April 2017 Cycling Races, Rides & Events

Higher Gear Wilmette Group Ride Winter Cold WeatherWe’ve been spoiled this winter with great weather. Let’s hope the days of warm weather and sunny skies were a foreshadowing of the season to come.

Whatever weather is to come, we’re heading into the official 2017 cycling season.

As always, there are lots of opportunities for local cycling enthusiasts to get in on the action. Whether you want to rough it over gravel roads or to test your mettle in a time trial, your outdoor season begins now.

For those looking to ease their way in, get your bike tuned-up and prepare to join us for our First Ride of Spring Saturday, April 8th, our first official group ride of the year.



2015 Lincoln Park Criterium Crit LCP Chicago bicycle road racing Higher Gear Joe Pepe Sullivan Gearhead


April 2017 Cycling Races, Rides & Events


3 – 6 April: Skyway Classic Criterium Series
Calumet Park, Chicago, IL
This four-day series gives newer racers a low-cost, low-tech, nearby opportunity to try out criterium racing and gain valuable experience, skills and confidence before the season opens. This fun and accessible week-long race series is perfect for beginners or for those on the cusp of upgrading. To make the annual practice criterium series even more beginner friendly, a Cat 5 only heat for beginner racers is also available. Higher Gear’s Joe “Pepe” Sullivan says of this race series: “These are night crits, under wicked floodlights. It’s a cool experience. Same practice criterium setup and small fields. The course is very round, only 2 real corners… A great way to get into racing again, if you can get out on the weeknights. ”

Think you’re too old to try racing? Higher Gear customer Kiki Demopoulos discovered the Fountain of Youth on her bike >>


Higher Gear Wilmette Group Ride 2016 Cold Spring8 April: First Ride of Spring
Wilmette, IL
We’re ready for spring, even if Mother Nature is not! Higher Gear’s eighth annual First Ride of Spring is scheduled for Saturday, April 8th. This is a no-drop ride, so nobody gets left behind. All skill levels are welcome.

Never participated in a group ride before? Check out our Group Ride Rules >>

New to cycling? Higher Gear customer Kevin Mulhall recommends Higher Gear group rides >>


8 April: 2017 Beautiful Southern Bike Ride
Carbondale, IL
Choose from a 30, 62 or 75 mile ride starting at the Carbondale Middle School. All routes go through the hills and plains of beautiful southern Illinois, including Giant City State Park and Makanda to the south, the edge of Crab Orchard Wildlife Refuge to the east and Elkville to the north.


8 April: Rough Road 100
Morris, IL
Ride on the road, ride on gravel, ride on more road, more gravel, more limestone, more road, more gravel… The Rough Road 100 takes racers 100k through nine sectors of varied surfaces – from Morris, and through Marseille and Seneca, before returning to Morris again – in a race that is both flat and fast. There is a separate fat bike category. For those new to gravel racing, test your skills on the new 64k course! Charity partner We Care of Grundy County hosts the largest food pantry in the county, providing food throughout the year to families.

Check out Higher Gear customer and “gravel grinder” Andre Odendaal’s race report from the 2014 Barry-Roubaix >>

Get the skinny on fat bikes >>


9 April: 9th Annual Spring Super Criterium
South Beloit , IL
With Blackhawk Farms Raceway as the backdrop, this USAC-sanctioned event will once again serve as the kickoff to the region’s competitive road calendar. The SSC has qualities serving everyone from the first-time competitor to the grizzled veteran. Elevation gains are minor, but the 1.8 mile racetrack has many sweeping and declining radius turns, as well as final straightaway that in past years has served as the Launch Pad for legendary showdowns.



2015 Lincoln Park Criterium Crit LCP Chicago bicycle road racing Higher Gear Joe Pepe Sullivan Gearhead


23 April – 24 September: Mid America Time Trial Series (MATTS)
Various cities throughout WI & IL
Since its beginning in 1988, MATTS has grown to become one of the largest and longest running time trial series in the United States. MATTS offers many events throughout the year, both indoor and outdoor, including individual and team events and over 30 age group and abilty categories to choose from, giving time trialists in Illinois and Wisconsin lots of options. MATTS encourages cyclists of all levels, juniors, masters, triathletes,and duathletes to participate in its events.

  • 23 April: Rock River Multisport 20k, Cherry Valley, IL
  • 7 May: WBR Single Bong, 20k, Kansasville, WI
  • 21 May: Stray Kats Kankakee 20k, Kankakee, IL
  • 4 June: WBR Bong and a Half 30k , Kansasville WI
  • 10 June: WBR Havard 33.3k, Harvard, IL
  • 17 June: Scarlet Fire 30k TT, Garden Prairie, IL
  • 25 June: Team Apache Illinois State Championship 40k, Paw Paw, IL
  • 9 July: Stray Kats 2-person 50k TTT, Herscher, IL
  • 16 July: Stray Kats-Dr. Craig Schultz Memorial Regional Championship 40k, Cordova, IL
  • 22 July: MadCity Velo Kirke Vei 20k, Kegonsa, WI
  • 5 August: Lamb Little Racing Brian Akers Memorial 19k, Harvard, IL
  • 20 August: WBR Double Bong Wisconsin State Championship 40k, Kansasville, WI
  • 27 August: Rock River Multisport Return to Cherry Valley 20k, Cherry Valley, IL
  • 2 September: Bryce Master 30k, Garden Prairie, IL
  • 9 September: 4 Person Team Time Trial Championship, Garden Prairie, IL
  • 24 September: ABD Fall Fling 10 Mile MATTS Closing Event, Maple Park, IL

Thinking about racing? Higher Gear customer Nancy Heymann tells you to “jump in!” >>


23 April – 21 May: Ann Arbor Spring Training Series
Ann Arbor, MI
An early season criterium race series designed to be a fun, low key event and a great chance for new and experienced racers to learn and get back in the swing of racing. The schedule includes five races. All races are on Sundays, starting April 23rd and running through May 21st.


23 April: CFK Blue Ribbon Ride
Spring Grove, IL
Help prevent child abuse by supporting a ride that helps to provide children with a safe and healthy environment in permanent homes. A portion of the proceeds from this ride will benefit Lake & McHenry Counties’ CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) that support and promote court-appointed advocates for abused or neglected children. 60- and 30-mile options available.


30 April: 36th Annual Easter Ride
Park Forest, IL
The East Ride was listed as the Best Biking in America in Bicycling Magazine’s April 1999 issue, and it has just gotten better each year. Drawing hundreds of riders each year, the ride is large enough to seem professionally run, yet small enough to really enjoy. Food and fun are what this ride is all about! Route choices are: a 17-mile short route plus 26, 37, 53 and 70-mile longer routes. Each route follows lightly traveled paved roads and a few miles of paved trail, through pastoral farmlands, wildflower-filled woods and friendly towns. Rest stops are stocked with fruit, drinks, sandwiches, homemade cookies and even live entertainment. After the ride, stop at Dining on the Green for food, music and a massage. You may even see the Easter Bunny!

Joe Sullivan Pepe Lincoln Park Criterium Crit Chicago XXX Higher Gear Gearhead warmup warming up bike race bicycle racing

29 April: Alderman Cappleman’s 46th Ward Lincoln Park Criterium
Lincoln Park/Montrose Harbor, Chicago, IL
xXx Racing-AthletiCo has a long record of bringing quality amateur racing to the city of Chicago. The 0.8-mile course runs along the Chicago lakefront and features two 90-degree turns and one 180-degree turn. The Alderman James Cappleman’s 46th Ward Lincoln Park Criterium is one of the first races of the road racing season in Chicagoland.

Check out Junior racer Pepe’s race report from the 2014 Lincoln Park Crit >>


29 April: deTour Through Jefferson County
Mount Vernon, IL
This recreational bike ride will take you on the scenic roads of Jefferson County, IL The rides consist of primarily flat rural roads with a few hills. Chose from 15, 32 or 65 mile routes or a kid-friendly 4.3-mile Family Ride. Enjoy a post-ride bowl of brisket and beans.




Maxx Hall Higher Gear mechanic wrench WilmetteWe’re looking forward to a great season of cycling with you!

Before you head outdoors, make sure you’re ready with a proper cycling helmet, cycling glasses and your Road ID. And always use sunscreen!

Whether you’re racing, riding in a charity event or taking the bikes out for a ride with the family, be sure your bike is in working order.

Get it in to Higher Gear for a Tune-Up, so your bike is ready to ride when you’re ready to ride!



To stay current with local events all year long, sign up for our weekly newsletter. Check back with us to learn about more cycling events – so you can plan your season accordingly. If you or your team have an event to add to our calendar, please contact us and let us know about it.



Need Help? Have Questions?

Highland Park | 847-433-2453
Wilmette | 847-256-2330

  • E-Mail
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • StumbleUpon