Chicago Skyline from the Bicycle Illinois Ending Location
On Road Support Services
Rest Stops
Water Stops


Cue Sheets and Maps (Primary)
Individual GPS Units
Road Markings
Orange Ribbons
Sidewalk Chalk
Other Participants
SAG Vehicle
Mechanical Support Services
Medical Support Services
Event Communications
Food & Beverages
In Town Facilities and Services
Getting To the Start and From the End
Before the Event
Administrative Policies and Procedures

Road Markings

WarningsActionsConfirmationsRoute DesignatorsOptions DesignatorsChanges to Marks
Old Marks

The end  in sight!  
We will paint directional signage marks directly on the road at every point on the route wherever you need to do something and will be the only "permanent" signage used.

The directional signage marks we use are called Dan Henry marks (I don't know who Dan Henry is or was) and are incredibly simple. They consist of a circle approximately a foot in diameter with a tick mark painted on the outside that indicates the direction you should go. They're that simple, and that effective.

We paint the marks using a fluorescent orange marking paint which is very easy to recognize on the road surfaces and is rarely used as utility markings. While the Dan Henry marks look like utility markings to the untrained eye, they cannot be confused with any other utility markings on the road once you what they are. We've heard horror stories about other bicycle rides that used marks and paint colors similar to those for a gas line, and the participants ended up following the gas line instead of the route!

There are three types of Dan Henry marks – warnings, actions, and confirmations.

A "warning" mark will be placed approximately a hundred yards before something you have to do, known as the "action." The warning mark's tick mark of the will indicate the upcoming direction of travel you will need to take. Sometimes the warning may be a little closer than a hundred yards depending on the circumstances and we also try to put the mark on an uphill slope whenever possible so you can see it from farther away.

The "action" mark will be placed directly on the road at the spot where you need to do something, such as in front of an intersection, and its tick mark will indicate the direction of travel you need to take at that time.

Shortly after you perform the action there will be a "confirmation" mark whose tick mark points forward so you know that you did the right thing.

If you do something and do not see a confirmation mark, it is always to good idea to go back and make sure that you see the confirmation mark to make sure you didn't do the wrong thing. It's a lot better to take a minute or two to make sure you did the right thing than to bike several miles out of your way because you did something wrong and didn't know about it.

A single mark pointing forward will also be painted on long stretches to confirm that you are travelling in the right direction. We will place these marks no more than 3 miles apart, often closer, and they will generally be in between intersections so that you know it is a confirmation mark because it couldn't possibly be anything else because there's no where else to go.

Route Designators
Marks may also have an additional letter abbreviation to designate certain parts of the route with as follows:

  • RS – Short for Rest Stop. Used to designate the route into a rest stop or main loading site.
  • CT - Short for ConTinued. Used to designate the route out of a rest stop or main lodging site, especially on doublebacks.
  • BP – Short for Bike Path. Used to designate when the route goes onto a bike path from the road.
  • BI – Short for Bicycle Illinois. Used to designate where the route for the Tri-State Tour deviates from the Bicycle Illinois route on the Lakefront Path in Chicago and also the supported route to our staging point in the RAGBRAI® ending town.
  • TST – Short for Tri-State Tour Chicago Century. Used to designate where the route for the Tri-State Tour Chicago Century deviates from the Bicycle Illinois route on the Lakefront Path in Chicago.
  • NIR – Short for Northern Illinois Ride. Not used since 2007, but you may see a few of these marks left over on the Lakefront Path in Chicago. If they are present, they will be very faded and should be ignored.

Options Designators
Where an option branches off the main route, there will be two Dan Henry marks at the warning point and action point, and one confirmation at the start of each route option. The marks for the optional route will also be designated by an additional letter abbreviation as follows:

  • 100 - Century
  • ROAD or PATH - Fully paved, on ROAD or gravel bike PATH options (always used together)
  • T100 - Century option for participants continuing on the Tri-State Tour Chicago Century from Bicycle Illinois
  • WC - Waukegan Century option on the Tri-State Tour Chicago Century
  • EZ - the less challenging or easier option
  • H - the more challenging or Harder option
  • IN - INdiana option

Changes to Marks
Any old or incorrect marks on the road are marked as invalid by applying black paint over them. If you see a mark that has been "blacked out" you should ignore it.

Old Marks
Although our route generally remains the same year after year with only a few minor changes, it is possible that an old, now incorrect mark could still be on the road from previous years. For example, an old mark could still be at an intersection where last year's route turned right while this year's route goes straight, and thus we wouldn't have needed to mark it now.

Any remaining marks from previous years will be very faded and worn compared to the ones from the current year, and you will definitely be able to notice the difference in color and brightness since the paint we use is designed to degrade over a couple months. Regardless, we will still want to remove any old marks to prevent confusion so if you see an old, incorrect mark on the ground please contact us so we can come out and black it out to prevent confusion. And if you have any questions, as always check your cue sheets and/or contact us.

P.O. Box 8454 • Chicago, IL 60680 • (877) TOUR-ILL [868-7455]
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