Bike Peoria

People Like Us

PBCSo you want to take your cycling to the next level? Well there’s a club for that. Have you heard of the Peoria Bicycle Club?

Peoria Bicycle Club is set up for the cyclist in the Peoria area to meet other competitive cyclist and be part of a local team recognized by USA cycling association. Our club includes cyclist male and female, and juniors from all category ranges. Our team focus’s on training for racing, with lots of resource’s available like a world class indoor training facility and USA cycling certified coach. Anyone interested in taking up their cycling fitness up a notch, this is the club for you.

Ride over and see the PCB at


Bikes Around Town

I always see this one parked behind Simantel in downtown Peoria. Just wanted to say thank you for riding to work and totally dig your bike!



Product Spotlight: Russell’s Cycle & Fitness

RussellsLogoWebRussell’s Cycling & Fitness was established with the aim of promoting a fun and healthy lifestyle through cycling. The mission was to create a welcoming environment where our customers are viewed as close friends.

In August of 1977, Russell’s Cycle World Incorporated was established in Washington, Illinois. It was started in Everett Russell’s garage by his son, Joe Russell. In 1980 the business moved into the building at 308 North Main in Washington and remained there until November of 1994 when it moved for the second time into its present location at #10 Valley Forge Plaza. It now occupies what was the Valley Forge Cinema. This is the most recent, but far from the last chapter in our history.

The bicycle and fitness industries have changed enormously since we began. That usually means a business has to change also. We will never forget how we began. Russell’s Cycle and Fitness began with a passion for bikes, and has grown to a passion for fitness and the outdoors. We never could have come this far without customers who share those same desires. No matter what changes, that fact will always remain the same.

Since our beginning we have seen many exciting changes both in the industry as well as within our own store. Over the years we have occupied three different locations, and in 2007 we proudly became a Giant Retail Partner, but we haven’t forgotten our core beliefs:


As we continue our journey to provide you, our customer, the best options for your cycling and fitness needs our passion for cycling, fitness, and the outdoors has only grown deeper. Just like our relationships with you, our customers. Without your loyal support we would not be here today. Thank you for sharing in our dream! This is far from the last chapter in our history and we truly hope you will join us on the ride!

Thank you again! See you on the road!

Joe & Cheryl Russell

Visit Russell’s today online at or stop by the store at:

Russell’s Cycling & Fitness Center in Washington, IL
10 Valley Forge Plaza
Washington, IL 61571
Get Directions | Email

Hours: M & F 9-8, T-Th 9-6, Sat 9-4, Closed Sun

Kickapoo Fat Tire Festival

The Kickapoo Fat Tire Festival is coming up on August 24-25th. If you haven’t ever taken part in it, or don’t know what it is, the festival is put on by the Kickapoo Mountain Bike Club and is a weekend of fun at the beautiful Kickapoo State Park. There is riding fun for all skill levels.


The Kickapoo Super D will take place on Saturday, August 24. For this event we will have race day registration only ($10, open 9:00 am – 11:00 am), so come early!
The race starts at 12:00 pm. We will offer an open class with cash payout.

The Kickapoo XC will take place on Sunday, August 25. We highly recommend that you save $5 by pre-registering. Simply head over to our registration page to register online, or to find our printable form.

  • Race day registration will open at 8:00 am: $35
  • Pre-registration saves you $5! Get your $30 spot by going to our registration page
  • The Novice race at 10:00 am
  • Fatbikes (>3in tires) at 10:05 am
  • Men’s Sport and Men’s Expert at 12:00 pm with a staggered start.
  • All women’s categories will begin at 12:10 am.
  • A free kid’s race, which will take place on the kid’s loop, will begin at 11:30 am.

Each class will race the following:

  • Fatbike: 1 lap
  • Novice: 1 lap
  • Sport: 2 laps
  • Expert: 3 laps

I highly suggest that you go check it out even if you don’t want to ride. For more information visit the event website here.


Why I Ride

Erik Bike

Post by: Erik Reader, President, Reader Area Development

I have been waiting for the right time to drop my own post on the Bike Peoria site for a while. It’s not that I haven’t had the words, I just haven’t had the time. But isn’t that the age old excuse. For those of you who are unfamiliar, I usually do my blogging over at Reader Area Development dot com. Sure, that’s some shameless self-promotion for myself, but what the hell, I’m an administrator on this site as well.

Like most, I grew up riding my bike around the neighborhood after school just to be outside playing. That evolved into riding to school, downtown, to baseball practice, a friend’s house, or wherever my legs could motor me. Somewhere around that pivotal age of 15-16 it became clear that it wasn’t cool to ride a bike. As we all know, the most exciting thing for every high-schooler is getting their driver’s license.

I remember my parents telling me that I would have to get a job in order to afford a car. So at the ripe old age of 14 I got my first real job – at McDonald’s. Yep… first you have to be humbled before you can be cool apparently. Needless to say, I saved up enough to buy a 1990 Chevy Beretta. How I kept the ladies at bay was a mystery, it just naturally happened.

At a time with $0.88/gallon gasoline (1998), I made my way to the bowling alley, movie theater, cross town to friends houses, to school and a few side trips my parents don’t need to know about. That was all fine and dandy, but I still had to work here and there to afford my new-found responsibility. With no other obligations to my name, this wasn’t a huge drag, but the real sticker shock would occur in the 15 years since.

The cost itself wasn’t just in the form of driving from A to B, it was everything else it represented. Gas, car insurance, maintenance, the occasional ding or scratch, countless hours staring through a pane of glass, and the hours working a job I hated to afford it all. I grew up outside of Chicago in the far western suburbs and that meant LOTS of driving. Want to go to a baseball game? Drive. Need a job? Drive across the ‘burbs. Thinking about visiting friends? More driving…. you get the picture.

In college, I had an opportunity to study abroad in the Netherlands. Leeuwarden, a northerly city of 90,000 people exposed me to a different culture that has taken years to decipher what I really learned. The Dutch are widely regarded for their over-the-top biking culture. I didn’t really “get it” until my semester abroad started.


We were told that we would probably want to rent a bike. The few Americans in the group looked at each other like it was a joke or something. Even me, I hadn’t ridden anywhere on a regular basis for several years didn’t understand it. We have cars … duh?  All kidding aside, they were serious. The best way to get around town is by bike. The town, which is hundreds of years old, is perfectly laid out for it. No bike? Well, walking is just as easy. Riding to the bar as a 21-year-old was probably the most freeing feeling you could imagine. You mean I can go do something stupid and follow it up with something responsible afterward? No shit…

Unless you’ve been, I have a real hard time of putting it into words and trying to explain it. That’s the reason why downtown Leeuwarden remains as my website header. To serve as a reminder that this other place exists.


After my tour abroad ended, it was back to Geneva, where that quaint, charming downtown existed but the biking culture didn’t. I was dying to bring back what I thought to be a slice of heaven back with me.  No one else felt the same. My excitement to ride faded as my jobs would take me here, there, and everywhere by car. It got to the point where I was filling up for gas twice a week. It became a repetitive and vicious cycle. I’d seen my Dad fall into it, and I knew it was killing him too. Spending hours in a car everyday isn’t healthy for you. That’s a no-brainer. So why do we get stuck in the proverbial rut?

We somehow accept this as our reality. We know in order to find work, we must drive. In order to find food, we must drive. In order to live, we must drive. After a year of life on the road, my then girlfriend, now wife, Danielle and I moved to Dallas, Texas. A change of scenery was interesting, and it provided the initial stimulation we needed. But something still seemed off. Gone were the Main Street’s and downtown’s of Illinois I was used too. Everything is bigger in Texas, even their big-box stores which dominated the landscape. Six-lane residential thoroughfares were the norm. Big hair. Big trucks. Big stereotypes. We enjoyed our stay, but after 5 years it was high time to head out.

Before we did, I came across a little biking movement that was taking over a south Dallas neighborhood. The Oak Cliff neighborhood was quickly becoming the “bike part of town.” I was curious, as I hadn’t heard of such a thing. Bike Friendly Oak Cliff, was one of those things that I needed to see at just the right time. “Ok, so there are people who have thought the same thing as me and feel the same way…” This wasn’t about racing, an extreme off-road excursion or loading up the bike for leisurely stroll at a park. This was about riding your bike for day-to-day things. I get that.

When we left Dallas for Peoria, I decided I’d like to take a slice of what I thought was a great citizen-led movement with me. We moved to Pekin, which admittedly, isn’t the biking capital of the world. I would talk about the Dutch, Dallas, and what I thought could be a bike movement in Central Illinois. The only thing more out of the ordinary than seeing someone without a DUI riding their bike in Pekin, is someone talking about “Bike Friendliness.”

Behind Bars

Back to the subject of stereotypes. The same freedom, liberation, and mobility I felt in Leeuwarden could and should be applied in Pekin, Peoria, or anywhere for that matter. Why is it that people think you must have done something wrong to be riding a bike in broad daylight wearing anything but lycra? To be fair, there are a good amount of those riding with some legal troubles, yes, but that’s why it is imperative for low-income, low-educated towns like Pekin to adopt a new transportation strategy. One that is equitable for all of its citizens. And for those who don’t want to hear my previous statement, I’m sorry, the 2010 Census blew your cover [DATA].

Whether you’re young or old, need affordable transportation, wanting to stay fit, or wanting to exercise your right not to drive, you should have that opportunity. So that is why, when a fate meeting with some other like-minded individuals early this spring brought us to the table looking to create a “biking movement” I jumped at the chance.

Erik & Danielle

My ride last night finally knocked loose what I was looking to write. I ride as much as I can right now. I wish it could be more, but you know, I have to drive to Peoria for a job. I am in meetings on opposite sides of town. I am renovating a house after all of that and need to carry random odds and ends around. I have seen more people out there who are curious. Those are the people who will help shape the future of Peoria. Having only lived here for two and a half years, I see an area that is dying for a breath of fresh air. We, as everyday, ordinary people can give that to the area we call home – one bike ride at a time.

For more of Erik’s musings, check out his blog at, follow him on Twitter @RADincorporated and Like ReaderAreaDevelopment on Facebook.

Want to be featured in Bike Peoria’s Why I Ride section? Email us at



The Chain Link: The League Of American Bicyclists

Under links we like, we have to start with the one that has been working the hardest to make biking in American cities a reality – The League of American Bicyclists

The League of American Bicyclists

Amongst all of the things they do, the League promotes bike-friendly communities across America. What is that exactly?

Bicycle Friendly Communities

Bicycling is more than a practical, cost-effective solution to many municipal challenges. It’s an opportunity to make your community a vibrant destination for residents and visitors — a place where people don’t just live and work, but thrive.

For more information, please check out The League of American Bicyclist website here.


People Like Us

PambaWe are always trying to find like-minded people or groups who are out doing great things in the area. One group is PAMBA, the Peoria Area Mountain Biking Association.

You may not have a street riding side to you, but deep down you are a rugged trail rider at heart. That’s cool, we get it. If you don’t know about PAMBA, here’s what they’re all about:

The mission of the Peoria Area Mountain Bike Association (PAMBA) is to promote off-road bicycling through education, trail creation, trail maintenance, and social events.

PAMBA was formed in April of 2000 in order to promote and protect some of the best off-road cycling areas in the Midwest and to promote the sport of mountain biking throughout the Peoria area.

Ride over to their site today and find out more!

City Hall

Bikes Around Town

Guess where?

City Hall

Have you spotted any bikes or bikers around town? Send us some pics of bikes around town to bikepeoria [at] gmail [dot] com


Springdale Cemetery Ride

Support our friends at Illinois Valley Wheelm’n by checking out the last ride of their Pedal Peoria series with a neat ride around the Springdale Cemetery.

When: Thu, August 15, 6pm – 8pm

Where: Start at the Peoria Riverfront Museum (Water St. entrance) (map)

About: Springdale Cemetery Ride: Start at the Peoria Riverfront Museum (Water St. entrance) at 6:00 p.m. Highlights: Discover how large the cemetery really is and how much of Peoria’s history is hidden within as we ride ALL of the loops of the cemetery.

All rides in this series are designed for the casual rider, 12 – 15 miles (1 or 2 steep hills). Approximately 2 hours. All are welcome! No fee or registration For Information Call Ride Leader Sheldon Schafer 686-7000 or

Sponsored by the Peoria Riverfront Museum & the Illinois Valley Wheelm’n.


How Bikes Can Save Us

We here at Bike Peoria enjoy the simplicity of riding a bike, but we also love technology. Infographics are changing the way we look at things, and they’re doing it in such an appealing way. Let’s start with this one.

Transportation alone accounts for 20% of an American family’s budget, the 2nd biggest cost after housing [STUDY]. Easily one of man’s best inventions and most underutilized inventions, the bicycle can help us Americans save: money,  lives, and ourselves from one of man’s other greatest inventions – the automobile.

This infographic puts it all into perspective that, well, just maybe, bikes can save us.



5 Reasons Why Women Should Ride In Peoria.

0 Miles Biked – 500 To Go
By: Kelsie Barnhart

I love setting goals, and occasionally meeting them, but mostly the setting part. I love giant outbursts of enthusiasm. Of excitement. Of a rejuvenated spirit. So when classes ended in May, I had lots of time and consequently goals. I drove home in Scotty, my premium-gas guzzling 1995 Mercedes and grabbed my whiteboard to make a list of summer goals. I sloppily scrawled: Ride 500 miles.

This objective seemed do-able. Entirely. Except I hadn’t ridden my bike (a blue boys mountain bike I bought for like thirty bucks) in months. Even then, I could count the number of times I had ridden it on one hand. But hey, my utter HATRED of spending money on gas was so grand that bike riding seemed perfect. My first trip was to the bank. Alone. On a major street. It was 5 miles round trip and SPOILER ALERT I survived. Which got me thinking: biking is totally rad! Not only can I get where I want to go, but I can also get there for free and get a free tan (albeit one with freakish tan lines)!

Enter many rides since that fateful first day to almost every corner of our fair city: Grandview Drive, the Riverfront, West Peoria, Pioneer Park and the Rock Island Trail. As a fairly new rider I am still figuring so much out but I think I’ve got some basics:


1. Groups are great – but so are solo adventures!
I love the out of the box ride ideas put on by the Pedal Peoria Series, the Peoria Bike Summer, and the Illinois Valley Wheelm’n but I sadly haven’t actually been able to attend any! If I waited to schedule all of my rides with local groups or friends I would NEVER reach 500 miles in 106 days.  Which is why I started riding to each planet in Peoria Riverfront Museum’s Community Solar System. I also started riding to all the local ice cream parlors in Peoria! It forces me into areas of the city I’ve never been while racking up those miles.

2. Someone almost makes you road kill? Throw them a genuine smile.
I like to think I am a cautious rider who follows [most] traffic laws but that doesn’t stop me from almost getting hit each time I go out – even if I am on the sidewalk! And can we blame the drivers in Peoria? We are not known for being a city that encourages or boasts a high biking population. So these poor folks are simply not used to sharing the road with us. Rather than giving them a dirty look, consider smiling so they understand we are here to stay and look forward to developing better bike-car relationships. Wow, that got corny. But true nonetheless.

3. You don’t need EVERY piece of biking equipment EVER.
I get that everyone is different and requires unique products to help them feel safe while riding. However, your bike doesn’t need to be decked out in everything sold – not to mention how pricey it can be. Stick to the basics: helmet and proper shoes. That’s really all you need to be safe. With that said, I also have invested in a speedometer/odometer sold by Cat Eye and a Yakima bike rack. For my goal I need to know mileage and getting outside of the city limits can make for more peaceful riding.

4. Ladies: Be comfortable.
I personally don’t mind the hand blisters (now calluses) and sore tush that comes from riding daily. But if you are letting those things hold you back, then ride to Bushwacker and pick up some gloves and a softer seat. And don’t be afraid to bike in clothing you want to. Believe it or not, sports bras are actually socially acceptable and so much cooler.

5. The best way to make Peoria bike friendly is to ride even when it’s not.
We can hope for new bike lanes and racks till the cows come home but we will never be Seattle. Who cares? Get out there today. Ride on the road or the sidewalk. Lock your bike to a stop sign or a fence. But whatever you do, make your presence known because you have as much of a right to be on the road as a car.


I look forward to seeing you all on the road as I get closer and closer to my goal every day. In case you were wondering, miles remaining: 261.79. Not bad for a chick who started riding in May.




We can do it!

We can do it!

Kelsie is a Peorian, born and raised, entering her senior at Bradley University studying Public Relations and Studio Art. You can follow her biking shenanigans at or @kelsiebarnhart on Twitter.


Save The Rock Island Trail!

Over the last few months one of our greatest treasures not only to Peoria but Central Illinois is slowly being washed away. When all discussion and local news has been pointed to the loss of homes and industry we forgot about the beautiful Rock Island Trail and its need for preservation. Its time has come to be noted as the areas greatest recreational trail system and be given the attention it is deserved.

For more than a decade, the City of Peoria, the village of Peoria Heights and the Peoria Park District have been working to develop a recreational hike/bike trail on the right-of-way of the Kellar line that runs 8.9 from Pioneer Park to Adams Street.The Peoria Park District has secured grants to complete most of the trail construction with an asphalt surface. The southern 2.2 miles at the southern end of the Kellar line will remain intact to service O’Brien Steel Fabrication and the 6.3 miles of right-of- way through Peoria Heights and Peoria will become the trail and will end at Harvard Street where it will link up with the route through Springdale cemetery.

While we tend to think this is the most important part of the trail is within the Peoria area. We would be wrong. This trail spreads from Downtown Peoria all the way to Toulon with as many as five more towns in between. The RIT is and will always be my favorite escape from the city life in Peoria and watching it fall apart over the last few months due to the pour weather has been a horrible and terrifying experience. The changes that have been made by drastic amounts of water to the trail has been detrimental to all of the progress that has been made over the past 20 years. If something isn’t done soon this treasure will be lost or damaged for a very long time if not forever.

While having a discussion with the President of Friends of The Rock Island Trail he said that the most rewarding and motivational moment in his 20 plus years of being president was “seeing the smile on a child’s face riding on the trail for the first time” and loosing that experience would mean loosing a whole generation of outdoor enthusiasts and supporters of the RIT. Lets not let this happen.

The following pictures are of the Spoon River erosion and how it has worsened to the point that it is no longer safe to pass. Also a section of trail has been washed out between Streitmatter Rd and County Line Rd. It is approximately 25 feet across and 10 feet deep. The trail is now closed in this area as well as the previously closed sections from Wyoming to Toulon. This washout severs the trail continuum between Wyoming and Princeville.



Not passable!

Not passable!


Now… Lets get weird Peoria!

Now that Peoria Bike Summer is over and we have received a great amount of attention and the ears of the City Council and Mayor we can finally lay back and get weird…. I’m talking about going back to the feeling you had from riding as a kid. Or if you are a kid make us cool and ride with us. If you’ve never road as a child then you are one lucky duck because you still have that feeling. Lets get together and RIDE!!!

This past Sunday on our closing ride we had a ton of fun. We had one flat tire… and a minor spill but we survived and made it to the party. As we ended back at Studio 825 we had one hell of a BBQ with some amazing music. As the party began a beautiful young lady that went by the name of Michelle got up and decided she wanted to ride the tall bike. She literally rocked the block!

Michelle is doing it right on a tall bike!

Michelle is doing it right on a tall bike!


A the party went on and we decided to take the music to the streets with our newly developed bike trailer that has was donated personally by Dr. Dre and Beats! I know it… we are awesome! Thanks!



Taking the party to the streets!

Taking the party to the streets!

So if you would like to be apart of Bike Dance Party on 4th please feel free to meet up and move those wheels. We are going to be in the West Peoria Parade as well as a ride after the fireworks. Please feel free to join!


"I can do a bunny hop"

“I can do a bunny hop”




Biking Basics

Are you bike curious? Don’t be shy. You hear about everybody these days riding their bike everywhere and you kinda want to get back on yours. The problem is, you may not be the bike buff you once were. If only someone could show you the way… Well, here’s a great video to get you back to the basics of riding a bike courtesy of the good folks at Grist.

Make sure to like Bike Peoria on Facebook and follow on Twitter @BikePeoria