Madison, WI

City Population: 236,901 | City Area: 84.7 sq mi (219 km2) | Population Density: 3,030/sq mi (1,169.8/km2) | Elevation: 863 ft (264 m)
Dates Visited: 10.18.12 – 10.20.12 | Total Inter-City Miles Traveled: 3,377 miles | Total Hours Traveled: 66 hours

Inter-City Transportation: Megabus #11 | Origin: Minneapolis, MN

One of the top bike-friendly and all-around friendly cities in America, Madison, as Wisconsin’s state capitol and the home seat of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is an interesting mix of politics, activism, creativity and school spirit.

Named after James Madison, the fourth president of the United States, Madison was founded on the isthmus between Lake Monona and Lake Mendota lending itself to its trademark: “Lake, City, Lake.”

I had a fun, albeit short stay in Madison. The city is friendly, the air is clean, and it has two of my favorite things in abundance: bicycles and cheese.

The views of the fall foliage on the Megabus ride over from Minneapolis to Madison was stunning—even as I write this en route to Chicago, the view is amazing. Bright yellow splattered on bone-white birch trees pop out against the hues of rusted reds, purples, oranges and yellows. Rolling, post-harvest fields are punctuated by dark green pines serving as wind breaks. The sky is a rich deep blue and in this countryside setting, looks much more massive than I could ever recall whilst I was living in Baltimore city.

Madison, like Minneapolis, has topped charts for being one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in the U.S. Sustainability and environmentally friendly practices are just the status quo in Madison. After all, Earth Day got its origins in Madison starting in 1970. As the bus was pulling into Madison, I saw an eco-friendly Prius taxi that had a bicycle rack attached to it in the back. Madison also has a bicycle share program called Madison B-cycle.

On Saturday, the day I left, the weather was stunning and I took the opportunity to head for the State Capitol where I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the Madison Farmer’s Market was still running. I walked around tasting apple cider doughnuts, taking in the fall foliage and crops, and eating an incredibly delicious amount of fresh cheese curds—mmm Madison.

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