In my ongoing quest to ride on all of the state-sanctioned holidays, I scheduled a ride on Independence Day with the Church of the Spoken Wheel. A rare, mid-week service, if you will.

And like last year, we aimed to ride the Badger State Trail from Madison to Monroe and back. It’s now verging on a tradition.

I rode the Albatross.

The Albatross

There were four of us: Grant, Michael, Nate, and me.

Band of Gypsies

We stopped to take in the hobby carnival near Monticello.


In Monroe, there be pirates.

Ahoy, matey.

We lingered in the tunnel, for the coolness. And so that Lemberger could throw down gang signs.

Thug life, part deux

We stopped in Belleville, coming and going. The water fountain in the town park was a key to survival.


For those of you playing along, guess which one of these bikes got a flat. Post your answer in the comments.

  • Soma: 28mm Grand Bois
  • Redline: 32mm Kenda (something crossy)
  • Surly: 2.1″ WTB Vulpines
  • GT: 2.25″ Schwalbe Big Apples

A correct answer wins you the right to gently mock the person who got the flat and neglected to bring a spare tube.

Oh, and it was hot. Really fucking hot. Over 80 degrees at 7am, well over 100 degrees by the time we made it home in the late afternoon. And dry. Any humidity in the air disappeared by the time we left Madison. It’s dry, dry, and more dry out there right now.

But strange to say, I felt pretty good, all things considered. I seem to have finally figured out the hydration (70oz Camelbak topped up with water and ice in Monroe plus 6 large bottles, all with nuun tablets), the nutrition (a big chunk coconut butter before leaving, a milkshake at in Monroe, and small doses of sweet potato and turkey wrap throughout), and heat management (dousing myself and soaking my hat). In other words, plenty of fluids, just enough food, and cooling off whenever possible.

Door to door, about 87 miles, averaging just a little over 14mph, mostly on gravel and always on fatter tires than strictly necessary.

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