Riding in the Madison Area
The Madison region is home to many Bicycle Friendly Communities that offer great opportunities for bicyclists of all comfort levels to commute, exercise, or just have fun. The extensive bicycle network includes on-street bike lanes, off-street paths, beautiful lake routes, and picturesque state trails. All-electric Madison BCycle bikeshare is also available.
Local Rides for New Cyclists
The scenic Lake Monona Loop through Madison and Monona is one of the area’s most famous routes. This approximately 13-mile ride will take you on a tour of Lake Monona through off-street paths and quiet neighborhood streets. Start at Olbrich Park, stop for the incredible views at Olin Park, and take a breather at Winnequah Park along the way. Most recreational bicyclists will finish in about 1.5 hours at a leisurely pace.
Alternatively, take in the beauty of the UW-Madison Arboretum with a 6.5-mile round trip ride from the Arboretum Visitor’s Center, along Lake Wingra to Vilas Park. Visit the Vilas Zoo, have a picnic at Vilas Beach, or pedal a few blocks further to check out the shops and restaurants in the vibrant Monroe Street neighborhood before heading back. This ride will take most recreational bicyclists 45 minutes.
Local Bike Share
If you don’t own a bike or are interested in loaning one for a short trip, Madison BCycle’s all-electric bike share system makes it incredibly easy with over 45 stations and 300 bikes. Check out a bike at any station or using the BCycle app, ride where you need to go, and park it at the station closest to your destination.
The 20-mile Capital City Trail is one of the most popular in Dane County, serving both commuters and recreational riders. The path travels through central Madison before winding through wetlands, prairies, and creeks south of the city and into Fitchburg. The trail is paved and connects to many other popular regional trails.
The 40-mile Military Ridge State Trail provides bicyclists with the opportunity to ride longer distances through scenic southwest Dane County from Madison to Dodgeville. The trail passes through numerous small towns, two state parks, and many other natural areas. Surfaces include both pavement and crushed limestone.
For more information on bicycle routes throughout Dane County, please use the following links: