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Old 09-18-06, 11:19 PM   #1
bondiblue
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Wisconsin weekend trip ideas?

I grew up in a big city and biked around my neighborhood a lot as a kid. I now live in Chicago now and bike downtown to work a few times a week. I consider myself a pretty experienced biker. I didn't know something was missing in my life until I went to Wisconsin a few weeks ago. A group of friends and I went to meet up two other friends that were biking from Minneapolis to Chicago. We met up with them in Sauk City and biked to New Glarus and camped there. The next day went as far as Brodhead on the Sugar River Trail.

The 100 miles we biked that weekend were simply amazing. I had never biked anywhere without having to stop at a light every few minutes, and the scenery was such a change from the concrete of a city. The hills were a challenge, but what goes up gets to go down (I set a personal top speed record of 47 mph). The hospitality and bike friendliness of the small towns we went through left something to be wished for here in Chicago.

We are wanting to go back to WI for another weekend trip. Last time we had to have someone drive the car along the way and sit and wait till the bikes caught up. We figured we would try to find a route that looped around to the start so that we could just leave the car and not have to worry about driving. I'm sure we could look at some maps that are out there and come up with a route, but I wanted to see if anyone had any input. Has anyone done a route with somewhere to camp overnight? It'd be great to hear where you guys have gone in Wisconsin.

Thanks!
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Old 09-19-06, 07:07 AM   #2
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You like hills, eh? The whole southwestern "driftless zone" as well as the somewhat gentler kettle moraines of the east are my favorite biking grounds. We have county maps showing the most bike friendly roads.

The area to the west of where you rode gets better an better, prettier and more challenging, steeper hills, tighter valleys, more forest (but still interspersed with farms). Starting in Dodgeville or at Gov Dodge State Park (camping), you can ride in any direction for charming farmscapes, dramatic vistas and misty hidden hollows. See the Iowa County map.

Also in the west, the famous 32 mile Elroy-Sparta trail offers a lovely ride with trailside camping. Start down in Reedsville to extend your ride with the "400" trail for a nice 54 mile ride. The roads in this area are often especially steep, but offer a nice break from the often busy trail. See the Sauk, Juneau & Monroe county maps.

In the east, Plymouth makes a nice base, as does the Mauthe Lake campgound in Kettle Moraine State Forest (northern unit). Sheboygan County as been getting a lot of fresh pavement for awesome high-speed road riding. Any loop that includes Plymouth, Mauthe Lake, Dundee and Cascade is a winner. See Fond du Lac & Sheboygan County maps.

If you want to get further north, Door County is a great destination as well with Peninsula State Park (and also the remote, car-free Newport State Park) for your campsite.

Last edited by pHunbalanced; 09-20-06 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 09-19-06, 07:25 AM   #3
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Check out Backyard Bikes in LaGrange: http://www.backyardbikes.com/

Their site has route maps in and around the Kettle Morraine area. The general store / deli / bike shop is a hub of mountain and road cycling activity. They are close enough to Chicago for day trips.

The area west of Madison is fantastic for riding. Check out the sites for the Horribly Hilly Hundreds and the Dairyland Dare. They have links to the routes for the rides that can be done at any time.

Or if you are up for riding with some Chicagoland folks from the forum, check out the link in my sig for the BFNIC ride on October 1st. We're riding out of Hampshire that day and looping throughout western Kane and McHenry counties. You're more than welcome to ride all or part of the ride with us!
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Old 09-19-06, 07:59 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by CyLowe97
Check out Backyard Bikes in LaGrange: http://www.backyardbikes.com/


The area west of Madison is fantastic for riding. Check out the sites for the Horribly Hilly Hundreds and the Dairyland Dare. They have links to the routes for the rides that can be done at any time.
+1. The greater Blue Mounds Park, Mt. Horeb (Mt. Horrible for those in the know), Mineral Point, Blanchardville area has some great climbing (for the midwest) and nice quiet country roads. There is an excellent restaurant in New Glarus, I will post it as soon as I remember the name.
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Old 09-19-06, 08:40 AM   #5
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There is an excellent restaurant in New Glarus, I will post it as soon as I remember the name.
Its The Dining Room in Monticello. I couldn't even remember the name of the town.
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Old 09-19-06, 11:52 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pHunbalanced
You like hills, eh? The whole southwestern "driftless zone" as well as the somewhat gentler kettle moraines of the east are my favorite biking grounds. We have county maps showing the most bike friendly roads.

The area to the west of where you rode gets better an better, prettier and more challenging, steeper hills, tighter alleys, more forest (but still interspersed with farms). Starting in Dodgeville or at Gov Dodge State Park (camping), you can ride in any direction for charming farmscapes, dramatic vistas and misty hidden hollows. See the Iowa County map.

Also in the west, the famous 32 mile Elroy-Sparta trail offers a lovely ride with trailside camping. Start down in Reedsville to extend your ride with the "400" trail for a nice 54 mile ride. The roads in this area are often especially steep, but offer a nice break from the often busy trail. See the Sauk, Juneau & Monroe county maps.

+1 Couldn't have said it better myself. The Elroy-Sparta trail is a must ride at some point simply for the three tunnels -- including on that's something like .7 of a mile long. Although you'll probably want to skip it this fall beacuse they have parts of the trail closed for bridge reconstruction.

The area around Dodgeville is great road riding, and Gov. Dodge state park is, IMHO, the best state park for camping.

I like to ride in the area around Holy Hill in Washington County. If you want to check out some great MTB riding, the Southern Unit of the Kettle Moraine has the Joh Muir Trail which is great. Check here: http://tinyurl.com/fs6qc
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Old 09-20-06, 08:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pHunbalanced

Also in the west, the famous 32 mile Elroy-Sparta trail offers a lovely ride with trailside camping. Start down in Reedsville to extend your ride with the "400" trail for a nice 54 mile ride. The roads in this area are often especially steep, but offer a nice break from the often busy trail. See the Sauk, Juneau & Monroe county maps.
One could ride from Reedsburg to just outside of Winnona, Minnesota without stopping.
There are actually four trails that connect for more than one hundred miles of trail. There is a stoplight in Onalaska however. There is some bridge reconstruction on the eastern part of the Elroy-Sparta trail. You can have someone shuttle you in your vehicle for a fee. Arrangements should be made 24 hours in advance. Camping is available in Wonewoc, Elroy, the Tunnel trail campground just west of tunnel #1, Norwalk, Sparta, West Salem, and Perrot State Park. Some campgrounds are barebones. There may be a few that I've forgotten.

However, all that said, I will say that's it's getting cooler up here everyday. It hasn't hit 60 up here since Sunday, and probably won't until next week. The weather can get nasty this time of the year. They close the tunnels up on Oct. 31.
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Old 09-21-06, 12:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pHunbalanced
In the east, Plymouth makes a nice base, as does the Mauthe Lake campgound in Kettle Moraine State Forest (northern unit). Sheboygan County as been getting a lot of fresh pavement for awesome high-speed road riding. Any loop that includes Plymouth, Mauthe Lake, Dundee and Cascade is a winner. See Fond du Lac & Sheboygan County maps.
I second that motion. Anywhere along the Kettle Moraine forest is a winner. Sheboygan County is the leader in repaving roads this year. Dodge and Washington counties are also excellent for road riding.

See my photo essay on the ride I did in Sheboygan County a few weeks ago:

Ride in Wisconsin - C'MON ALONG! (pics)

jw
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Old 09-22-06, 08:23 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Wilke
See my photo essay on the ride I did in Sheboygan County a few weeks ago:
Ride in Wisconsin - C'MON ALONG! (pics)
jw
Your photo essay actually inspired some last minutes adjustments to my Labor Day weekend mini-tour, shifting te route a bit to te west. Thanks for the tip on Sheboygan County repaving.
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Old 09-26-06, 07:01 AM   #10
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Elroy-Sparta Trail

We did the Elroy-Sparta trail a few weeks ago. The scenery is great. The tunnels are spooky. Well worth doing. There was maintenance on two bridges that forced you on to roads that made me uncomfortable riding. I'd wait till the work is done. If you are staying in the Elroy area you have to get to the Center Tap in Union Center. They have the best cheeseburgers that I have had in years. And the prices are unbelievable. Trust me on this.
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Old 09-26-06, 07:26 AM   #11
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Door County is a great one. If you call the Door County chamber of commerce in sturgeon Bay they will send you free biking maps. You really can't get lost. There are a lot of newly paved roads this year that are cycling friendly. Nice campgrounds. You can also call state of wisconsin for a free copy of their biking guide at 800-432-trip. The ride around Sharon Wisconsin is good for a day trip from chicago. the "round'da manure" from Sharon is pretty well known because they do a century every year, so you can probably google a map. have fun!
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Old 09-29-06, 07:09 PM   #12
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I have ridden in Green Lake County, Sauk County between Baraboo and Spring Green, and up in Vilas County. All are great. Green Lake is smart and created route maps: http://www.glcountry.com/glcvb/page.asp?p=mapsbiketours
In Vilas county, I've ridden in the Conover/Phelps/Star Lake area - Hwy K is a scenic road that is wonderful on a bike. All areas I've mentioned have roads that are smooth, lightly traveled, and with hills. The county bike maps are a good idea - find the area you want to check out, print it, and then make copies of your original. Oh yeah, I did the Wright Stuff Century a couple of years ago - which is great for hills.
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Old 09-30-06, 09:35 AM   #13
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+1 on Door County. I only got one ride in when I was up there but it was beautiful. Nice roads along the bay side and lake side with light traffic.

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Old 04-09-07, 07:09 AM   #14
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This year come back to New Glarus to stay, but try The Badger State Trail which has a grand opening in July. Trail is ready, a few signs missing, and a quarter mile tunnel for your enjoyment. Trail connects into IL trail system for even more riding pleasure. More info at www.badger-trail.com

Quote:
Originally Posted by bondiblue
I grew up in a big city and biked around my neighborhood a lot as a kid. I now live in Chicago now and bike downtown to work a few times a week. I consider myself a pretty experienced biker. I didn't know something was missing in my life until I went to Wisconsin a few weeks ago. A group of friends and I went to meet up two other friends that were biking from Minneapolis to Chicago. We met up with them in Sauk City and biked to New Glarus and camped there. The next day went as far as Brodhead on the Sugar River Trail.

The 100 miles we biked that weekend were simply amazing. I had never biked anywhere without having to stop at a light every few minutes, and the scenery was such a change from the concrete of a city. The hills were a challenge, but what goes up gets to go down (I set a personal top speed record of 47 mph). The hospitality and bike friendliness of the small towns we went through left something to be wished for here in Chicago.

We are wanting to go back to WI for another weekend trip. Last time we had to have someone drive the car along the way and sit and wait till the bikes caught up. We figured we would try to find a route that looped around to the start so that we could just leave the car and not have to worry about driving. I'm sure we could look at some maps that are out there and come up with a route, but I wanted to see if anyone had any input. Has anyone done a route with somewhere to camp overnight? It'd be great to hear where you guys have gone in Wisconsin.

Thanks!
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Old 04-10-07, 09:58 AM   #15
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Door County, Door County, Door County. ... I relocated there for the cycling. PM me with questions.
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Old 04-10-07, 12:46 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lenlewandowski
We did the Elroy-Sparta trail a few weeks ago. The scenery is great. The tunnels are spooky. Well worth doing. There was maintenance on two bridges that forced you on to roads that made me uncomfortable riding. I'd wait till the work is done. If you are staying in the Elroy area you have to get to the Center Tap in Union Center. They have the best cheeseburgers that I have had in years. And the prices are unbelievable. Trust me on this.

Do they have it posted when the bridge work is going to be done?
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Old 04-10-07, 03:39 PM   #17
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We are wanting to go back to WI for another weekend trip. Last time we had to have someone drive the car along the way and sit and wait till the bikes caught up. We figured we would try to find a route that looped around to the start so that we could just leave the car and not have to worry about driving. I'm sure we could look at some maps that are out there and come up with a route, but I wanted to see if anyone had any input. Has anyone done a route with somewhere to camp overnight? It'd be great to hear where you guys have gone in Wisconsin.

Thanks![/QUOTE]

It's not camping, but we stayed at the Earth Rider motel in Brodhead last summer and loved it. The hotel is over a bicycle shop, and they put showers in the shop so you could clean up after exercising before you drove home. Backyard Bikes in LaGrange is another great place, it's got great food too! I've brought a few groups of motorcyclists up there, and they've all loved it.
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Old 04-10-07, 08:38 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pHunbalanced
You like hills, eh? The whole southwestern "driftless zone" as well as the somewhat gentler kettle moraines of the east are my favorite biking grounds. We have county maps showing the most bike friendly roads.

The area to the west of where you rode gets better an better, prettier and more challenging, steeper hills, tighter valleys, more forest (but still interspersed with farms). Starting in Dodgeville or at Gov Dodge State Park (camping), you can ride in any direction for charming farmscapes, dramatic vistas and misty hidden hollows. See the Iowa County map.

Also in the west, the famous 32 mile Elroy-Sparta trail offers a lovely ride with trailside camping. Start down in Reedsville to extend your ride with the "400" trail for a nice 54 mile ride. The roads in this area are often especially steep, but offer a nice break from the often busy trail. See the Sauk, Juneau & Monroe county maps.

In the east, Plymouth makes a nice base, as does the Mauthe Lake campgound in Kettle Moraine State Forest (northern unit). Sheboygan County as been getting a lot of fresh pavement for awesome high-speed road riding. Any loop that includes Plymouth, Mauthe Lake, Dundee and Cascade is a winner. See Fond du Lac & Sheboygan County maps.

If you want to get further north, Door County is a great destination as well with Peninsula State Park (and also the remote, car-free Newport State Park) for your campsite.
Door county is outstanding! I rode from Fish Creek (Peninsula State Park) to Newport State Park. I think I can count the number of cars that passed me on my hands.

Its really nice to see all of the quaint towns bordering beautiful Lake Michigan. You know...the kind of towns where you walk into the local bar and everyone drops their forks, and stares at you with a dropped jaw. You know what I mean... But will give you food....beer, and a place to sleep in a heart beat.

Oh, and one word of advice for food...talk to the women who everyone calls 'Ma'

Last edited by Bikelyst; 04-10-07 at 08:47 PM.
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Old 04-11-07, 06:46 AM   #19
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....hmmmm, this gives me an idea. I market to the big-city FIB's that are looking to get away from it all to beautiful Wisconsin for a weekend.

ANNOUNCING:

Hipcycler's Kettle Moraine Weekend Getaway

Mapped routes from the trendy Backyard Bikes location in La Grange, where all the cool cyclists pose at the deli, a place to enjoy freshly-made pasta and sports drinks after a ride featuring spectacular views of the glacier-created Kettle Moraine. Don't forget to top off with some home-made ice cream there.

Then it's off to Hip Castle, a private home on a small inland spring-fed lake, where you'll enjoy the peace and quiet of lake living surrounded by the beauty of Wisconsin's rustic outdoors.

.....

Yup, this could work...now....how much to over-price the package by.....more work to be done on this idea....
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Old 04-11-07, 07:51 AM   #20
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....hmmmm, this gives me an idea. I market to the big-city FIB's that are looking to get away from it all to beautiful Wisconsin for a weekend.

ANNOUNCING:

Hipcycler's Kettle Moraine Weekend Getaway

Mapped routes from the trendy Backyard Bikes location in La Grange, where all the cool cyclists pose at the deli, a place to enjoy freshly-made pasta and sports drinks after a ride featuring spectacular views of the glacier-created Kettle Moraine. Don't forget to top off with some home-made ice cream there.

Then it's off to Hip Castle, a private home on a small inland spring-fed lake, where you'll enjoy the peace and quiet of lake living surrounded by the beauty of Wisconsin's rustic outdoors.

.....

Yup, this could work...now....how much to over-price the package by.....more work to be done on this idea....
Don't forget to emphasis the unique smell of your Dairy Air.
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Old 04-17-07, 07:12 AM   #21
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I rode the Sugar River trail up to New Glaras yesterday. The trail was very wet and fill of ruts still. Slowest we ever rode it. One of the locals in New Glarus said he still had 6 inches of frost in his land. There was also two trees across the trails forcing us off the trail to walk around them. The Badger trail looked like it was pretty much done where it crosses the Sugar River. We plan on doing the Badger in several weeks maybe when we get more warm weather to dry the trail some more.
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