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  1. #1
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    UIUC trails and BMX?

    Hello, I'm fixing to start school at the University of Illinois at Urbana. I'll be at that school for about 2 years and I'm curious if there are any kind of off road trails in the area. I'm moving from Atlanta and am considering selling my mountain bike here before I move. I'm also open to riding BMX again if there are tracks or even a skate park near by. I tried looking around the interwebz but have only come up with trail areas about 30 miles away near Springfield and Peoria. I'm trying to not own a car while living there and will only have my bicycles and my motorcycle. I'm willing to Amtrak to places if that is an option.

    Is there any good information on trails in that area? I know it is flat but I don't need hills as much as I need to go flying by trees or just needing dirt in general. I'll have my road bike but much prefer dirt trails.

    Also my fiance will be living in the northern burbs of Chicago while I go to school. So I'm open to keeping my mountain bike with her if there is good trail riding in the area. I'm thinking the areas around Lake Geneva would be good but prefer trails close to northern Chicago.

    Thank You

  2. #2
    viva la v-brakes!
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    Kickapoo state park is about 45 minutes east of CU. Its perhaps the most fun trail system in the midwest, yes more or less flat, but a lot of short steep descents/climbs and a lot of the flying through the trees you are looking for: Kickapoo Mountain Bike Club

    About 35 minutes to the east is a little town called, Farmer's City (definitely more farmer than city). They had a BMX track 10 years ago, I haven't tried to go since so I don't know if its still there or not.

    Peoria, about 1.5 hours east has numerous trails, worth the drive for a weekend day. Funnest trail there is Independence Park: The Peoria Area Mountain Bike Association - Welcome!

    As for getting to the trails, the the Illini Cycling Club (the inter mural school team) typically car-pools out to Kickapoo a couple days a week for rides. However, I'm not sure how active the club is at the moment, their website hasn't been updated in a couple years: Illini Cycling

    Some newer groups have popped up recently. Here are some links, you can do some research... I know there is at least one townie group that is planning on heading to Kickapoo once a week (since a friend of mine is leading said group).

    The Bike Project of Urbana-Champaign
    Champaign County Bikes | Making Champaign County the Most Bicycle Friendly County in the Midwest
    Urbana Cycles

    Oh, and Champaign Cycles is the only decent shop left in town at the moment, avoid Durst like the plague.

    Good Luck.
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  3. #3
    viva la v-brakes!
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    Also, for the Chicago area Palos Hills Forest Preserves have the best trails in the area, on the southwest side of Chicago, along I-290 which you would take to/from C-U and Chicagoland. The North suburbs are a mountain biking desert. There is a place called Petrified Springs just over the border in WI, but most people drive a little further to the John Muir Trails at the Kettle Moraine.
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    I have a car. I made a choice. I ride my bike.

  4. #4
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    Thanks for all of the great info. That kickapoo looks great. I was hoping for something along the lines of a 10mile ride, 10 mile trail, and 10 miles back of course. I may look into the groups but hate depending on schedules of others becuase I have a grueling schedule at school.

    But I think I'm going to grab a plasma cutter, mig welder, pipe bender, and build a bike rack for my motorcycle.
    Negative Reps Please.

    Soy Loco

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by dihymon View Post

    But I think I'm going to grab a plasma cutter, mig welder, pipe bender, and build a bike rack for my motorcycle.
    Good idea. Unless you want to build a trail through someone's cornfield, nearby options aren't plentiful.

    However, if you can take a weekend trip down to southern Illinios, lots of options. You can take your bike on the amtrak train that runs down there for a fee.

  6. #6
    Deadhead
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    Kickapoo is going to be your closest trail system. It's about 30-40 minutes from CU and there are always folks making the drive if the weather is good.
    Farmer City BMX is about 25 minutes west of CU and is in pretty decent shape as of a couple weeks ago.
    Comlara Park just north Bloomington-Normal has a really nice trail system. It's about an hour west of CU.
    A little further west is Peoria, and there are six trail systems of varying flavor in and around town. There is also a BMX track on the north side of Peoria that is pretty kickass.
    When you get to town, post up on the KMBC forums or the facebook page and introduce yourself. We're always looking for new heads to show around.
    "If you can get both wheels sliding with no brakes, that's when you really know that you're cookin." Nathan Rennie

  7. #7
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    For anyone interested - the BMX track at Farmer City just celebrated it's 25th Anniversary! We are going strong as ever. Farmer City is about 20-25 minutes west of Champaign. Come check out our new design! Racing is every Saturday with registration from 4:30-6. You can check us out on Facebook (Farmer City BMX ) or our webpage at Farmer City BMX.

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