Why They Call Madison the Bike Capital of the Midwest

Aug 27th

If you’re a Madisonian, you’re no stranger to seeing cyclists all over the city! Our abundance of bicycles has earned Madison the title of "unofficial bike capital of the Midwest" by Destination Madison. Plus, Yahoo included us on their list of the Best Cities on Earth for Biking. 

So what makes Madison such a great home for cycling enthusiasts?

The cycling city. 

With 61 miles of bike paths, 117 miles of bike routes, and 146 miles of streets with marked bike lanes, it’s no wonder so many Madisonians choose biking over driving to get to their destinations! Did you know that some bikers opt to register their bikes just as they would a car? Our residents take cycling very seriously! This guide by the City of Madison is a great place to start if you’d like to dip a toe into Madison’s bike scene. 

Rent a ride. 

If you’re not ready to commit to your own bike, Madison has some great rental options. The city’s official bike program, BCycle, offers our community a network of electric bikes to pick up and return whenever you need them. With various locations around the city, all you have to do is sign up for membership on their website to get on the road. It’s such a great way to experiment with biking before you decide to invest in your own.

Community events. 

Since Madison is such a bike-centered city, there are constant fun events to get involved in. One example is Bike for Barns, a fundraiser by FairShare CSA Coalition that helps low-income families afford farm-fresh veggies. There are also a lot of family-friendly events to choose from, such as Bike to the Beat, where you can choose to ride anywhere from 7 to 60 mile trails. Whatever your style, there are cycling events throughout the seasons so you can enjoy biking year-round.

Stationary solutions. 

If you’re not the “outdoorsy” type, you can still park in bike fever. Madison experiences the four seasons in the most triumphant way, so if the weather is too hot, too cold, or you simply prefer to be indoors, there are some great cycling/spin classes like CycleBar or Turnstyle. It’s a great way to connect with other Madison locals and build up some resilience before getting out on the road.

Who else is excited about the possibility of switching 4 wheels for 2!?