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The route for the 14th annual Grand Illinois Trail and Parks (GITAP) bicycle tour was announced yesterday by Ride Illinois, a not-for-profit bicycle organization. Host communities for the June 12-17, 2016 event include Coal City, Oglesby, Washington, Bloomington-Normal, and Pontiac.Registration is open to the public. The tour provides a bicycle-based vacation for up to 225 people, usually from up to 20 states.
Participants average 50 miles per day on quiet country roads and some off-road trails, while their luggage is transported to the next overnight destination. About two-thirds of the riders will camp at designated in-town locations, while the rest stay in nearby motels. Local caterers are used for breakfasts and dinners.
The event is not a race. Individuals ride at their own pace touring the countryside and visiting towns, restaurants, and convenience stores along the way.
The tour starts and ends at Coal City High School, with camping at Oglesby’s Lehigh Park on June 12, Washington High School on June 13, Comlara Park north of Bloomington-Normal on June 14 and 15, and Pontiac’s Chatauqua Park on June 16. It will be the first time in GITAP’s 14 year history that the tour stays in these communities.
“Illinois is a great place to explore by bicycle,” said Ed Barsotti of Ride Illinois. “We are proud to show off our towns and countryside to the friendly folks who ride our tour.” Ride Illinois conducts the GITAP bicycle tour with help from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.