The Tour de Ramps, September 14, 2024

See Lake Monroe from every angle without benefit of a boat!

Tour de Ramps History:

The Bloomington Bicycle Club (BBC) has a history of introducing unique and challenging club rides that have become invitational events. The RAIN Ride is one such event. Another challenging ride that first appeared on the BBC calendar in the early 1990s is the Tour de Boat Ramps (Tour de Ramps).  Joe Walker and Dave Emily managed to turn the pleasant, club-staple ride around Lake Monroe into a 60+ mile monster by including side trips to each boat ramp.

The popularity of the ride gradually increased.  One could easily stay with, or even get ahead of the leaders, by skipping a boat ramp or two.  It doesn’t take much of an excuse to skip a ramp or two; a flat tire, a dropped chain, anything to make it easier.  Then again, the opposite might happen.  One year a tandem stoker wouldn’t let the captain skip the last ramp.  The captain relented, and they successfully did the last ramp.  Today, both look back on that ride with mutual admiration of their success. 

For a few years, the Tour de Ramps was dropped off the annual club calendar.  It was just deemed to be too difficult.  In 2017, the Tour was resurrected by a small, dedicated group of BBC members.  It has once again become a club staple done in the cooler Fall weather when the Summer lake boat traffic has declined.  The ride has developed into a social event with good food, beverage, and tales of hill climbing prowess following the ride.  The BBC welcomes you to participate in what has become one of the highlights of our annual ride calendar.  Come join us as we open this ride as an invitational event to the larger cycling community.


Entry limited to 250 riders.

Please check back for the opening of registration for 2024 at


Start/Finish at Fairfax State Recreation Area (11 miles south of Bloomington, IN).  Park at the Fairfax Beach parking area.  Check in up the hill at the Big Oak Shelter.

Start time:  8:30 – 10am.  To avoid a large group of bicycles on the road – we will use a 1.5 hour start window.  Please be on the route by 10am.

Entrance Fee:

The entrance fee to Fairfax SRA is $7 per vehicle for in-state plates and $9 per vehicle for out-of-state plates. If you come by bike, the entrance fee is $2 per person.   Entrance is free with a DNR annual pass.  Your TdR ride wristband will get you into Paynetown SRA, Hardin Ridge NF recreation area, and back into Fairfax at the end of the ride.


  1. Spoil the normally pleasant ride around Lake Monroe by descending & climbing all the boat ramps. There are nine of them, plus many assorted hills in between! 60 miles, 4000 ft of climbing…
  2. Stick to the pleasant ride around the lake. Yes, there are a few hills, but you will only visit 2-3 of the ramps! 40 miles, 2200 ft of climbing…
  3. Try a few of the ramps until your legs give out – each ramp is a new opportunity to demonstrate your lack of common sense… 43 – 60 miles, 2400 – 4000 ft of climbing.

TdR Short Route – 38 miles:

This is the route with minimal boat ramps. There is a water/granola bar SAG stop at Ramp 3 (9.5 miles, ,Cartop) and a full SAG stop (food, Gatorade, restroom) at Ramp 6 (18 miles, Cutright). Your wristband will get you into Hardin Ridge National Forest Recreation area (24.8 miles). It is a beautiful area, has water and restrooms, and a really nice overlook to see the lake. You will know when to turn around to avoid the hill. At the top of the hill just past the Monroe dam is the Dam Overlook (33.2 miles, left turn). You will find a nice view, water, and nice restrooms.

TdR Full Ride – 60 miles:

This is the route with all the ramps. Remember, it is your choice to go down each ramp. There will be SAG stops at each boat ramp. Most will offer restrooms, water and granola bars. Remember to get your colored bike band to verify you have been to each ramp. Ramp 6 (30 miles, Cutright) is the full SAG stop with food water and Gatorade). It is staffed by the Friends of Lake Monroe. Say Hi, talk to them about the lake.

The Tour de Ramps Facebook page has more looks at the route and its challenges!


  • Beautiful scenery.
  • Super friendly volunteers.
  • Marked routes and ride with GPS maps.
  • One well stocked SAG stop, plus water/snack stops at each of the other 8 boat ramps.
  • 9 opportunities to cool off in the lake.
  • A Tour de Ramps rider t-shirt.
  • On course SAG vehicles (with minor mechanical help), transport back to start/finish.
  • Food available for purchase at the finish.
  • Opportunities to create tall tales of your hill climbing prowess.
  • An award for those that ride all 9 ramps!

Route Map: