your cue sheets and maps in while you're riding to prevent them from getting destroyed by rain, sweat, or rubbing away on the road
• Bicycle Illinois t-shirt
• Parking Sign to put in your vehicle windshield
• 2 vinyl Bicycle Illinois stickers
• Private SAG vehicle pass
• Personal GPS unit, handlebar mount, and a full set of batteries for the duration of the event
• Local information supplied by our stopping towns
Any extra Bicycle Illinois merchandise items purchased (jersey, water bottle, baseball hat, polo shirt, extra t-shirts)
The cue sheets and maps will be distributed as one full loose set for the entire event which will save a lot of time in distribution and avoid shuffling or picking apart maps & cues from a big pile. They will not be stapled together since you would just tear them apart anyways to get them organized for the ride. For multi-day events, the cue sheets and maps will be distributed in an envelope (which you can also use to keep them together and organized in your baggage).
The sizes of merchandise items that you receive at the check in will be the sizes that you indicated on your registration form. We will not be able to give you different sizes of any merchandise item at check in.
Extra registration materials will be available at check in.
We will gladly sell you any additional merchandise items during check in, although we cannot guarantee the availability of any item.
We will have an opening meeting at the beginning of all events.
Attendance at the opening meeting is mandatory because we will introduce our staff members and review many of our event logistics and policies and procedures, especially the ones that affect safety considerations. We won't go through every single policy and procedure but rather highlight the most important points and clarify any questions you might have.
We will also allow our participants to introduce themselves and their individual riding paces so you can get an idea of who to ride with based on your own riding pace.
Flat Tire Changing Clinic
We will also hold an optional flat tire changing clinic immediately following the opening meeting. Remember, we generally will not fix a flat tire for you except in extreme circumstances and expect you to attend this clinic if you do not know how or are unsure about fixing a flat tire in any way. You may also attend this clinic if you are simply interested in learning how to change a flat tire better.
If you plan on attending the flat tire changing clinic, make sure to bring your bike, tire levers, frame pump, floor pump, and extra tubes with you to the opening meeting.
If you attended the flat tire changing clinic and get a flat tire on the road and still do not know how to fix it, you will get your hands dirty as we teach you how to do it yourself yet again.
Partial Tour Check In
You should plan on checking in the previous night for rides beginning the next day. If you must check in to the event in the morning, all morning check ins must be prearranged and we reserve the right to deny a morning check in to prevent conflicts from the myriad of other things that will be going on in the morning as we prepare to depart for that day's ride.
Event Check Out & Survey
Normally there no special procedures for checking out from an event other than filling out a survey and picking up your baggage.
If you must leave an event unexpectedly, please let us know by calling SAG dispatch so that we know you are safe and are not waiting for you. We will only deliver baggage to your ride ending location and not to any rest stop, so if we are transporting your baggage and you are unable to retrieve before departing please let us know and we will make arrangements to return it to you after the end of the event.
We would GREATLY appreciate it if you could take just a few minutes after the event is over to fill out a survey for us. Even on the ride home you'll begin to distance yourself from the event as you transition back into "the real world" and we might loose some of your great insights, ideas, and suggestions for event improvement as a result. By far the best time to capture your thoughts and ideas is immediately after the end of the event while all of the event details are still so fresh in your mind.
We honestly and sincerely want to know what you liked, what you felt could be improved, and your input for our direction for the future. Your feedback about the event, both good and bad is extremely important to us, and we receive our best ideas and direction from our participants themselves.
If we do not receive a paper survey from you we will follow up with you with a survey via e-mail.
Wristbands must be worn on your person and may not be placed on your bicycle since you cannot be individually identified as a participant. This is especially true when you will be in the midst of many other riders who are not participants such as in Chicago on the lakefront bike path.
You should normally need only one wristband. The wristband will normally fade after a few days, especially after being in the shower.
If your wristband breaks or gets lost you will be able to get another one, but we may need to see your ID to verify you as an official participant. Wristbands will be placed directly on you by a staff member and not given to you to put on yourself to prevent wristbands being transferred to non-participants.
You will not receive nor be identified by a specific rider number.
Placement on Your Body
We strongly prefer but do not require that you wear your wristband on your left wrist. We prefer it to be on your wrist as opposed to your ankle because your wrist won't move when you're actually cycling on the road as opposed your ankle and makes it significantly easier for us to quickly and easily identify you.
In addition, we prefer that you wear the wristband on the left side of your body as opposed to the right side since it's significantly easier for us to identify you as we pass you in a support vehicle on your left on the road. If you must put your wristband on your ankle we do require that you keep it above your sock at all times so we can easily identify you as a participant.
You will not normally need to use a support vehicle during our events, and all support vehicles will be off limits at all times with the only exceptions:
• Loading your baggage onto our vehicles • Being transported as part of a transportation service before the start or after the end of an event
If you have called SAG support and are being transported off the road
Except for the situations listed above, all other participant services related to support vehicles are of a convenience or comfort nature and we simply will not have enough support vehicles to be able to extend these services to all participants.
In addition, we must take proactive steps to prevent the support vehicles we use from getting scratched or damaged or dirty or smelly because they all belong to our staff members or participants or are rented.
Restrooms will not be available in our support vehicles, so you will need to use the restroom before we leave. We will make restroom stops along the way on longer trips.
It is also very easy for support vehicles to quickly become disorganized during our events and we must keep them clean and orderly to generally efficiently run our events such as finding a first aid kit immediately in an emergency or quickly and easily taking inventory.
The following participant activities are expressly forbidden in regards to support vehicles:
-BEING IN OR ON ANY SUPPORT VEHICLE.
You may not rest in any support vehicle seats since your sweat or grime from the road will quickly get support vehicles dirty and smelly. You also may not sit or lean on any part of a support vehicle, such as on the bumpers or in the door, since this might scratch the support vehicle. In addition, you may not get any supplies yourself from inside a support vehicle such as snacks, beverages, first aid, tools, etc.
-LEANING BICYCLES ON ANY PART OF A SUPPORT VEHICLE.
Leaning bikes on support vehicles, even the tires, will cause scratches. In addition it is possible that your bike could get run over if we need to take off suddenly in an emergency and don't see it. -STORING ANY LOOSE PERSONAL ITEMS IN SUPPORT VEHICLE.
If you are concerned about needing an item on the road you will have to carry it with you on your bike. This includes such parts items as tires and tubes, such clothing items as rain gear, booties, and jackets, and such other miscellaneous items as tools, protein powder, or anything else you might want or need on the road.
Not only is there a very low chance that the support vehicle closest to you will actually be the one carrying your items, it will take a long time to find your things amid a densely packed vehicle with everyone else's gear laying around (especially if your things aren't even there in the first place). And the vehicle will only get messier in the process.
-PERSONAL CELL PHONE & GPS UNIT CHARING.
Support vehicle power outlets need to be used to make sure staff cell phones are constantly charged for emergency purposes and for powering other event support gear such as laptop computers and GPS units.
-USING ANY SUPPORT VEHICLE AS A RIDING AID.
Doing so is inherently unsafe and expressly prohibited whether it is an official support vehicle or not. This includes drafting behind any vehicle or riding ahead of any vehicle and using its headlights to light the roadway at night.
We will maintain a secure box for lost and found items.
If you lose an item, you will need to give us a description of the item and we will see if we have it. Unfortunately we cannot let participants simply go through the items in the lost and found box and identify their specific item, because we will have no way of knowing whether that item is actually theirs or not especially for a valuable item. The best way to make sure you will get back a lost and found item is to have your name on all of the items you will take with you. If we find an item that we know is yours, we will let you know we have it.
If you find an item that you think someone may have lost, even if it seems trivial or insignificant, please give it to a staff member and we will put it in the lost and found box. You never know what sentimental value an otherwise worthless item may have and your fellow participant may be extremely grateful for your kindness. That grungy old water bottle may have travelled across the country and be a trusted old friend that is sorely missed!
After the Event
If you discover that you may have left an item behind after the event is over you should contact us to see if we have it. If we do, we may need to charge you a shipping and handling fee to return it to you. If you think you may have left an item at any of the facilities you visited, you will need to contact them directly on your own to see if they have your item - we cannot contact them for you.
Why You Don't Want Yearly Changes
We won't even begin to try and explain the almost insurmountable amount of work necessary to put together a high quality cycling event. When other cycling events change their stopping towns, rest stop locations, and/or route year after year they risk not only your safety but your enjoyment and the quality of your experience as well because of all the problems that can and will go wrong from all the new unknowns.
Both our routes and our supporting facilities and services have been proven to be outstanding by our previous participants. By keeping most aspects of our events the same year after year, we continue to improve the amount and quality of our services for our participants by developing stronger and deeper relationships with each one of these communities we pass through. In addition you will know our plans well in advance so you can make your personal preparations accordingly.
Rather than setting up new stopping towns, rest stop locations and routes year after year, we feel that our time and resources are best spent improving the level of services for our participants. Based on our surveys after our events, our average customer satisfaction is 8.5 out of 10 and many people have given us a perfect score of 10 out of 10. We run absolutely world class cycling events!
Ask yourself which experience you'd rather have – one that is the culmination of years of continuous improvement built upon previous successes - or one where no one truly knows what the quality of your experience will really be like because they've never done it before and have no previous experience or idea of what to expect.
We can only accept cash payments during our events. All prices during our events include tax and will be in whole dollar increments so you won't have to carry coins while riding. We absolutely cannot "float" you any item to be paid back later or lend you something until you can replace it with your own, such as the temporary use of a tire until you are able to get your own.
We recommend carrying about $60 in cash with you on the road in case you need to buy anything from us, primarily in 5's and singles to ensure you will have the correct change since we can't guarantee that we will have the correct change available. Also, be sure to bring an ATM card with you just in case you run out of money – you can always stop at a bank or ATM in one of the towns we will pass through.
Bandits are selfish individuals who take advantage of this situation and ride along with us on our routes but do not pay for our support services. They take advantage of the tireless effort and countless hours and money we have invested into designing safe and enjoyable routes and services for our participants and erode the value we create and you receive when you register.
If you see an individual who you think may be a bandit, it is critical that you let a member of the staff know immediately. The ride director will be contacted and will handle the situation as appropriate. Only the ride director has the authority to confront an individual suspected of being a bandit.
If the individual is confirmed as a bandit, his name and/or any other personally identifying information will be repeatedly distributed to all participants and staff so that everyone associated with the event can watch out for his presence.
In addition, the bandit's personal information will be distributed to every other cycling event across the country through our network of event directors so that other event directors can be aware of him and prevent him from ever participating in another organized cycling event either as a bandit or official participant.
If a bandit takes any type of support item or service from us in any way without permission they legally cross the line from being a bandit to being a thief. If this happens we will call the police in all cases, have the individual arrested, and prosecute him or her to the full extent of the law. Unauthorized actions include taking any food or beverage item provided by us, using any service we provide only to paid participants, using any of our equipment in any way, using the information on our copyrighted maps or cue sheets in any way, or entering an area reserved for only for our participants, such as a rest stop or main lodging site location.
Participants Who Assist Bandits
Participants are not allowed to offer bandits any type of support item or service. Any participant who knowingly assists a bandit will be immediately ejected from the event with no exceptions and their name and personal contact information will be distributed to every other cycling event across the country through our network of event directors to prevent them from ever participating in another organized cycling event again. There will be no exceptions to this policy.