What Lies West 2020

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Comrade Cycles

1908 W Chicago Ave

Chicago, IL 60622

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Event description


A 2-Day Bike Camping Adventure to Blackwell Campground in DuPage County


For the Ride:


  • 8:30am at Comrade Cycles, 1908 W. Chicago Ave., Chicago, IL 60622
  • 10:30am at Longfellow Park, 610 S Ridgeland Ave, Oak Park, IL 60304

Ride to and Overnight: Blackwell Woods Campground

Return 3:30ish pm on Sunday: To Comrade Cycles

Provided: Guided Tour, Campsites, and food for Friday Dinner and Saturday Breakfast.

You Bring: Camping and riding gear on your bike.

Day 1: 22 Miles | Day 2: 22 miles

Ridership Level: Easy

Tour Size: Max 12 participants. 3 guides.

Pace: Casual, we ride together as a group. 12mph

All are welcome!


  • One Night/Two Day Tent Campsite Reservation

  • Meals (Saturday Dinner and Sunday Breakfast)

  • Interpretative Trail Guides/Ride Leaders

  • Campfire, Camp Snacks, and Beverages


This ride is unique because we are offering 2 start points. For the more ambitious riders, we will meet at Comrade Cycles in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago which will make for about a 35 mile day. For those that want a few less miles, we will meet you at Longfellow Park in Oak Park making for a 22 mile day.

What’s west of Oak Park you ask? Come join us on an adventure through the western suburbs of Chicago. It’s not just cookie-cutter homes off of main street or miles of corn and soy. We’ll be riding through some of the towns that make up some of the great history of the area.

Riding along the awesome Illinois Prairie Path, we will stop in towns such as Wheaton learning about the history and habitats along the way eventually arriving to the Dupage Country Forest Preserve of Blackwell just outside of Warrenville, IL.


  • Bike, tent, sleeping bags, and gear

  • Money for Saturday and Sunday lunch (we'll stop at a restaurant), water, and snacks

  • Bike lock, spare inner tubes, bike lights, & helmets

  • Personal Items and changes of clothes

  • A hot/cold camp cup and spork and bowl/plate


This ride is designated as EASY. That means it’s suitable for first-time bike campers or beginners and open to all. This is our most accessible and low-stress route departing from downtown Chicago. It features a lovely mostly off-street bike path route


  • The distance is about 30 miles from our start at Comrade Cycles or 23 miles if you choose the Oak Park start point. We will be riding mainly Chicago bike lanes and suburban side streets to the Prairie Path which brings us right up to the campground.

  • We expect the whole ride to take three to four hours. And we will take a few breaks along the route.


Bike camping offers a total sensory experience, where the journey is as important as the destination. It’s like backpacking by bike; you carry your camping gear with you on your bicycle. With this adventure, we offer beginners and experts alike an opportunity to experience bike camping beyond the city.


These rides usually have a 1:4 guide to participant ratio to ensure a safe and smooth experience. Guides 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 an 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 work with historians, biologists, forest rangers, library books, and leading people in their fields to deliver a one-of-a-kind story to remember. They have set up a couple breakpoints along the way in all the right places to ensure we get proper breaks and don't push too hard. If this is your first time out on a long ride, you’ll be surprised by how far you can go when you take some breaks.


How much are tickets?

  • Adult tickets are $85.

What’s included in the registration?

  • Tickets include a two-night group tent campsite rental, ride marshals, dinner on Saturday and breakfast on Sunday, guides, trip planning, firewood, and s’mores.

  • Participants bring their own tents, sleeping bags, clothing, and other gear.

Tell me more about food.

  • The guides will prepare a hearty, tasty camp dinner on Saturday night (veggie options available for vegetarians) and Sunday breakfast (Coffee, oatmeal, fruit, and tea).

How do I get to the start point if I don’t live nearby?

  • It’s up to you to get to the start point however you can. A few options: 1) store your bike and gear near the start/end point in another participant's garage before and after the ride; 2)Take the closest CTA or Metra train to get to the start point - be aware of rush-hour bike restrictions

Do I need to bring my own tent and sleeping gear?

  • Yes! Check out a sample packing list here. If you already own camping equipment, you can use what you have. However, if you’re looking to invest, buy gear intended for backpacking; it’s lighter and more packable than car camping equipment. We’ll cover how to pack for family bike camping in an upcoming blog post.

  • Don’t own any camping equipment? Our two Cook County Forest Preserve destinations (Camp Dan Beard and Camp Shabbona Woods) all rent camping gear. See here for more details.

Do you transport the tent and camping gear to the destination?

  • Not on this ride.

What happens if it rains, is the event canceled?

  • No. We will make every effort to put the event on and would only cancel in the event of biblical extreme weather or the zombie apocalypse (in which case, we’d all be furiously peddling with the other bike-powered preppers anyway). We strongly suggest you bring rain gear and if it looks like rain, garbage bags double wrapped over your gear with some tape where necessary can good-enough waterproof almost anything.

Bike Rentals?

  • Check out Bobby's Bike and Hike. They hook our people up with a mini-discount

What kind of bike do I need?

  • There is a bit of limestone, but really, all bikes are welcome. Just make sure it is decently tuned up.

What happens if my bike breaks?

  • We are here to help and have dedicated ride marshals in the group who will make simple repairs and help you out in any type of breakdown in order to get you rolling again.

  • This is front country camping, which means we’re never that far from a bike shop if things get serious.

What happens if I’m too slow?

  • No rider left behind! If you can keep pedaling and have a positive attitude, we won't leave you. Plus, we ride slowly, usually around 10-12 mph.

  • If you just can't complete the ride, bailout options include Metra, CTA, rideshare and phone a friend, depending on location.

Are there other rides?

  • Yes! We run an overnight about once a month ranging from 25-110 miles and anywhere from 12 to 75 participants.

  • Shorter free day rides to do environmental service, called Where the Wild Things Grow, happen monthly.

How fun is it riding with other folks?

  • Adventures create memories that last a lifetime so be prepared to have some fun and feel those warm communal vibes along the route and around that campfire. You'll honestly be riding, camping, and hanging with some of the coolest people in Chicagoland.


Individual/Participant Cancellations: No Refunds. No Transfers. | We are a small organization and due to the small group size of our rides, a ticket cancellation/no show has a real impact on the planning of the tour and as such, we cannot provide any refunds for 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. Tickets are non-transferable and can not be resold. Please contact the ride organizer if you are no longer able to attend.

Organizer Cancellation: Full Refund | Nobody wants an event to be canceled. 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. To date, this organizer has never canceled 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 rainstorm.

Inclusivity and Non-Discrimination Statement (included in the Waiver)

We at Out Our Front Door believe in the radical inclusion of all people on our bike camping trips. Regardless of your race, gender identity, sexual orientation, economic status, or even the types of bikes you ride, we want you rollin’ with us. We want everyone to feel welcome except those that make others feel unwelcome. As a participant of an Out Our Front Door event, you are inherently agreeing to ride and let ride.

If you exhibit any micro-aggression observed by leaders such as being judgemental of another’s bike, touring experience/skill, mansplaining, or generally being unfriendly you will be politely yet firmly corrected by OOFD leaders. If you commit any serious offense such as repeated unwanted flirtation, sexual harassment, overt racism, etc, you will be asked to leave the tour without refund and will no longer be welcome on future rides.

If you feel you are a victim of any of the above or have observed it, please raise the issue to one of the leaders and they will handle the issue accordingly and with appropriate discretion.

We have this policy in place because we want everyone to feel safe and welcome on tour. Out Our Front Door is an open community of bike campers, and we will forever work to bring all sorts of folks into the fold. Thank you for being a positive contributor to that community.


We're The Out Our Front Door Organization. A Bike Camping Community For Chicago and The Lower Lake Michigan Basin.

See Our Full Schedule Of Events Here

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Comrade Cycles

1908 W Chicago Ave

Chicago, IL 60622

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Refund Policy

No Refunds

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