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Great Rivers Ride Bike Tour

Quincy, Nauvoo and Pleasant Hill will be included in the first-ever Illinois Great Rivers Ride, a 385-mile bicycle sojourn scheduled for Sept. 11-17.

By Steve Eighinger

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

The seven-day, noncompetitive bike ride starts in Rockford and concludes at Pere Marquette State Park in Grafton. A variety of activities is planned at each stop. Riders will have the option to sleep beneath the stars at state parks and campgrounds or in designated hotels and motels.

Sept. 14-16 will find the tour traveling through this area. Activities will include camping at Nauvoo State Park, night golf, historic tours, dinner at the Quincy Boat Club, entertainment at Backwaters night club, hayrides, a bonfire and celebration at Heartland Lodge.

"We are honored to support the first-ever Illinois Great Rivers Ride," said Tom Oakley, president and CEO of Quincy Newspapers, Inc. "Our television stations and newspapers serve many of the communities along the route, and we are pleased to play a role in an important event such as this that will enhance tourism and economic impact for the state and these communities."

The tour, which has a $300 fee, will be limited to the first 300 riders with a 9 a.m. Aug. 15 deadline. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult. An opportunity for adults and children to ride for a shorter number of days is also available.

Registration includes camping, breakfasts, dinners, evening festivities, snacks and beverages. Use of a support and gear truck, plus transportation from Pere Marquette State Park back to the various starting points, is included in the fee. Lunches will be available for purchase, plus additional snacks and beverages. Hotel accommodations will be available each night at an additional cost.

"The Illinois Great Rivers Ride is perfect for riders looking for outdoor adventure, entertainment, history and beauty - all in one trip," said Jack Lavin, spokesman for the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Bureau of Tourism. "Our goal is to make this an annual event to highlight the rich landscape of our state and create an opportunity for Illinois communities to thrive."

The Illinois Great Rivers Ride is partly funded through a grant from Gov. Rod Blagojevich's "Opportunity Returns" economic development program and corporate sponsorships from WREX-TV in Rockford, WGEM-TV in Quincy and The Herald-Whig, media outlets owned by QNI.

For more information or to register, visit the Web site or call (877) 477-7007, ext. 217.

Contact Staff Writer Steve Eighinger at or (217) 221-3377

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