Tour de Coal bicycle ride on Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, at the Benld City Hall-Civic Center, 201 E. Central Ave. in downtown Benld, Ill. (62009).
The Tour de Coal is for riders of all ages and abilities who have an
interest in cycling in the Macoupin County, Ill. The ride will be held
in conjunction with the 18th Annual Fall Festival held at the Benld City
Park, where the bike ride ends.
the Tour de Coal Bike Ride, cyclists choose from a 13.6-mile family
ride, a mid-length 35-mile ride or a metric century (64.8 miles). The
terrain is flat to rolling with some hills.
Registration is from 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Benld City Hall-Civic
Center on the day of the event. You can save money by registering in
advance either by mail or through Active.com.
Advance registration is $20 per person and $45 for a family of three or
more people living in the same household. On the day of the ride, the
cost is $25 per person and $50 for family of three or more people living
in the same household.
The Tour de Coal did their first mass start in 2014. There will be a mass start beginning at 7:00
AM for those riding the metric century. If you want to find someone with
similar riding skills, this is a good way to find them. It will start
at the registration area on Central Avenue (Rt. 138). All other riders
will start their ride heading north on Second Street as in the past. The
mass start is NOT mandatory for Metric century riders. If you plan to
ride the metric century and do not want to start at 7:00 AM that is
alright too. Again, it is not mandatory. All riders other than the mass
start riders can begin their ride any time prior to the closing of
Out-of-town visitors to the Tour de Coal can camp Friday night (Sept.
22) at Benld City Park, which is just 1 block north of the Benld Civic
Center. For information about camping, contact Mickey
Robinson at (217) 710-5218 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
BANANAS, BOTTLED WATER, AND OATMEAL COOKIES WILL BE AVAILABLE AT THE
REGISTRATION DESK THE DAY OF THE RIDE. PREREGISTRATION BY SEPTEMBER 18
GUARANTEES A T-SHIRT. Late registration will be honored with T-shirts while supplies last.
At registration, riders are also given a redeemable ticket for a choice
of sandwich and soft drink at the Coal Country Chamber of Commerce food
booth at the Fall Festival in the Benld City Park.
This year a portion of each person’s registration fee will go to The
Partnership for Excellence, which helps the children of the Gillespie
Community School District...
Other proceeds from Tour de Coal will be used by the Coal Country
Chamber of Commerce to improve the communities of Benld, Dorchester,
Eagarville, East Gillespie, Gillespie, Mount Clare, Sawyerville and
Wilsonville. The Chamber sponsors events such as a free Summer Concert
Series, the Fall Festival, and Breakfast with Santa.
The Benld/Gillespie area has a rich heritage because of its ties to the
coal industry. The Region has sizable numbers of people of German,
Irish, Italian, Slavic, Scotch and Russian descent drawn to the region
by mining. The region is dotted with more than 27 old coal mines; and
the Tour de Coal
routes pass several of them. Some of these mines have been highlighted on the Tour de Coal Face book page which can be found at on the internet.
Benld is also home to The Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Russian
Orthodox Church, originally built in 1895, the only church in Illinois
under the jurisdiction of the Patriarchate of Moscow and All Both Benld
and Gillespie are on the original alignment (1926-1930) of Route 66
through Illinois, which is now part of the Blue Carpet Corridor of Route
The 64-mile route uses alignments of Route 66 in the Staunton-Mount
Olive area and passes by the grave site of Mary "Mother Jones" Harris, a
prominent labor activist in the late 1800's and early 1900's.
The 64-mile route also goes through the community of Bunker Hill, home
to one of the ride's rest stops. There are 5 other rest stops
throughout the ride.
For more information about the Tour de Coal, contact Coal Country
Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mickey Robinson at (217) 710-5218