Tour de Shawnee Bike Ride

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Illinois Bike Trails

If your idea of a great time includes mounting a bicycle, feeling the wind in your face and drinking in the scenic beauty of fall, don’t miss Southern Illinois’ annual Tour de Shawnee. Now in its seventh year, the Tour de Shawnee attracts nearly 300 cyclists and has been called one of the most challenging rides in the Midwest.

Sponsored by Alexander County Tourism, the Tour de Shawnee starts in Olive Branch in Alexander County, continues into Union County and comes back through Pulaski County. The journey passes through rolling hills, farmland, the Shawnee National Forest, Horseshoe Lake and many historic sites.

Riders can choose from five different routes that range from 20 miles to 102.5 miles. In addition to distance, the routes also vary in difficulty, from flat to hilly. Local volunteers set up rest stops every 15 miles with drinks and homemade snacks.

“One reason riders keep coming back every year is because of our friendly, hospitable volunteers,” says Evelyn Caldwell, president of Alexander County Tourism. “Local people make them treats and serve them Gatorade and water. Riders also enjoy the pretty fall scenery and the challenge of the ride.”

Cyclists in past years have traveled all the way from states including Kansas, Michigan, Tennessee, Wisconsin and even overseas. The 2015 Tour de Shawnee takes place Saturday, Oct. 24. For more information or to register online, visit tourdeshawnee.com.

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