Onwards and outwards, the route verte odyssey continues.
Leaving from Montreal, these are all around an hour (+/-15 minutes) from downtown. Most are in the eastern Townships, one is up North on Laurentians, one is west towards Ontario.
Today my travels take me to the southern half of the Compagnarde -Acton Vale to Waterloo, a north/south path in the Eastern Townships between Drummondville and Waterloo (down along the Eastern Townships autoroute. It's 50 km one way, so I don't know how far I'll go, my biggest ride so far has been 80k. That was a running out of daylight ride, but todays is earlier, so I look forward to a new big distance day. (Did a-ok!) It is very pastoral, until the village of Waterloo it is really out in the country and not roadside at all). a really nice trail imho. Acton Vale to Waterloo, a north to south and back route 50 km each way, not too hot outside either. Also: my bike rocks! Avoid Foster, make your southern Terminus the beach at Waterloo. Check out Roxton Falls on foot. There were lots of rest stops in the countryside. Connects to Yamaska provincial park.
Starting in the same place (Acton Vale, just off the 20) the other half of this path goes north from Acton Vale to St Francois sur le Lac (Near St Laurence river). It is a 140 km loop (70 km out and 70 km back) (Start in Wickham to make it 120km) and is on my list for next ride to do! It will travel 1/2 on a quiet river side road, 1/2 on dedicated bike trail.
Route des Champs
Last Tuesday I rode the Eastern Township's Route des Champs, aka route of the fields, between Marieville and St Paul d'abbottsford, 4 hours to ride 60K, a little boring when it runs along side (but separate from) the busy route 112. Ends abruptly at east end, peters out at west end. The towns generally had basic services (portajohns, 2 water stations).
Monteregienne I & II
Sunday I did the the Eastern Townships Monteregienne I & most of II. I also ran out of light on this one to complete the entire section II. There is a big train engine and caboose in a park in Farnham, real ones! I rode the "I" west from Farnham to St Jean sur Richelieu and back again, Then I rode on the two eastwards to the Autoroute and back (I had wanted to get enough distance for an 80 km ride) This trail cuts through country side and is away from roads. There is also two old airplanes to examine at a parachute place along the "I"
le P'tit Train du Nord
Saturday was Up north on le Petit Train du Nord. This trail we did only the first 30K from St Jerome to St Adele (Mont Rolland) and then returned. To keep down to the speed of my riding partner, I had to coast 3/4 of the time on the return. Very nice restored stations with services, the path is good condition, plenty of villages, (I will go back here next week -- this path goes from St Jerome to to Mont tremblant (and beyond 200Km distance) This is through a beautiful part of Quebec.
Canal de Soulanges
Earlier I did Canal de Soulanges, which is paved!!! It is supremely good. It is west of Montreal and sort of is in the middle of the "connects Ontario with Montreal" concept. Excellent abandoned lock system. Interesting locks in middle, a power station too. The path, in a non canal form, continues west beyond Coteau Landing and travels at first in forest and trees and then road side. If you want to end at west end of canal take the street for a Km or two and you will reach a little park and a hundred feet further a federal pier. Both of these make good rest stops before returning. Start at Point aux Cascades west of Vaudreuil (There are a dozen other parking areas along the canal), while at Point aux Cascades check out the Anchor museum beside the locks, which are also worth your time to explore. At this end they are big, er high.
This popular paved path connects Granby and Waterloo. It is a fairly busy path, but the quality is high and distance farily low so lots of family usage. It connects the different paths also detailed here (monteregienne, campagnarde, Route Vert eastwards.) Start in Granby if coming form Montreal, lotsa services. It also connects to Yamaska provincial park through Granby, makes an nice addition - do it!
Connecting Chambly with St Jean sur Richelieu this path follows the path of the Chambly canal alongside the Richelieu river (connects St Laurence with Lake Champlain). Not too far or hard, it places you in the middle of the country, ocassional paved road section), hard to get lost! Good services at either end. Southward connects to path going to US border and cycling in USA (new york or Vermont states). At Chambly End connects to Route Verte path
Sorry, this got accidently deleted.
Eastman to Mount Orford Provincial Park
Located further east along the Eastern Townships autoroute, take Eastman exit and then park in the town or pass under the big high train viaduc and park along the path just out of town (north). The path starts tight at the main intersection in town and goes north then east into Orford Park. There is a self-pay box there (3.50 day pass). You are immediately in deep forest (wow!) and there is also immediately a steep downhill, go slow it's the only one. Follow this path until pavement is reached, then turn left and go swimming at thebeach at lake (forgot name). Go to the back of the campground to the Recreation centre and right there the path connects right near the park entrance you entered. (basically at the bottom of the big downhill) Very beautiful forest. Great cross country skiing in winter. Downhill back to Eastman.
aka Crossing Laval
I crossed 1/2 of Laval tonight on the newest urban path I've been on, stil not marked but takes Ampere from south side just east of train bridge from Gouin path on Montreal island.
This path, which always followed the historic and closed Lachine
Canal, is now the NEWLY REOPENED Lachine Canal. There are many
improvements including under-bridge paths replacing numerous street
crossings. Gets my vote for one of the premier urban bike paths in the
To get into Montreal from the South Shore you can use the Jacques Cartier bridge (under reconstruction with vastly widened bike path 8 feet wide!), this path goes south and will connect to the Chambly canal following the route verte trail. There is an awesome spiral ramp crossing huge set of train tracks. it made TV news when it opened. (eventually this connects to Chambly though still in devlopment after you reach a really nice St Hubert park around a beautiful man made lake.)
Other bridges are the Ice Bridge (st Catherine to Nuns Island) the Mercier (scariest!) and the Old Port/Circuit Gilles Villeneuve/Victoria Bridge linkup. There are some ferries operating from the east end to the Boucherville Islands provincial parc and the south shore.
It's pretty hard to get lost on these bike paths, also since these are all out-and-back rides not easier-to-screw-up country road loops. These rides all follow ancient railway right of ways, some going back a long long time! Thre is ocassional industrial heritage lying around, old train stations restored, a train engine (a big one!) and caboose, impressive bridges, unrestored locks, etc.
There is very little sharing the roads with cars on these paths. They are all off-road trails only for biking and hiking.
They are also rock dust trails. ocassionally loose rock dust-aieee!
These trials, mostly separate named and managed paths, are all part of the intermunicipal bike path network called the Route Verte. By All are part of the very excellent Route Verte intermunicipal bike network. There are now 3000 of a planned 4300km network by 2005. Montreal is becoming bike path connected with all axis - south north east and west.
And dats all folks