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Wisconsin riding

Old 06-24-13, 11:52 AM
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Wisconsin riding

Headed to Wisconisn for business in a couple of weeks and along with my boss we are thinking of riding the "400" trail from Reedsburg to Elroy and then on to Sparta on the Elroy/Sparta trail, and back.

Trail conditions look to be crushed limestone. Correct? The whole way?

Looks like it would be around 110 miles round trip. Also correct?

Thanks.

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Old 06-24-13, 02:15 PM
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I rode about 40 miles on the Sparta-Elroy trail several years ago. The trail is crushed limestone but more like a dirt road in places. The trail was very wet (and dark) in the tunnels. I would have brought a light if I had known better.

We were staying in Sparta for the week, doing loop rides on local roads each day. We road the trail one day to stretch out a metric century to 100 miles. The best part was the pie shop, which I think is called "P R Squared." Make sure you stop there.

I just got back from riding in Wisconsin last week. We rode another rail trail from New Glaris to Broadhead. Wisconsin has a very nice network of rails-2-trails.
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Old 06-24-13, 04:19 PM
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Longest of three tunnels on Sparta-Elroy trail is almost a mile long. In summer there's enough people around that you have to walk your bike through all of them, but they certainly add some character to the trip - bring a light anyway for walking through. Last time I went through last summer I remember the trail being in pretty good shape, but as always be aware of recent rains that may damage the surface. Crushed limestone on both trails, and yes, about 55 miles each way. Last summer I had a funny experience - the lock on the bathroom in the bike shop at the Sparta end of the trail broke while I was trying to leave. The bike shop staff ended up having to take out the knob, then pass some tools through the hole in the door for me to take the hinges off from inside. I imagine it's been fixed now, but be careful...
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Old 06-25-13, 04:28 AM
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Thanks for your help. Funny, it would not have occurred to me to bring a light, nor having to walk, not sure why, I just figured the tunnels would have some lights.

My Mom was born in Sparta, so she was excited that we were going to ride up there. She said that her Grandmother used to take the "400" from Chicago to Sparta to see them. She was really laughing when I told her the trail was named after that train. "I know it well..."

Threecar...funny story about the bathroom...HELP!!!

Pie? Love the name.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 06-25-13, 06:11 AM
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I rode on those trails to Reedsburg last fall with the addition of the Great River Trail which I picked up about 25 miles north of LaCrosse, WI. Although the scenery and wildlife viewing, was very nice, I really didn't care for the feel of straight line and constant grade riding and the sluggish road surface.......to me it was kinda treadmillish

If you are road riders, there are some really nice stretches of highway with nice climbs and views that more or less parallel all those trails. I ended up referring to my map and jumping on and off the trails to mix it up.
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Old 06-25-13, 06:20 AM
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Originally Posted by lenA
I rode on those trails to Reedsburg last fall with the addition of the Great River Trail which I picked up about 25 miles north of LaCrosse, WI. Although the scenery and wildlife viewing, was very nice, I really didn't care for the feel of straight line and constant grade riding and the sluggish road surface.......to me it was kinda treadmillish

If you are road riders, there are some really nice stretches of highway with nice climbs and views that more or less parallel all those trails. I ended up referring to my map and jumping on and off the trails to mix it up.
That was my experience as well. My sister in law planned (or actually didn't plan) the whole trip. Now I know what to expect, I may try it again someday. IMO, the trails in Southeastern Wisconsin are actually more enjoyable to ride.
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Old 06-25-13, 09:07 AM
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More info here:
https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/findapark.html
https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/elroysparta/
https://dnr.wi.gov/topic/parks/name/400/
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Old 06-25-13, 10:01 AM
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We rode the Elroy/Sparta trail a couple of years ago. The tunnels were my daughter's favorite part of the trip.

The tunnels are old railroad tunnels and do not have lights. One of them drips constantly, as a spring was hit when a vent was being drilled. It's quite refreshing on a hot day.

Although riders are supposed to dismount, many people ride through anyway.
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Old 06-25-13, 11:19 AM
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Some of the other links posted may be covered here but thought I would add it.
https://www.bike4trails.com/

I haven't ridden the 400 but have done several rides on the Sparta/Elroy and Great River. Very nice trails and a great way to get through some otherwise hilly terrain.
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Old 06-25-13, 11:43 AM
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Wisconsin is a great place to tour during the heat of the summer. Cooler up there and for the most part, the state is very bicycle friendly.
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Old 06-28-13, 03:18 PM
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You can use ridewithgps.com to map out your route. It will have the trail on the map. Finding the trail head in Reedsburg can be a little tricky. I’m sure you’ll find it and will not get lost once you’re on the trail but you may like to note the distances in between the towns and tunnels.
I like the "400" trail from Reedsburg to Elroy and the Elroy/Sparta trail. I don’t know where you are staying but one of my favorite trails in the area is the Great River Trail out of LaCrosse. If you make it all the way to Trempealeau/Perrot State Park, then you’ll want to hike up to Brady’s Bluff where the view is outstanding.
I have a road bike and a hybrid. My hybrid has 700x32's and is perfect for the trail. I would hesitate to use my road bike with 23’s but have seen others that use them—I see them because they usually fly by me and never had to pick one up from the trail later. We've had a lot of rain so I expect a high mosquito population so bringing repellant or not taking breaks may be a good idea. Have a great time!!!
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Old 06-28-13, 09:01 PM
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Madtown Bob,
I have to be up in Madison next weekend, my son is attending UW Madison this summer and wondered if you could tell me the names of a couple of the better bike shops in the area? Thanks.
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Old 06-29-13, 05:41 AM
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Originally Posted by robow
Madtown Bob,
I have to be up in Madison next weekend, my son is attending UW Madison this summer and wondered if you could tell me the names of a couple of the better bike shops in the area? Thanks.
I am not Madtown Bob, but I am in Madison. I usually buy on internet or at REI, but there are several good shops too.

This one is near campus, quite small but they have a very good selection of parts and components. I have bought spokes at this one for several wheel builds. No convenient place to park at this one. If you are looking for a 30 year old part, they might have it.
https://www.yellowjersey.org/

These are more mainstream bike shops with a lot of new bikes. Budget is closest to campus.
https://www.machineryrowbicycles.com/
https://budgetbicyclectr.com/
https://willybikes.com/
https://trekstoremadison.com/

If I was looking for a cheap used bike that I could ride around campus and not worry too much about theft, I would go to this one.
https://dream-bikes.org/

There are a few more but I do not really know what you are looking for. Anything specific?
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Old 06-29-13, 11:35 AM
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Thanks tourist, will definitely check those out. I'm looking for nothing in particular but will have time to kill and so just like to browse. Will hopefully be up there again later on this summer touring in the Driftless area and taking in the Great 4 trails.
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Old 06-29-13, 12:09 PM
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I could only add one more bike shop to Tourist’s list that is near campus:
https://www.eriksbikeshop.com/eriks-b...-WI-53715.aspx
I have been to all the bike shops including Dream Bikes but not all locations and have not had a bad experience with any of them. Of course, I have a hard time believing that there is a bike shop that I wouldn’t like.
What I might suggest is to shop with a truly Madison experience. You might like to park the car at the Monona Terrace or between Monona Terrace and Machinery Row where you can rent a bicycle to do your bicycle shopping with:
https://madison.bcycle.com/
Over the 4[SUP]th[/SUP], Machinery Row will probably have a number of bicycles to try outside under a tent and with the bike path there it would be easy to try one out for fit and function. This path is right along the lake and immediately you’ll see how popular biking and bike friendly Madison is.
Ask for a Madison bicycle map and you can plan your route to the next bike shop if you’d like to move on. Your son and you will also enjoy a ride around campus. I like going near the Union and along the lake. There are many great routes around and out of town as well but you probably won’t have time for everything—good excuse for your next visit. Your son will find that Madison biking and fresh air will be a great break from studying.
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Old 06-29-13, 01:33 PM
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Not sure the trail conditions, we have been having heavy rains for the last several wks. I usually ride from Reedsburg to Lacrosse then over to the Root River trail. I only live about 30 miles from Reedsburg and its pretty much rained every day here for the last few wks, with some rain totals over 1-3 inches per day. Its suppose to be nice on sunday and Monday and the trail will dry out after that. I was planning a ride tomorrow to the trail, but with the rain will hold off for a bit.
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Old 06-29-13, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by robow
Thanks tourist, will definitely check those out. I'm looking for nothing in particular but will have time to kill and so just like to browse. Will hopefully be up there again later on this summer touring in the Driftless area and taking in the Great 4 trails.
The bike trails are as flat as you usually get with former railroad grade trails. But, there are some pretty intense hills in the driftless area if you start biking the road network. Just thought I would mention it in case you have different bikes with different gearing and are unsure what to bring.

I forgot to mention the map, but Madtown Bob did. Madison has a nice city map showing all streets and it is pretty good for showing which are good for biking and the bike paths. You should try to obtain that map early in your visit.
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Old 07-01-13, 06:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Madtown Bob
You can use ridewithgps.com to map out your route. It will have the trail on the map. Finding the trail head in Reedsburg can be a little tricky. I’m sure you’ll find it and will not get lost once you’re on the trail but you may like to note the distances in between the towns and tunnels.
I like the "400" trail from Reedsburg to Elroy and the Elroy/Sparta trail. I don’t know where you are staying but one of my favorite trails in the area is the Great River Trail out of LaCrosse. If you make it all the way to Trempealeau/Perrot State Park, then you’ll want to hike up to Brady’s Bluff where the view is outstanding.
I have a road bike and a hybrid. My hybrid has 700x32's and is perfect for the trail. I would hesitate to use my road bike with 23’s but have seen others that use them—I see them because they usually fly by me and never had to pick one up from the trail later. We've had a lot of rain so I expect a high mosquito population so bringing repellant or not taking breaks may be a good idea. Have a great time!!!
Thanks to you and everyone else for the input.

We are staying in the Dells, on business (meeting) and had some time thiking it might be possible to do Reedsburg to Sparta and back in a day. Due to all the trail condition posts I see that may not be the case. We'd jsut drive to Reesburg and o from there.

Thanks, again.
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Old 07-01-13, 06:32 PM
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Thanks again Tourist for the info, fortunately I've spent a fair amount of time wading the limestone creeks of the Driftless in search of Brookies and Browns so I know you speak the truth.
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Old 07-03-13, 03:59 PM
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When I first read your comment, I figured that you were an Ironman. 110 miles of trail is a lot of miles. People have told me different road-to-trail mile ratios and the least of which was 3 miles of road is equal to 4 miles of trail. If this is true, then this would be like 150 miles by road—this is the stuff of road warriors. Have a great time and good luck to you should you spend any time at Ho Chunk.
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Old 07-05-13, 05:18 AM
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I was on the Badger State Trail yesterday and came across a couple of spot that were wet and messy but it wasn’t bad. They should dry up today. But I was right about the mosquitos. The 400 trail has some low spots near Reedsburg but it should be fine.
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Old 07-05-13, 08:29 AM
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Madtown, thanks for the heads up on the trail. Funny you mention the Ironman competition, my wife has competed in the Madison Ironman (Ironwoman), and has trained up there in Verona (Fireman's Park) (40 mile loop x 2) a couple of times. I'm not that silly to put my body thru that.
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Old 07-07-13, 11:52 AM
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I may have cheered your wife on because I usually ride my bike to where the Military Ridge Trail meets with the Ironman bike route. Last year, I was with a group from Ohio that had horn blasters, loud music, a cooler of beer and enthusiasm that was infectious. I cheered right along with them. I doubt that we made anyone faster but we brought some smiles to some pretty serious and sometimes tired faces.
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Old 10-01-13, 11:20 AM
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Bumping this thread - the wife and I are planning on riding from New Glarus to Madison and back on Saturday using the Badger State Trail. Anybody know what the conditions are currently like? I'm on my touring bike with wide tires so I'm not worried about much, but my wife will be on her road bike with 700x23 slick tires. She's a lightweight so it may not matter, but does anybody think she'll need wider tires to enjoy herself?
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Old 10-01-13, 03:39 PM
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If I remember correctly, the Badger trail is almost completely crushed limestone and only a few miles of pavement. I personally don't like to ride crushed limestone trails on 23's especially if things get wet since the bike will often track more squirrelly. I would put larger tires on the bike if at all possible but hey, maybe her bike handling skills are up to the task. Have fun, it's a nice ride.
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