Waterways To The West: Chicago to Starved Rock Bike Tour 2019

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Buckingham Fountain

301 South Columbus Drive

Chicago, IL 60605

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A 3-day, 2-night Bike Camping Adventure from Chicago to Starved Rock State Park


-When: Fri. Sat. & Sun. on August 23rd, 24th & 25th
-Meet: 5:15 am Friday Aug. 23rd at Buckingham Fountain, Chicago, IL
-Bike to & overnight at Starved Rock State Park
-Return to Chicago on Sunday:
-Pace: Casual, we ride together as a group. 12-15mph
-Mileage 110 miles on Day One. 110 miles on Day Three
-Trail/Route: Mixed terrain w/paved road, smooth limestone, and gravel.
-Lodging: Tent or Hotel (campsite included when you register bring your own camping gear) (Hotel is separate and on your own accord)


This is not your average group bike ride. At each break point and along the way, our Guides will immerse and educate in the history, geography, architecture and the uniquely beautiful natural habitats and ecosystems of North Eastern Illinois. Our groups are small and personable to ensure the knowledge of the land is passed on.

We will learn about the world's first major natural waterway reversal in human history as we traverse from the heart of the Chicago along the Chicago River to the Illinois and Michigan Canal.

​Cold air starts to sweep across the land when we go back in time to relive a catastrophic flood that occurred between 14,000 and 18,000 years ago in the Midwestern United States that reshaped the land.

Guided Hike in the State Park. One of the most beloved hidden jewels near Chicagoland is Starved Rock State Park. It is one of Illinois'​most beautiful destinations. The park's 18 canyons feature vertical walls of moss-covered stone and multiple waterfalls, formed by glacial melt water that slice dramatically through tree-covered sandstone bluffs located along the Illinois River bluffs in Utica Illinois will surely percolate anyone's curiosity.

What is Bike Camping? It’s where you stay overnight in a tent by bike.Get a bike rack. Strap your Tent, Sleeping Bag, and Supplies then Adventure out. So Gather some friends and let's have a good time.


DAY 1: The Portage Begins

5:15 am | Meet at Buckingham Fountain
6:00 am | Departure/Roll
1:00 pm | Lunch at Chicken & Spice
7:30 pm | Set up Camp
8:30 pm | Lodge Dinner & Drinks, Relax, Fun
10:30 pm | Campfire & Night Time s'mores

DAY 2: Cliffs & Waterfalls

6:11 am | Sunrise (if you want)
9:00 am | Lodge Breakfast
10:00am | Guided Caynon Hike
2:30 pm | Group Lodge Lunch
3:30 pm | Free Exploration
7:30 pm | Group Dinner (provided by OOFD)
9:00 pm | Campfire & Mallows

DAY 3: The Return

6:00 am | Breakfast (provided by OOFD)
7:00 am | Depart Campground
1:00 pm | Lunch in Lockport
8:00 pm | Arrive to Chicago

About Our Tour Guides

-They will have A bike tool kit, an air pump, a presta/schrader valve adapter, tire lever, chain breaker, and a crescent wrench (for those older bikes), a multi-toolkit, lights and emergency packet. Our guides will help you with any needed repairs. *If you have any of the above items please bring them along at your own convenience.

Our Guides have worked with historians, Biologists, Forest Rangers, and leading people in their fields to deliver a one kind story to remember. They have setup multiple break points along the way in all the right places to ensure you can go the distance. So if this is your first time out on a long ride You’ll be surprised on far you can actually go.


Required Items

• Your bike!
• Tent/Camping Gear
• Head Lamp
• Cash/Debit/Credit Card for your food and your drinks
• Photo I.D. and Emergency contact Info
• Two spare inner tubes
• Water bottle
• Bike LIGHTS, front and rear
• Lock for your bike
• High Energy Snacks
• Personal Items- There are showers at the campsites so bring your own soap, small towel and deodorant.
• Helmet- please bring one


Use a Bike rack
  • We suggest to purchase a back rack if you do not have one already. A bike back rack will improve this trip and any future riding you do on your own. A bike rack will also keep the weight off your shoulders. Stop in your local bike shop to help get your bike geared up.
Keep it light and keep it tight!
  • Secure your belongings and keep highly used items accessible when packing. Light weight usually makes for a more enjoyable ride; So don’t bring your living room furniture on the ride. And Avoid dangling straps, they can get entangled in the wheels and cause an accident; Be smart and protect your safety.
Other Stuff To Bring
  • You might want to bring, a photo device, pain killers, comfortable cushion bike gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen, lip balm, information to share.
  • Dress for the season and dress in layers. In the spring and fall the outside temps may be great to wear a T-shirt but when biking the wind can make your chest, hands, and fingers cold. Bring a pair of gloves and a sweater/windbreaker if need be. If a little rain is in the forecast bring a rain jacket. Don’t be afraid of the rain!!! Some the best views is when a storm is on the horizon. If it gets intense there are shelters along the way to sit it out for the moment.


Can anyone ride this Tour?

  • This tour is a challenge! You should build up your riding distance/endurance to at least 50-70 miles before the ride and be able to maintain 13-15 mph.
What kind of bike do I need?
  • We recommend a Touring Bike. Or a Road bike with 28 to 35 mm tires. The trail and route is mixed terrain. from paved road to limestone to some gravel. These types of bikes make for a more comfortable ride. Attaching a bike rack will help carry your daily supplies and keep weight off your shoulders. Do not ride 100 miles with a backpack.
Do you rent bicycles out to the public?
  • At the moment no. Our goal as we continue to grow we will be able to provide bicycles for participants.
What if I get tired?
  • We champion perseverance and the challenge. We encourage to push on, the reward of completion is great. But if turning around is an absolute must, there is always a train station relatively close by throughout the entirety of the tour. Joilet/Lunch is the last train stop before we bike another 60 miles to camp. We assess everyone before departing lunch.
What should I bring for the bike trip?
  • Always bring two spare inner tubes (and a bike tool kit if you have one). Dress for the season, during spring and fall make sure to bring gloves for your hands and layer your clothing. Even when the weather is nice, when riding your bike the wind can make you chilly really quick.
What happens if it rains, is the event cancelled?
  • No. We still ride if there is rain. Some of the best views are after a rain storm. Though safety is our top priority. So if there is extreme severe weather we will break and wait it out in a provided shelter, then continue to our destination.
How fast do you Ride? What is the pace of your tours?
  • This tour in particluar is for advance riders. The pace we ride at is around 13-15 miles per hour. This is to accommodate everyone riding the tour, to be able to take in all the views and to be able to ride a third day. You have to remember their is a third day of riding and you should pace yourself. (We are bikers but we are not running a tour de france).
What happens if I'm too slow? What happens if I'm too Fast?
  • We ride together as a group. We do not leave anybody behind. A guide will always be riding at the back and at the front.
What happens if my bike breaks?
  • First, always bring two spare inner tubes. Our prepared Guides are always ready to help, are trained for emergency repairs, and carry extra tools and supplies.


Individual/Participant Cancellations: No Refunds | We are a small organization and due to the small group size of our rides, a ticket cancellation/no show has a real impact into the planning of the tour and as such, we cannot provide any refunds for a participant cancellation. By registering you acknowledge and agree there will not be a refund if you cancel or do not show up for the event.

Organizer Cancellation: Full Refund | Nobody wants an event to be cancelled. But in the very rare case the organizer does cancel the event at their discretion due to unforeseen circumstances, then registered participants will receive a full refund (excluding the small eventbrite processing fee). To date this organizer has never cancelled an event.

Weather and Rain: We do not cancel an event for rain or a storm. We ride rain or shine. Understand that Chicago weather is typically passing, if it gets intense we will wait it out in a provided shelter then continue biking. FYI-Some of the best views and greenery are after a rain storm.


We're The Out Our Front Door Organization.
We provide exploratory adventures by immersing and educating in the history, architecture and the uniquely beautiful natural habitats of the Lower Lake Michigan Basin Area. Including Illinois, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Michigan. - Just some folks who like to do good and ride bikes.

Website: Drop us a friendly visit at: www.outourfrontdoor.org

Facebook: Visit us on facebook to keep up with new and upcoming events at: https://www.facebook.com/outourfrontdoor/

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Buckingham Fountain

301 South Columbus Drive

Chicago, IL 60605

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Refund Policy

No Refunds

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