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Grand Illinois Tail Bicycle Ride Key Equipment


Day Seven

Ridott to Capron


With about 400 miles behind me, I shove off with a slow, comfortable cadence. It's a fluid, easygoing cadence that pushes me ahead at about 8 miles an hour on this bike. When you are on a bike for seven to nine hours, you learn to sit in different positions; This thigh, that thigh, this cheek that cheek, then pretty soon you graduate to calisthenics: head stretch, arm stretch, leg stretch, back stretch, neck roll, arm roll, crunches, push ups and anything else you can do that would increase comfort the next day.


A good representation of what you encounter on the North leg of the Grand Illinois Trail. The roads are double lane and there is sparse traffic. It’s fairly peaceful, and riding on asphalt is a little easier than limestone chips or dirt.



Most of the riding today is on rolling hills. The momentum of the gradual grade allowed me to get speed,  maintain it through the bottom, and keep it on the way up. I seem to be getting many more miles each day. I am fully accustomed to the riding, and can put in eight or nine hours comfortably.


The rock men of Rockford. Something pretty unique to Illinois and the Grand Illinois Trail. This landmark is featured on the GITride t-shirt.



Somewhere in Rockford my front derailleur got tangled in the chain.

"I don't need to untangle it! I'll use the muscle method.”

That was a mistake. I could have broke the chain. Had I not forced it, I probably could have saved the front derailleur too.  Fortunately I have basic tools like pliers and a screw driver, and I am able to untangle the chain and bend the derailleur in such away where it will not impede the chain.

No big disappointment since I rarely use those gear choices. I prefer to shift on the back wheel: “Low” for the hills, “high” most of the time, and occasionally a gear or two off ‘high” when I get tired or need to move a quicker.


Near the entrance to the Prairie Trail



I suited up with the rain gear, but the rain never came.

Towards the end of the day, another spoke popped off.

The back wheel is really rubbing hard now. The bike might make it but it’s getting near the point where walking would be less effort. I aught to give in and lose a day, but I'm determined to keep moving forward. Besides, there is nothing around. When you stress about finding a bike shop, nothing you see gets described as "serene."


Now that's a bike rub.


I figure there are three hard riding days left, and I have two days food left.  The last day will involve mostly urban riding which means I will less likely be able to find a place to camp. This has been hard enough. Call the last night my victory lap. Maybe I’ll stay at a Holiday Inn.

END DAY 7: Ridott to Capron
Route: GIT Clockwise
Stayed At: a little east of Capron near the end of the Prairie Trail
Total Miles 68.1
Total Time 8:52:43
Average Speed 7.7
Maximum Speed 29.5



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