Arriving late in the biking season but well in advance of the holiday season comes Ridge and Valley Rides Madison, a collection of 44 bicycle route maps and cue sheets for Madison, Dane County and beyond.
Southwestern Wisconsin is known for its great riding, both scenic and challenging. This book - spiral bound for easy photocopying of the maps to take on rides - includes many of these loop routes, some favored by the Wednesday Night Bike Ride group, and trails, including the Glacial Drumlin, Sugar River, Badger, Military Ridge and the paved path along U.S. Highway 12.
The atlas is arranged by starting point towns and categorized by length and overall hilliness. Many of the loops include short and long option, and points of interest and local history are highlighted and concise descriptions are included for all the routes. Francis Stanton, the author and a cartographer for more than 30 years, credits "a cadre of generous friends (who) tested the new routes and made important suggestions to refine them."
Having recently moved back to the area, this reviewer followed the directions for the lovely 30-mile Indian Lake Ice Age loop from Indian Lake County Park north and back. It took me to the Dane/Columbia county line and between Fish and Crystal lakes. The description helpfully warned me that roads closest to the lakes are often closed due to flooding. Thankfully they were open on the day of my ride.
Also tested was the map of the Capital City Trail loop in Madison. There are many published maps of this trail but I've found none as clean and easy to follow as the one in this atlas. My wife followed it on a marathon training run, and the inclusion of the Lake Monona Loop outlines an enticing 34-mile figure eight urban ride.
The just published 112-page, 8.5- by 11-inch atlas is showing up in local bike shops where it sells for $21.50. It can also be ordered through Lulu.com. For more information, go to stanton-studio.com.
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- 2013 Tour of America's Dairyland races set
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