Explore on Two Wheels in Wisconsin's Bike-Friendly Cities

From its rails-to-trails to bike lanes and bike share programs, Wisconsin is an excellent destination for anyone eager to get out and enjoy the outdoors with pedal power. Here are four Wisconsin cities great for biking with friends and family. 

Madison Bike Trails

The capital city sets the platinum standard (according to the League of American Bicyclists) for bike infrastructure: dedicated bike lanes, painted bike boxes at intersections, off-road paths, bike racks on public buses, commuter paths that extend into equally bike-friendly communities of Fitchburg, Monona and Middleton. Trails are even maintained in winter for commuters.

The B-Cycle bike share program offers 39 stations and 350 electric bikes, and Budget Bicycle Center has Red Bikes, essentially free rentals for the year.

The Capital City Trail, the Southwest Commuter Path, and the Cannonball Path operate like expressways, giving riders quick and easy off-road passage throughout the city. Finally, when you want to get out of town, the Badger and Military Ridge State Trails, each 40+ miles, run through scenic countryside as far as the state line.

Milwaukee Bike Trails

If you stay on the roads of Milwaukee, you have over 85 miles of bike lanes throughout Wisconsin’s largest city – and that doesn’t even count the Oak Leaf Trail, a 108-mile loop primarily of paved paths that also includes an 8-mile stretch along the lakefront. On top of that, the 14-mile Hank Aaron State Trail heads west from the shore all the way to the next county.  

Greater Milwaukee’s bike share program, Bublr, is outstanding, with bike stations throughout Milwaukee, Shorewood, Wauwatosa and West Allis and an online map showing real-time bike availability.  The city and surrounding counties are also in the process of developing “The Route of the Badger”, a 500-mile bike network that will connect all the communities surrounding Milwaukee and even on to cities as far away as Madison, Sheboygan and Chicago. 

La Crosse Bike Trails

La Crosse is another award-winning biking community, and the prefect jumping off point for road cycling in the Driftless Area, the rolling hills and coulees left untouched by the last glaciers. From downtown, start at Riverside Park at the confluence of the Mississippi and La Crosse Rivers, and ride the Three Rivers Trail out to a loop trail through a marsh area.

Another option is to take a long ride on the Great River Road which follows the Mississippi north and south of the city. For the best view in town, pedal up to the Grandad Bluff scenic overlook. Or, if singletrack is more your style, head to the Human Powered Trails at Upper Hixon Forest for 9 miles of mountain bike trails and a pump track.

Wausau Bike Trails

Ten numbered bike routes are marked throughout the Wausau metro area with signage one might expect for a highway—large and easy to follow. Seven “Fixations” serve riders who may need simple repairs or a bit of air for their tires, and the city regularly hosts several biking events.

The owner and brewer of the bike-themed Red Eye Brewing (also known as “the bicycle-friendly brew pub”) is an avid cyclist and there are occasional rides and meet-ups that bring fellow cyclists out for food and drink after their rides. If you want to challenge yourself and get out of town, the Mountain-Bay State Trail runs for about 100 miles from Wausau all the way to Green Bay. Now that’s a bike ride! 

In Wisconsin, two-wheeled treks aren't just meant for summer. Learn more about winter fat tire biking and keep pedaling year-round!

This entry was posted in Biking