Four days of Awesome in Peoria, IL

I had no idea mountain biking in the Midwest is so big — and excellent.

Just returned from four days of teaching and riding in Peoria, IL. Thoughts:

IL MTB is rad!
Some of you know this, of course, but it was news to me. Wow: Lots of trail networks with deep woods and arboreal flow. We worked at Farmdale Reservoir, which has turny trails, an “IL DH” and a jump/drop zone. What a fun spot — and it’s only one of several in the area. Check out other Peoria trails at

Farmdale is a tangle of flow — and it’s easy to get lost.

Lots of nice people!
Mountain bikers tend to be cool, and this was a powerful mix of good folks.

Friday crew.

Saturday crew.

Sunday crew.

Monday crew.

Specialized is crushing it out here
Most riders were on Specializeds, and most of them rode Epics. The short travel, quick geometry and fore/aft pumping platforms make the Epic a sharp knife in these woods.

My Camber worked well, and it let me attack the “IL DH” a bit harder. If I lived here I’d run faster tires (Specialized FastTraks were very popular) and narrower bars. …

Wide downhill bars in tight woods …
… not ideal. My Shimano PRO Athtertons are 29 inches wide. Judging from which knuckles are bloody, I think my maximum usable width is 27 inches.

I was either paying attention to the trees and riding poorly or forgetting about the trees and punching them.

PAMBA is the heart and soul of Peoria mountain biking
This sentiment was expressed by quite a few riders. I’ve donated some money to the Peoria Area Mountain Bike Association; maybe they can add a pump track to Farmdale’s skills area. I know a guy who can help.

Learn about PAMBA and shredding in Peoria, IL:

Their kung fu is good!
In four days, 24 riders dramatically improved their skills and confidence.

Matthew Jarrett of the Friday crew posted a very nice report:

Working the bumps in the Farmdale skills area.

Making big angles!

Tom applies kung fu on Schrolls Trail.

Matt flies. Check out his report:

I’ll be back
If all goes well, I’ll return this fall. Chicago, Bloomington, where else? Email me is you want me of one of the other LLB coaches to make your life even radder.

Have fun out there,


Bring LLB to your town >>>

Know more. Have more fun!

Join the leelikesbikes mailing list:

1 reply
  1. Jon Foerster says:


    Thanks for the rad rating on our trails in the Peoria area. We have learned how to make the best of what we have and while our river valley terrain may not have a ton of elevation, it does have thrill factor.

    I wish I could have taken advantage of your visit and attend one of the clinics, I hate when work and commitments get in the way of fun. I bought Mastering Mountain Bike Skills a few years ago and it’s helped me become a better rider. Next time you’re here, I’m in.

    Farmdale is a gas for sure. But you’ve gotta check out our other trail systems. I know your face will be hurting post ride. Let us know when you are back in the area and we get you out to experience more of the unique trails we have here. It ranges from an old school roller coaster track at Dirksen to a rocky treat at Wildlife Prairie Park.

    My handlebars are 28″ wide and are fine 98% of the time. I too have been known to sport bloodied pinkie knuckles and occasionally end up kissing dirt when I catch one at speed. 27″ would be a better width, but I’m sticking with what I have.

    Cheers and good riding!


Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *