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Pedaling to Madison, Wisconsin

I am looking at trying to plan a bike ride from Duluth to Madison, and maybe back. I was wondering if anyone out there:

- Had done this trip
- Knew of good resources for planning such a trip
- Had suggestions on a good route

I thought I’d lucked into an easy way to map out the ride using Google maps, which has a fancy “bike” option for directions. It gives me three options that I think you can see here. However, it has me going what’s called the Wild Rivers Trail and what I’ve read about that trail suggests that it may have fast-moving ATVs and loose gravel more suited to mountain bikes and even says cycling is “not recommended.”

So, I’m not so sure. I once did a backroad drive from Madison to Duluth on the old state road that more or less parallels the Interstates. That seemed pretty and quiet. However, as I say, I’m hoping to get some recommendations from others.

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14 Comment(s)

  1. I’ve tried using the biking section of Google maps for getting around parts of Duluth and it didn’t work too well. There were strange gravel roads, not for cycling on. Google even warns bikers of this, so I definitely recommend you to keep asking around.

    Good luck with your trip!!!

    aiko | Jul 25, 2011 | New Comment
  2. I am not a hard core cyclist so take this with a grain of salt … perhaps consider riding east on Hwy 2 over to Ashland then heading South on Hwy 13, that will take you most of the way there, with some small jiggering once you get close to Madison.

    edgeways | Jul 25, 2011 | New Comment
  3. Head south on the Munger to toward the cities, meet up with the gateway trail, then do this:

    Crazy Guy on a Bike

    zman | Jul 25, 2011 | New Comment
  4. The Wisconsin Bicycle Maps.
    You can order them here:

    Chippy | Jul 25, 2011 | New Comment
  5. The bike maps is a great resource. Thanks. Maybe the Munger down to Hinckley then over into Wisconsin and down the river road to Lacrosse and east to Madison.

    jhatcher | Jul 25, 2011 | New Comment
  6. There is a trail that starts in Allouez by those docks that goes at least to Iron River. It is definitely gravel and there are ATVs but the trail is pretty wide. Start there by the bridge to the Meteor and the old Boathouse restaurant.

    carla | Jul 25, 2011 | New Comment
  7. Not a cyclist myself, but highway 73 in Wisconsin makes for a lovely (if meandering) drive: lots of sleepy little towns, and usually not much traffic.

    AliK | Jul 25, 2011 | New Comment
  8. Carla--I believe that would be the Tri-County Corridor, which runs from Superior to Ashland. You can actually get on it by Barker’s Island (the trail has a different name in town, which is escaping me at the moment).

    Sonya | Jul 25, 2011 | New Comment
  9. The Osaugie Trail.

    BoB | Jul 25, 2011 | New Comment
  10. I recently rode to LaCrosse on the Hwy 35, and it was beautiful. The Mississippi river valley is great. I have taken the bike trail from LaCrosse to Madison before and recommend it. I would go with Google’s bike directions. Have fun.

    cam | Jul 26, 2011 | New Comment
  11. Thanks everyone. I’ve been reading some bike touring websites and one suggests the way to plan a route is to have every turn mapped out. Another option is to get on your bike and start pedaling. I ordered the Wisconsin state bike maps and I think I’ll just try to relax and enjoy the ride. That’s what it should be about, right?

    jhatcher | Jul 26, 2011 | New Comment
  12. Cam, did you ride on the Munger Trail at all or did you start out on 35 in Superior?

    jhatcher | Jul 26, 2011 | New Comment
  13. The Tri-County corridor might work to get to Ashland if you have fat tires, but it’s incredibly sandy and chewed up around Brule and Iron River, so you’d end up pushing a loaded bike. For other ideas on touring in general, as well as journals created by bicyclists on long trips, you might also check out

    Chris | Jul 26, 2011 | New Comment
  14. I biked from saint paul to Duluth when I was about twenty. I have a few suggestions.
    1- wear sun screen. The sun can burn your skin.
    2- have some cash with you.
    3- bike many miles a week in the months prior to your trip. Hundreds.
    4- don’t drop acid at the start of your ride,

    Lojasmo | Jul 27, 2011 | New Comment

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