GLEN ELLYN – Cyclists are gearing up for the return of the Tour of Lake Ellyn, an annual bike race showcasing the beautiful trails Glen Ellyn has to offer as well as challenging cyclists of all skill levels.
This year’s race will be July 20, with 11 events beginning at various times throughout the day. The race schedule is the same as last year’s, with races ranging from 15 minutes to 90 minutes. The races encompass all age groups and experience levels, including the Duncan Law Group Family Fun Ride, which is designed for all community members.
“[The Family Fun Ride is] when we invite anyone with a helmet and functioning bicycle to enjoy two laps around the racecourse,” said Ben Raby, an event coordinator. “Kids, parents, brothers, sisters and friends [are invited]. We had over 300 participants last year. It’s really fun seeing everyone with a big smile on their faces enjoying riding on a closed road.”
Raby, along with Jim Burket, helped bring the race back to Glen Ellyn four years ago. The race’s history with the town begins in the 1970s.
Raby said that after moving into the community, he decided to use his love of cycling to bring the event back.
This year, the event sees a broader sponsorship than ever before, Raby said. Among the sponsors is the Beer Cellar, hosting the Alter Brewing Beer Garden. Also sponsoring the event is the Illinois Prairie Path board, which became involved as a result of member Dennis Terdy’s interest and love for cycling.
“The idea of the Tour of Lake Ellyn is really excellent, and it’s exciting to have some role in this great thing for the community,” said Terdy, who has participated in bike races. “I really respect bike athletes and what they do. They’re some of the craziest, most committed athletes.”
The Illinois Prairie Path board conducts surveys throughout the year to see how to best provide for the community, and Terdy said cycling is always marked as a priority. He said many people seem to love biking, which is why he wanted to sponsor the Tour of Lake Ellyn race.
The number of participants in this year’s race seems to prove that point as Raby said nearly 700 racers are expected to appear throughout the day. Some races, Raby said, will feature up to 100 racers at one time.
“We are a not-for-profit event, expanding awareness and raising funds for our local food pantry, while also expanding the potential of cycling within the community,” Raby said.