2023 CowaLUNGa Details

Wanna Ride with Me?

CowaLUNGa Charity Bike Tour fundraises for Respiratory Health Association. Proceeds from the event benefit RHA’s mission to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and help people live better through education, research, and policy change.

Choose to ride approximately 18 or 65 miles in one day, 130 miles in two days, or 190 miles over three days.

*New in 2023* Join us beginning on day 2 (Sunday, July 30) for a 100-mile century ride.

All routes include full safety and gear (SAG) and medical support, two daily rest stops, breakfast and dinner, and bus and bike transportation back to the start line. Free overnight parking is available onsite at Gurnee Mills for the event’s duration.

Follow CowaLUNGa on FacebookTwitter and Instagram for the latest on the 2023 ride!

2023 Route Options

The CowaLUNGa routes have been expertly designed using safe, scenic roads with limited traffic. You’ll experience just the right combination of hills and flats to challenge the new rider and keep the experienced cyclist engaged. It’s the view from your saddle that makes the tour so enjoyable. From farms and lakes to small country towns, there is plenty to see. Ride at your own pace, enjoy the tastes of Wisconsin (lunch each day is on your own), and keep an eye out for those cows! Note: route is subject to change if road work or any conditions require a slight reroute.

All Cow riders depart as a mass start at 9:00 AM on Day 1 from the Gurnee Mills parking lot in Gurnee, Illinois, conveniently located just off I-94 — approximately 40 miles north of Chicago. An earlier start time is not feasible as it will not align with rest stop locations and restaurant schedule availability.

*New in 2023* Join us beginning on Day 2 for a 100-mile century ride departing from Conference Point Center in William’s Bay, Wisconsin. Riders depart as a mass start at 8:00 AM.

Please note that CowaLUNGa riders are required to wear helmets at all times on their bikes. NO HELMET, NO RIDE.

All ride options include:

  • Fully supported route (bike, SAG, medical)
  • Registration fee and small fundraising requirement (No registration fee for children 4 and under!)
  • Event shirt
  • Finisher’s medal
  • Event photographer and digital photo access
  • Free parking at the start line
  • Bus ride for you and transportation for your bike back to the start line. If you would not like to wait for the bus, you are welcome to provide your own transportation and leave after check-in at the finish line.
  • One, two, and three day riders are invited to bring their personal bag for transport on the gear truck.

18 Miles

GURNEE, ILLINOIS TO BRISTOL, WISCONSIN

Saturday, July 29, 2023 | 9:00 a.m. start – 12:00 p.m. return (approximately)

This is the perfect ride option if you want to be part of CowaLUNGa but are looking for a shorter distance. It’s also a great way to get the entire family involved! See our Child Rider Policy for more information.

Check-in begins at 7:00 a.m. in the Gurnee Mills parking lot H. Restrooms are available and you can register your vehicle for free parking for the duration of your ride. Bring your cheering section – family and friends are welcome. After a short program and send-off, all riders depart for Wisconsin at 9:00 a.m. as a mass start. Spectators can enjoy shopping at Gurnee Mills following the send-off.

Snacks and drinks are available at the finish line in Bristol. A bus for you and transportation for your bike will arrive back at Gurnee Mills at approximately 12:00 PM.

1 Day – 65 Miles

GURNEE, ILLINOIS TO WILLIAM’S BAY, WISCONSIN

Saturday, July 29, 2023 | 9:00 a.m. start – 8:00 p.m. return (approximately)

Cycle approximately 65 miles from Gurnee Mills through fully-supported rest stops in Bristol, Hebron, and into Conference Point Center, located in William’s Bay outside of Lake Geneva.

Check-in begins at 7:00 a.m. in Gurnee Mills Parking Lot H. Indoor restrooms are available, and you can register your vehicle for free parking for the duration of your ride. Bring your cheer section – family and friends are welcome! After a short program and send-off, all riders depart for Wisconsin at 9:00 a.m. as a mass start. Spectators can enjoy shopping at Gurnee Mills following the send-off.

Morning and afternoon rest stops with food and drink are available. Lunch is on your own at one of many recommended restaurants. Once you arrive at Conference Point, you can check-in and turn in your bike to be loaded, then hit the showers, grab a snack, or visit the on-site Ice Cream Shoppe. Dinner will be available from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and after the Cow Gathering (a short program including the day’s highlights and a medal ceremony), you’ll board the bus to return to Gurnee Mills. Riders are invited to bring their personal bag for transport onto the gear truck.

2 Day – 130 Miles

GURNEE, ILLINOIS TO WHITEWATER, WISCONSIN

Saturday, July 29, 2023, 9:00 a.m. start – Sunday, July 30, 2023, 8:30 p.m. return (approximately)

After completing the first day ride (outlined above), dinner is available 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. and is followed by the Cow Gathering, a short program with the day’s highlights and a medal ceremony for riders who are departing for home. Before and after, you’ll have time to take a swim in William’s Bay, relax with other riders, enjoy board games, grab a snack from the on-site Ice Cream Shoppe, or even make the short walk to town if you’d like to enjoy a little night life. An evening option is to come together to enjoy a fireside gathering before bed. Sleep in beautiful lakeside cabins, such as Magill Hall, Retreat, Delap Lodge and others. Cabins are preassigned based on registration date, team size and status of Lung Health Champion. Teams are assigned to be in the same cabin. Cabins with a/c are assigned first.

Get back in the saddle! On your second day, breakfast is available. The route opens at 6:45 a.m. and covers approximately 65 miles (or 100 miles if you decide to take the Century Ride),  through areas of the Kettle Moraine State Forest and rest stops in the town of Lyons and at Avant Cycle Café, formerly the LaGrange General Store. Lunch is on your own again and you’ll pedal onto the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater’s campus to end the day. Check-in is required at each day’s finish line, and you must be off the route by dinner time. The Day Two dinner is a highlight, featuring a short program and recognitions.

Thank you to the Whitewater Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism Council for supporting CowaLUNGa and welcoming us to their city. Check out their Bicyclist’s Guide to Whitewater!

3 Day – 190 Miles

GURNEE, ILLINOIS TO HUBERTUS, WISCONSIN

Saturday, July 29, 2023, 9:00 a.m. start – Monday, July 31, 2023, 7:00 p.m. return (approximately)

Read 1 Day and 2 Day route descriptions above. In Whitewater on day two, spend the afternoon at the pool or on a massage table and enjoy a variety of activities after dinner including pool tables, ping pong, and bowling in the air-conditioned Rec Center. Share rider stories and enjoy an adult beverage at the late-night pizza party.

Overnight accommodations for night two are provided in the newly constructed air-conditioned dorm building on campus.

The third day’s route opens at 7:15 a.m. on Monday and is approximately 60 miles. In addition to two of the tour’s most challenging hills, you’ll want to stop in to visit a rider favorite, the Wholly Cow Frozen Custard shop in Delafield, and rest stops outside Ottawa and Stone Bank. Lunch is on your own. You’ll complete your successful CowaLUNGa journey riding into Camp Minikani in Hubertus, Wisconsin, where you can relax, buy raffle tickets and Cow souvenir items, cheer on other riders as they cross the finish line, and enjoy the celebration meal before departing for home.

Virtual Ride

Have a conflict with CowaLUNGa or an injury that keeps you from riding this year? You don’t have to lose a year toward your next Cow trophy and can still have an impact on RHA’s efforts to help people living with asthma, COPD, lung cancer and other lung diseases. Register as a Cow Virtual Rider!

A $10 donation is required to register as a Virtual Rider. Fundraise $100 (including the $25 minimum donation) to receive:

  • The official Cow event t-shirt
  • A keepsake Fanny Flag
  • The Cow finisher’s medal

These items will be mailed to you 2 – 3 weeks after the event.

Ride (If You Can) for Healthy Lungs and Clean Air

If you’re able, make training a motivational part of the virtual experience and log 18, 65, 130 or 190 miles on your own. However, there is no requirement to prove you’ve even gotten on your bike. If you choose, join Club CowaLUNGa on Strava to connect with other riders! See how you stack up in Weekly Leaderboards, find new friends, and get the latest details on Training Rides led by CowaLUNGa veterans as you log your miles.

To Join:

  • Visit https://strava.com/clubs/cowalunga
  • If you do not already have a Strava account, you can create one for free.
  • Click “Request to join this club.” There is no confirmation message to show your request was received, but we promise it went through!
  • An admin will approve your request to join. If your request is not approved within 72 hours, please contact mrauch@resphealth.org or (312) 628-0194.

Your key role as a Virtual Rider is making a difference through fundraising.

Share with your network that you’re committed to supporting RHA’s mission even though you aren’t able to be at the event. You’ll have full access to the RHA Fundraising Toolkit and be able to create a personal fundraising page to help with your efforts. You’ll receive the Cow event emails full of great fundraising tips and encouragement.

Prior to the CowaLUNGa Charity Bike Tour dates, registered Virtual Riders will be entered in the Cow fundraising contests when all specific requirements are met. You can also qualify for the Cow incentive prizes based on your fundraising efforts, including the coveted Cow Lung Health Champion jersey (in addition to the event performance shirt) at the $1,000 level.

Costs & Deadlines

Each route option’s early bird discounts, regular registration fees, and fundraising minimums for the 2023 ride are listed below. There are no day-of registration options available for any of the route options.

All CowaLUNGa fees and donations are non-refundable and non-transferable. Please note: If your fundraising minimum has not been met by the fundraising deadline, the credit card number provided at the time of registration will be charged any remaining balance to honor your commitment. Fundraising coaches will be assigned to each rider to assist with fundraising support, provide tools, and one-on-one coaching if requested.

*Lung Health Champions

Commit to raising a minimum of $1,000 and receive benefits including a custom commemorative CowaLUNGa Voler cycling jersey. Learn more about becoming a Lung Health Champion.

**First-Time Rider Discount

To qualify for this discount, you must be a new rider to the CowaLUNGa Charity Bike Tour. Discount is only available for the Two Day and Three Day ride options and only applies to registration fees. Fundraising is required. To get a coupon code for this discount, call 312-628-0223 or email us.

***Virtual Riders

Have a conflict with CowaLUNGa 2022 or an injury that keeps you from riding? You don’t have to miss out on a year toward your Cow trophy and can still have an impact on RHA’s efforts to help people living with asthma, COPD, lung cancer, and other lung diseases. Register as a Cow Virtual Rider!

DEADLINES

▪ Early bird registration fees end June 1. There are no extensions or exceptions after that date.

▪ Team members must register three weeks in advance of the ride to be counted toward the CowaLUNGa Largest Team trophy. Team members may still register after that date but will not be considered in the trophy calculation.

▪ Online registration closes approximately 24 hours before the ride begins. After that time, call (312) 628-0223 to check availability as last minute cancellations may create open spots to participate. There is no day-of-event onsite registration.

▪ The fundraising deadline is August 18, 2023. All registered riders are required to fundraise, whether or not you are able complete the ride. Please note: if your fundraising minimum has not been met by the fundraising deadline, the credit card number provided at the time of registration will be charged any remaining balance to honor your commitment. If the credit card information is not current when we charge, you will be notified to provide a valid credit card number.

Interested in experiencing CowaLUNGa but not able to ride? Join the CowaLUNGa volunteer crew! Email Jamie Blair at jblair@resphealth.org to learn more.

For more than two decades, we have been committed to keeping CowaLUNGa accessible for all our riders. We have kept registration fees as low as possible by securing community rest stops and overnight venues with reasonable expenses. We work to secure donated snacks and supplies, recruit wonderful volunteers, and receive financial and in-kind sponsorships. Due to increasing costs of housing, transportation, and food and beverage, we have implemented a registration fee increase, and have increased the fundraising requirement. All funds will support Respiratory Health Association’s (RHA) lung health and clean air programs. Fundraising commitments will not be due until August 19, 2022.

Rider Safety

Our health and safety policies below have changed based on improvements in COVID-19 positivity rates, increased vaccination rates, and decreases in hospitalizations. We prioritize the safety of all participants and will continue to monitor and follow guidance from Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). This includes any restrictions on the size of in-person gatherings.

  • Masks: RHA will follow any local, state, federal, or venue protocols required at the time of the event. There is currently no mask requirement for outdoor events, and they will not be required. Participants, volunteers, staff, and guests are encouraged to wear a mask in areas at the event where large numbers of people gather – such as the start line, dinner, etc.
  • Social distancing: Social distancing guidelines will be encouraged throughout the event.
  • Event participants, volunteers, and vendors who may be experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, or who have recently been in contact with a person experiencing symptoms, are asked not to attend the event.

We strongly urge all participants, volunteers, sponsors and staff to receive all of the available vaccinations against COVID-19.

Additional ride safety guidelines:

  • All CowaLUNGa riders are required to wear secured bicycle helmets while on their bikes. NO HELMET, NO RIDE.
  • Please obey traffic laws at all times.
  • Ride within your ability and physical condition.
  • Carry personal identification.
  • Bring a bike in good condition, with a spare tube, basic tools (optional), a water bottle, sunscreen, etc. (see the CowaLUNGa Packing List for additional suggestions).
  • The routes are on public roads which must be shared with motorists. Local Illinois and Wisconsin law enforcement authorities may patrol the roads and may issue citations for traffic violations.
  • Personal SAG vehicles are not permitted on the route. Please understand our need to reduce vehicular traffic for your safety. We provide SAG vehicles and full route support.
  • RHA reserves the right to have individuals removed from the ride.

Need information on bike safety and bike laws? Visit Ride Illinois and take their Bike Safety Quiz. You can find Wisconsin’s bike laws here.

Ride as a Team

Riding CowaLUNGa as part of a team is fun, motivational, and a great way to meet other riders. First-timers have enjoyed being part of Team CowaLUNGa or forming their own teams with family and friends. Corporate teams are a great way to build camaraderie among your co-workers. In all cases, team jerseys are encouraged.

Each year the team with the most members is recognized at the CowaLUNGa start line and receives the coveted Largest Team trophy.

Learn more about joining Team CowaLUNGa or forming a team of your own.

Be a Lung Health Champion!

Receive exclusive benefits, including a Voler cycling jersey designed specially for CowaLUNGa, when you agree to raise $1,000 as a Lung Health Champion.

Your efforts support Respiratory Health Association’s work to prevent lung disease, promote clean air, and fund research to help people live well.

Any CowaLUNGa rider can be a Lung Health Champion. The standard registration fee applies and is due at the time of registration.

Learn more about the benefits of being an LHC here.

Training Support

Need some help getting into cycling shape? Do you want to invite someone to join you on the tour who’s new to cycling and needs practice? Multiple training opportunities are available to help you prepare and be ready for a great CowaLUNGa ride.

Review our safety tips so you can enjoy every second of your ride. Riders are required to wear their own, secured helmets while on their bikes, at all times. NO HELMET, NO RIDE.

JOIN CLUB COWALUNGA ON STRAVA!

Join Club CowaLUNGa on Strava to connect with other riders! See how you stack up in Weekly Leaderboards, find new friends, and get the latest details on Training Rides led by CowaLUNGa veterans as you log your miles and prepare for Cow weekend.

To Join:

  • Visit https://strava.com/clubs/cowalunga
  • If you do not already have a Strava account, you can create one for free.
  • Click “Request to join this club.” There is no confirmation message to show your request was received, but we promise it went through!
  • An admin will approve your request to join. If your request is not approved within 72 hours, please contact mrauch@resphealth.org or (312) 628-0194.

Interested in a CowaLUNGa training ride?

Join veteran CowaLUNGa cyclists for training rides and meet fellow tour riders.

Training rides are designed to support all riders in a group ride setting, to have camaraderie, get a feel for longer rides, introduce new riders to other riders, inquire about what to expect during Cow weekend, and so much more…like ice cream!

All Rider Levels Welcome!

Training rides are encouraged, optional and the perfect way to get in some miles and meet others or reconnect with former COW riders before the big weekend. Each are led by a veteran rider(s).

More information on Training Rides in Spring 2023.

Smoke-Free Event

CowaLUNGa is an entirely smoke-free event. You may not use any tobacco products, e-cigarettes, or vape products during the event including but not limited to rest stops, public places, housing accommodations, and anywhere affiliated with CowaLUNGa. Anyone engaged in tobacco use or activity may be immediately removed from the event. Yes, we are serious.

Fundraising Support

As a charity ride, RHA wants to make your CowaLUNGa fundraising easy. Explore our resources to help you reach and even surpass your fundraising goal.

Ready to ride? Sign up for Cow emails.

You’ll receive occasional event updates throughout the year and alerts when registration for the CowaLUNGa Charity Bike Tour opens.

Still can’t find what you need? Explore our list of frequently asked questions. You can also contact Jamie Blair at jblair@resphealth.org.