One of my favorite places to ride my bike is the path that leads from Middleton to about half way to Sauk City for several reasons: It is close to home. It is paved. There are only a few road crossings including a few stop lights. It’s not crazy hilly, but there are some hills that you can challenge yourself on. It’s kind of pretty. The path runs along Highway 12, so it’s in the country, but not exactly secluded.
Sometimes, a simple bike ride can take a lot of planning.
- Will there be a lot of traffic?
- Will there be a shoulder to ride on?
- What condition will the road be in?
- Is there a place I can go if I need help?
Riding the 10-mile path towards Sauk City takes all of those questions out of the equation — I just get on my bike and ride.
Car traffic no, Bike traffic yes.
This path is popular with road cyclists, triathletes and even more causal bikers, so when riding in a group, it’s good to be aware of the bike traffic ahead and behind you. It’s generally a good idea to stay to the right side, just in case someone super speedy is racing up behind you.
Red Winged Black Birds might attack.
These beautiful birds are all along this path and they’re quite territorial, particularly during nesting season. Just the other day, I had one fly right over my head and claw at my helmet before swooshing away. It’s kind of terrifying the first time it happens to you (Alfred Hitchcock anyone?), but they’re harmless. The birds are just protecting their nests and will remind you how cool bike helmets are.
The Missouri Tavern
Sometimes I like to tell people that I biked to Missouri and back. The Missouri Tavern is a great little bar with outdoor seating and a bike rack. It’s welcoming to pedal bikers and vroom vroom bikers alike. It’s great for a planned stop as well as a shelter to get out of the path of a sudden story. It’s a bit more than halfway down the path, so from my house to Missouri and back is about 12 miles.
The scenery along this path is beautiful: rolling hills of Wisconsin farmland with the occasional smattering of red barns, cows and giant wind turbines. The ride will occasionally smell like Wisconsin farmland as well.
A mile-long hill climb
If you do seek out hills, this ride has a doozy at the end of the path where you are treated to a mile-long gradual hill climb. My favorite part is knowing that when you get to the top, you get to ride back down.
I had the opportunity to ride 20 miles of the path on Friday and 13.5 miles on Saturday which was a great way to remind my legs how to pedal. Today was rainy so I decided to work out at home. I’m a huge fan of Les Mills Body Attack classes, but can’t always make it to the gym. So today, I found a great little YouTube video by Jessica Smith that is kind of a mix of Body Attack and Zumba with the balance leaning towards sports fitness rather than dance. It was a sweaty 25 minutes indeed.
What am I training For?
I’m currently training for the Bike MS Best Dam Bike Tour, a two-day bike ride from Milwaukee to Madison this August. If you’re interested in donating to this cause which is very close to my heart, please visit my fundraising web page.