Grand Illinois Trail

My new book Biking Illinois: 60 Great Road Trips and Trail Rides includes detailed maps and descriptions of many portions of the Grand Illinois Trail, along with other fun and challenging rides throughout the state.

June-September 2000:   A Trail Blazing Bicycle Adventure

The plan: In my first year of bicycling regularly since 1993, I wanted to become a Grand Illinois Trail (GIT) Trail Blazer. To qualify for the Trail Blazer award, I had to travel the entire 525-mile route during the first year of its existence, keeping a diary and making note of when I reached certain checkpoints. The promised reward was to be a pin or a patch (which turned out to be a T-shirt), plus my name published in the Illinois State Parks magazine. People told me, " It would take a lot more than a patch to get me to ride my bike over 500 miles!" Of course, the real reason was to prove to myself that I could do it.

This is a rough map of the GIT. I rode the light blue segment instead of the red one.

Map courtesy of League of Illinois Bicyclists

Note:   These pages may load slowly because there are many photographs, but you can start reading the journal text while they are downloading.

Day One - Friday, June 30, 2000 - Chicago to McHenry

Day Two - Saturday, July 1, 2000 - McHenry to Rockford

Day Three - Sunday, July 16, 2000 - Chicago to Channahon

Day Four - Saturday, August 19, 2000 - Channahon to LaSalle

Day Five - Sunday, September 3, 2000 - LaSalle to Carbon Cliff

Day Six - Monday, September 4, 2000 - Carbon Cliff to Savanna

Day Seven - Tuesday, September 5, 2000 - Savanna to Galena

Day Eight - Thursday, September 7, 2000 - Galena to Freeport

Day Nine - Friday, September 8, 2000 - Freeport to Rockford

Epilogue - Completion and Reward

Grand Illinois Trail Links

Mr. Blue on the Illinois & Michigan Canal Trail

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