Where Do You Ride?

Me and my buddy Matt…looking a bit lost on one of our favorite rides.
Last week, for National Running Day, I asked for your favorite run courses in the Madison area.  Well, this week is Wisconsin Bike Week, so I’ll ask that same question for cyclists | what’s your favorite ride in the Madison area?  I was able to narrow it down to three.  In no particular order…


 Ironman Wisconsin Loop.  As with my favorite runs | the Ironman loop has lots of great memories for me.  There have been a couple of summers that I would ride the loop at least twice a week.  Every Wednesday I’d meet my training partner after work for a quick loop (2+ hours = quick) and we’d ride it again at least one time over the weekend.  I also clearly remember the first time I took my wife out on the course.  We drove the loop in my little convertible | top down, on a beautiful summer day.  Laura was completely silent for most of the ride, which I couldn’t understand | I thought for sure that she would love the beauty of the Wisconsin countryside and the fun of driving the winding roads and rolling hills.  Finally, about 2/3 of the way through the loop, as we topped a particularly big hill, she blurted out “You actually RIDE this on your bike?!?”

 Paoli Loop.  We usually start in the area of the Arboretum and head out Seminole Highway and then wind our way to Paoli, then over to Verona and back to the start again.  I think the distance is somewhere around 20 miles, so it doesn’t take the 2+ hours that Ironman does, but it’s still a great ride through the countryside, with a couple of nice hills.  There is also a paved bike path for a good portion of the ride out to Paoli, if you prefer that to the road.

 Oregon Loop.  Similar to the Paoli loop, in fact, it starts exactly the same | heading out Seminole Highway.  But with this ride we wind our way out to Oregon, where I grew up | so if I’m feeling particularly adventurous, I make everyone ride a little extra, out to my childhood home, or maybe out to the old railroad bridge where I always rode with my Dad | as our first ride of the Spring every year.  From Oregon, we head towards McFarland, often seeing Buddhist Monks from the Deer Park Buddhist Center, silently walking down Sand Hill Road, and then we finally make our way back to Madison for a nice 30 mile loop.

So there are few of my favorite Madison area rides.  Now it’s time for you to share yours…so where is your favorite place to ride in the Madison area?