Paul Schmidt's Bicycle Page:
Routes for Modern Bikes



Background  I  have been a bicycle fanatic since childhood. I rode my balloon tire Murray bike everywhere and enjoyed long rides and exploring. After moving to Europe, one location I lived at was in a valley; I got a big kick out of being able to ride across the valley and back (up and down, not lengthwise), often with both arms full of shopping bags, without ever touching the handlebars.

Once in high school, I obtained a nice French Peugeot 'racing' 10-speed. I rode it everywhere, and after returning to live in the States I commuted to work and college (a couple of towns away) on this bike. When I finally settled in the Chicago area, I started riding the extensive bike trail network here, then began to ride with area bike clubs. The club rides convinced me that road riding was my style, and I started doing longer organized rides and exploring the northern Illinois back roads.

Finding that upgrading the old Peugeot to newer components was becoming difficult, I decided to get a new bike, one that would fit me perfectly and would have characteristics that suited my build, riding style and riding environment. This would be perhaps the last bike I would buy if I played my cards right. After extensive checking around, and finding that flash and gimmicks were not for me, I settled on a Trek 1100 aluminum bike, then had the bike shop strip it and rebuild it with different components of my choosing. This doubled the price of the bike, but in something like 15 years of serious riding it has only needed a new freewheel, one change to new rims & spokes, two changes of saddles, and obvious wear items like brake pads, tires, chains and handlebar tape. 

That's my favorite modern bike photo of myself (above)....the location is the Mauston route, see below.

Preferences  Pedals:
LOOK style cleats

Basic road tires with Kevlar belts

Standard drop bars with cork filled tape, enhanced with Profile AeroII type aero bars

the excellent Bontrager FS2000 leather multi-use saddle with gel inserts, and formerly the Avocet M20 Gelflex

Lycra shorts, plus biking tights or insulated bike pants for colder rides. Heavy weight T-shirts, long or short sleeved depending on temperature; I hate normal bike shirts and jerseys; if colder add a sweatshirt and biking windbreaker as required....Layers!. Gotta have gel gloves. I prefer the unadorned Bell models of helmet. USA Sport prescription bike shades "Flashsport II". Performance 'Monsoon' hydration pack


My purpose in putting up this particular page is to share some of the routes that I traditionally ride every year. Some routes are nice one day metric century rides. Others are best done over two days, perhaps on a weekend; the second part of these rides is usually shorter so that some other things can be done with the weekend. All routes are in northern Illinois or Wisconsin.

Amish Farms

2 days

Beautiful route on traffic-free dairy roads with moderate hills. Area is largely Amish, so farms are clean and orderly, and vehicles you meet tend to be horse drawn.

Near Portage, Wisconsin in the Pardeeville area

NOTE: The photo at left is the second wooden bridge on the 'Saturday' route. In 2003 it was hit by a train and damaged, and was closed for two years. As of my ride there in July 2005, it was repaired and open to traffic again.

Download map (PDF)

State Line #1

1 day

Metric century that stays within a few miles of the Illinois-
Wisconsin border, including a ride down the shore of Lake Michigan. The rest of the ride is on farm roads. Minor hills.

Near Kenosha, Wisconsin

Download map (PDF)

Door County

2 days

Scenic shore vistas and farm country backroads in the New England of the Midwest. Some serious hills on the western shoreline.

Northern Door County, Wisconsin

Download map (PDF)

State Line #2

1 day

Metric century that goes from Roscoe, Illinois to Brodhead, Wisconsin and back along different farm roads. Minor hills with about 6 miles of frequent low but steep ones.

Starts in Roscoe, Illinois
(near Rockford)

Download map (PDF)


2 days

Part one is completely flat through heavily wooded sections and the Castle Rock Lake shore & State Park. Part two is on picturesque farm roads with minor hills and one significant one.

Near Mauston, Wisconsin

Download map (PDF)

State Line #3

1 day

Similar to State Line #2, but on alternate roads and generally a bit further south; spends less time in Wisconsin. Very low rolling hills between flat stretches.

Near Rockford, Illinois

Download map (PDF)

New Glarus

2 days

Scenic ride in and over the valleys of Wisonsin's "Little Switzerland" and "Little Norway" regions, staying on low traffic farm roads with an option to jump on the Sugar River and Military Ridge trails for parts of the route. It's a hilly region, but significant climbs are rewarded by excellent long coasts.

Between Albany, New Glarus and Mount Horeb, Wisconsin

Download map (PDF)


2 days

The most varied of these routes, this out-and-back is the only one that does not return to the same place at the end of the first day. It follows traffic-free farm roads from Sparta to LaCrosse, crosses the Mississippi and follows the Minnesota state bikeway along the river to Winona. Hotels and camping are options. On the second day, cross the river and follow it down the Wisconsin side to LaCrosse on a combination of farm & state park roads and The Great River Trail. Finally, retrace  the farm roads back to Sparta.

The ride is almost entirely free of hills, with only minor slopes near LaCrosse, most of which are downhill!

Between Sparta, Wisconsin and Winona, Minnesota.

Download map (PDF)

Cycle tracks will abound in Utopia. ~ H. G. Wells, 1905

As a kid I had a dream – I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bikes in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it by my bed. ~ John Lennon

All creatures who have ever walked have wished that they might fly. With highwheelers a flesh and blood man can hitch wings to his feet. 
~ Karl Kron (Ten Thousand Miles on a Bicycle)

Socialism can only arrive by bicycle. ~ José Antonio Viera Gallo 

It was on the 10th day of May--1884--that I confessed to age by mounting spectacles for the first time, and in the same hour I renewed my youth, to outward appearance, by mounting a bicycle for the first time. The spectacles stayed on. ~ Mark Twain

Toleration is the greatest gift of the mind; it requires the same effort of the brain that it takes to balance oneself on a bicycle. ~ Helen Keller, 1903

If all feeling for grace and beauty were not extinguished in the mass of mankind at the actual moment, such a method of locomotion as cycling could never have found acceptance; no man or woman with the slightest aesthetic sense could assume the ludicrous position necessary for it. 
~ Ouida [Marie Louise de la Ramée] , 1900

You can't despair for the human race when you see somebody riding a bicycle. 
~ Stewart Parker

Let a man find himself, in distinction from others, on top of two wheels with a chain— at least in a poor country like Russia— and his vanity begins to swell out like his tyres. In America it takes an automobile to produce this effect. 
~ Leon Trotsky, 1933

The bicycle, the bicycle surely, should always be the vehicle of novelists and poets.  ~ Christopher Morley

The gross and net result of it is that people who spent most of their natural lives riding iron bicycles over the rocky roadsteads of this parish get their personalities mixed up with the personalities of their bicycle as a result of the interchanging of the atoms of each of them and you would be surprised at the number of people in these parts who nearly are half people and half bicycle. ~ Sergeant Pluck ( expounding on The Atomic Theory) , in "The Third Policeman," by Flann O'Brien

It would not be at all strange if history came to the conclusion that the perfection of the bicycle was the greatest incident of the nineteenth century.  ~ Anon.

Get a bicycle. You will [certainly] not regret it. If  you live. ~ Mark Twain

The bicycle is the most civilized conveyance known to man.  Other forms of transport grow daily more nightmarish. Only the bicycle remains pure in heart. 
~ Iris Murdoch

The bicycle is a curious vehicle.  Its passenger is its engine.  ~ John Howard

When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.  ~ H.G. Wells

Why should anyone steal a watch when he could steal a bicycle? 
~ Flann O'Brien

The bicycle will accomplish more for women's sensible dress than all the reform movements that have ever been waged.  ~ Anon., 1895

The bicycle is just as good company as most husbands and, when it gets old and shabby, a woman can dispose of it and get a new one without shocking the entire community.  ~ Ann Strong

Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world. 
~ Grant Peterson

All bicycles weigh fifty pounds.  A thirty-pound bicycle needs a twenty-pound lock.  A forty-pound bicycle needs a ten-pound lock.  A fifty-pound bicycle doesn't need a lock.  ~ Anon.

Progress should have stopped when man invented the bicycle. ~ Elizabeth West

What do you call a cyclist who doesn't wear a helmet?  An organ donor.
~ David Perry

There is nothing, absolutely nothing, quite so worthwhile as simply messing about on bicycles. ~ Tom Kunich

I thought of that (the theory of relativity) while riding my bike. ~ Albert Einstein

When the spirits are low, when the day appears dark, when work becomes monotonous, when hope hardly seems worth having, just mount a bike and go out for a spin down the road, without thought of anything but the ride you are taking. ~ Arthur Conan Doyle

I relax by taking my bicycle apart and putting it back together again. 
~ Michelle Pfeiffer

Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride. ~ John F. Kennedy

A woman without a man is like a fish without a bicycle. ~ Gloria Steinem

It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. ~ Ernest Hemingway

The world lies right beyond the handlebars of any bicycle that I happen to be on anywhere from New York Bay to the Vallee de Chevreuse. Anywhere is high adventure, the walls come down, the cyclist is a loner, it is the only way for him to meet other loners. And it works. One seldom exchanges anything but curses or names of insurance companies with another driver, the car inhibits human contacts. The bicycle generates them; bikes talk to each other like dogs, they wag their wheels and tinkle their bells, the riders let their mounts mingle. 
~ Daniel Behrman

Bicycle races are coming your way, so forget all your duties, oh yeah. Fat bottomed girls, they’ll be riding today, so look out for those beauties, oh yeah! ….I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like. ~ Freddie Mercury

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. It has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives a woman a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel… the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood. ~ Susan B. Anthony

Bike riding as little as three miles a day will improve your sex life. 
~ Dr. Franco Antonini

When I was a kid, I used to pray every night for a new bicycle. But then I realized that God doesn't work that way. So I stole a bike and then prayed for forgiveness.
~ Steven Wright

Links Trek Bicycles

Profile Aero Bars

Bell Helmets

USA Sport Sunglasses

Bontrager Saddles

Performance Bicycles

Park Tools

Jim Langley bikepage

Bike Care page


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Copyright Paul Schmidt 2002
revised September 2010