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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 08-19-08, 11:26 PM   #1
Jtgyk
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Clyde friendly rentals in Madison, WI

I'll be in Madison this week moving my son into his apartment.
If anyone here is from Madison...do you know of any clyde friendly shops to rent a bike from?
Since I've never rented a bike...will my weight (350#) exclude me from renting, as I'm well over the official weight limit for most (all) bikes that will be available.

I've heard that there is a good route around one of the lakes that should take about 2 hours and I don't want to miss getting in a ride before the predicted rain hits Thurs night.

I wish I'd have had room for one of my bikes...but the kid has too much crap.
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Old 08-20-08, 05:47 AM   #2
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I'd try Williamson Bikes, aka Willy Bikes.

It's right on Williamson St. and right on lake monona. One the most bike friendly towns in the US IMHO.
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Old 08-20-08, 06:01 AM   #3
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Or you can also try Machinery Row. It's on Willy St. and is right on the lake at the intersecton of Willy St, and John Nolen. It's also right on the bike path and there is a parking lot there so you canjust park and ride around the lake. It's a really nice route.
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Old 08-20-08, 07:35 AM   #4
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Williamson Bikes is on West Washington, a few blocks from Capitol Square. There is a bike path by it as well that goes southwest through the city. It used to be on Willy and John Nolen, which is now the Machinery Row.
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Old 08-20-08, 08:05 AM   #5
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Thanks
I'll be giving them a try...if the rain lets up at all.....
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Old 08-20-08, 10:42 AM   #6
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Ah, sorry bout that...too long since I lived in Madison.
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Old 08-20-08, 11:53 AM   #7
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x1 for Machine Works.
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Old 08-20-08, 04:18 PM   #8
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Might be a little late to weigh in here, but in case you haven't already decided, I'd go with Willy Bikes on W. Washington. They're right next to a trail that leads to a nice route along Lake Monona if you go one direction and to a long, but relaxing route through the country if you go the other. Machinery row is about a 1/2 mile away, though, so you won't really be in a bad spot with either one.

With the route around the lake you mention, just wanted to give you a heads-up that the path doesn't go all the way around Lake Monona. You can cover about half with the path and the other half is through mostly quiet residential areas. If you don't want to do the full circuit, though, the path along the lake is a really nice ride.

One alternate route would be to take the path along Lake Monona to the Wingra Creek path. That leads you to Lake Wingra, which is in the neighborhood of a free Zoo and the arboretum. (I know, Zoos are aimed at kids, but free is free). If you have any questions on other routes, PM me.
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Old 08-20-08, 05:24 PM   #9
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One the most bike friendly towns in the US IMHO.
I was there on a business trip last year and I saw a lot of bike riders. I was pretty impressed.
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Old 08-20-08, 10:01 PM   #10
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Go to Willy Bikes. If they can't, no one can. Then jump on the paved path that runs past the shop and pedal in any direction. You can't go wrong - beauty and immaculate trails everywhere. The gang at Willy will give you any directions you could possibly want. IMO the most beautiful ride close to town is the Lakeshore Path on campus running from Memorial Union out to Picnic Point. Short but you can add on Lake Mendota Drive and loop back on several trails. The Union should have the Madison bike trail map free. The route around Lake Monona is awesome but you can get lost without frequent map consultation or someone who's done it before.

I teach at UW. PM me as well if you'd like. Hope your son has a great year.
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Old 08-22-08, 12:40 AM   #11
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Rented a hybrid at Willy Bikes this afternoon (good experience) and headed out...I have to admit, there are a LOT of bike paths even just in the small area I rode. But it was a little confusing. I could have used some laminated mini-maps. I'd start out on a route and get sidetracked and head somewhere else so I just noodled around.

I hit the Capitol City trail (up to MM) came back, did the Wingra Creek path out to the Arboretum tooled around there, back to the bike shop. Around 20ish miles and only got wet on the return from the arboretum.

The only real confusing and tense bit was finding my way back to the shop. I got some directions that were basically correct which pointed me in the right direction...just ran out of bike path and had to hammer in traffic for a block or two until I could get back on and head the rest of the way in.

Three things I regret:

Not having a helmet (forgot to ask if they had any to go with the rental...jeeese! Did I feel nekkid!)

Not having riding shorts to wear under my civvies. (tighty whities aren't the most comfortable things for even moderate distance)

Renting the stupid Hybrid...with the front suspension and that annoying sprung seat post....the saddle kept wiggling back and forth while pedaling and maintaining but contact constantly (even when raising up to try to re-adjust my position) It all made for a very mushy and loose ride. Kind of like taking your grandmother's old Lincoln with bad shocks out for a drive.

The Scenery and cool temps more than made up for any irritation though.
When I come back again I'll bring my own bikes with me....then we'll have some Major fun!
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Old 08-22-08, 09:32 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jtgyk View Post
Rented a hybrid at Willy Bikes this afternoon (good experience) and headed out...I have to admit, there are a LOT of bike paths even just in the small area I rode. But it was a little confusing. I could have used some laminated mini-maps. I'd start out on a route and get sidetracked and head somewhere else so I just noodled around.
Next time you're here, head uphill on Washington towards the Capitol building. When you get to the light before Capitol Square, pull over and cross Washington as a pedestrian, and walk downhill 1 block (do not make the turn as a vehicle, because then you're going the wrong way on a one way street and scaring the hell out of everyone). The building on your left is the Downtown Branch of the Madison Public Library. They have bike maps right next to the computers. There is a county map that offers decentish advice on long rides, and a city map that covers both the path system and suggested bike routes. There are only a few streets where I'd really rather not ride, and most of those can be avoided via the path system.

The library also stocks a complete bus schedule and route map book. City buses have bike racks, so even if you're not in great shape, you can combine the two to get some serious range.

Nice side benefit of all this is now you've got a short walk to the Capitol and can go stare at a pretty building. Or if it's lunchtime, pretty much any short walk you pick will send you towards a restaurant.
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