Press Release


Illinois Humanities Council hosts Velosophie, a cycling, reading, and discussion seminar June 14-18.

CHICAGO-Bicycle riders will exercise both body and mind when they take part in the Illinois Humanities Council’s Velosophie program June 14-18. This reading and discussion program combines the physical activity of biking through the northern Illinois countryside with reflections on the meaning and significance of nature.  Velosophie participants will be cycling from Seneca to Shabbona Lake State Park in DeKalb County, White Pines State Park near Rockford, and Johnson-Sauk Trail State Park near Kewanee.

Through nightly conversations moderated by trained facilitators, Velosophie participants will discuss readings focused on the concept of "Nature, or the Wild." Selected works will include poems, short stories, and essays, by John Muir, Annie Dillard, Sarah Orne Jewett, and Gerard Manley Hopkins, as well as James Salter’s novel Solo Faces. Discussions will address topics related to the many forms of nature: benign, beautiful nature, fit for a postcard; threatening, uncontrollable nature, from which we seek shelter; and, most of all, the nature inside us, wild or no.

Derived from the Latin velo ("swift") and the Greek sophia ("wisdom"), Velosophie is an innovative, mobile humanities seminar experience exploring the connections between an active body and an engaged mind in an outdoor setting. The program is offered through a partnership between the IHC and the League of Illinois Bicyclists and accompanies the Grand Illinois Trail and Parks Ride 2009. The ride features quiet roads in northwestern Illinois, with a particular focus on some of Illinois’ most beautiful state parks. 

Discussions will be facilitated by Adam Davis and Ryan Lewis. Adam Davis received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, his M.A. from Boston College, and his B.A. from Kenyon College. He has spent several years as a lecturer in political philosophy at the University of Chicago and as a backcountry trail crew leader for the United States Forest Service.  Davis is the Executive Director of Camp of Dreams and is Senior Research Associate with the Project on Civic Reflection.  Ryan Lewis is a Program Officer with the Illinois Humanities Council and developed the program in conjunction with the League of Illinois Bicyclists. 

For more information on Velosophie, including information on how to participate in the 2010 ride, please visit the Illinois Humanities Council website at, send an email to, or call 312.422.5580.

The Illinois Humanities Council is a nonprofit educational organization [501 (c) 3] dedicated to fostering a culture in which the humanities are a vital part of the lives of individuals and communities. Organized in 1973 as the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, the IHC creates programs and funds organizations that promote greater understanding of, appreciation for, and involvement in the humanities by all Illinoisans, regardless of their economic resources, cultural background, or geographic location. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

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