Thursday, August 28, 2014

Mont Royal's Parc du Troisième Sommet is open and legal for bikes

The  new road to the third summit of Mont Royal (the Outremont summit) has a new road built in the last couple of years.

The entrance to this road in Outremont has a big no-bikes sign but if you look closely at the park's rules, the actual road itself permits bikes.

The proof of this is this Parc Mont Royal rules and regulation sign, which says bikes are permitted on the road and only on the road.

Read closely: Bikes are permitted

These are the official rules: bikes permitted

The no-bikes sign is A LIE. Outremont has knowingly installed a sign that misrepresents Parc Mont Royal's own rules.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

St-Bernard-de-Lacolle to Franklin Centre Quebec = 2014's new ride



Last Sunday’s bike ride rode near the US border straight west then straight back east along the foothills of Covey Hill. This started as a ride from a new guidebook for good rides near Montreal (which I did 4 times), then I combined its best parts with my Ste-Martine to Covey Hill ride and myAalong the border ride. It adds up to a lot of top quality riding, which is the objective.

I say top quality, but why?
  • Route finding completed done to find best and most ideal route
  • Good roads (note: excellent roads)
  • Quiet roads (generally very quiet roads)
  • minimum amount of bad or busy roads (<10 li="">
  • Scenic roads (very scenic, not boring all the same all the time all flat)
  • Away from modern civilization, (no "every town the same" corporate BS)
  • Generally skips all towns and villages, but they are close by if needed (ice cream, water, etc)
  • Not too far from home (facilitates a noon departure)
  • Food available on route
  • Easy driving & parking logistics
  • Ride is not too easy
  • Ride is not too hard (aligned to energy and fitness levels)
  • 2nd half of ride trends downhill
  • 2nd half of ride is with the wind (usually)
  • Cheap gas
  • Heritage sights
  • Variable distance for a longer or shorter ride/shortcuts
  • free apples
  • Car parking at park beside bike path
  • Car parking: good security
  • Car parking: dep for pre/post ride food beverage needs (sort of)
  • Car parking: benches/tables
  • Car parking: right at start of good riding (as opposed to a few miles before the good stuff)
  • Scenic highlights: glaciation traces, distance views, nice farms, stone walls, forests & fields
  • Last 10 km nice riding (this ride is on bike path 1st/last ten km) and not busy traffic situation
  • Good sunset light situation
  • Good map of ride
  • Hill situation: several short or micro hills, only one longer hill
  • Ride distance at 110 km, long enough to be well-fatigued, but not so long or hard it's near-death experience
So these are some of the things that make a ride a good ride, and a good ride elevate to a great ride. For 2014, this was my exploration to find another favorite ride: and the result is mission accomplished.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

new 25 circuits autour de Montreal guidebook

We rode #16 Lacolle to Ste-Clothilde 4 times so far this summer. It is a great ride on real country roads.

Try this variation to add Ste-Chrysostome at the western end of the ride (ice cream!).

Sunday, July 13, 2014

the older we get the better we were...

The best content on this blog is to be found in the previous years' summer months in the blog archive, over on the right side of the page. Literally everything you would want from a bike blog is there!

Friday, July 04, 2014

blogging is hard, microblogging easy like downhill riding

More but shorter Cycle Fun Montreal content on Twitter. We tweet at Cycle Fun Montreal.

new "25 circuits autour de Montreal" guidebook


We have just bought the new guidebook "25 circuits autour Montreal" and we probably just did the 3 best rides in the guidebook.

On sunday we did the ride around les Iles de Berthierville and Lanaudiere/Maskinongé NE of Montreal which we enjoyed a lot. It includes a bike-ferry between the north shore of the St-Laurence river and one of the Berthierville islands. Much of the ride is on quiet roads, generally of good quality. (Except for St-Barthelemy, which has terrible roads).

We also did Lacolle-Ste-Clotilde directly south of Montreal and we liked this one even better. Quiet country roads and bike path to finish (no worrys when the last leg of the ride is on a bike path directly back to the car!

But what is this flower?

 This is an iris tricolore, the national flower of Quebec, as spotted on the Lacolle-St-Clotilde ride in the guide book. It was also photographed 100 feet from where buddy lost his car key at a roadside pitstop. Because I took a picture of this flower, he was lucky enough to be able to find his car key when we drove back in my car to locate his key.



This picture is on the 20 minute ferry ride on ride #1 in the guidebook, Berthierville Iles and Lanaudiere. This was a really nice ride.

Both of these (and the ride they call the Loyalist aka Chateauguay valley) are exceptionally nice road bike rides.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Lac Megantic - loop ride around the lake

In our quest to ride Quebec's best roads' present stage, we are riding rides that start three hours or less from Montreal. Lac Megantic is just under this cutoff (just!) and yesterday this long awaited ride finally was ridden!

Parking, bike path access, and post-ride picnic were all at lakeside Parc de l'O.T.J.



Downtown Lac Megantic is still undergoing major reconstruction after 2013 disaster



Musi-Café reopens for first show, before new building even has walls!



May 13 - snow's not all gone, but almost all gone!



Gear Envy, big gear envy. The Bertrand feels very inadequate at this moment



Anglican church does not have steeple envy



Lots of nice roads and nice paved shoulders too



Scenery was frequently excellent!


We got up early and were on the road at 7:17 am - almost a new record for us! First stop was gas at L'Ange Gardien's cheap-gas-mecca on the Eastern Townships Autoroute, second stop was a few miles further at the Tourism Eastern Townships at the Granby exit-for maps and bike maps. (Very convenient, very useful, a mandatory stop!)

Then we drove and drove some more until we arrived in the Town of Lac Megantic. We had known of this ride around Lac Megantic for many, many years, and we finally made it, with perfect weather conditions too.

We parked at the Parc de la O.T.J. which is right on the lake and bike path. To our surprise there was a major media scrum in and outside: many camera's, satellite trucks and multiple TV networks. This was either about the re-opening of the destroyed in last summers catastrophe Musi-Café, the arrest of three MMA employees for the disaster, or something completely different. We looked at media reports this morning and did not see any camera shots or interviews from this location. 

This impressive media presence wasn't about us or this excellent and popular bike ride.

All we know that this was a great location to start and end the ride. Lake, beach, change rooms and toilets, benches and picnic tables, free parking, closeness to food stores, closeness to bike path, but what, oh what does OTJ mean? 

Then we headed off around the lake in a counter-clockwise direction, as advised the "Le Québec dans 30 Boucles" bike ride guide to Vélo-Mag magazine readers' favorite road bike rides. We like this guidebook a lot, even if some of the rides have variations that we prefer slightly compared to the guidebook's chosen route. 

The Park de l'O.T.J. is bike-path connected to the main bike path in town that takes you out of town (we started heading west). The paved path changed to a rock-dust trail that was in good shape and solid for our 700x25 tires. Some deer were closely watching us and a partridge did its best to intercept our trajectory, but we continued with no other obstacles. We went through the campground and the quiet road instead of the Rt 263 to Marston, big hills and crappy road, but quiet. In Marston we joined the Rt 263 for some more good climbs.

We stopped for snacks in Piopolis, then we continued south to the turnoff on to Rt 161 back north to the town of Lac Megantic. There is a new rest stop at the corner here with great views.  We briefly considered a little out-and-back south the Woburn, but that no-shoulder road quickly made that an undesired option. The road had generally been equipped with decent and (mostly) clean paved shoulders and we didn't feel like a no-shoulder/ride-the-white-line was an enhancement to today's ride. Good news for the future: It looked like a rebuilt road with paved shoulders will soon replace the present death-highway segment to Woburn.

North to Lac Megantic has one major highlight: a roadside lookout tower!  We love lookout towers (Hello Saint-Malo near Coaticook and Ile aux Coudres in the Charlevoix).

Excellent lookout tower on Rt 161 S of Lac Megantic

A short while later we were entering the town of Lac Megantic and riding along the edge of the rebuilt (in progress) downtown (rebuilt after the major disaster there last summer).  We noticed that the Musi-Café was hosting it's first show since the night of the disaster, before even the walls have been put on the building-that's the spirit!

We got back to the parc and the calm and warm mid-may weather was perfect for a lake-side picnic so we went up to the Marché Lavallé (4298, rue Laval) and got some picnic foods and had a pretty good late lunch/early supper picnic.


 Phase 2 - Parc Mont Megantic-Secteur Franceville


The ride around Lac Megantic is only 60 km, so that's a short ride for such a long drive. We mixed up the fun with a hike in provincial park Parc Mont Megantic to visit the new Franceville sector, a completely new side to this excellent national park.

We arrived here at 6 pm after our leisurely post-ride picnic but that left plenty of time for a nice hike up to a scenic lookout halfway up the mountain.

The parc entrance was gated but we paid the fee at the check-in box and proceeded to visit this all-new side of Parc Mont Megantic. First impression: this is not a low-budget development. Second impression: will be be eaten by bears? Well it turns out not, but boy it was quiet in the post-apocalyptic sense.  

Americans may wonder why info in english is on a smaller sign. C'est normale.




Franceville entrance can't be missed!

 The Franceville secteur entrance is on a dirt road that defines "in the middle of nowhere" although there is a new multifunctional bike path from the village of Scotstown right to the Park entrance. (We were surprised, and pleased)


New welcome centre (Accueil) in Parc Mont Megantic Franceville sector


Our hike started from main road because early season park open but gate locked situation

We will say that both the bike ride around the lake and the trails in the Parc Mont Megantic's Franceville's sector were very well marked.

Trail along this stream (ruisseau) was a beauty




Trail up the mountain seems well-built and well-maintained



From our destination's lookout we could see Mont Orford



At this point we turned around, hiked back to the cars (always watching out for any bears or other carnivores following us, of which there were precisely zero, as usual) before darkness arrived, which was a success for a change.

To conclude, this was an excellent day for a bike ride and a hike and an exploration of a new area. Imagine, if you can, how nice this would be in summer! Also, fall colours around here are pretty spectacular.

Here is the link for the map for the ride.

Here is the link for town of Lac Megantic. There is tourist info and maps here.

Here is the link for the Quebec provincial park Parc national du Mont Megantic (the town is beside the lake while the mountain/provincial park are about 50 km away from each other). This is a favorite Quebec park of ours.





Monday, May 12, 2014

Medium distance spring ride in Chateauguay Valley

Not (un)usual for us to run out of daylight before we run out of road!


This ride has many, many options for shortcuts or longer distances


As spring progresses, ride distances get longer. No longer is a one-hour ride going to satisfy the cyclists' need for scenery and more scenery.  The solution is simple: ride a longer ride, and in the Chateauguay Valley the easiest thing to do is to move the ride start downriver from Ormstown to Howick or Sainte-Martine.  We chose Saint-Martine, because the parking is good and the ride starts on a nice bike path.

Sunday had big winds from the southwest, and this ride offers some respite from the relentless nature of headwinds with some zigzagging into and away from the westerly headwinds.  

We chose Option B, straight home from Powerscourt instead of following the river


Compare the top picture with this map of the actual ride. We modified the route because the direct route back to Sainte-Martine became important because time was running out. And by time I mean sunny daylight fun-to-bike time. This wasn't a buzzkill, because this option also has great roads and scenery, and it had a heck of a great tailwind. We averaged 35 km/h for the last 50 km of the ride! No-one really likes headwinds, but the smarter among us know to ride into the headwind for the first half of a ride, because then the last half will be with a big tailwind, and wil probably give you  happy feeling to ride so fast with so little effort.

The ride zigzags and covers a lot of nice roads, in fact, it is all nice roads except for short sections on Rt 202 and Rt 203. Rt 203 will soon be bypass-able when the Sainte-Martine-to-Ormstown bike path opens in 2014 and Rt 203 death highway can be avoided.

We like this ride a lot and there are 119 good reasons why is it the template for the standard medium-distance Chateauguay Valley ride.

Another reason for liking this ride as we did it is the fact that only two kilometers of the 119 kilometres are in towns or villages.  So lots and lots and lots of riding with essentially zero corporate fast food, gas, and retail "every town looks the same" modern world bullshit.

Maps:

Map for today's 119 km-version of the standard medium distance Chateauguay Valley ride. Note that you could do this ride (or variations thereof) with a ride-start of Ormstown, or Howick.

Here is the map for the shorter standard 60 km short-distance Chateauguay Valley ride. Here is a slightly longer and slightly better 74 km version of the Standard Short distance ride. For a shorter ride you could do this as a Ormstown out and back on the Rockburn side road to the US border (aller-retour) and avoid anything west of Dewittville/Rockburn for a shorter ride that is still top quality fun on top quality roads. (And we know fun--and top quality roads!)

This is a superb road-cycling destination for any length of ride, and is perfect in any of the spring, summer, or autumn seasons. Many people consider it to be a paradise du vélo, and we agree 100%.

spring has sprung!

white trilliums everywhere, red ones more rare

Sun streaming in Quebec's oldest covered bridge at Powerscourt

The round barn of Gore road

Tiny and very retro maple-sugar shack

Sunshine, green fields, forests, stone fences = another amazing ride