Weekend Wheeling in Madison
The greater Madison area is home to miles of quiet paved farmland roads ideal for cycling. In particular, the countryside to the west and southwest of the city is known for its hilly, rustic routes. It's a picturesque place to ride and dotted with turn-of-the-century farmhouses and barns along the edges of vast crops and cattle herds.
Because many of the roads in this area skirt the edges of farm fields, the length of the field determines the distance between intersecting roads, making for rather long, unbroken stretches. Midwestern road riding usually involves extended flat straightaways mixed in with quick bursts of climbing and descending.
One popular circuit for many local bike clubs is known as the"Paoli Run." The town of Paoli is merely a speck on the map, but despite its size, it serves as a popular waypoint in the midst of the simple roads of the farmland outback.
Riders can either pedal or drive to Paoli to venture further onto the backroads, depending on how ambitious they feel. Leaving from the southwest corner of the city at the intersection of State Highway 12/18 (referred to as the Beltline by locals) and Seminole Highway, travel southwest on Seminole. Follow Seminole to Whalen Road. Turn right on Whalen and travel west. After a quarter mile turn left (south) on Fitchburg Road. Take Fitchburg to County Highway M. Turn right on M (west) and travel a quarter of a mile to the first left (if you reach Fitchrona on the right side of the road you've gone too far). Take this left and travel south to Sunset Drive. Take Sunset west past County Highway PB to Range Trail. Turn left on Range Trail and follow it south into Paoli. Departing from Paoli with a decent pocket map, riders can follow a wide variety of routes, looping back to Paoli before returning to Madison. The roads travel in all directions, so take care to follow your progress carefully on your map and not be too overzealous in choosing the length of route.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication