July 26, 2009: Some called us crazy for going, others were jealous we went. We had an opportunity so we took advantage of it and had one of the best trips of our summer.
When we’d finished RAGBRAI, Michon decided to stick around for the weekend instead of heading back home to Des Moines. Most would have vegged for a couple days after riding almost 400 miles in 4 days but we wanted some more riding and adventure.
On RAGBRAI, Michon had talked to Dave about Madison, WI. She had not been there before. He was telling her what a great city it was and that she should go visit. (Dave’s a convincing guy.) I’ve also been wanting to check out the city, so we loaded up the bikes and made a day trip out of it.
We didn’t have much of a plan when we arrived, we just knew there would be biking, sightseeing and food involved. We drove until we saw the lake, found a nice little park where we could park the car, unload the bikes and start exploring.
What a wonderful place! There were trails in the park, trails near the lake and bike lanes all through the city. I had heard Madison was a Bicycle Friendly Community, and it showed.
We rode toward downtown in search of a visitors center so we could make our plan for the day.
I’m so glad Michon also has a love for all things biking. When I suggested we look up a few local bike shops to check out (Yellow Jersey, Machinery Row Bicycles, Cronometro and Old Town Cycles) she enthusiastically agreed.
Yellow Jersey was my favorite shop. It is packed from floor to ceiling (literally – there are bikes hanging from the ceiling and piles of gear on the floor) and has a low-key feel to it. Machinery Row Bicycles was overwhelming. It was so big and had so many different kinds of bikes. I told Michon, “This is like a candystore for bicyclists.” Cronometro was a top-notch custom bike shop – a little out of our league but still fun to go in and look around. Old Town Cycles wasn’t open on Sunday but we were able to look in the window at their rebuilt bikes. There were some fun creations in there.
Our last stop was to refuel after a day of riding. We stopped at the Great Dane Pub and Brewery Co. for a beer and an appetizer. We ordered the hot soft pretzels with dipping sauce and a pint each; a great way to cap off a perfect day in Madison. – MICHELLE