Monday, May 4, 2009

may 4 extravaganza

Today I biked to Uranus and beyond!   

I started with my usual bike ride to the gym.  At 6:53 am, the official Madison temperature was 43 F, winds calm, but it felt much warmer.  The  temperature measurement is done at the airport which is  a low-lying area.  These get much cooler when the winds are calm (radiative cooling of the ground which cools the air above it).   I think it was 10 degrees warmer where I was.   Here's the start of the bike path:

After my workout, I headed over to Monona Terrace for the ribbon cutting for Planet Trek, a scale-model of the solar system on a bike path.  It was put together by the fabulous UW Space Place.   It was a beautiful calm day.

Here's a map of the route with the planets marked.
Here's the sun outside Monona Terrace:

Jim Lattis, director of Space Place ia explaining something (I think the size of the sun compared to Mercury) to the mayor and various representatives from the university and city.

The ribbon cutting:

Then Ed, a retired professor (i.e., with free time) said, anyone want to ride part of it?  I said, sure!  Here are are at the beginning.

Mercury was not far away, still on John Nolen drive:

Venus on University Bay drive:

Earth too:

Now we turn on the bike path (I think this is still Capital city trail) towards campus/downtown and pass mars:

Ceres, a large asteroid is at Charter st.  This is very close to the UW Astronomy department.

Aside, this is also where I broke my kneecap turning onto Charter St, almost 3 years ago.  This is the first time I returned to the scene of the accident (took alternate routes).   Fortunately, if you don't turn onto Charter St., you avoid the tracks altogether.

We hit Jupiter on the near-west side.  We're on the southwest bike path now.

Saturn is almost to the beltline next to Odana Hills Golf Course.  This is a very nice bike path!

Now we crossed the beltline on a bridge, and are crossing Hammersley road.

Crossing PD (McKee Road), the less scenic portion of the bike path, but it's fairly brief.  And now we're on the military ridge trail.

Crossing Uranus

According to the map, this much be Goose Lake, near Uranus.  It was pretty.

We continued to Verona, where we stopped for a bite to eat.  I called home and discovered I was needed there, plus there was that work thing I had to get to, so we turned around here and headed home.

Ed thought this was a Cooper's hawk.

Ed turned off at Midvale boulevard and I sped home.  I'm not sure how far I rode today, 30 miles?  It was very much fun!  I love the Madison bike paths.  And I enjoyed experiencing the scale of the solar system.  The weather was perfect.  Temperatures got up to the high 60s, winds picked up to about 8 mph from the south.


  1. Great post! What a fine bike path. How long is it? We have the Silver Comet Trail in Atlanta, which extends from Atlanta to the Alabama border. If I ever get to Madison, I would love to ride that trail with you.

  2. Anytime! The total length of that bike path--well if you start near my house and go all the way to Dodgeville, that must be about 55 miles. Then you can return along the capital city trail and that might be similar or maybe a little longer. We also have a rails-to-trails east of town that goes for a long ways. we have quite a lot of trails and bike paths. It is a nice place to bike.