Still on the fence about joining Tour de Taco?
It’s OK! Here are some of our commonly heard questions and answers.
What can I expect?
Here’s a breakdown of the day:
You’ll start out at the registration tent in Downtown Bloomington to check in, grab your t-shirt, and get a quick orientation by your friendly Bike BloNo volunteers. Next you’ll choose your pod if you haven’t already and head on over to the pod’s meeting area to meet your pod mates and leaders. If needed, we’ll have an air pump to get those tires ready to go and someone nearby who can help with any last-minute tune-up or safety questions. Before we head out, a Bike BloNo leader will greet everyone and will cover some rules of the road, cycling etiquette, and safety basics. Then, we’re off! Pods will be released one at a time to help reduce congestion on the trails and roads.
Throughout the ride, you’ll be led through Bloomington and Normal on the trails and roads by an experienced Bike BloNo pod leader. The leader will set the pace of the group and adjust the pace when needed. At the back of the pod will be your Bike BloNo pod sweep, who will keep a lookout on the group, help with any issues that arise, and make sure we all stay together.
Some of the stops will be at food trucks parked outside your friendly local bike shops. You’ll have time to eat, look around the bike shops, grab any new gear you need, and then it’s off to the next destination. Some of the stops will be at restaurants, where you’ll have time to eat, socialize, and get some quick rest and time to digest.
We’ll then come full-circle back to Downtown Bloomington. There will be space to park and lock your bike so you can head on over to the after-party, where you’ll have the opportunity to meet other bike and taco enthusiasts and grab a drink.
What should I do to prepare?
- Take your bike to one of your local bike shops for a tune-up (you’ll need to go at least several weeks in advance), or follow these handy steps a few days before the event.
- Fill the tires and make sure they stay full.
- Grease your chain (remember, a little goes a long way).
- Hold the bike firmly while you check if the handlebars or pedals/crank are loose.
- Look the whole thing over for hints about potential problems (in particular heavy rust or cracks).
- Take it for a test ride. Listen for anything that seems loose or rattling. Shift through all the gears.
- Test your brakes at different speeds.
- The night before, get a good night’s sleep. Get all your gear ready to go. And avoid eating tacos for dinner 😉
Do I need to know the “rules of the road”? Is it safe?
Just as with driving a car, you need to know the rules, and of course there are risks. You minimize those risks by following the rules and being aware of your surroundings. We’ll give you an overview of rules and safety tips at the start of the event. In general, cyclists must follow the same traffic laws as cars, but there are special safety considerations we should all be aware of (and remind ourselves of from time to time).
On the trails, please be courteous to other cyclists and pedestrians. Keep to the right of the trail unless the way is clear or you’re passing. When passing, gently announce yourself “Passing on your left!” or ring your bell.
We strongly encourage you to take the Ride Illinois Bicycle Safety Quiz. We are huge fans of this quiz, and you’ll learn a lot.
Are we really supposed to be on the road? Are we really supposed to be on the trails?
Yes, yes, and yes! We’ve chosen routes for the event that are a mix of trails and road routes. In general, traffic will be low to moderate on our selected routes, and we will not cause a major disruption to any motor vehicles. Our goals are to socialize, promote bicycle safety, and encourage the use of bikes as a mode of transportation…all while increasing the visibility of cyclists on the road and hopefully raising awareness that we’re allowed to be there. Oh, and eat tacos.
Any special considerations for kids and families?
All kids are different, but as a general rule, we recommend children under 9-12 years of age ride tandem or in a trailer. This year, we are introducing a family-friendly route that’s ideal for families with children. This route will focus on trail riding (with some limited time on the roads) and have fewer stops.
We encourage you to discuss cycling rules and trail etiquette with your children.
Do I have enough biking experience to participate?
That’s very likely! With multiple skill levels to choose from, ranging from a fairly slow and short ride (no more than 8-10 miles over the course of 4 hours) to a bit of a challenge (20+ miles over the course of 5-6 hours), chances are we’ll have a group that’s right for you. You can always call it quits early if you like. No judgement.
You don’t need to be an expert rider, but we want everyone to be safe. If it has been awhile since you’ve ridden your bike or if you have injuries or physical limitations, we strongly recommend you get some riding time in before event day to get a sense of whether you’ll be able to safely ride on the trails and streets. Practice maneuvers such as shifting smoothly, getting on and off the bike, stopping and starting at intersections, and turning your head to look behind you while riding.
Since this isn’t a race, there’s no need for spandex, or highly-special bike clothing. Just wear something comfortable for riding. Jeans, shorts, athletic clothes, sweat-wicking shirts; whatever you want. As always, brightly-colored shirts are recommended to increase your visibility on the roads.
Do the restaurants and food trucks know we’re coming?
Yes! They know we’re coming and are excited to be a part of the event.
I have more questions…
No problem. Feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll have an answer for you.