Madison to Minneapolis Cycling

Over 4 days in autumn in mid-October, I cycled from Madison to Minneapolis on a 10-gear, early 1980s Motobecane with a tent and two small panniers of gear. The hilly, flat, sunny, rainy, and wonderful ride took me to rural farming communities, small towns, the old railroad route which has been converted to four crushed limestone cycling trails including three dark and wet rail tunnels up to 3/4 miles long, the Baraboo River, the Mississippi River, and all else off the main highways between Madison and Minneapolis. I camped along the way in Mirror Lake State Park, West Salem, and Stockholm.

The itinerary was:

Day 1: Downtown Madison, WI to Mirror Lake State Park near Baraboo, WI (63 miles)
Day 2: Mirror Lake State Park, WI to West Salem, WI (86 miles)
Day 3: West Salem, WI to Stockholm, WI (80 miles)
Day 4: Stockholm, WI to Minneapolis, MN (75 miles)
The route is below:


Photos from the trip:
A pond full of geese near the Baraboo River to the West of Reedsburg, Wisconsin. A 101-mile crushed limestone bike trail including four segments runs from Reedsburg to Trempealeau, Wisconsin following an old railroad route. The bike trail maintained a shallow grade, runs through state parks and reserves and provides a feeling that one is somewhere far away from human habitations. The trail runs through small towns, which provides an opportunity to learn a bit of Wisconsin history and to enjoy some small town diners and bars as well.

Amish horse and carriage in Kendall, Wisconsin near the bike trail.

Sparta-Elroy trail train tunnel from the 1870s. It was pitch black in the tunnel! The other end of the tunnel is visible at the end of the darkness.

Wisco cows and pasture on a pleasant autumn afternoon.

Veterans Memorial Campground in West Salem, Wisconsin where I stayed on night two. “Wild Bill,” whose camp is in the distance, has been living at the campground and is trying to make his way to Alaska as soon as possible. He provided me with firewood and kindling.

Great River State Trail just North of La Crosse, Wisconsin. In this area the trail is surrounded by prairies and bogs with the Mississippi not far to the West.

Alma, Wisconsin is home to Lock and Dam 4 as well as a sizable coal-burning electricity station.

The Mississippi from the 494 bridge in St. Paul.

On day four of the cycle, the sun finally reappeared after a two day absence. It was beautiful and warm as I approached the Twin Cities.

Rolling over the West Bank of the U of M campus at sunset a day after finishing the trip.

Bridge near the Hiawatha line in Minneapolis at sunset.