Most of you know that I’m going on the Lake Pepin Three Speed Tour on May 15-16. Only a select few of you (namely, Pondero and Graveldoc, who are already on board) know that I’m planning on a post-Pepin bike tour.
Yep, we’ve got a fun little jaunt planned! It’s a three day bike tour starting and ending in La Crosse, Wisconsin, about 100 miles down the Mississippi from Red Wing, Minnesota, the start/end of the Three Speed Tour. This three-day, three-speed tour will take in some of the sights of SW Wisconsin, the Driftless Region, including two rail-trails (La Crosse River, Elroy-Sparta), rolling countryside, and the mighty Mississippi.
- This is a three speed ride, meaning that you must ride a three speed internally geared hub bicycle to participate. (We’ll allow four and five speed hubs, too.) The bike itself does not matter, so it doesn’t have to be an “authentic” vintage British three-speed. Other nations will do, other bike types will do. It can be a modern bike, or a bike retrofitted with a three-speed hub. (A three-speed fat bike? Sure!)
- This will be a camping trip!
- This ride is self-supported, meaning no SAG wagon or somebody else to carry your gear. Your gear must be carried on your bike. No exceptions. So if you want to ride this tour, you need to have luggage carrying capacity. Please don’t ask if it’s OK if your family member, friend, fiend, or significant other drives your stuff to the campsite each night, because the answer will be “no”.
Okay, so what will the ride look like?
- Day One, Monday 18 May: We’ll be starting at Goose Island Campground just south of La Crosse. (We’ll be camping there on Sunday night.) The first ten miles will be mostly city riding through La Crosse, then the rest of the day will be riding on two rail trails, the La Crosse River and then the famous Elroy-Sparta, the first rails-to-trails project in the country! The trails are crushed limestone, and have flat to gentle rail-trail grades. There will be two tunnels to traverse (very dark, have good lighting!) before we get to Wilton, where we’ll camp in town. (PLEASE NOTE: The two “spikes” on the elevation profile of this day’s ride are where the trail passes through the tunnels, so we don’t actully do all that climbing!) About 50 miles of riding.
- Day Two, Tuesday 19 May: We’ll leave the rail-trail and ramble into the rolling terrain of the Driftless Region. We’ll skirt Wildcat Mtn State Park and pass through Viroqua, where we’ll camp for the night at Sidie Hollow County Park just outside of town. There will be some hills today (though nothing’s going to be more than a 300-400 foot climb), so this will be the toughest day. About 40 miles total.
- Day Three, Wednesday 20 May: From Sidie Hollow, we’ll ramble westward back to the Mississippi and follow the Great River Road north back to Goose Island, where we can camp for the night. About 35 miles total.
As for fees, you’ll be on your own for food and incidentals, but for camping and other stuff:
- Goose Island: $20.25 a site per night (plus tax)
- Town of Wilton Campground: $7 per person per night
- Sidie Hollow: About $15 per site
- A day pass of $4 is required for the bike trails
- None of the camping fees above include reservation fees (if there are any)
And here are the rough routes for each day (subject to changes and tweaks):
- Day One: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/7223032
- Day Two: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/7223190
- Day Three: http://ridewithgps.com/routes/7223265
One last thing: If you want to join, you’ll be responsible on the transit to/from La Crosse. (Most likely if you are participating in Pepin, you’ll be driving.) There is an Amtrak station in La Crosse (on the Empire Builder route) which has checked baggage, meaning you can bring a boxed bike here.
Are you interested? Want to join? Let me know!