Don't have much time to get a long ride in after work? Wanting a route with terrain that's perfect for building speed and power? This ride is for you!
With the starting location just a few miles from the capitol, this route can easily be ridden to if you work downtown or if you are staying anywhere in the Madison area. Although it officially starts at Cronometro, one of the bicycle shops geared more towards racers, you could also start it from Lakeside Street Coffee, found right next door. Either way, you'll be out of town in no time on quiet country roads.
What Makes It Great
This route is known among many of the racers in the area for being the perfect length and intensity for a quick workout. Sure, you can find better views and harder climbing challenges on the West side, but that's not what this ride is about. If you only have 1.5-2 hours to spare, and you still want to hit smooth, low traffic country roads, you will find it here.
Need a spare tube or just want to drool over beautiful bicycles prior to your ride? Pop into Cronometro prior and chat with the friendly and well informed staff. There are even fit specialists and physical therapists working on site. If you don't need or want anything bike related, but do need a quick caffeine fix, one of the prettiest coffee shops is located right next door with windows overlooking lake Monona.
You'll start out by riding on the Capital City Path but will turn off a few miles down the road at Lake Farm park. From here, most of the roads are baby butt smooth and tree lined with the exception of a couple miles of county roads.
Riding with a group and want to work on a paceline? Since there are only a few hills, you'll be able to stick together quite well—something difficult to do on the hillier rides found on the West side of town.
On your way back, just before hitting the intersection of Hawkinson and Schneider, look at the tall metal fence on your right and admire the sandhill cranes forged at the top of each gate.
Who is Going to Love It
Both beginners and experienced riders will appreciate this loop for different reasons. For beginners, it will allow you to add miles if you aren't used to long rides since it's not too demanding. For the experienced riders, this route screams speed! It's a perfect spot to put everything you have out there since you can always gimp back for a treat at the coffee shop if you push it too hard. Those with teens who are just getting into road riding will also find this to be an ideal ride.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
There are no parking restrictions in this area. Feel free to ask the employees at Cronometro if you can park in their lot if you're uncomfortable parking on the street out front. Unless they are having an event, they are usually very accommodating and can even tell you if there are any road closures or fresh chip seal on the route.