Rookie Rides

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These are rides in and around Charleston, Illinois, for riders in the early stages of getting to know their bikes and developing their comfort level for riding. Maps for most of the the routes below start at Bike & Hike bike shop on 18th Street, but you can start from any location you like.

Please ride safely -- always wear a helmet, make sure your bicycle is in good repair, and check out these safety tips for how to not get hit by cars.


NEW - Click here to see more rides added July 2012!


Rides Around Charleston, IL
Ride Description
Adobe Reader

Ride 1

An uncomplicated ride north of town on flat, quiet roads. Get to know your bike and just relax. Ride this till you're ready for some hills, add some distance as you progress.

bike ride1.pdf

Ride 2

Thirteen-mile ride with hills and some flat stretches. Northern half is mostly flat and uses the bike trail, and the southern half takes you into the hills on the south of town.

bike ride2.pdf

Ride 4

Sixteen-mile ride with more challenging hills. Work up to this and enjoy using your gears.

bike ride4.pdf

Ride 7

This ride takes you south of town and then west. Total of about 17 miles. Has hills and flat stetches. Quiet roads for the most part, but you should use caution heading south on 18th Street and when riding the short stretch of Lincoln Highway.

bike ride7.pdf

Ride 10 - ride from Charleston to Urbana

Perhaps you think you'll never be ready for it, but keep pedaling, and you'll be able to enjoy a 50-mile ride on country roads. Great for a weekend with nice weather, this is a flat, flat, flat route that avoids the busier roads. Plan for frequent rest stops (24-hour gas station at Tuscola is just off the route and a good spot to pause, though getting to the station requires a short ride on the shoulder of highway 36, which requires extra caution and may not be within the comfort level of novice riders.)

This a longer ride, so the PDF map is broken up into 16 pages. The first page shows the whole route, and the following pages show zoomed-in views of sequential legs of the route, starting on the southern end (Charleston) and ending at Urbana's Meadowbrook Park.

bike ride10.pdf

Ride 16 - south of Charleston

Approximately 17 miles long, this route combines some challenging hills with some flat stretches and some in-town riding. Be cautious when riding on Route 130 and on the Lincoln Highway (county highway 1668). The route has two very challenging hills -- one on S. 18th Street after you leave town, and one on West Hays Avenue on your return route.

ride 16.pdf

Ride 16a - south of Charleston

Another version of a ride south of Charleston in the hills, but this one brings you back on Sunny Dale Drive and up "The Wall," a relatively short hill but with a steep grade. This is probably not for rookies, but it's always good to have a goal to reach for.


Ride 26 - from Sarah Bush Lincoln Health Center and back

This ride is 12 miles long and is one I devised for an after-work or possibly a vigorous noon-hour ride. Starting at the Health Center and going south of Route 16, the ride goes through some hills on quiet county roads, crosses Route 16 again to return to the Health Center via the bike trail. This is a hilly ride.

ride 26.pdf

Ride 27 - ride from Charleston to Urbana

Practically identical to Ride #10 but with a different departure from Urbana (staying on Race Street/N 1350 E all the way to Philo Road). This route avoids the traffic on S. First Street/N 1200 E but puts you on the somewhat busy Philo Road for a longer distance.

ride 27.pdf

Charleston to Tuscola

A mostly flat route, 58 miles round trip. Good for a nice weekend ride. Plan your trip to arrive in Tuscola between 11 am and 3 pm and enjoy lunch at Flesor's Candy Kitchen. I recommend a Gusburger.


Charleston to Walnut Point

Another flat route (47 miles) to the north, along backroads to Walnut Point State Park. This is a beautiful state park, with shady lanes, picnic tables, camping and fishing. It's a good idea to verify beforehand whether or not the park's concession stand is open. Otherwise, a Casey's General Store in Oakland can provide adequate refreshment.

Walnut Point.pdf

Last updated: 04/21/2013