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Section 3 – Joliet to Bureau

20160522_101925_001On May 22, 2016 we rode through Joliet to the trail head for the I&M Canal. My long report is on my blog, www.jeannemeeks.com , under the Outdoor Adventure tab. The post is entitled Day 2 – Epic Bike Adventure.  The I&M report continues on Day 3 – Epic Bike Adventure.

Our Day 3 ended in Spring Valley. Day 4, the next morning, riding streets to Bureau was the most dangerous part of our cross-state ride. But over all it was a great trip.

Section 2 – Lansing to Joliet

We rode from Lansing to Joliet on two different days (late April, 2016 and May 22, 2016) as part of a cross-state adventure. My report plus pictures20160507_081304 is on my blog at www.jeannemeeks.com under  the Outdoor Adventure tab. The blog post is entitled “Day 1 – Epic Bike Adventure” and covers the Indiana border through the Thorn Creek trail system, to the Old Plank Trail as far as New Lenox.

“Day 2 – Epic….” covers from New Lenox, through Joliet, to the start of the I& M Canal.

It was a great ride.



More Trails in the Southern part of the Route!

Seems like there’s more trail options in the map regions connecting GITride01 and GITride02



20140806_112957 20140806_113007 20140806_113212 20140806_125423 20140806_125754 20140806_125800 20140806_130930 20140806_130935 20140806_134038 20140806_134042 20140806_142525 20140806_143205 20140806_143615 20140806_152022 20140806_152025 20140806_154342 20140806_154519 20140807_112851 20140807_112857 20140807_112901 20140807_113105 20140807_12551020140807_132248 20140807_132635 20140807_134633 20140807_140233 20140807_152409 20140807_152614 20140807_154503 20140807_155104 20140807_162649 20140807_164513 20140807_170119 20140807_171558 20140807_171626 20140807_171632 20140808_125426 20140808_125438 20140808_125458 20140808_125621 20140808_130710 20140808_134211 20140808_134219 20140808_135745 20140808_135837 20140808_145740 20140808_151035 20140808_151118 20140808_152053 20140808_152147 20140808_152940 20140808_153315 20140808_154356 20140808_16071308/05/14 I left the house earlier around 6 a.m. it was easier to get going since I had my bags packed and mounted. I took the cta to the loop rode my bike a couple of block to the Metra station. Lasalle st. station (nice building CBOE) asked a metra police to watch my bike good people. Metra to Joilet rode to the start of Section 3 Slammers minor league baseball stadium, Billie Limacher Bicentennial Park (GIT checkpoint), St Patrick’s Church, Illinois river/I&M Canal, Trail closed after Marseilles took the detour. I checked the gps and didn’t want to ride extra miles went up the hill toward the trail. The trail is graded for replacement. Went aroung the fence it was pushed back by other riders/hikers. Bridge totally dropped walked the bike on the wall crossed the river. I&M Canal State Trail Gebhard Woods State Park 3:46 p.m. ranger station, nice straight trail just keeps going and going. I figured don’t think about how far I’ve got to go just enjoy the ride. I used my I-pod off and on. I really used it when the bugs started in on me. Nice Bridge built in 1995 before Ottawa, M. J. Hogan Grain elevator in Seneca. Tanked up at caseys gas station and drank gatorade/h20. Open country leading to Marseilles. Used a country road a little ways next to the trail. almost hit a racoon with my front tire. The trail narrows to a single trak! Made it to Ottawa spent the night in the hotel. 08/06/14 –Decided not to use the tent/sleeping bag. I will use them (4 season tent winter bag) in the spring for sections 5,6,7, and half of 8. Too many mosquitos! They would follow me so in the evening breaks were short.  Ottawa visitor’s center and Reddick Mansion, Lincoln and Douglas statues in Washington Park. Fox River, Collector office, nice rock east of Lasalle and trail washed out go around the left side path to the little bridge totally flattened use the boards walk across and up the hill. A huge oak tree across the trail just east of split rock, Split rock, lock 14 3:41 p.m, rode to Princeton slept in the hotel. 08/07/14– Slept in 10:15 a.m checked out. Huge bridge called Captin swift really nice. Cool steel bridge, Nice lock, Another huge steel lock, Tunnel- I rode through just keep your head down and be alert, Hennepin Canal Parkway Visitor Center 3:34 p.m, selfe HCPVC, Alert Bridge out I-80 with construction going on crane and everything; I’m thinking now what? I see a little mark in the grass toward I-80. I follow it to a little fence and go around/over the wire. walk on I-80 construction site. I walk my bike south then start to ride south 300 yards, then cross I-80 Eyes Peeled, shoulder north to the bridge down the ditch through the grass to the other side. I made it now back to riding! Very wide open country! Nice lock, aqueduct no.4 Coal Creek (nice), Geneseo Hotel slept in checked out 10:15 a.m. 08/08/14 -Green river bridge, Green river, Lock goes under the river, Warning Trail washed out take hard right to the path around. I stopped took a break camera blacked out right a a doe and two fawns came along the edge in the  corn field 30 yrds. Missed the photo but good memories. I hit paved trail sweet crusing easier wooooo I almost hit this ground hog on the corner of a bridge! Stopped for a photo, Rock River sweet, Moline Prison, Empire Park East Moline/Heritage Center Hampton. Selfe EP Moline! Mighty Mississippi, Going to the East Moline Airport Mississippi River, GIT signage, River boat, Rented a car, had huge great steak at Montana Jacks near the airport, Drove back east stayed at my parents west of Dekalb. Drove home to the city on 08/09/14. Great GIT Sections 3&4! I hope you like the photos!20140805_062712 20140805_063533 20140805_090550 20140805_092006 20140805_092243 20140805_09250720140805_092600 20140805_092624 20140805_092716 20140805_092723 20140805_092731 20140805_092734 20140805_092754 20140805_093216 20140805_093932 20140805_094040 20140805_094045 20140805_121533 20140805_122807 20140805_124932 20140805_124936 20140805_124943 20140805_124947 20140805_153105  20140805_15335920140805_15400320140805_15455620140805_15494020140805_16020920140805_16361320140805_16364420140805_16364820140805_17453620140805_18030420140805_18464120140805_195659



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Christopher Eccher section 2
07/24/14 Slept in checked out 10:45.
Quick breakfast. Old Plank Trail nice. Matteson, Railroad Park, Caboose car, Nice houses, Outdoor auto shoe frankfort sweet Charger my dad had one I remember that 4barrel 440 v8 sweet! Mosquitos are coming around me when I stop long straight trail-Don’t think about the miles enjoy the ride. Slammers park, Casino, I&m Canal Trail Brandon st. Checked in the hotel ate at steak and shake. Crashed had to make the morning train Metra to downtown.  This 40 mile day got easier than yesterday. see my photos in this site. I’m glad I got The complete Grand Illinois Trail Guidebook I love the info. and the GIT Check points (Trail Blazer Program) in the back it helps so much to make sure to visit these point along the route. I hope you enjoy my photos. Got on the Thorn Creek Trail (see photos ) sweet I pumped for the days ride. nice signs and historical info/photos/maps. Nice Stream (see photo). Rail Fan Park nice signs/maps, historical info. (see photos). OLD PLANK ROAD trail sweet! (see photo). Illinois Central R.R. 9951  (see photos). Matteson OPRT  (see photo). Canal nice wet lands, birds, prarie.(see photo). Took a break nice stairs and saw other nice little bridges to back yards nice.  (see photo).Watch out for crossings you got cars coming some fast. You gotta watch and stop. Great house  (see photos). I was tempted to knock on the door and ask I they could rent me a room but I was rested, going to joilet and decided I didn’t want to get arrested. Frankfort Nice Grainery /town auto show/ Old Plank Trail Sign pimpin for the camera. (see photos). Sweet Bridge (see Photo). Had to use the bathroom saw these porta toilets. Nice Baseball Park!(see photos). New Lenox (see photo). Joilet Bridge/Casino/Bardge/Brandon St. I&M Canal Signs/Maps/Historical Info. (see photos). Metra/CTA-Back  home; put my rig up on this wall for my big finnish to sections 1&2! Along the trail I always stop to snap a photo if I see something interesting. I hope you like my photos. I hope you have fun riding Section 2; I know I did!





Section 1 Maywood to Lansing

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My name is Christopher Eccher. I decided to ride the GIT in sections classic loop followed by all of the alternates 767 miles TOTAL GIT I call it. I could change the order such as half of 8 and complete 9 then 4,5,6,7,half of 8, then alternates. I am using public trans CTA, METRA, Amtrak, and car rental. I found out about the GIT because I decided I was too busy to go hiking 14ers in Colorado this summer. I also will through hike The Colorado Trail (CT) hiking 550miles in 2 months when I retire from teaching. I am hoping to inspire everyone at Nathan S. Davis Elementary School-staff, parents, and students to be active (Chicago Lives Healthy Program) and healthy as well. I wondered if their was an Illinois trail and that’s where this site and the DNR site gave me the plan to do it. I have a 20in foldable bike I bought to put it the trunk, go to my mechanic, ride to work, use to ride to the lake, easy storage, and use on public trans. It is a six speed. I decided to use this bike since I could utilize public trans and I already owned it. I decided to just put all my photos up here instead of having everyone just read about it. I bought a front bag, rear rack, bed roll, tent, lights, SEAT CUSHION a must, and tire opener, pump, grips, slimed the tires, and an extra tube. Well I’m off 7/23/14-woke 4:30 am ouch. It took me 3.5 hours to leave the house! I was really thinking it over and getting food,water, clothes,MAPS and bags set. I ordered The complete GIT guide book by Todd Volker great for making sure of GIT check points. Food,hotel, bike repair, and historical info. Left 8am! took the L-train to the loop connected to the blue line. I had to fold my bike Rush Hour! Went throught the turn stile Blue line to Forrest Park rode to 5th ave. GIT start Maywood to Lansing. Wow almost 10 am I’m worried about making it to Lansing before dark I didn’t train at all for this I just figure I could ride 8-9 hours eat my food/h2o as I go and eat a good dinner. Section 1 tuff urban ride; lots of city traffic used the bike lane. I hope it will be easier later. Route finding but downloaded the maps and printed them a must for you cannot trust the cell even with 6 batteries. River Forrest nice histrical homes and fresh h20 at the park tanked up. Rested on a bus bench just west of halsted tired! Wondering if I can do it got back at it. Once I got to Navy Pier I was pumped to do it and once I reached Lansing I knew I will do the complete GIT 767! I forgot my Ipod killed my batteries listening to “Into The Wild” sound track on utube. Stopped by just before Calumet Park canal my old boating ground, new development that got stalled because of 08 melt down nice road but had to double back! I missed the pic for William Powers State Area dead batteries! Not happy-but I learned to conserve power and use the ipod next time. The ipod was good for section 3-4; good for relaxing/getting a rhythm. I will attach photos. I was dead tired 40 miles stayed in the hotel lansing killed the Ihop, rode to joilet the next day see section 2 then metra home. I needed that king bed to rest my legs. Once I got to Lansing I knew I was hooked and could do 40miles a day as a pace. Didn’t use the tent/bag but need them for sections4-8.5 a 6day ride. see my pics I hope you like them. I took many!

GITride Covers 767 miles in trail reports. Overnight.

gitride_130x130When you ask bicycle riders what kinds of issues they encountered on the Grand Illinois Trail Ride, their chief complaint always seems to concern routing and unexpected hazards that they would have rather avoided.

GITride addresses this need with a user-driven, volunteer, hazard identification system. A system that benefits all user groups: Riders/Tourists, Business Owners, and Local Volunteers.

We’re prototyping some tools that, while a little clunky, can get the job done.

Right now,
and with little effort.

By utilizing the interactive reporting system, a few riders can deliver an up-to-date status on trail condition, closures, and detours for every map on the trail. That’s about 767 miles.  There are 13 maps. All maps are under 80 miles. Two or three people per map could complete the review in five or six hours. Simultaneously.

The framework wasn’t developed overnight, but now, the data certainly can be.

In one place.
User Driven.

This benefits of course, the users, but also local municipalities and volunteers who consider that part of the trail their own.

Be a rider reporter. No registration required.
Find out more here.


2013-001 Ron Bolin GIT Loop Tour

Ron Bolin of Homer Glen completed a Grand Illinois Trail Ride in 2013. He documented his experience, took some great pictures, and posted them here. Ron is a Grand Illinois Trail Ride Trailblazer.

Thanks Ron!

See Ron’s Profile here:

See Rons Trip Report Here:

Grand Illinois Trail Ride Publishes its Chart of Loops


The Grand Illinois Trail Ride is an athletic bicycle tourist venue in Northern Illinois, USA.

We are pleased to announce that we have completed a chart of loops that will allow an interested rider to chose which loop attempt would best suit their available time and ability, based upon terrain and mileage. The Grand Illinois Trail Ride is not one bicycle ride, it’s thirteen!

The supplied graphic was designed to print on landscape on a Standard 8.5″ x 11″ page, so that interested bike shops, clubs and Grand Illinois Trail Ride supporters can easily print a hard copy and post it on their wall, or discuss it without having to sit in front of a computer or mobile screen. The chart is also currently available on the left sidebar by clicking the map graphic between the site description and the map homepages menu on every page.

The loop rides exist as such:

  • The Classic Loop: a loop that uses the originally designed nine sections that make up the Grand Illinois Trail Ride.
  • The Classic Alternate: a loop that follows the classic map but avoids map nine and goes West From McHenry. It follows more of the Chicago Lakefront.
  • The GITride Figure Eight: a double loop that follows the Classic map but crisscrosses the state at Maps 10 and 11, It’s the longest loop on the Grand Illinois Trail Ride at 651 miles.
  • The Cut Off Hills Loop: a loop that cuts North before East Moline through Dixon to Rockford and then follows the classic loop, avoiding the difficulties in JoDavies County.
  • The Cut Off Hills Alternate: This loop is the same as above but, drops map nine in favor of the North side Chicago map 12.
  • Chicago Wide Loop: This map follows the Fox River on the West end and more of the Lakefront via map 12. It is the longest of the proper Chicago loops.
  • Chicago Southern Loop: This map goes through downtown Chicago heading South, but only loops as far North as Elgin before it cuts back South on map nine.
  • Chicago Northern Loop: The shortest of all loops at 128 miles, it completes all of map 9 through to McHenry, and West then South on Map 12.
  • No Chicago Loop: This avoids just about everything East of the Fox River in Illinois, but still has very respectable mileage and the big hills of JoDavies County.
  • No Chicago Cut off Hills: A very fine comfortable loop around the center of Northern Illinois. Without what? Chicago and big hills.
  • Great Chicago Figure Eight: A crisscrossing double loop utilizing the East/West Chicago approach on map nine.
  • Hill to Pay: The loop of the West. It runs through the Center of Northern Illinois and has the Mississippi river as its Western border. Oh, and a part of it is quite hilly.
  • GITride Michigan to Mississippi: A double back loop that touches Lake Michigan on one end, and the Mississippi River on the other.


8.5″ x 11″ Page Size (.jpg format)

11″ x 17″  Poster size (.xps format)

Pecatonica Prairie Path not on Grand Illinois Trail Ride

Pecatonica Prairie Path is not on the Grand Illinois Trail Ride. Yet.

Pecatonica Prairie Path not on Grand Illinois Trail Ride

The Pecatonica Prarie Path is an approximately 23 mile trail located between Freeport and Rockford.  The plan requires a connection to the Jane Addams Trail. The completion date is not clear.

One continuous paved Trail from Rockford the The Jane Addams trail west of Freeport would be a welcome gift to the communities bordering and the tourists doing the Grand Illinois Trail Ride. The Jane Addams connects to bordering state Wisconsin, and allows for many travel options.

Illinois is just another Midwest state that is vying for dominance in the future of the bicycle touring phenomena, but has no long distance punctuated event that has grown to the proportions of its competitors. Iowa has its RAGBRAI (Registers Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) and Wisconsin’s its GRABAAWR (Great Annual Bicycle Adventure Along the Wisconsin River)

The 2008 GITride07 map is available for download at Grand Illinois Trail Ride .com

News reports by Kevin Haas at the Journal Standard may identify that parts of the Pecatonica path are certainly ready for inclusion to map 2008 GITride07.

We encourage our users to create alternate maps to include new features on our 2008 version of GITride07. Updated cue sheets and descriptions will need to be completed also. Recognition awards may be available. Please consider free registration for your opportunity to contribute to the project.

Mentioned Kevin Haas Journal Standard story: http://www.journalstandard.com/topstories/x1655336318/Winnebago-County-opens-its-part-of-Pec-Path