If watching the Tour de France inspires you to get out on your bike, there’s a series of rides in Champaign-Urbana that might appeal to you.
OK, so we've got no Alpe d'Huez here, but there are plenty of nice, flat roads to ride on. Le Grand Tour de Champaign is a series of local rides that coincide with the Tour de France schedule.
The idea for the tour came from Peter Davis of Champaign Cycle. He created a schedule of tour stages using established rides of Prairie Cycle Club, the Kickapoo Mountain Bike Association, Wild Card Racing and Champaign Cycle.
Davis said his objective is to get more people riding their bikes, inform them of local rides and encourage them to take part.
Davis created a passport that records riders’ participation. They earn discounts at Champaign Cycle for riding a certain number of stages.
The rides are listed on the Champaign Cycle website, including the day, time, starting point and level of difficulty. They include rides from Level 1 (leisurely; suitable for beginners) to Level 4 (advanced; strenuous rides at race paces).
The rides start this Saturday, with Prairie Cycle Club rides of varying difficulty starting at 8 a.m. from Meadowbrook Park in Urbana. Le Grand Tour ends July 22.
Riders must complete five rides to be eligible for store discounts and be included in a prize drawing.
For more information, go to www.champaigncycle.com.
Photo: Competitors in the 2005 Tour de France, including Lance Armstrong, head up a mountain pass. AP Photo/Bob Edme