Press Release


Illinois Humanities Council hosts Velosophie, a cycling, reading, and discussion seminar through northern Illinois June 15-21.

CHICAGO — Bicycle riders will exercise both body and mind when they take part in the Illinois Humanities Council’s Velosophie program June 15-21. The week-long reading and discussion program combines the physical activity of biking through the northern Illinois countryside with reflections on the meaning and significance of "revolutions."

Through nightly conversations moderated by trained facilitators, Velosophie participants will discuss readings focused on the concept of revolutions. Selected works will include Dave Egger’s Where Were We; Washington Irving’s Rip Van Winkle; Mary Austin’s The Walking Woman; Karl Marx’s The Communist Manifesto; Thomas Paine’s Common Sense; Stephen Vincent Benet’s The Bishop’s Beggar; and poetry from Kay Ryan, Mary Oliver, Philip Larkin, William Wordsworth, and Bronislaw Maj. Discussions will address topics related to the turning over of things – wheels, ideas, perspectives, and societies.

For more information on participating in Velosophie, contact the Illinois Humanities Council at and click on “Eligibility & Guidelines” in the blue box on the right, send an email to, or call 312.422.5580.

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 2008. The ride features quiet roads in northwestern Illinois, the Mississippi River via the Great River Trail, and portions of the Hennepin Canal Trail.

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.

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. The IHC is supported by state, federal, and private funds.

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