Wisconsin's Best Cycling: Eat Your Heart Out Tour de France

Wisconsin's Best Cycling: Eat Your Heart Out Tour de France

If you're like me, mornings are the enemy. It takes something pretty special to get me out of the bed before my preferred wake-up time (no earlier than 8:30). But last Thursday I wasn't just up at six a.m.; I was riding. Where work, my cat's howls and my significant other have failed, the gorgeous farm country, rolling hills and country roads west of Middleton, Wisconsin succeeded.

What makes this such a special place to cycle? For starters, it's the community. Middleton (and its much larger neighbor, Madison) are two of the best cycling cities anywhere. Designated bike routes, trails and lanes are all over the place. Cyclists - serious, casual and in between - are out at almost any hour of the day. Bike shops in the area are hotspots for the serious riders, and clubs (like the UW cycling club, whose membership is open to non-students), are more than welcoming. Plus Midwestern manners translate well: pull off the road and you're likely to be mobbed by riders looking to give you a hand. Need water? A patch? You're unlikely to wait long for a helping hand.

But while the Middleton cycling community is great, what lures me out of bed to ride at ungodly hours is the scenery. Zipping down country roads, past prairie grasses and under the occasional stand of tall trees: this is American cycling at its very best. There may be no better feeling than the early morning wind in your face. With usually low humidity and moderate temperatures, my rides are comfortable too.

If you're ready to take a road trip to the Midwest's cycling Mecca, here are a few websites to get you started:

The Middleton Tourism Commission

Middleton Cycle

Middleton Trails


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  • Tour de Wisconsin

    Instead of bottled water, riders will be given cheddar cheese along the route. Instead of wearing a yellow jersey, the race leader will wear a Packers jersey. This is why no Chicagoan should race the Tour de Wisconsin...for the mere chance of winning the race and having to wear a Packers jersey in public.

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