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Self-Guided Bicycling Routes Around Madison

  • July 23, 2020
  • March 24, 2021
  • Madison

Below are five guides to popular bicycling routes in Madison.   Each guide is broken up into distinct sections with maps providing detailed instructions.

The guides are meant for your enjoyment during our time of dealing with the COVID-19 virus.  Please adhere to all municipal and state requirements for social distancing and healthy behavior on public paths and streets. 

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Bicycling Around Lake Monona


The 12.5 mile route around Lake Monona is one of the most popular bicycle trips in Madison.  It goes through a mixture of bicycle paths and lightly traveled streets and takes about 75 minutes for the average cyclist.

Click on A Guide to Bicycling Around Lake Monona

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Bicycling the Cannonball Path/Arboretum Loop


The route (8.2 miles) traverses a mixture of bicycle paths, city streets with bike lanes, and a quiet road through the U.W. Arboretum.  It takes about 50 minutes for the average cyclist.

Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Cannonball Path/Arboretum Loop

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Bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop


The route (18.1 miles) is entirely on dedicated bicycle paths with the exception of a short 1/2 mile section on a quiet road.  It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.

Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Southwest Commuter Path/Capital City State Trail Loop

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Bicycling the McFarland Loop


The highlight of this route (18 miles) is a mile-long bridge spanning Lake Waubesa.  It is the longest inland boardwalk bridge constructed solely for non-motorized transportation in North America.  It takes a little less than two hours for the average cyclist.

Click on A Guide to Bicycling the McFarland Loop

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Bicycling the Blackhawk Path/Lake Mendota Drive/Lakeshore Nature Preserve Loop



This 7.8 mile loop begins at Allen Centennial Garden and parallels University Avenue on bike paths before heading over to Lake Mendota Drive, a quiet, tree-lined residential neighborhood.   It then follows the Lakeshore Nature Preserve back to the starting point.   It takes less than one hour for the average cyclist.

Click on A Guide to Bicycling the Blackhawk Path, Lake Mendota Drive, Lakeshore Nature Preserve Loop

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BCycle Stations along the Route

Madison BCycle has a number of stations along the routes where you can rent an electric bicycle.


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Other Resources

Dane County Bicycle Map

Madison BCycle

Madison Bikes Community (Facebook)

Madison Bikes

Bicycle Benefits

Top 10 Trails to Try in Madison

Madison Road Bike Routes

Biking in Fitchburg

Riding in Sun Prairie

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Compiled by Bob Shaw - robert.e.shaw@gmail.com

August 2020

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