March 26, 2012

Three Destinations for Two Wheels

Bright, blue, beautiful spring days mean great bicycling in Wisconsin

Looking for a way to wake up after a long winter? Hop on your bicycle and see the landscape as it transforms from drab and grey to dazzling and green. From the bicycle saddle, you can enjoy the sight of wildflowers, the sound of geese, the smell of the warming earth and the feel of the warm spring air against your face.

Wisconsin is arguably the best bicycling state in the Midwest. The biggest decision bicyclists have to make is where to start their two-wheeled explorations. Here are three bicycling adventures you should consider this spring.

Rolling Roads

Middleton Bike PathThe roads west of Middleton are a road cyclist’s playground. Some of the Midwest’s finest country roads crisscross western Dane County, and Middleton is the perfect place to access this bicycling bounty. To reach the country roads from Middleton’s award-winning community trail system, simply head out of town along Pheasant Branch Road, Airport Road and the paved trail that runs along Highway 12.

What can you expect on these quiet country roads? Unsurpassed Dairy State scenery. Small farms dot the rolling landscape. You’ll see cows grazing in meadows, farmers tilling fields and waterfowl feeding in wetlands. It’s hard to pick a route because nearly every road offers scenic delights. Bring along a map and keep a sense of adventure and you’ll be entranced by the hills, valleys, woods and fields.

101 Miles of State Biking Trails

Bike POV in Onalaska

Photo: Cindy Steinhoff

Located on both the La Crosse River State Trail and the Great River State Trail, the friendly community of Onalaska is the perfect place for a spring bicycling adventure. The 21.5-mile La Crosse River State Trail and the 24-mile Great River State Trail are part of a 101-mile stretch of interconnected state trails running from Trempealeau to Reedsburg.

The La Crosse River State Trail follows alongside the La Crosse River, giving riders magnificent views of the waterway. The Great River State Trail follows the mighty Mississippi River, and bikers will see flocks of migrating waterfowl and songbirds that travel along the Mississippi River Flyway. There’s no better place to witness the vibrancy of spring firsthand.

Big Circle

Stevens Point is home to one of Wisconsin’s best bicycling opportunities—the 30.5-mile Green Circle Trail. The trail begins at the Schmeeckle Reserve, a 280-acre nature preserve on the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus. From there, the Green Circle Trail winds its way through Stevens Point, at times following the course of the Wisconsin and Plover rivers. If you’re looking for spring scenery, this trail fits the bill.

The main loop of the Green Circle Trail is made up of 12 connecting trail segments. Several sections, such as the University Trail, take bicyclists through pristine natural areas. Other sections, such the Riverfront Trail, which runs between the Wisconsin River and downtown Stevens Point, take you through lively neighborhoods.  It’s an enticing variety that will leave you wanting to take another 30.5-mile lap.

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