Cycling Advocates Ride to Pro Walk Pro Bike 2006

Daily Trip Log

from Vancouver B.C. to Madison, Wisconsin

Picture of Vancouver, BCGrouse Mountain Vancouver B.C.
from Dodgeville to Madison, WI
Date: 2006-09-02
Distance: 86 Kilometres
Cycling Time: 4.80 Hours
Average Speed: 17.83 kph
  Trip Distance since Leaving Vancouver - 3,801 Kilometres  

Thoughts for the Day



Today was a simple ride to Madison mainly off-road on rail-trails, except for three or four kilometres and some of that was on roads with bike lanes. The day started cool. Some fog was out there for the first hour or so. Then the sun took over but the temperature stayed in the low 20’s degree Celsius.

    Riding on rail-trails can be quite boring if the landscape does not change. Today there was sufficient variety to keep the interest.

    Riding on the rail-trail also allows you to enjoy other sounds than the music of cars and trucks passing by. The birds were busy singing today along with the crickets and other insects. Sometimes a bird, such as a red tangier, would fly into the trail ahead of me and then fly with me for a piece before taking off into the bushes. Yesterday, a rabbit darted in front of me and seemed to be a bit confused. It kept running right in front of the bike. I wondered if I would run into it but then it got its senses and darted into the brushes.

    The landscape was rolling with corn fields, pastureland, and dairy farms. Occasionally there would be wooded lots and some valleys. Then there were some large hills standing above the land.

    Along the way once we got into Greater Madison it was a bit more confusing if we were proceeding in the right direction. We lacked a sufficiently detailed map of the streets here. Fortunately, there was a couple that we seemed to encounter every now and then that we cold ask for directions. They had a bike map and provided sufficient information not to get lost.

    After we arrived at the motel we decided to walk to a store, five kilometres away. Why? Guess the ride did not give us enough exercise?

    The motel backs upon a park like setting with other adjacent buildings with a pond in the centre. I believe that the pond is connected to a nearby river that connects two lakes. In the pond an instructor was guiding some people in how to roll a kayak.


Cycling Facilities



Military Ridge State Park Trail

    This trail running from Dodgeville to Verona and Fitchburg by Madison, Wisconsin covered about 62 kilometres. At the Madison side terminus the trail connected to the Capital City Trail via bike lanes on a road. Thus one could cycle right downtown on a trail.

    This must be one of the premier rail-trails. The trail surface, although not paved except in some specific places, is of a high enough quality for racing bikes to go full out. The surface, called limestone screening is compacted very hard with little loose stones. There were no instances of loose sand on the trail that could make cycling uncomfortable to those that are not the most confident. There were instances where farm crossings of the trail resulted in some grooving that made cycling across a bit more difficult.

    Looking at the bike tracks grooved into the surface, one has to wonder what the surface is like in rainy conditions.

    The trail went through farmlands primarily with sections of wooded lands and marshes. There were times that the trail was canopied by the trees or shielded from the sun on one side. Then there were sections which were fully exposed to the sun allowing for the warming of the body on cool days.

    Some facilities were provided along the way including benches to sit on, covered benches for inclement or sunny days, and occasional toilet facilities, trailheads for parking. What was missing were businesses on the trail primarily focused on serving the trail users. Touring cyclists could not count on trail information to locate sources of food, water, or lodging.

Capital City Trail    
    This paved trail is seamlessly connected to the Military Ridge State Park Trail, although some signage indicating the end of one trail and the passage between would have been really helpful. We found that some Madison cyclists did not know of the linking trail.

    With good asphalt surface the trail meanders its way to downtown Madison through ravines left to nature. While it may be argued that this is not an effective commuting route due to the wanderings, it does allow connecting to downtown without the noise or music do cars and trucks.

    The route is very hilly with many places lacking trail maps and adequate trail direction signage.


Cycling into Milwaukee

    Cycling into Milwaukee really started in Dodgeville some 200 kilometres to the west. From there, most of the trip was on bike trails with occasional sections on roads. Many of these roads had a low volume of motorized vehicle traffic. Some had paved shoulders. Others did not. Some of the trails were interconnected. Others were not and required some road cycling.

    Today, the trip included the Military Ridge State Trail, and the Capital City Trail.


Military Ridge State Trail


Capital City State Trail


Glacial Drumlin State Trail


New Berlin (Greenfield) Recreational Trail


Oak Leaf Trail