The History of the Two Rivers Century
The Kankakee River Bike Club holds its "show 'n' go" Saturday Morning Road Rides. These rides bond together a number of area cyclists and many friendships are born. The rides range throughout all of Kankakee County, and occassionally venture beyond into other counties, and even into Indiana. Many of these cyclists travel to other areas to join in on their invitational rides.
Inspired by participating in invitational rides in other areas, and realizing that Kankakee had equally nice routes along many miles of riverside roads, the kernel of an idea is triggered: Kankakee needed to share its cycling routes with the regional cycling community. So, a number of enthusiastic local riders band together and start working on making it a reality...
The inaugural year. Some 200+ riders from as far away as Indianapolis travel to Kankakee to join in on the historic first year. A rousing success! Though some lessons were learned, it was obvious that people liked what the ride had to offer. The most common comment was that the "scenery along the rivers was beautiful".
Learning from the hiccups of the first year, we updated our routes, added more miles and incorporated more of the treasures that Kankakee has to offer, like:
- The Frank Lloyd Wright designed home, B. Harley Bradley House- considered to be the first "Prairie Style" Wright design.
- "Barn Quilts" that adorn barns throughout the rural Kankakee area.
- "Border Town" Momence and it's lovely Island Park. (Yes, it's situated on an island on the Kankakee River!)
Our ride keeps growing and growing, thanks to all who come and enjoy the scenic roads we have to offer. 2012 marked nearly double the riders of the first year, so the word is getting out!
In an effort to better serve cyclists on the road, we incorporated a ham radio team in 2012 to coordinate SAG drivers out on the road. This was very successful!
Another enormously successful year! We continue to grow and learn every year to make this the best ride in the region. Our cyclist "guests" must agree, too, because they not only come back year after year, but they bring friends!
Another banner year as we just keep getting better and better! We're starting to see familiar faces of those who come year after year. It's great to see all those faces, but we love to see new ones, too!
We added the wonderful town of Watseka to our route system, but due to construction of a bridge north of town, this caused some confusion. We decided to drop Watseka moving forward, but if conditions change, we'd certainly love to bring it back!
The 2015 Two Rivers Century was the first to actually be threatened with cancellation due to flooding, but the waters receded in the nick of time. This close call allowed us to take special note of flood-prone areas and create "high water" route backups. If we ever have flooding in the future, we now have a backup plan!
We have some route improvements this year and we'll be headquartered across the road from where we've been in the past. In 2016, registration will be at Ice Valley Center Ice Arena, 1601 River Road, Kankakee, Illinois. We're always making changes to make what we think is the greatest ride in the region!
Like in recent years, registration will be at Ice Valley Center Ice Arena, 1601 River Road, Kankakee, Illinois. It's going to be another great year!