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Chicagoland Cycling Calendar

2010 Evanston Grand Prix Higher Gear

We in the Midwest tend to pack in a lot of fun into the few months of beautiful cycling weather we have here. The good news is that there is something for every cycling enthusiast on the calendar!

Below are just some of the events and rides that are going on in Chicagoland or nearby for the 2017 cycling season. Many of these are day-long family-friendly events that feature spectacular pro-level racing. Some are great excuses to get the whole family out on their bikes. Some are charity events and rides. Others are races for those who are looking to jump into competitive cycling.

To stay current with local events, sign up for our weekly newsletter. Or check back here (from our home page, click Riding/Racing >> Chicagoland Cycling Calendar), as we’ll update our calendar as events are added and dates/locations are finalized. If you or your team have an event not listed below, contact us and let us know about it.

Now, dust off your bike and get it in to Higher Gear for your Spring Tune-Up, so you’re ready to ride with us for our First Ride of Spring April 8th!


Andre Odendaal Gearhead Higher Gear 2014 Barry Roubaix


March 2017 Cycling Races, Rides & Events


12 – 26 March: 38th Annual Spring Training Races
Kenosha, WI
Part of the Tour of Illinois/Wisconsin (TOI/W) Series, the annual Spring Training Criterium is ideal for the start of the outdoor racing season and is especially friendly to new criterium racers. Higher Gear’s own Joe “Pepe” Sullivan says about this series: “It is in Kenosha, on a big, wide, gentle-corner course. It is a practice-criterium, meaning they will have a smaller field and a bit slower of a pace, great for beginners starting racing and novices starting off their season…” On three consecutive Sundays (March 12th, 19th and 26th), daylong bicycle races will be held on a 1.2 mile course that is flat and wide, within the Business Park of Kenosha.

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


19 March: St. Patrick’s Day Ride
Wauconda, IL
“What the heck…. anybody can ride when it’s warm!” Routes of 16, 20 and 36 miles wind through beautiful Northeast Illinois over quiet secondary roads with SAG support. Riders will be entertained by Acoustic Soul Generations, a band playing music from bluegrass, folk, country, 50’s/60’s, rock-and-roll, classic rock and some blues. This event is put on by the Wheeling Wheelmen Bicycle Club to support the advocacy work the Wheelmen perform on behalf of all cyclists via the League of American Bicyclists, League of Illinois Bicyclists, Active Transportation Alliance, Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin and Buffalo Grove Bike Rodeo.


25 March: Barry-Roubaix
Hastings, MI
Michigan’s 2016 cycling race season kicks off the year with the Killer Gravel Road Race, the largest gravel road race in the world, right here in nearby Barry County. Like the Spring Classic it’s named after, Barry-Roubaix will test riders against rolling gravel roads (80%), pavement, one mile of rough two track, rocks, sand, mud and possibly snow and ice and some nice climbing. New for this year, there are three race lengths to challenge riders of all abilities. The 22-mile CU Link “Chiller” offers approximately 1200 feet of elevation; the 36-mile Smith Optics “Thriller” climbs approximately 2200 feet; and the 62-mile “Killer” you can expect approximately 3800 feet of elevation. Cyclocross, mountain, road, single-speed, fixed gear, fat bikes and tandem bicycles are welcome in any category.

Check out Higher Gear customer Andre Odendaal’s race report from the 2014 Barry-Roubaix >>

Learn why and where Higher Gear customers are riding fat bikes >>

Meet Higher Gear customer Josh Kline who embraced a rough winter on a fat bike >>


26 March: Pastry-Brest-Pastry
North Aurora, IL
Come out and start your season off right. Ride starts and ends from Pedal & Spoke bike shop. 60 miles of self-supported mixed terrain (60%+ unpaved) with multiple checkpoints stocked with donuts. Your registration includes Two Brothers Coffee before the ride, as well as a glass of Two Brothers’ beer and a raffle ticket afterward during a little cool-down after party at Two Brothers Roundhouse.



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.



May 2017 Cycling Races, Rides & Events


League of American Bicyclists May National Bike MonthMay: National Bike Month
Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike Month is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride. Whether you bike to work or school; to save money or time; to preserve your health or the environment; to explore your community or get to your destination, get involved in Bike Month in your city or state — and help get more people in your community out riding too!

Call Higher Gear to schedule your Tune-Up, so you’re ready to ride during Bike Month! >>


1 May-30 September: The 2017 National Bike Challenge
Sign up for The National Bike Challenge as an individual or as a team, log your miles, share your stories and encourage others to join you while competing for prizes and awards on the local and national level. Help the Challenge on their quest to reach 50,000 riders this year and win some prizes as you ride.



National Bike to School Day10 May: Annual Bike to School Day
Bike to School Day is a national event that gives communities across the country the opportunity to join together in bicycling to school on the same day. The event, an exciting celebration for both those new to the experience and those who have been two-wheeling to school for years, is part of the movement for year-round safe routes to school, and encourages bicycling to school as a healthy way for kids and families to make their school commute.

Meet a great local whose favorite part of her day is riding to school >>

We kid you not: cycling can make your kid smarter >>

Learn how cycling can help manage ADHD >>

Bring your kids’ bikes in to Higher Gear for a Tune-Up, so they’re ready to ride for Back to School Day! >>


Monsters of Midway Criterium Crit Joe Sullivan Pepe Higher Gear Gearhead bike bicycle race racing


6 May: Monsters of the Midway Criterium
Chicago, IL
A flat, fast 4-corner race held on the beautiful Midway south of the University of Chicago. Sponsored by the University of Chicago Velo Club.

Check out Pepe’s race report from the 2015 Monsters of the Midway >>

And his race report from the 2014 Monsters of the Midway >>


6 May: 20th Annual Tour de Stooges
Lebanon, IL
If you’re looking for beautiful scenery, great cookies, the best after-ride meal and all the vidiot fun a stooge could want, don’t be a knucklehead, register for the Tour de Stooges! The rolling countryside has great scenery, picturesque farms, fields of wildflowers on lightly traveled country lanes. There’s a full 100-mile route (the Roger Kramer Memorial Century named after the founder of Tour de Stooges), the Moe Metric Century, a 10-mile route, and other intermediate routes for your velocipedic pleasure. There is truly something for everyone, and family-friendly, too. After the ride, we spread out, eat and watch Three Stooges shorts until the cows come home. Nyuk, nyuk, nyuk.



Higher Gear Chicago Chiropractic Sports Medicine Northbrook Velodrome Chicago Cycling Racing


11 May – 7 September: Summer Night Bicycle Racing at the Velodrome
Northbrook, IL
Thursday night racing series at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome.

  • 11 May: Opening Night
  • 13 May Sprinters Omnium #1*
  • 18 May: The Unknown Night + Cat 5*
  • 25 May: 10 & 5 Mile Record Attempts #1
  • 1 June: Madison Night
  • 8 June: Tomasz Pac Points Race
  • 10 June: Sprinters Omnium #2*
  • 15 June: TBD Keirin Night
  • Catherine Watkins Higher Gear Gearhead Velodrome Track Racing22 June: International Omnium Night
  • 29 June: Juniors Invitational + Cat 5
  • 6 July: 10 & 5 Mile Record Attempts #2
  • 8 July: Sprinters Omnium #3*
  • 13 July: Ladies Night feat. Amy Tremmeling & Franco Panveno Memorial Race
  • 20 July: George Garner Memorial Keirin
  • 27 July: Madison Night
  • 29 Jul: IL State Masters Championships
  • 3 Aug: Thursday Night Racing + Cat 5*
  • 10 Aug: IL State Scratch Race Championships & Roger DeLanghe & Elaine Nektritz Trophy Races
  • 12-13 Aug: IL State Elite Timed Track Championships*
  • 17 Aug: Illinois Keirin State Championships
  • 24 Aug: Illinois State Point Race Championships
  • 31 Aug: Illinois State Madison Championships
  • 7 Sept: Closing Night

Note: * denotes Cat 5 training/racing; italics denotes a race that falls on another day of the week than a Thursday

Read about Higher Gear’s own Catherine Watkins and her successful 2013 season at the track >>


13 May: Urbana Grand Prix
Urbana, IL
Sponsored by ScarletFire Racing, the Urbana Grand Prix returns to the spectacular 1.6 mile circuit in beautiful Crystal Lake Park.


Catherine Watkins Higher Gear Gearhead Track Racing13 May – 13 August: Sprinters Dream Omnium Series
Northbrook, IL

Saturdays are for sprinting at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome in Northbrook.

  •  13 May: Sprinters Omnium #1*
  •  10 Jun: Sprinters Omnium #2*
  • 8 Jul: Sprinters Omnium #3*
  •  29 July: IL State Masters Championships
  •  12 Aug: IL State Elite Timed Track Championships #1*
  •  13 Aug: IL State Elite Timed Track Championships #2*

Note: * denotes Cat 5 training/racing; italics denotes a race that falls on another day of the week (i.e. not a Saturday).



14 – 15 May: CycloFemme
CycloFemme is a global celebration of women created to honor the past and the emancipation of our grandmothers and great-grandmothers, for the freedom to choose and the chance to wear pants. To celebrate the present and the riders who keep it rolling, bringing women’s racing to the forefront, pushing the limits, breaking down barriers and sharing the love of the bike with everyone along the way. To empower the future of women in cycling and the opportunity for positive social change. Encourage women to ride and they will change the world. Ride the weekend of May 14th to honor, celebrate and encourage.


Higher Gear Highland Park bike commute to work commuter Andy Cohen

15 – 19 May: Bike to Work Week
Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike to Work Week is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.

Meet Higher Gear customer commuters Jeff, Andy and Danny.

Get Higher Gear customer tips for commuting to work.

Need extra motivation to ride your bike to work?



Ride of Silence17 May: Ride of Silence
At 7:00 PM, the annual Ride of Silence will begin in North America and roll across the globe. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn’t aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves. Join cyclists worldwide in a silent slow-paced ride (max. 12 mph/20 kph) in honor of those who have been injured or killed while cycling on public roadways.


19 May: Bike to Work Day
Sponsored by the League of American Bicyclists, National Bike to Work Day is an opportunity to celebrate the unique power of the bicycle and the many reasons we ride.

Get it in to Higher Gear for a Tune-Up, so you’re ready to ride on Bike to Work Day! >>


19 – 21 May: Live Grit Weekend Getaway “The Champaign of Rides”
Champaign, IL
Bicycle Illinois presents the Live Grit Weekend Getaway “The Champaign of Rides!” The fully supported event will take place on both Saturday and Sunday. There will be four different loop routes out of Champaign, each about 25 miles long, so you can choose the distance you want to ride, from 25 to 125 miles each day.


20-21 May: The Fox River Omnium
East Dundee, Elgin and Fox River Grove, IL
Enjoy a full weekend of racing up and down the Fox River. This will be an Omnium as before with all three races below involved with points accumulation.


26 May: Burlington Road Race
Burlington, IA
Memorial Day weekend’s four days of racing kicks off Friday afternoon with the 95 mile Burlington Road Race, starting from the Port of Burlington.


27 May: Snake Alley Criterium
Burlington, IA
The Snake Alley Criterium is part of four days of great racing in Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois over Memorial Day weekend. Snake Alley is held on a fifteen block course, with differences in elevation from 555 feet to 678 feet. The course is entirely on city streets, mostly in a downtown commercial area. A one block long climb is on the historic brick street named Snake Alley, dubbed “the crookedest street in the world.” The 276 foot long Snake Alley has 5 switchbacks in a sixty foot climb. The average grade is 12.5 percent in that one block. This is one of the most physically challenging races in the Midwest and most visually spectacular to spectate.


27 – 28 May: Annual Blackhawk Country Roads Invitational Ride
Rocton, IL
The ride features a delightful route, starting at the Greater Rockton Centre, on Main Street in Rockton, Illinois. Four routes are available which will offer something for everyone. There’s a 10-mile family route in addition to the 30-, 45- and 65-mile routes. The routes are so much that you’ll want to take advantage of the opportunity to ride on both Saturday and Sunday. Choose the day that fits your schedule best – or ride both days. 2017 marks the 41st year of this Invitational Ride.


27 – 29 May: Masters Memorial Day Omnium
West Chicago, IL
Part of the Tour of Illinois & Wisconsin (TOI/W) Series, enjoy three days of racing for riders 30 years and older. New location for 2017.

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



Bike the Drive Ride Chicago Sullivan Higher Gear


28 May: MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive
Chicago, IL
Hop on your bike the one day of the year when the length of Lake Shore Drive is open to cyclists and closed to auto traffic. Enjoy the striking skyline and the shimmering water of Lake Michigan as you cruise up and down the entire length of Lake Shore Drive. New for 2017, go for the 30-mile challenge!



YouTube Preview Image



28 May: Melon City Criterium
Muscatine, IA
Four days of great racing in Eastern Iowa continues on Sunday with the 39th annual Melon City Criterium.


29 May: 52nd Annual Quad Cities Criterium
Davenport, IA
Four days of exciting racing conclude with this last race. The Quad Cities Criterium, contested for its 52nd year on Memorial Day, provides a challenging and exciting course in the Village of East Davenport. This setting gives cyclists and fans alike a great day of racing and fun.



Glencoe Grand Prix Pro Cycling Bike Race Racing


June 2017 Cycling Races, Rides & Events


3 June: 10th Annual Glencoe Grand Prix
Glencoe, IL
The Glencoe Grand Prix brings riders from all over the U.S. to compete for overall individual and team titles. This year, Olympic silver medalist and two time world champion, Chloé Dygert Owen is returning the Glencoe Grand Prix. Chloé and other top riders will be putting on a show at this year’s race. There are two race courses in use this year. The ‘short’ course will be used for the first six races and is a typical, 4-corner, essentially flat 1.3-kilometer (0.8-mile) criterium course. The ‘long’ course is used in all other races and is a 10-corner, 2.1 kilometer (1.3-mile) lap that includes a descent and brief rise on the western part of the course. Don’t miss the famous Children’s race at noon sharp! Of course, even if you don’t want to ride, come out for live music, food and fun at the North Shore’s best block party of the year!

Check out Junior racer Pepe’s race report from the 2014 Glencoe Grand Prix >>


Team NPF National Psoriasis Foundation Charity Bike Bicycle Ride Event Illinois Maple Park Higher Gear Wilmette4 June: Team NPF Cycle in Chicago
Maple Park, IL
With three great routes to choose from (12, 20 and 68 miles), all include rest stops, SAG vehicles and bike mechanics, you’ll have a “wheel good time” raising funds for a cure for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis. Upon completing your ride, enjoy lunch, beer and live music to celebrate your accomplishment and success towards finding a cure for psoriatic disease. Become a Team NPF Cycle Cure Champion and join an exclusive group of cyclists who are leading the charge to find a cure for psoriatic disease.


4 June: Udder Century Invitational
Union, IL
An udderly good time pedaling along flat to rolling rural routes of 32, 50, 62, 75 or 100 miles through the dairy land of northern Illinois and southern Wisconsin. Take breaks along the way at strategically places rest stops and afterwards enjoy a gourmet pasta dinner in the cow-lossal banquet hall.

Higher Gear customer Glenna Lampner tells us: “A century is a party. It’s a party and they’re feeding you.” >>


Joe Pepe Sullivan Higher Gear racing cycling Specialized Venge Evade 2015 Two Rivers Road Race


4 June: Cobb Park Criterium
Kankakee, IL
The South Shore Wheelmen and the City of Kankakee present the Illinois State Criterium Championship. Eligibility for state championship: must be Illinois Resident and hold an annual USAC license. Jerseys awarded to all state championship winners as long as there are 3 or more Illinois racers per category

Check out how Higher Gear racers Joe “Pepe” Sullivan and John McCormick took home the Illinois State Championship jerseys in 2015 >>


4 June: Tour de Corn
Morris, IL
Come and join the Morris Rotary and Kiwanis clubs for a relaxing, scenic ride through northern Grundy County. Three routes are offered: 28, 40 and 62 miles hosted by Kiwanis and Rotary of Morris.


6 June (estimated): Tour de SRAM USA 2017
Chicago, IL
2 Worlds, 1 ride. Tour de SRAM USA 2017 is a cross-country bike ride benefiting World Bicycle Relief and implemented by World Vision. Dave Schweikert, a SRAM Quality Engineer, has, perhaps, the longest “Bike to Work” ride in the country this June as his coast-to-coast route will take him on a tour of SRAM offices from San Luis Obispo, California to Colorado Springs, Chicago and Indianapolis! Mid-June, the TDSU2017 will take a 164.2 mile trek from the Quad Cities to SRAM and WBR’s head office in Chicago. Follow along on Facebook for exact date >>

Learn more about Dave Schweikert’s TDSU2017 journey across the US >>

Ride for WBR. Register for our 4th annual Gran Fondo Hundo this July >>


9 – 11 June: Fight for Air Ride
Crystal Lake, IL & Lake Geneva, WI
Cycle the rolling hills of northern Illinois, and around the lakes of southern Wisconsin. Each participant will enjoy the beautiful scenery as they ride up to 150 miles in support of the American Lung Association. Ride for a personal achievement, a new cycling experience or to honor a loved one affected by lung disease. By joining the Fight for Air Ride, you are helping to make a positive impact in the lives of those affected by lung disease. Whether you’re a 2-Day (100 miles) or 3-Day (150 miles) Rider, this all-inclusive round-trip, fully-supported route includes SAG vehicles, medical volunteers, bike mechanics, luggage transportation and rest stops. When you’re not cycling, the days are yours to enjoy Lake Geneva!


2012.05 Chad Smith Bike MS Start Zoomed

Bike MS Tour de Farms


10 – 11 June: Bike MS: Tour de Farms
DeKalb, IL
Ready for a ride of your lifetime? Whether you’re new to Bike MS or ride every year, together we will raise money, have fun and make a difference in the lives of people living with MS. The Greater Illinois Chapter offers two days of rides, ranging from 15-200 miles, each offering a combination of beautiful scenery, outstanding people and of course, a great cause. Whichever day you choose to ride, it will be the most rewarding journey you’ll ever make. Ordinary people, just like you, are taking extraordinary challenges to make this a world free of MS. Are you up for the challenge? Don’t miss your opportunity to ride with 2017 Tour de Farms’ special guest!

Meet a Higher Gear customer and Tour de Farms fundraiser, Chad Smith >>


10 – 17 June: Great Annual Bicycle Adventure Along the Wisconsin River (GRABAAWR)
Eagle River to Priarie du Chien, WI
If you love a challenging tour with plenty of miles, hills to climb and TONS of fun, then GRABAAWR is the tour for you. With spectacular vistas, friendly communities, fabulous food stops and cool swimming holes, GRABAAWR will provide memories to last a lifetime. The tour starts at the headwaters of the magnificent Wisconsin River in northern Wisconsin. The route follows low-traffic roads along the 427-mile length of the river as it winds through the Northwoods, central sand counties and the driftless area of Wisconsin’s dairyland.


11 June: Honor Ride
Skokie, IL
Help injured and healing Veterans, through cycling, at the 4th annual Honor Ride Chicago. Developed by Ride 2 Recovery, and sponsored by Evanston Subaru in Skokie, the Honor Ride provides a life changing experience for our healing heroes returning from war. Choose from 18-, 36- and 50-mile routes. The ride will feature three new routes as we wind through the Evanston and surrounding areas. A a 5k run is also offered. Packed with live entertainment post-ride, a BBQ lunch and more, this ride and run will be a great way to start off the summer schedule! Honor Ride Chicago will provide the cycling community of the greater Chicago area with an unforgettable experience.

Is your bike ready to go the distance? Or is your “check engine” light on? >>


11 June: Tour de Cure
Aurora, IL
Tour de Cure Chicago is more than just a cycling event. It’s a life-changing event. A day full of fun and excitement where riders of all levels join forces in the fight to Stop Diabetes and raise critical funds for diabetes research, education and advocacy in support of the American Diabetes Association. The Chicagoland Tour de Cure offers several routes: 100 miles, 65 miles, 40 miles, 20 miles and 10 miles. Enjoy a beautiful ride along the Illinois Prairie Path, or challenge yourself to complete 65 or 100 miles on the open road. Riders can expect amazing start and finish energy, fabulous food options at the rest stops, full lunch and live entertainment at the post-ride party, and much more! So take the Ride of Your Life and sign up today!


11 June: 36th BCLC Ramble
Wilmot, WI
This is a recreational ride, pedaling its way over rural roads which traverse the scenic lakes region of northeastern Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin, sponsored by the Bicycle Club of Lake County. Routes are 30, 50, 70, 100 and 124 miles. The terrain is flat to rolling with a few roller-coaster hills and a challenging climb or two thrown in. Riders of all capabilities are encouraged to participate and enjoy the scenery, good food, and fellowship offered at the ride.


11 – 16 June: Grand Illinois Trail and Parks Bike Tour
Various cities along Rte 66 Trail, IL
The 15th annual Grand Illinois Trail and Parks (GITAP) Bike Tour’s route will feature the Rock River and Mississippi River valleys in scenic northwestern Illinois, with charming towns and great bicycling on quiet roads and some trails. This unforgettable six-day ride will make a 300 mile loop starting and ending in Byron, with stops in Dixon, Savanna, the Quad Cities area (two nights) and Sterling. Choose between our camping and motel options and enjoy overnights filled with good food and good fellowship with riders hailing from around the country. Proceeds benefit Ride Illinois and support our mission to make Illinois a better, safer and more enjoyable place to ride. Registration is limited to 230 riders and is first-come, first-served.


Joe Pepe Sullivan Higher Gear East Tosa Criterium Tour America Dairyland ToAD 2015


15 – 25 June: Tour of America’s Dairyland
Various cities throughout WI
High energy cycling action featuring the best of pro and amateur racers from around the world sponsored by Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board. In addition to cycling, each city will have FREE live entertainment, safe family activities, merchant sidewalk sales and great food, making the TOADs a popular summertime event. New for 2017, enjoy 11 adrenaline-filled days of racing!

  • Thursday, 15 June: Kenosha Food, Folks and Spokes (Criterium), Kenosha, WI
  • Friday, 16 June: East Troy Cycling Classic (Criterium), East Troy, WI
  • Saturday, 17 June: Giro d’ Grafton (Criterium), Grafton, WI
  • Sunday, 18 June: Waukesha Carl Zach Cycling Classic (Criterium), Waukesha, WI
  • Monday, 19 June: Downtown West Bend Concourse, West Bend, WI
  • Tuesday, 20 June: Schlitz Park Criterium, Milwaukee, WI
  • Wednesday, 21 June: Port Washington Race the Harbor (Criterium), Port Washington, WI
  • Thursday, 22 June: Shorewood Criterium Cycling Classic, Shorewood, WI
  • Friday, 23 June: Café Centraal Bay View Classic (Criterium), Milwaukee, WI
  • Saturday, 24 June: ISCorp Downer Classic (Criterium), Milwaukee, WI
  • Sunday, 25 June: East Tosa Gran Prix (Criterium), Wauwatosa, WI

Check out Higher Gear’s own Joe “Pepe” Sullivan’s race report from the 2015 East Tosa Gran Prix >>


Bike Rally Chicago Work Week Bikes Commuter Commuting


16 – 23 June: Chicago Bike Week
The 26th annual Chicago Bike Week is an event that celebrates a commitment to being the best big city for bicycling. Bike Week includes a handful of free events, culminating in the Bike to Work Rally on Friday morning at Daley Plaza in the Loop.

Get tips from Higher Gear commuters to get your bike ready to ride for Chicago Bike Week >>

Before you bike downtown, pothole proof your bike >>


17 June: Horrible Hilly Hundreds
Blue Mounds State Park, WI
Three routes, two county tours, one result: a painfully fun, must-do biking experience destined to find its way onto your June calendar for years to come. Since 2003, Horribly Hilly participants have enjoyed a day of riding that results in an awe-inspiring accumulation of 10,000 feet of elevation gain in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. Growing in popularity each year, the Horribly Hilly registration has moved to an annual lottery system to accommodate the swelling number of interested riders. 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the Horribly Hilly Hundreds. Once voted the “Sufferfest of the Year” by Madison weekly newspaper Isthmus, “The Toughest One-Day Challenge Ride in the Midwest” is not to be missed by serious riders anywhere. How hard do you want to push it? Choose between the 100K, 150K, and 200K routes. The day is capped with a meal featuring quality local food and beer.

Meet Sheila Wilson, who rocks the Horribly Hilly Hundreds >>


17 – 24 June: Great Ohio Bicycle Adventure (GOBA)
Various cities, OH
Fly away with GOBA on an other-worldly experience in the beautiful rolling terrain of Southwest Ohio. The sun, the moon, and the stars align for a bicycle-camping tour like none other. Pedal along with 2,999 fellow travelers for 50 miles per day of the best of the earthly scenery, tempting food treats and entertainment, and the warmest welcome in the universe.


18 June: Ride Across Illinois (RAIL) North
Moline, IL to Chicago, IL
Cycle across the state of Illinois in one day! Bicycle Illinois is proud to announce the Ride Across Illinois (RAIL) event series. Similar to ultra-distance one day cycling events, these fully supported rides will challenge you to push the limits of your endurance while riding from one border of Illinois to the other! The RAIL North ride (June 18th) will be approximately 175 miles and travel from Moline, IL to Chicago, IL. The RAIL South ride (June 24th) will be approximately 165 miles and travel from St. Louis, MO to Vincennes, IN. Both events are extremely physically demanding events, and intended to challenge experienced cyclists in peak physical condition. These events are not suited for novice or inexperienced riders.


24 June: Ride Across Illinois (RAIL) South
St. Louis, MO to Vincennes, IN
Cycle across the state of Illinois in one day! Bicycle Illinois is proud to announce the Ride Across Illinois (RAIL) event series. Similar to ultra-distance one day cycling events, these fully supported rides will challenge you to push the limits of your endurance while riding from one border of Illinois to the other! The RAIL North ride (June 18th) will be approximately 175 miles and travel from Moline, IL to Chicago, IL. The RAIL South ride (June 24th) will be approximately 165 miles and travel from St. Louis, MO to Vincennes, IN. Both events are extremely physically demanding events, and intended to challenge experienced cyclists in peak physical condition. These events are not suited for novice or inexperienced riders.


24 June: Tour for Cancer
Freeport, IL
Ride bicycles to help save lives. This ride raises money for FHN’s Leonard C. Ferguson Cancer Center in Freeport, Illinois. The Center is affiliated with the University of Wisconsin’s Carbone Cancer Center and is dedicated to providing the best possible care for those who battle this dreaded disease. Ride 30, 75 or 105 miles over gorgeous lightly traveled roads. Ride “on the local economy.” In other words, rest stops are local business establishments: convenience stores, restaurants… even a winery. Oh, and there is also a lovely water park in the town of Winslow where you can fill your bottles before heading west on the 75 and 105 mile courses.


24 June: Tour de Witt
Clinton, IL
Partnering with the Clinton Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Bureau to give beginner and expert riders the opportunity to choose from 4 bike routes. Two shorter round-trip loops of approximately 9 and 22 miles and two longer loops 40 and 62 miles.


24 – 29 June: Swiss Cheese & Spotted Cows
Mineral Point, New Glarus & Monroe, WI & Galena, IL
A bicycling tour featuring the best of the driftless area of southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois – an area missed by the glaciers of many years ago resulting in rolling hills, hidden valleys and unspoiled natural beauty. Ride on quiet, pastoral country lanes dotted with small farms and enjoy the Scandinavian, Swiss and Cornish heritages of the quaint communities. The rides average 60 miles/day with stops en route at local bakeries, chocolate and cheese shops. The trip aims to capture the scenery and points of interest while enjoying the exceptional cycling the area is known for. If you like picturesque country lanes, yodeling, post-ride happy hours, historic communities, brewery & cheese factory tours, indoor lodging, bakeries, chin-drippin’ peaches, and some of the best cycling anywhere, this tour is for you!


25 June: Pleasant Prairie Triathlon
Pleasant Prairie, WI
This Triathlon starts and finishes in the picturesque setting of Prairie Springs Park. Lake Andrea, a sparkling 100-acre spring fed lake, will serve as the venue for the swim portion. The bike course uses picturesque roads within the Village of Pleasant Prairie as well as a new frontage road, with long straight-aways. The run course will take you through Prairie Springs Park, on paved and gravel paths. Pleasant Prairie offers a “pleasant” entry for those looking to do their first sprint or international distance triathlon.

Thinking about triathlon? Meet a Higher Gear customer who encourages you to “tri.” >>


25 June: 48th Annual Swedish Days Ride
Burlington, IL
Now in its 48th year, the Swedish Days ride remains one of the premier road bike tours held in the Chicago area. The ride starts and finishes behind Central High School, near Burlington, Illinois. From here all routes travel quiet and scenic paved roads of rural Kane County. The terrain is mostly flat, with the occasional hill. Along the way enjoy frequent rest stops stocked with thirst-quenching beverages and energizing food; including various selections of fruits, breads, and our famous homemade cookies. The ride is sponsored by the Fox Valley Bicycle and Ski Club (FVBSC). Routes are 27-Miles, 45-Miles, 62-Miles, 80-Miles, 100-Miles and 124-Miles.



Higher Gear Gran Fondo Hundo WBR World Bicycle Relief 3 third annual Kenosha Kingfish Gearhead group


July 2017 Cycling Races, Rides & Events


4 July: 4th of July Metric Century Plus
Plainfield, IL
Enjoy this great ride through Kendall and Grundy Counties, southwest of Plainfield, IL. The fully supported Metric Century includes three basic routes: 32, 45 and 68 miles. For those who want to get in a full Century, there is an unsupported 100-mile route option. Each basic route will offer marked routes with low traffic and light hills through farm and rural settings. There will be breaks along the way at strategically placed rest stops to refuel, refresh and chow down on bagels, sandwiches, fruit, cookies and energy drinks.


8 – 9 July: Ride for AIDS Chicago
Chicago, IL
Join more than 350 cyclists and crew for the 14th Annual Ride for AIDS Chicago, a fully supported ride and one of the only double-century rides hosted in the Midwest. The Ride for AIDS Chicago is a two-day, 200-mile, double-century cycling event, with riders traveling from Chicago, Illinois to Elkhorn, Wisconsin and back. New for this year, there is also a 100-mile option. Sponsored by Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN), the Ride strives to be a catalyst for change in the HIV/AIDS Community by raising vital funds for those living with or at risk for HIV, while simultaneously fighting the shame and stigma associated with the disease. 100% of pledges raised by riders benefit the services of TPAN and its community partners.

Higher Gear customer Glenna Lampner tells us: “A century is a party. It’s a party and they’re feeding you.” >>


14 – 23 July: Intelligentsia Cup
Various cities throughout Illinois
Joe Pepe Sullivan Higher Gear racing cycling Specialized Venge Evade Intelligentsia Cup Chicago 2015The Intelligentsia Cup Prairie State Cycling Series is a series of crits and road races in the greater Chicago area that benefits one of Higher Gear’s favorite charities: World Bicycle Relief. Beginning as the Prairie State Cycling Series in 2012 Intelligentsia Coffee joined a year later, renaming the series as well as expanding to seven races. In 2014 the series grew to eight races — seven criteriums and a road race. The series has hosted the Illinois State Road Racing Championships since 2015 and will again this year. While it was previously announced that the series would not return in 2017, local members of the community have since rallied, ensuring the race will be back.

  • Friday, July 14th: 15th Annual Beverly Hills Cycling Classic, Beverly, IL
  • Saturday, July 15th: Tour of Lake Ellyn, Glen Ellyn, IL
  • Sunday, July 16th: Illinois State Road Race Championships, Willow Springs, IL
  • Monday, July 17th: South Chicago Kermesse Road Race, Chicago, IL
  • Tuesday, July 18th: Road Race, Elgin, IL
  • Wednesday, July 19th: West Dundee River Challenge, West Dundee, IL
  • Thursday, July 20th: Niles, IL
  • Friday, July 21st: 5th Annual Elmhurst Cycling Classic (Twilight Criterium), Elmhurst, IL
  • Saturday, July 22nd: Northwestern Medicine Lake Bluff Criterium & Block Party, Lake Bluff, IL
  • Sunday, July 23rd: Goose Island Grand Prix p/b SRAM, Chicago, IL

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



15 July: Ride Across Indiana (RAIN)
Terre Haute to Richmond, IN
Are you ready to ride 160 miles across Indiana? Join this one-day adventure and find out whether you have what it takes to be a RAIN finisher! The ride begins at 7am on the campus of St. Mary-of-the-Woods College in Terre Haute, Indiana, and crosses the state to Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana. The 160-mile length runs mostly on the Historic National Route 40, an older, divided four-lane road with light traffic and gentle rolling hills. You should be able to average at least 12 to 14 mph for over 11 hours.


16 July: Tri-State Tour #1
Hammond, IN to Kenosha, WI
Bicycle Illinois is excited to present the Tri-State Tour. With this tour, you’ll travel through three states in one day! The ride will begin just over the Illinois/Indiana border in Hammond, Indiana and finish in Kenosha, Wisconsin, traveling north along Lake Michigan through Illinois. The single day event covers approximately 85 miles and includes a century option as well. Tri-State Tour #2 is in August.


15 July: Z-Tour Bike Ride
Princeton, IL
For the seventh year in a row, the scenic Z-Tour offers 30-, 50-, 65- and 100-mile routes beginning and ending at Princeton’s beautiful Zearing Park. There is also a 10-mile family ride. This road ride provides you a chance to enjoy some of the best bike roads that northwest Illinois has to offer. The routes will feature loops that incorporate hills, rolling terrain, beautiful views of Bureau Creek with minimal traffic.


16 July: Biking with Beanzie
DeKalb, IL
This recreational ride consists of primarily flat rural roads with some rolling terrain with estimated ride options of 25, 46, 62, 80 or 101 miles. There are also 3, 5 and 8-mile family/community bicycle pathway routes. All ride routes are provided with rest stops and water stops, regardless of the length of the route chosen. BWB is a “family” event that promotes fitness and family fun. Profits from this ride go to support the Kishwaukee Bike Pathway Projects and other projects within DeKalb County.


Specialized Transition Expert triathlete Aaron Sherrick Racine 70.3 triathlon16 July: Ironman 70.3 Racine
Racine, WI
Local and world class triathletes gather in Racine to compete over a fast course for one of the 30 qualifying slots available to the 2018 IRONMAN 70.3 World Championship in Nelson Mandela Bay, South Africa. Athletes traverse a point-to-point 1.2-mile swim along Lake Michigan’s North Beach. The bike is an exciting, mostly rolling, 56-mile course through the countryside of Racine County. There are a handful of steeper climbs to keep athletes honest. The 13.1-mile, double out-and-back run course features a tour of the Racine Zoo and the beautiful Lake Michigan coastline. The course is very flat and fast.

Higher Gear customer Aaron Sherrick encourages you to give triathlon a “tri!” >>


16 July: CFK 60
Bloomington, Illinois
Stop the cycle of abuse! True to Stop the Cycle tradition – three 60’s to give a kid’s life a chance at a 180 – enjoy a single day, 60-mile ride that will support Stop the Cycle. A 30-mile option is also available.


Venus de Miles Lake Forest22 July: Venus de Miles
Lake Forest, IL
Celebrate the spirit of sisterhood with an exhilarating ride or run under the Illinois sun! With the choice of a 25-mile or 60-mile ride or a 5k run, Venus de Miles is an unforgettable day of fun with extensive on-course support, complimentary lunch and cocktails, post-event pampering and a stylish commemorative t-shirt. All proceeds benefit Greenhouse Scholars, an education non-profit cultivating extraordinary young leaders from low-income communities.



22 – 23 July: 25th Anniversary Scenic Shore 150 Bike Tour
Mequon – Sturgeon Bay, WI
The Scenic Shore 150 Bike Tour is a two-day, 150-mile, fully-supported cycling event that is open to riders of all ages and abilities. One of Wisconsin’s most popular bike rides, the Scenic Shore 150 is the largest locally organized and supported event for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The beautiful shoreline of Lake Michigan is the picturesque setting for a weekend of riding the shore for a cure!  You join up to 1,500 cycling enthusiasts who will pedal 150 miles in support of a cure for blood cancer. Your life will be changed as you are cheered on and supported on the route by blood cancer survivors and their families! The Scenic Shore 150 Bike Tour was named Best Cycling Event in the Midwest by Competitor Magazine for the 3rd year in a row!  To celebrate 25 years of the Scenic Shore 150, there is a new 25-mile route, bringing a taste of Scenic Shore to even more riders!


23 July: Ride Ataxia
Channahon, IL
Appealing to all levels of cycling abilities, the fourth annual Ride Ataxia Chicago will include 4, 12, 32, and 52 mile route options with a meal provided by Outback Steakhouse, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, and Bonefish Grill after the ride. Enjoy beautiful rural Chicago river views and delicious food while raising money for FARA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to research and a cure for Friedreich’s Ataxia (FA), a debilitating, life-shortening, degenerative neuro-muscular disorder. Registration includes T-shirt (with early registration), Strong SAG support, rest stop food and delicious lunch provided by Outback Steakhouse.


RAGBRAI 2010 Team Newkie Dyersville Iowa IA23 – 29 July: RAGBRAI XLV
From Orange City to Lancing, Iowa
The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state. It is the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world. The route averages 468 miles, always beginning along Iowa’s western border on the Missouri River and ending at the eastern border on the Mississippi River. This year’s participants will be rolling through northern Iowa. The people of Iowa truly make RAGBRAI a special event by opening up their towns and communities to participants. You are invited to enjoy this Iowa hospitality and a memorable trip across the state.

Higher Gear customer Dr. Tony Breitbach takes his touring bike on the road – through Iowa and beyond!



Gran Fondo Hundo Higher Gear metric century bike ride Kane County Cougars fifth third ballpark Geneval Illinois IL baseball23 July: 4th Annual Gran Fondo Hundo presented by Higher Gear
Wilmette, IL to Kenosha, WI
Join 99 of your friends for Higher Gear’s fourth annual Gran Fondo Hundo. This metric century will take us one-way from Higher Gear-Wilmette up to historic Simmons Field in Kenosha, WI. At the ride finish, you’ll be treated to showers, grub and a Kenosha Kingfish baseball game. Rest stops will be provided along the route. Riders will be transported back to Wilmette to meet up with their bikes. Registration to this event is extremely limited; you’re encouraged to register early so that you don’t miss out.

Register now for our 4th annual Gran Fondo Hundo >>

Learn more about our Gran Fondo Hundo >>

Check out the recap of our first annual Gran Fondo Hundo >>

We hit it out of the park again for our second annual Gran Fondo Hundo >>

Our third time is a charm >>



29 July: Tour de Fat
Chicago, IL
Tour de Fat is New Belgium Brewing’s traveling celebration of all things bicycle, honoring humankind’s greatest invention. Born in Fort Collins, Colorado, to increase awareness and participation in cycling as a sustainable form of transportation, Tour de Fat has grown into a national rite of passage for cycling advocates and bon vivants alike. Opening each show with a costumed bike parade through the host city, Tour de Fat celebrates the power of the bike by encouraging everyone to embrace their inner-cyclist and ride the streets as a rolling carnival of creativity. The festival also features a celebration of the inspirational car-for-bike swapper series in which brave souls hand over their car keys as a commitment to commute by bike. The car-for-bike program is what gives Tour de Fat its deeper meaning as people make a life-changing commitment. Anyone is welcome to be a swapper – whether you’re an avid cyclist or just starting to rekindle your love for the bike.


29 – 31 July: CowaLUNGa
Gurnee, IL
Join hundreds of cyclists to continue the tradition of supporting lung health through advocacy, education and research! Escape the noise of the city for a weekend pedaling over rolling hills through northern Illinois into southern Wisconsin. Choose your challenge! Cyclists of all ages and abilities will ride anywhere from 18 miles to over 190 miles over one, two or three days. Along the way, you’ll meet new friends and experience an unparalleled level of camaraderie and support from other cyclists and the Respiratory Health Association.

Higher Gear customer Glenna Lampner tells us: “A century is a party. It’s a party and they’re feeding you.” >>



Joe Pepe Sullivan Higher Gear racing cycling Specialized Venge Evade 2015 Two Rivers Road Race


August 2017 Cycling Races, Rides & Events


5 – 11 August: Schramm’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Wisconsin (SAGBRAW)
Various cities, WI, including 3 nights in Door County
Come join the 40th SAGBRAW, Wisconsin’s oldest cross-state bicycle tour and enjoy a piece of cycling heaven. You’ll pedal at your own pace over some of the most picturesque, bicycle-friendly terrain in the state. Refuel with some of the best pie in the world. Sample Wisconsin’s finest cheeses. Meet new and old friends under a blue, Midwestern sky. And don’t forget to wave to the cows!


6 August: Stray Kats Aroma Park Road Race, ABR Illinois Championship
Aroma Park, IL
Part of the Tour of Illinois & Wisconsin (TOI/W) Series, this event also serves as the ABR Illinois Road Racing Championship.

Check out Pepe’s race report from the 2015 ABR IL Championship >>


6 August: Two Rivers Century
Kankakee, IL
An enjoyable one-day ride in Kankakee County along two scenic Illinois Rivers. In addition to the two rivers, riders will also see downtown Kankakee, Kankakee Community College, The Shapiro Clock Tower, barn quilts, two Frank Lloyd Wright homes, border town Momence and its “Island Park”, buffalo, Watseka, one of the largest and oldest wood frame churches in IL, corn, beans and more! Six distance options: 22, 47, 62, 80, 100 and 128 miles.

Higher Gear customer Glenna Lampner tells us: “A century is a party. It’s a party and they’re feeding you.”


12 August: Dairyland Dare Grand Fondo Wisconsin
Dodgeville, WI
Wisconsin’s oldest gran fondo. Set in southwest Wisconsin, the land untouched by glacial flattening, the Dairyland Dare Gran Fondo Wisconsin offers some of the most extreme hills in the Midwest. Pick from six chip timed one day challenges: 50K, 100K, 150K, 200K, 250K or 300K.

Meet Sheila Wilson, who rocked the Dairyland Dare.


12 August: One Day Ride Across Michigan (ODAM)
Various cities, MI
The state of Michigan also offers a one day trip, departing from the western edge. The 145ish mile route typically presents riders with the most challenging portion while their legs are fresh. The first 80 miles takes riders over rolling hills and a gradual elevation climb. The roads are overwhelmingly rural and present minimal car traffic. Proceeds benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation’s Ride to Cure Program.


12 – 13 August: Illinois Timed Event State Championships
Northbrook, IL
More exciting track action at the Ed Rudolph Velodrome in Northbrook.


13 August: Wood Dale Criterium
Wood Dale, IL
Part of the Tour of Illinois & Wisconsin (TOI/W) Series and the Illinois State Criterium Championship.

Get in to Higher Gear for a Tune-Up, so you’re ready to race >>


19 August: Ride Like An Egyptian
DeKalb, IL
A fun and enjoyable bike ride through DeKalb and Kane Counties and support the historic Egyptian Theatre, a fully restored 1929 Egyptian-themed art deco movie palace and vaudeville house. This bike ride offers four mix-n-match 25-mile loops, with all routes utilizing a central rest stop that is indoors with air conditioning/heat and real restrooms. The end-of-ride meal has continually been ranked as one of the best offered for bike rides. The ride begins and ends at the Egyptian Theatre, so you will have the opportunity to explore this historic landmark. 


19 – 25 August: Bicycle Illinois
Cairo to Chicago, IL
Starting from the town of Cairo at Illinois’ southernmost tip and ending in the heart of downtown Chicago, Bicycle Illinois is the only cycling event across the entire state of Illinois. Held annually, the fully supported ride covers 500 to 600 miles with nightly stops in Cairo, Carbondale, Centralia, Effingham, Champaign and Kankakee. For riders looking for even more of a challenge, a century option is available every day of the ride. There will be six consecutive days of riding with pre-designated, supported rest stops along the way. Each ride segment is an estimated 20 miles between rest stops. As always, this route follows the safest, most direct route between our stopping towns. For a bigger challenge, you can continue cycling north to Wisconsin the following day on the Tri-State Tour, which also includes a century option. That’s up to 7 centuries in 7 days – no other cycling event comes close!


Winfield Criterium Crit Higher Gear Joe Pepe Sullivan


20 August: Winfield Criterium/ABR National Criterium Championships
Winfield, IL
The Winfield Criterium is Athlete By Design’s annual neighborhood road-racing event. Enjoy an evening of professional and amateur racing followed by a party in the park for non-stop excitement. There will be food, drink and entertainment for racers, spectators and visitors. Proceeds from the event will be donated to the Advocates of the Winfield Riverwalk and a portion of each entry fee to be donated to Special Olympics. Great prizes and raffles!

Check out Junior racer Pepe’s race report from the 2014 Winfield Criterium >>


20 August: Chicago Cinder Classic   CANCELLED
Chicago, IL
Check out this new event on the calendar for 2017: a team bike relay race and fundraiser for Active Transport Alliance at Winnemac Stadium’s cinder track, near Foster and Damen. (Cinder is fine gravel mixed with ash.) Each team of four racers will ride 100 laps (25 miles) on identical single speed bikes, sharing a single speed bike loaned by Active Trans. Registration is limited to 24 teams in each division and teams are provided entry on a first-come-first-serve basis, with starting position determined by registration order. Sign up early to secure the best spot possible! If you’ve ever watched the film “Breaking Away” or seen the cinder track relay race at Indiana University, you know how fun and exciting these races are. You don’t want to miss this event!


20 August: Bike Psychos Century XXXIV
Coal City, IL
Follow the historic I&M Canal Corridor over scenic country roads along the Illinois River. Choose from routes of 30, 50, 70, 100 or 124 miles. This ride features a great route, friendly staff, fabulous fresh food, awesome SAG drivers, bottled water and lots of fun. Showers are available and both massage therapy and insulated water bottles are available for a nominal fee. A classic ride with a bike club celebrating over 30 years.

Higher Gear customer Glenna Lampner tells us: “A century is a party. It’s a party and they’re feeding you.”


25 – 27 August: Ride Across Wisconsin (RAW)
Dubuque to Kenosha, WI
Join the Trek-Segafredo Racing team, along with special guest Jens Voigt for the third-annual Ride Across Wisconsin – 175 miles across the greatest state ever. You don’t want to miss the incredible route, unbeatable scenery, and rare chance to ride handlebar-to-handlebar with cycling legends! The ride begins in Dubuque and follows scenic, low traffic roads 175 miles across the bottom of the state, includes a ceremonial lap around the Washington Park Velodrome and ends on at Simmons Island Beach along the shore of Lake Michigan in Kenosha.


26 August: Tri-State Tour #2
Hammond, IN to Kenosha, WI
Bicycle Illinois is excited to present the Tri-State Tour. With this tour, you’ll travel through three states in one day! The ride will begin just over the Illinois/Indiana border in Hammond, Indiana and finish in Kenosha, Wisconsin, traveling north along Lake Michigan through Illinois. The single day event covers approximately 85 miles and includes a century option as well. (The Tri-State Tour #1 is held in July.) For those who want a greater challenge, hit up this tri-state tour after completing the Bicyle Illinois route to complete 7 centuries in 7 days.


26 August: C-U Across the Prairie
Urbana, IL
Prairie Cycle Club’s 46th Annual Cycling Extravaganza coincides with downtown Urbana’s annual Sweet Corn Festival! Choose from ride options of 15 to 100 miles over gently rolling terrain. There’s also a 7 mile family ride, so everyone can participate.


26 August: Bloomington Criterium
Bloomington, IL
This will be the fifth year where participants race through downtown Bloomington in this one-day event that features different cycling races. For 2016, this race was also host to the 2016 Illinois Criterium State Championship.


2014 North Shore Century Evanston Bike Club Specialized Higher Gear


September 2017 Cycling Races, Rides & Events


10 September: Harmon Hundred
Wilmot, WI
2017 marks the 48th year of this annual, non-competitive scenic ride through southern Wisconsin. Choose from 25, 50, 75 or 100 mile routes. Enjoy well-marked and quiet country roads, cue sheets, SAG support, friendly volunteers and our well-stocked rest stops that receive RAVE reviews every year. Free showers will be available after the ride


10 September: Ironman Wisconsin
Madison, WI
Aaron Sherrick 2015 Ironman IM Madison Wisconsin Wattie Ink Specialized Shiv EvadeIn the bucolic college town of Madison, triathletes compete for one of the qualifying slots for the 2018 IRONMAN World Championship in Kailua-Kona, HI. The one-loop swim takes place in Lake Monona in downtown Madison. Spectators will have a panoramic view of the swim from the Monona Terrace, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The bike course takes riders 16 miles out of town before beginning two 40-mile loops in rural Dane County. The course offers many tough climbs and turns throughout, but athletes will get a lift as they pass through the crowds at the Verona Loop Festival. Athletes will complete two run loops, which include downtown Madison, the University of Wisconsin campus, Camp Randal Stadium, State Street and the scenic path alongside Lake Mendota. Spectator support for Ironman Wisconsin is legendary across the Ironman race circuit.

Thinking about triathlon? Meet a Higher Gear customer who encourages you to “tri.” >>


16 & 23 – 24 September: ABD Fall Fling Criterium
West Chicago, IL
Part of the Tour of Illinois & Wisconsin (TOI/W) Series.


NST North Shore Triathlon Wilmette Illinois 2016 Precision Multisport swim bike run17 September: North Shore Triathlon
Wilmette, IL

Back for its fifth year, the North Shore Triathlon and SuperSprint Triathlon once again brings multisport close to home with stunning sprint-distance and supersprint-distance courses through the beautiful Wilmette, Winnetka and Kenilworth neighborhoods of the North Shore. If you’re looking for a local race that is fast, flat, and fun, you’ve found the race for you! There’s a relay option as well as volunteer opportunities.

HG customers, check back for a discount code!

Thinking about triathlon? Meet a Higher Gear customer who encourages you to “tri.”


17 September: North Shore Century
Evanston, IL
North Shore Century 2015 Evanston Bicycle Club Higher Gear Elyer SherrickThe North Shore Century offers incredibly scenic biking. You’ll experience luxurious neighborhoods, view unique architectural treasures, pedal down tranquil tree-lined streets and feel the refreshing breezes of Lake Michigan. Open it up in the flat to rolling countryside between Chicago and Wisconsin. The 100-mile ride is what this event is famous for. For those looking for a more leisurely day out on the bike with the opportunity to see some of the most architecturally impressive homes, choose from 70-, 62-, 50- or 25-mile rides.

Read Higher Gear’s own Joy Sherrick’s experience at the 2013 North Shore Century >>

Meet a young 2014 North Shore Century participant >>

A Gearhead used the 2015 NSC to say farewell to the north shore >>


24 September: Apple Cider Century
Three Oaks, MI
2017 marks the 44th annual Apple Cider Century in Three Oaks, Michigan. This Century is a one-day 15, 25, 37, 50, 62, 75 or 100 mile bicycle tour of the orchards, forests and wine country in and around Three Oaks, Michigan. It hosts over 5,500 cyclists riding through the countryside and towns of Southwest Michigan. Casual to expert riders enjoy the food, sights and sounds and camaraderie of fall cycling.

Higher Gear customer Glenna Lampner tells us: “A century is a party. It’s a party and they’re feeding you.”


24 September: Prairie Pedal
Decatur, IL
Prairie Pedal is an annual bicycle ride fundraising event for the Macon County Conservation Foundation held in the fall. 20-, 40- and 62-mile routes are available. All proceeds support the conservation of natural areas and wildlife in Macon County, Illinois.


October 2017 Cycling Races, Rides & Events


1 October: Bike the Ridge
Evanston, IL
Bike the Ridge Evanston cycling IL Illinois familyBicycles are not allowed on Ridge Avenue at any other time, so come out and enjoy this non-competitive, City-sponsored special event! Ridge Avenue will be closed to vehicular traffic so bicyclists may ride on a 2-mile stretch of Ridge Avenue, from Howard Street to Church Street. The event kicks off at 9am at the intersection of Ridge Avenue and Howard Street. Children are encouraged to decorate their bikes in advance. Activities will be held along the route. Non-bicyclists are encouraged to walk along the sidewalks of Ridge Avenue and support the bicyclists. Bike-related activities are plentiful.

Get in to Higher Gear for a Tune-Up, so you’re ready to ride!


1 October: Kickstand Classic
Bartlett, IL
The Kickstand Classic returns for its second year to beautiful suburban Bartlett. No spandex required for this race, which is perfect for first-timers! Racers are electronically timed and grouped with people of similar abilities on a car-free course. See how fast you can ride for this 10, 14.5 or 19-mile race. You choose the distance. Everyone is welcome! Proceeds benefit the nonprofit Active Transportation Alliance.



1 October: Pumpkin Pie Ride
Ottawa, IL
The 28th Pumpkin Pie Bicycle Ride, is organized by the Starved Rock Cycling Association. The Ride takes place in scenic North Central Illinois. Routes include but are not limited to Road Rides 25, 45, 63, 100 mile routes, with light traffic and rolling hills. Registration includes: pumpkin pie after the ride, rest stops with fresh baked cookies and other food items, hydration, maps and cue sheets.


1 October: Pumpkin Pedal
Sycamore, IL
Join the fun of the Pumpkin Pedal!! This is a wonderful ride for families and serious riders. This year’s 10-, 20- and 26-mile trail rides will be entirely on the Great Western Trail. The 40- and 62-mile road rides will be on roads. Besides the fun you’ll have and the great people you’ll meet, you’ll be riding to help Special Olympics athletes. Your entry will support year-round training for Illinois athletes with intellectual disabilities.


2 October: Al Stern Marathon Road Race
Aroma Park, IL
Part of the Tour of Illinois/Wisconsin (TOI/W) Series.


6 – 8 October: Stop the Cycle 2016
Spring Grove, IL
Stop the Cycle of Abuse is a three day cycling tour and camping event. With our base camp located the beautiful Chain of Lakes State Park. Ride 30, 45 or 60 miles for one, two or three days. This fully supported ride is not a race; it is an awareness and fundraising event. Can’t make it? Do the virtual ride! Log your miles to qualify for the fundraising incentives.


6 -8 October: 50th Annual Hilly Hundred Bicycle Tour
Southern Indiana
2017 marks the 50th Annual Hilly Hundred Bicycle Tour in beautiful Southern Indiana. Two 50 mile days of riding on country roads over challenging hills. Also 30-mile options. Lunch, sag stops, and entertainment included. Also available: on site camping, dining and local amenities in Bloomington and Ellettsville.


WBR Brickyard Challenge Gran Fondo Tour de Cure Indiana Indianapolis Motor Speedway World Bicycle Relief Buffalo BikeTBD: WBR Challenge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis, IN
The World Bicycle Relief Challenge at Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a one of a kind cycling event that takes place at the most famous oval in sports! All riders will complete timed laps at the Brickyard. The race is more than just another event. It’s a life changing event for participants and beneficiaries. A day full of fun and excitement where riders of all levels join forces to challenge themselves, fight diabetes and provide bicycles to the world. This ride is held in conjunction with the Indiana Tour de Cure (see below). Sign up to take the Ride of Your Life!



7 October: 2017 Indiana Tour de Cure
Indianapolis, IN
Tour de Cure is more than just a cycling event, it’s a day full of fun and excitement where riders of all levels join forces in the fight to Stop Diabetes and raise critical funds for diabetes research, education and advocacy in support of the American Diabetes Association. So take the Ride of Your Life and sign up today! Whether you are an occasional rider or an experienced cyclist, there is a route just for you: 50k, 75k, 100 mile, Friends/Family ride and WBR Gran Fondo.


TBD October: GITy Up!
Rock Island, IL
GITy Up! is bite-sized, overnight bike touring on the Great River Trail along the Mighty Mississippi in western Illinois, from Rock Island to Port Byron and the communities and forest preserves along the way. Inspired by the 450-mile Grand Illinois Trail, GITy Up! is a single overnight, supported bike tour for beginning bike campers, for families, for the expert with restless legs but only a weekend free. You’ll cover 50 miles total of trail-based bike touring spread out over two days and a glorious evening of camping in between. It’s crazy healthy happy fun!



Not on the Calendar for 2017

Coordinating a bike race or a cycling event presents many challenges. Sometimes everything doesn’t fall into place. While the following aren’t on the calendar for 2017, we hope they will return in the near future:



Maxx Hall Higher Gear mechanic wrench WilmetteHigher Gear hopes you have a great summer of riding! Don’t get on your bike without 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!


For more event listings, visit Chicago Bike Racing, League of Illinois Bicyclists, Wisconsin Cycling Association, Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin, Michigan Bicycle Racing Association, and League of Michigan Bicylists.


To stay current with local events, sign up for our weekly newsletter. Check back here (from our home page, click Riding/Racing >> Chicagoland Cycling Calendar), as we’ll update our calendar as events are added and dates are finalized. If you or your team have an event not listed here, please contact us and let us know about it.



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Wilmette | 847-256-2330

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