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Old 01-30-13, 11:44 AM   #1
asteckly
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A Gem in Southwest Wisconsin

Found a great touring spot in southwest Wisconsin, part of the Midwest’s driftless region. The rolling hills range from gentle to challenging, and there’s also the 45-mile Military RidgeTrail between Fitchburg and Dodgeville. One of the unique lodging establishments in the area is Wisconsin’s oldest inn, the Walker House in Mineral Point (www.thewalkerhouse.org). The owners supply a hearty complimentary breakfast and space and tools for bike repairs. They’ll give you a room discount if you tell them you’re touring.

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Old 01-30-13, 02:13 PM   #2
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Old 01-30-13, 06:55 PM   #3
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I tried that this past summer and had to bail on the cheese country trail after 11 miles. The trail was too rough for my mountain bike with 1.5" tires and four panniers. I fell a couple times, tweaked me knee, and only made it a measly 11 miles in two hours! After I hit south Wayne I bailed onto the road and headed up to yellowstone lake for the night.
I plan on trying it again this summer on my new pugsley. There's a nice route that goes from madison down the badger trail to Monroe where you hit the cheese country trail. That leads up to governor dodge state park and the military ridge trail heads back to madison. It makes a nice 160 mile loop from my house with little time wasted fighting cars.
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Old 01-31-13, 12:02 PM   #4
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The post has been edited to add the Military Ridge Trail...very biker friendly!
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Old 02-02-13, 07:32 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by freediver View Post
I tried that this past summer and had to bail on the cheese country trail after 11 miles. The trail was too rough for my mountain bike with 1.5" tires and four panniers. ... ... ...
I would hate to have other readers see this and think the trails are mountain bike only type trails. I probably average about 700 to 1,000 miles a year biking Wisconsin trails that are maintained by the DNR. They are gravel and are maintained like most other rail to trail routes in other states. While I usually use a 2.0 inch tire, I ride with several other bikers that often use 32mm or 35mm tires.

Soon after major rain events or during spring or fall when you have daily freeze thaw cycles, the trail will be rough, but that is the exception and not the norm. I regularly see people riding Military Ridge trail or Glacial Drumlin trail with front and rear panniers on standard road touring bikes.

The DNR has had some pretty bad management (or mis-management) turmoil at the top levels over the past two years, but the staff that maintain the trails so far are still trying to do as good a job as before.

More trail info here:
http://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/trailpass.html

I usually ride the Military Ridge, Capital (mostly paved), Badger State (some paved) Glacier Drumlin and Sugar River trails.

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Old 02-02-13, 10:27 AM   #6
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MSN tourist,

I've ridden all of the trails you mentioned with my kids on my 700cc road tandem without incident. The cheese country trail is another animal all together and not rideable without some serious rubber. It is an ATV trail that also allows biking, where as the other trails you mentioned are all bike trails and are smooth enough that anyone with a 28mm tire can manage them. I even know some guys who ride their tri-bikes on them to get to other sections of roadway that they want to train on.

Jon
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