The route utilizes most of the city’s bike paths to go through or near all but seven major Madison community parks, along with many smaller neighborhood parks and other natural areas, as it snakes clockwise around the city. Visit one or two parks, a section of the city, or if you’re feeling extremely ambitious (around 8.5 hours of riding at 15mph), try the whole route! The nature of connecting many parks means a few out-and-backs, slower park paths, and slower turns, which may be less fun for riders looking to maintain high speeds. Some parks and trailheads may lack bike racks – in this situation, we recommend locking your bike to anything that cannot be easily broken (avoid small trees). Parks, as well as many places to get food and drinks, or repair your bike, will be marked along the route with POI indicators.
Check out this map with all bike shops in Dane County, as well as with many of the outdoor self-repair stations.
Yes! As long as you’re in the City of Madison, at least. City code states that “[b]icyclist use of sales and service windows shall not be prohibited.” Don’t expect every employee at a drive-thru to be aware of this, though.
There are multiple options to buy an annual or daily Wisconsin State trail pass:
- At a trail kiosk: Most trails have multiple self-registration kiosks at trailheads. Fill out the form, put cash or a check into the envelope, and take the temporary trail pass with you. If you buy an annual pass, the Department of Natural Resources will mail you your permanent pass in a couple of days.
- At bike and other shops: Several local bike shops, including Budget Bicycle Center, Wheel & Sprocket, Erik’s, and REI sell trail passes. Other businesses near to trailheads also sell them, for example Olde Towne Coffee House at the Glacial Drumlin Trail in Cottage Grove, Miller & Sons in Verona, or the Grumpy Troll in Mount Horeb. There will often be signs on the trail mentioning these businesses.
- Online: If you want to include a donation, you can order a pass from the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Without additional cost, you can order a pass on ReserveDane.
Madison plows arterial bike paths 7 days a week and holidays.
Wisconsin Statute 347.489(1) states that if you ride your bike in the dark, you must have a white front light (either attached to the bike or to yourself, e.g. as a helmet light) as well as a red reflector or red light in the rear. This is the full text of the statute:
347.489 Lamps and other equipment on bicycles and other vehicles and devices.
(1) No person may operate a bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, or electric personal assistive mobility device upon a highway, sidewalk, bicycle lane, or bicycle way during hours of darkness unless the bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, or electric personal assistive mobility device is equipped with or, with respect to a bicycle or motor bicycle, the operator is wearing, a lamp emitting a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front of the bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, or electric personal assistive mobility device. A bicycle, motor bicycle, personal delivery device, or electric personal assistive mobility device shall also be equipped with a red reflector that has a diameter of at least 2 inches of surface area or, with respect to an electric personal assistive mobility device, that is a strip of reflective tape that has at least 2 square inches of surface area, on the rear so mounted and maintained as to be visible from all distances from 50 to 500 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a steady or flashing red light visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear may be used in lieu of the red reflector.Wisconsin Statute 347.489(1)
This is the legal minimum requirement, but it’s probably a good idea to have an actual light and not just a reflector in the rear. Also keep in mind that certain lights can be very irritating to other people on bikes or on foot, especially when they are aimed to high or flashing rapidly.