Saturday, July 22, 2006

Montreal bike path - North

Montreal's main (only) north-south axis bike path easily crosses Montreal Island, and is an easy ride with some good destinations . It's ideal for the no-big-rides type rider.

Disclaimer: riding a bicycle in the city is dangerous, Keep your head up, your ipod turned OFF, and always yield to cars. Every intersection id dangerous, cars don't see you, and it they do, they wil try to run you over. Be careful out there. And be nice to other people.

The Bike path north starts right in Old Montreal, at the corner of Berri and de la commune where the old port bike path enters the city and heads north.

You pass under the old railway bridge's stone arch and cross Viger Square, the art and fountain-filled three-block park. It's an island over the ville marie expressway. When this land was deeded to the city a long time ago, the land was specified to remain as an open space/park. Some of these were more successful than others. Each block is worth a quick ride around, they are quite different, from each other, and in general! Also worth a look is the Archives National at the corner of Saint Hubert and Viger. rom there look out over the park(s) and look at the old ex-railway hotel building (in the Canadian "Chateau" style) on the south side of the square.

Heading north you arrive in a few minutes at the "Latin Quarter, the highlight being the new Bibliotheque National super library. It is the best new thing to happen to Montreal in quite a while. Just past this is the hill to get to the Plateau Mentreal (which we just call the Plateau). It's a little climb, but worth it. THe path now turns right and goes to Park Lafontaine. You can also take a ride up (north) Saint Hubert street. It is Montreal's most beautiful street.

Arriving at Parc Lafontaine you ride off the road on a bike path at the edge of the park. Take a turn and enter the park and ride around the two lakes. It is so worth it!

Exit on the north side of the Park Lafontaine where you will cross the east-west Rachel Street bike path, where you can ride right up to (and then up to the top of) Mount Royal. (This is another blog item to come later). On the corner of this intersection is the headquartes of Velo Quebec and it's Maison de Velo. This is the main bicycle advocacy organization in Montreal and Quebec. They don't do everything that I think they should (where are the on-island mountain bike trails, where are educational campaigns, etc), but they do a lot!

The path continues north through incredibly pretty plateau. Stop and shop on Mont Royal avenue less than 50 feet to pick up picnic food at la Diabilissimo), and for Montreal
s best bread go east on Laurier to La Fromentier, which also has a cheeserie and an charcuterie on premises. It's next door to the Jean Coutu. This area is Laurier Village and is an underlooked gem of the plateau.

Continuing north we cross Laurier Park. Then it's under the railroad tracks and onth the next section of town. The bike path takes a left through a little (newly updated as a kids) park, before turning north and taking Boyer? street north a long way. Note: at this point you can turn left and take a bike path ("reseau vert") along the train tracks. They connect (west or uphill side) to the Mile-end part of the Plateau's Clark Street bike path via Saint Urban street which has a big bike path under the train tracks. It is hards to locate as it is totally unmarked. Better signage is needed and this is one of my complaints with the bike path network.

To be continued...


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