Lake Mendota is our largest lake, but looping around it is not as popular. The direct route would have some stretches of busy highway. Here’s an extended loop that mostly avoids the bad parts. Start at the Capitol, ride down State St, and take the Lakeshore Path through the UW Campus. Continue following the shore on Lake Mendota Drive. The University Ave path and Allen Boulevard will get you close to Pheasant Branch Conservancy. You’ll be heading straight north until you reach Woodland Dr, where you’ll turn right, into Waunakee. Woodland Drive has a bike path parallel to it for parts, and then you turn onto Mary Lake Rd. Soon you will reach Highway M. This is a busy highway, but there’s a painted bike lane and you’ll only be on it for a few minutes. Turn right on Westport, and wind your way through the neighborhood toward Warner Park. The route continues to hug the shoreline through Maple Bluff until you get back into Madison on Sherman Ave. Parts of Sherman Ave are still open only to people walking, biking, and local traffic, and the same is true for Mifflin St, which will get you back to the Capitol.