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I am thinking of putting together a week on the bike this late spring. The idea is to take as many rails to trails style paths as possible. Area is Central Wisconsin.

So far I have read about The 400, Elroy-Sparta and Nicolet trails. Ideally, I would take the Amtrak/Metra to some drop-off spot and get going north and west. 

Any ideas or suggestions on connecting trails so as to make this longer than a one-day ride? I am not averse to riding on country roads but prefer the safety of the R2T type paths.

Also, if you have done something like this and can chime in on the do's and don'ts, I would appreciate it.

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You can get from Chicago to Madison in two and a half days and bus back. It's mostly rail-trail with a few rural roads and a ring road through a park around Milwaukee.

For something longer I highly recommend the Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to Cumberland. It's all rail/trail and there's a decent downhill grade for the last sixteen miles down into Cumberland. It's about 150 miles with an option to follow the C&O Canal and ride next to the Potomac all the way to Washington DC. It's another 180 or so miles but much rougher so figure an extra day for that. It's all trail with no roads until you are in the middle of Georgetown. The midwest is pretty flat and dull and even though it's mostly rail/trail there is a lot of elevation and scenery to enjoy.

The beauty is it's all along the route of the Capitol Limited, so it's an overnight trip to Pittsburgh and another overnight back to Chicago if you leave from the capitol or catch the train back from Cumberland. Not all stations will allow bikes, though Amtrak's policy has opened up since I did this in 2013. There are plenty of campgrounds and B&Bs along the way, too.

Been there, done that.  It's a great trip and worthwhile taking.

Bob - I don't know that I have ever seen a site like this. I am enjoying reading up on all things bike trekking. Thanks for the link. And, your journal was a pretty decent read. 

Doing this in August over four days in August!

When we did the GAP-C&O in 2016, we originally planned  a 4 day trip.  Had to stretch it to 5 because of the conditions on the C&O - rain & trees down.  I retrospect, should have planned a longer trip.  A lot to see and do besides riding - rafting at Ohiopyle, tubing on the Potomac and the historical site such as Antietam, Harper Ferry etc.

Good tips. Definitely hoping for good trail conditions. Going for the credit card tour route and four is the goal.

I did it in five days not counting a stop over day in Harper's Ferry, and spent a few days in Pittsburgh and DC, too.

I did it in five also. Had planned on six but I pushed myself. :)

NEVER push yourself on a long ride!

Plan on six, take seven.  Enjoy the ride.

I think planning on seven and taking six makes more sense than planning on six and taking seven. It seems to me you should plan with a "buffer" day in case you get held up by weather, mechanical problems, or your own stamina.

I like the idea of an Amtrak/R2T type bike trail/Amtrak trip.  No cars, buses, planes or FedEx bikes ahead. The planning trick is finding bike trails that are close to Amtrak stations that will allow bikes.

 Wisconsin. A map of Amtrak stops in Wisconsin is at (LINK)
If you plan from that map look only at places that have triangle symbols. Triangles are train stops; circles are bus service which is basically no bikes. An online guide to bike trails in Wisconsin is at (LINK)  Dedicated bike trails like rails to trails are called linear trails in the biking guide.

  Reedsburg WI is 18 street/road miles from Wisconsin Dells Amtrak.   From Reedsburg there are one hundred miles of connecting “linear trails”.   400 trail - Sparta- Elroy trail - La Crosse River Trail - Great River State Park Trail.     Winona Amtrak is seven road/street miles from Great River Trail.    I road just the Sparta Elroy segment and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Katy Trail in Missouri can be accessed with maybe five miles of street/road cycling if you choose an accessible segment. About five years ago I rode Amtrak from Chicago to Sedalia, Mo. I arrived in the evening and rode to fairgrounds camping in Sedalia. Next few days I rode the Katy trail to near St Charles. Then I backtracked on Katy trail to Washington, MO and caught Amtrak home.

GAP in Pennsylvania is recommended by others. I would love to Amtrak to Cumberland, Maryland bike the GAP, Great Allegheny Passage trail to Pittsburg then Amtrak home or some variation. Both ends are very close to Amtrak.

If you ride Wisconsin trails buy a bike trail pass. It is nice to support the trails (and not get a citation for riding without one.) Also, consider Amtrak to a station near any desirable trail and do an up and back on that trail. Returning on the same route often seems like new territory when it is a different direction, time of day, weather and condition of the cyclist.

(I sent a personal invite to SixTwoPercent )

"Reedsburg WI is 18 street/road miles from Wisconsin Dells Amtrak."

You may not be able to get on or off with a bike in Wisconsin Dells.   Maybe things have changed but the last time I rode in Wisconsin there were only three stations that handled checked luggage: Milwaukee, Columbus, and La Crosse. 


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