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Ride Rating System

The BAC has a Ride Rating system that can tell you what to expect while on one of our rides. Learn more...

Bike Wisconsin - Find the Spotted Cow

  • Arrival
  • 6/9/2019
  • Departure
  • 6/21/2019
  • Ride Director
  • Michael Meyers
  • Ride Co-Director
  • Marlene Rawles
  • Starting Location
  • Madison, WI
  • Finishing Location
  • Madison, WI
  • Estimated Cost †
  • $1450
  • Deposit
  • $750
  • Number of Riders
  • 22 (min. 18 /max. 26)
  • Space Available
  • 4
  • No. of Pending Riders
  • 0

Ride Rating

2B  Warning - Read the Description Carefully

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† Explanation of BAC Ride Fee – This fee is not included in the Estimated Cost and is non-refundable once submitted. The Ride Fee for US and Canada is $50 and $100 for all other countries, both are per participant.

Ride Description

Overview: This is a redo of the Find the Spotted Cow ride of 2015. This is a scenic 494 mile tour of the “Driftless” area of Southwestern Wisconsin. This portion of the state was never touched by the glaciers and has been sculpted into forests, prairie, grasslands and wetlands. We will ride on both paved and unpaved bike trails, lightly traveled county and state highways while we tour “America’s Dairyland”. Note that Wisconsin is consistently in the top 10 on the list of bike friendly states. Expect to see “Spotted Cows” on every day of the ride. The ride begins and ends in Madison, state capital of Wisconsin, a "Gold Level" Bicycle city and home to the University of Wisconsin along with 46 miles of bike paths and 112 miles of bike lanes. From Madison we travel northwest to Baraboo, home of the Ringling Brothers circus and the Circus Museum. Leaving there we travel to Tomah, the cranberry center of the state, riding through miles and miles of cranberry bogs. After spending two nights in Tomah we head south to a rest day at Sparta, the self proclaimed “Bicycle Capital of America” and home of the world’s tallest bike. Sparta is the junction of the Sparta to Elroy bike trail and the La Crosse River bike trail. Leaving Sparta we again head southwest, traveling through Viroqua, the organic farming section of Wisconsin. Reaching the Mississippi River we ride on the Great River Road until we reach Prairie de Chien. Then it’s east bound through the farming area of Wisconsin to Platteville and then on to Spring Green where we spend our last rest day exploring the “House on the Rock” and “Taliesin” Frank Lloyd Wright’s estate and studio. Riding further south we reach the town of New Glaris, an original Swiss settlement. When you tour the town look for the Cow Parade, 16 painted cows manufactured in Switzerland and placed at various locations around town. Also visit New Glaris Brewing Company, home of Spotted Cow beer. Finally we head north to Madison where we finish our ride.

Ride Rating: We are rating this ride a 2B with an average of 49 miles a day with 1,939‘ of climb. (It should be noted that this ride is close to the 2C rating if an optional day is not included in the calculation.   This warrants the exclamation point on the ride rating.) There are 4 days with over 50 miles of riding with 2 days of climb exceeding 2,500'.  Riding is on trails, chip seal and pavement. Bike trails in Wisconsin are either paved or packed limestone and can be ridden with a 25mm tire although 28mm is recommended (in dry conditions). Most highways have a very good shoulder. We will ride paved bike trails or bike paths leaving Madison and a paved trail on the last day from New Glaris to Madison. There is an option to ride packed limestone trails for a portion of the ride from Baraboo to Tomah, from Tomah to Sparta and during your off day in Sparta. On the ride from Prairie de Chien to Platteville and Platteville to Spring Green you will ride some steep rollers. There are no other hills over 10%. There are options for food during each ride. You will have the option to add miles each day.   Most of this route was ridden in the 2015 trip, has been driven in 2017 and will be driven again prior to the ride.  

Cue sheets will be furnished.  GPS tracks will be provided for all routes, but it is up to you to know how to use your GPS device before the trip begins.


Madison to Baraboo 53.3 miles 2,612 ft.

Baraboo to Tomah 66.2 miles 2,249 ft.

Warrens Loop 44.8 miles 808 ft.

Tomah to Sparta 49.7 miles 2,474 ft.

Rest Day

Sparta to Viroqua 45.6 miles 2,252 ft.

Viroqua to Prairie de Chien 49.7 miles 1,872 ft.

Prairie du Chien to Platteville 52.6 miles 2,815 ft.

Plattville to Spring Green 54.6 miles 1,962 ft.

Rest Day

Spring Green to New Glaris 48.7miles 2,334 ft.

New Glaris to Madison 29.1 miles 561 ft.

Weather:  Temperatures in June range from the 70's to 80's for a high with nights ranging from the 60's to the 70's. You would normally see sunshine but there is always a chance for a summer shower.

Lodging and Meals: We will meet for the opening social hour on Sunday, June 9, 2019 at the Sheraton Madison Hotel followed by a group dinner. The next morning we leave for Baraboo (Circus City) followed by overnights in Tomah (2 nights), Sparta (two nights), Viroqua (group dinner), Prairie du Chien, Platteville, Spring Green (two nights) and New Glaris. Our farewell dinner is in New Glaris. We return to Madison on Friday, June 21, 2019. Accommodations are not included on June 21st. Hotels range from good to very good.

Logistics: Madison is the capital of Wisconsin and home of the University of Wisconsin. It is 84 miles from Milwaukee, 134 miles from Chicago’s O’Hare airport and 273 miles from Minneapolis / St. Paul. The Dane County Regional Airport in Madison (MSN) is served by both United and Delta. Cars can be left at the Sheraton Madison and storage will be available for bike boxes. There is shuttle service between our hotel in Madison and the Dane County Regional Airport. Bicycles can be rented at  However, arrangements for rental bikes are strictly between the member and the bike rental business. 

Costs and Administration: The ride cost is estimated to be $1,450 per rider and $50 BAC fee per rider, with $750.00 and $50 BAC fee due initially and the remaining $700.00 due by March 1, 2019. This includes 12 nights lodging, luggage transport, 3 dinners, most breakfasts, 12 social hours, maps and cue sheets. Social hours will include wine, local beers, soda, water, and nibbles. Single riders are encouraged.

Singles and Solos Policy: It is recommended that singles who want a roommate try to find their own. However, after receipt of the initial deposit, a single without a roommate will be placed on the ride and given until March 1, 2019 to find a roommate. If they are unable to find a roommate, they will have the option to receive a full refund (minus the BAC fee and payment processing fee) or pay the $750.00 solo supplement and stay on the ride. If a single pays the supplement, they may continue to seek a roommate, but must plan to participate without a roommate if necessary. The Ride Leader will assist by attempting to match singles who apply for the ride. Solo supplement payments need to be sent to the BAC office. Checks should be made out to “BAC” with a notation of the tour name included on the check. They should be mailed to: Bicycle Adventure Club, PO Box 23998, San Diego, CA 92193.

Cancellation: The BAC ride registration fee and payment processing fee is not refundable unless the entire tour is cancelled. Refunds of tour payments will depend upon whether a replacement rider signs up, and on costs that can be recouped. The amount refunded will be based on the principle that the tour’s remaining participants will not incur any additional cost as a result of cancellations. If the cancelling participant is replaced, a refund will be made at that time. If the cancelling participant can't be replaced, any refund will be determined after the ride and final expense report are completed. If a single participant cancels and another roommate cannot be found, in addition to other costs that cannot be recouped the cancelling roommate may also be liable for the solo supplement fee of the roommate remaining on the tour. BAC encourages members to purchase trip cancellation insurance.

Ride Participant Responsibility: Please remember that BAC Ride Leaders are volunteers, and that successful tours depend on participants providing much of their own support. Participants are expected to come to the ride well trained, in good health and ready to accomplish the required daily riding using well-maintained bicycles. All participants should accept responsibility for a safe and enjoyable tour. We encourage you to read the ride description carefully and respond to requests from Ride Leader. While on the ride, support your Ride Leader with offers to help with various tasks such as happy hour preparation and clean-up. Please do not interfere with the ride by inviting non-participants onto any portion of the ride or tour. Please keep the Ride Leader informed of any special request you may have and respect the Ride Leader’s decisions.

Sign-Up: To submit a request to join this ride use the "links" displayed above this Ride Description. When you are accepted, the Ride Leader will move you from the Waitlist to the Pending List. At this time you will receive an email notification to login to the BAC website to sign the release of liability form and pay the non-refundable BAC ride registration fee and the initial tour deposit of $750.00 by credit card. As soon as your deposit has been processed, your name(s) will be added to the Participant List. To contact the Ride Leader, "click" the name at the top of this Ride Description.

Bicycle Adventure Club
PO BOX 23998 San Diego, CA 92193
Telephone (858) 715-9510

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