Sunday Rides on Two Wheels: Motorcycling in Southern Wisconsin Review

Full disclosure: As a long-time resident of and motorcycle rider in Southern Wisconsin, I admit to having a strong bias in its favor as some of the best motorcycling territory in the world. Or, at least darn close. Barbara Barber does a superb job proving my point in her book, Sunday Rides on Two Wheels: Motorcycling in Southern Wisconsin (2nd ed.).

Anyone considering touring the upper Midwest, or riders who live in the general area—say the surrounding 10 states—should find Barber’s book very handy in several ways:

  1. Its physical size makes it easy to stow in a saddle bag, tank bag, tail bag, or top box. It can even be tucked inside your riding jacket. At six-by-nine inches and only a half-inch thick, it is very portable.

Sunday Rides On Two Wheels Motorcycling in Southern Wisconsin Review
Ocooch Mountain Route Map: Barbara Barber’s book provides 20 route maps like this to make seeing the splendor of Southern Wisconsin easy. This route is one of my favorites. I’ve done it and adjacent roads many times.

  1. Sunday Rides on Two Wheels is well-organized and easy to use. Touring highlights, facts, figures, and 20 route maps are put together in five general regions, making it easy to plot where you want to go from where you are. In addition, each route map is accompanied by a complete, road-by-road route description that includes the miles traveled on each road.

  1. Barber’s book is well-written and well-edited, assuring clarity in the travel directions for riders unfamiliar with Southern Wisconsin. Background information is excellent in helping the user decide on attractions and sights to see, accommodations, historical insights, and more. There is even a helpful list of motorcycle dealers and parts-and-service outlets in the back of the book.

  1. Barber’s book for motorcycle touring in Southern Wisconsin has 74 images to give you an idea of what to look for and what you might want to make plans to see. They are great images, but they would have been far better in color—something to consider for a 3rd Edition.

Another thing to contemplate is a revival of the spiral binding available for the 1st edition. That allows the book to be opened to the map the user needs. Sunday Rides on Two Wheels: Motorcycling in Southern Wisconsin could be wound completely around, leaving the book open to the desired map. Then, it could be slipped entirely into the clear map viewing pocket found on many tank bags. As all the maps are sized to cover two adjacent pages to facilitate readability, the user would have to stop to flip the book when moving to the part of the route on the adjoining page. However, that would be easier with spiral binding than it is with standard binding. That configuration would also allow the book to lay open and flat, making use for trip planning a little easier.

Living in the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, as I do, I have had the opportunity to ride many of the roads in the routes Barber describes. In Sunday Rides on Two Wheels: Motorcycling in Southern Wisconsin, Barber nails it in picking great roads to ride and sights to see. What’s more, her routes suggest some roads I haven’t seen yet, but I plan to with the help and inspiration of her excellent book.

Sunday Rides on Two Wheels: Motorcycling in Southern Wisconsin (2nd ed.) Fast Facts

  • Author: Barbara Barber
  • Size: 69 six-by-nine-inch pages, paperback
  • Illustrations: 74 black-and-white images; 20 route maps
  • Published: 2009 by University of Wisconsin Press
  • ISBN: 978-0-299-23024-1
  • Sunday Rides on Two Wheels: Motorcycling in Southern Wisconsin (2nd ed.) Price: $20 (Kindle: $10)