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Bicycling in and around Madison

Estacada, Oregon
Level Contributor
26 posts
15 reviews
Bicycling in and around Madison

My husband and I are traveling to Wisconsin from Oregon in October and will be spending 3 nights in Madison. We plan too rent bikes and are looking for recommendations of interested routes on bike paths or low traffic roads. Routes around 25 miles in length would be great. Any suggestions?

And perhaps a recommendation of where to rent bikes. Thank you.

Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
507 posts
70 reviews
1. Re: Bicycling in and around Madison

Hi-

The bike shop you rent from should have a good map to give you of bike routes.

Some suggestions:

One of the most popular routes is called the Lake Monona loop. It is signed fairly well (except where it crosses Monona drive). It is about 12 miles and a combination of some trails and some lower traffic city streets. North of the lake the signage directs you from the bike path back to city streets, but you can easily stay on the bike path.

Another loop is to take the Capitol City south of Lake Monona, through the nine springs area and Fitchburg where it connects to the Southwest Commuter trail to bring you back downtown. That is about 17 miles. That loop has a small overlap with the Lake Monona loop so you can combine the two to get close to your desired mileage.

I enjoy out and back biking on the Military Ridge trail, which is a bit south of Madison but reachable by the Capitol City/Southwest Commuter loop. However, the lovely part of it out in the country is packed dirt, which I will ride on my road bike, but I'm used to it!

Keep in mind that you need a pass for many of the trails, which you can purchase at many bike shops or kiosks along the trail.

As for rentals, I did a quick search on Yelp and it gives some options. I obviously own mine, so can't comment much there other to say that it seems like most shops provide online pricing so you can compare equipment and cost in advance.

Keep in mind that weather in October can go either way- sunny and warm or not so nice!

Fort Myers, Florida
Level Contributor
122 posts
130 reviews
2. Re: Bicycling in and around Madison

If you are in the downtown area, you can also rent from one of the Bcycle stations (https://madison.bcycle.com/). I have not done it, but am downtown often and see the stations and bikes everywhere.

The previous poster's trail suggestions are good. I run and use the Lake Monona loop often. It should be really pretty in the fall if it's sunny out!

Madison, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
507 posts
70 reviews
3. Re: Bicycling in and around Madison

I was a bit hesitant to mention Bcycle, because I'm not sure how those bikes would compare to ones you would rent at a shop. I'm wondering how comfortable they'd feel for a 25 mile ride. Disclaimer: I've never been on one because I'm a bit of a bike snob :) Maybe someone who's ridden one for a considerable distance will chime in.

Plus, I'm pretty sure that Bcycles don't come with helmets, so you would need to bring your own.

Estacada, Oregon
Level Contributor
26 posts
15 reviews
4. Re: Bicycling in and around Madison

Thanks for the idea. I do a good deal of biking at home, my husband a bit less. I think we'll go with rental bikes. Typical city-share bikes are pretty heavy. I assume as you that they wouldn't be too comfortable.

5. Re: Bicycling in and around Madison

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