Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Looking for some great rides?

We did over 3000 km of open-road riding (and another 3000 km in the city) in 2007. It was a very good year to be a cyclist in Montreal.

I mapped many of them on Bikely, a wonderful map service for cyclists: it tells you how much climbing there is in the route! Click here to see the Bikely maps that we have created for many of the rides in this list. You'll be glad you did...

Last year the Cycle Fun Montreal gang visited many new ride destinations, and of course rode many of our old favorites (can you say Jay Peak loop?) back in the warm weather season of 2007.

Looking at the list below we can only reach one conclusion: we really rode a lot of exceptionally good bike rides in 2007! There is one person in our group who figures out our ride itineraries and we all owe him a big beer on a hot day.

(drum roll...)

Cycle Fun Montreal presents:

Our best rides of 2007 - now with links to the original post and route maps!

Ormstown- St-Chrysostome - Covey hill - Powerscourt - Trout river - Ridge road - Dewittville 130km - The complete chateauguay valley ride. A beauty. Good views of all sorts of things. Good roads. Many different eco systems. Usually a tailwind for the last 30 kms.(link)

Ormstown - Lyon Mountain USA century ride (160 km/100 miles). Ormstown-franklin-usa border-Lyon mtn village - Lyon Mtn loop-lyon Mtn village-Canadian border-Franklin - Ormstown. Lyon mountain is visible from Mt royal, it's the closest adirondack mountain to the southwest. Excellent climb on second half of riding around lyon mountain. gentle downhills home (mostly!).(link)

Frelighsburg-Joy Hill - Richford/ VT - Montgomery (bot the easy way)-Phillipsburg. Two words: Joy Hill! Climb on backroad between Richford and Montgomery is exceptional. Great view of Pinacle. Veromont guide book included this cross border ride, and said it was best in book, it sure was. Thanks sid! Frelighsburg was cyclist central!(link)

Jay Peak loop from Sutton (chemin scenic both directions). The Famous five-hill Jay ride, one of the great rides of the east. Back side of jay is big climb! Front side is steep hill, descent to Mongomery is wow (with dogs!), all hills are fun and hard. Crossing border at East Richford always special. Food stop before front-side jay climb a long-standing tradition. Winter training pays off here!(link and link and link)

Phillipsburg - Lake Champlain islands – St-Albans bay - Phillipsburg. Park lakeside at Philipsburg, take highway to US border - now you’re on Interstate! Go west, to Islands, and turn south. Follow islands until back on solid land (diversions possible on some islands), on mainland, turn left and head north, passing St-Albans bay. Relax on Philipsburg dock in late day sun with beer. Happiness.(link)

St-Hermenegilde – St-Malo - East Hereford ride. A wild ride, because of some colorful routefinding, heavy rain and massive lightning, awesome scenery, great 10 metre tall lookout tower at St-malo (already at 600 metres elevation!), tres vrai rustique back road, the great Hall river valley, a good ride with interesting route, exciting conditions and bad rear wheel. I Plan to try again in good weather!(link and link)

Northern Lanaudiere final version - quiet roads, good pavement, a dozen hills, 16% climbs, long descents, great scenery, fresh raspberries, villages, a stunning ride and my favorite ride in Quebec. Many repeat visits worked out this final, exceptionally cruel, I mean hilly, version. This version mainly avoids busy roads. St-Jean de Matha, Ste-Emilie de l'Energie and Ste-Beatrix. First visit here was because of Petits Escapades guidebook. Because it looked hilly! Arrive late and enjoy late day sun and sunset lighting, amazing. Don't forget Chemin Ste-Guillaume at end.(link and link and link and link)

Tremblant-Riviere Rouge. Leaving the village of Tremblant is always a good idea, head from tourist office west and turn near Riviere rouge and ride north to village with strange bridge, with dock in middle and great wood sculpture. Cross here and ride south along rouge river, and country side, ride back north along river. Great hills, scenery, and covered bridge and with optional crazy hill at end. This is touches the Pays en Haut area. Optional extension to make Arundel southern turning point. Check the strange train at Arundel post office.(link and link)

Chemin Cyclist St-Donat. Officially named chemin Nordet, this recently all-new highway opened up a road for the first time between St-Donat and Lac Superieur (near Tremblant northside. It is starting to age, but still an amazing (Vermont-like) ride, with two major climbs with sort of a plateau in between. It is just starting to be developed, but for years was empty of icky real estate exploitation. Great wide paved shoulders. Big descents. Extremely popular with cycling clubs and groups of cyclists of all types. Ride from St-Donat to Lac Superieur, lap the lake, have a snack, and ride back.(link)

St-Donat to Chertsey and back. The Rt 125 is the autoroute that wasn't. Double-lane divided highway through very scenic hills. Very good autumn colors ride. A bit busy sometimes. For added flavour, ride the 347 Notre-Dame-de-Merci to St-Come for a trip on the "sineuse 347!"(link)

Ottawa river ride. Hudson-Hawksbury, cross river, east to Oka- a ride on the Oka-Hudson Ferry- and a few km back to Hudson. A good ride, with some great parts. That headwind is a good tailwind when returning east. First part after crossing river follows dirt road which is Route Verte. This avoids busy crappy highway (sorry roadies!). Hudson-oak ferry is amazing. Especially at sunset .(link)

West Quebec flats - Pointe aux cascades-Les Cedres ferry (bike ferry!) st-Timothé - Grande Ile – Hydro Quebec dams - Rigaud (almost) and back. A real scenic tour through west quebec, farm land, little and big rivers. Interesting to cross the St-Laurence at Valleyfield across hydro dams (excellent!). Unusual for me to do a flats ride, and I felt it, normally with hill rides the descents are the recuperation mode, but flats are pedaling all the time - ooooh!(link)

Charlevoix – the circuit of the Grand Prix de Charlevoix road race. I was dreaming for two years to do this ride. This summer I got my chance. From Baie St-Paul, follow the circuit of the grand prix de charlevoix, past st-Hilaron, to Les Eboulements, big descent to Ste-Irenee (18% hill back up), back via st-Hilaron again, and to petit (invisible) village of St-Ours, where the race finishes (and paved roads!), continue with left turn on chemin ste-Catherine to reach the Rt 362 and descend to St-Joseph de la Rive (our motel/auberge)on one of the biggest hills of quebec. Hit over 80 km'h twice on this ride, and didn't speed on last hill. This is number one return ride for next summer. Highlight was lunch rock that held plaque for discovery of crater de charevoix, 165 million years ago a 2 km asteroid hit earth planet, ici! Descents are good, better then good. Bette than great, out of this world!(link)

Sutton-Owls Head-Missisquoi valley ride A bad weather start, the day got better and better. started with big headwinf heading east hrough bolton pass, through knowlton on echo road, up and down, sutton things got better, a million cyclists there, chemin scenic and along mississiquio river valley to mansonville is amazing, short side trip to Mansonville covered bridge brought world class view of Sutton jay range, best view in southern quebec? Then over past owls head, down to the water for a dip of the toe on lac memphremagog, then north and back to east bolton and car. This was a repeat attempt, a week befoe I had forgotten bike lock key (yes I lock my bike inside the car) and had to return home without riding! This madeup for it. An amazing ride.(link)

Ormstown-Powerscourt - the short chateauguay valley ride. The chateauguay river can be rideen in distances as short at 10-20 km and up to 100+ km rides, depending on where you start and where you cross the river and head back. A good reference ride is Ormstown-Huntingdon-Athelstan-Powerscourt (covered bridge). This takes you right to the US border, but avoids big roads (avoid the Rt 138!!! Quet roads, twisty along river, straignt if you come back voam, say tullochgorum rod. An excellent area for road cycling. Maybe they will one day buuold a bike path along the old train tracks>??? It's starte din Ste-martine, now finish it!!!(link)

Prevost (shawbridge-Rawdon-Chertsey-Ste-margeritte An epic ride, with a mising bridge at Chertsey (backtrack city!) Finished after dark (only once this year!). Back roads, steep hills, epic for al lthe wrong reasons, this was a central laurentians ride, and wasn't my favorite for it's quality, but for the adversity I overcame! Much bad asphalt. many steep hills. Everything but bears and wolves. (link and link)

Parc de la mauricie. - Another race ride circuit that I did on a quiet day. After the Defi Velo Mag announced this ride, I went the next week to ride it (I missed the popular ride). 120 km round trip "park entrance to other park entrance and back again." Unbelievable number of hills. It was a late June hot day, with some butt-biting flys! This would be a ride to do in autumn colors season. Very quiet roads (I was there week day) and I have to say 120 km of perfect asphalt. Perfect asphalt. perfect asphalt. My riding time would put me right in the middle of the pack for the defi velo mag ride, which ain't too bad for a 47 year old on a 20 year old racing bike. Excellent post-ride deck behind visitor centre on the mauricie river.(link)

Isle aux Coudres from St-Joseph-de-la-Rive. A quiet family ride, much better than anticipated. Free ferry ride always a bonus, big hill leaving ferry, windy beach lunch at western tip of island, lookout tower worth the $1.00 admission price (totally!) and views of Ste-Joseph de la Rive/Les Eboulements hill is awesome (18% hill) Largely a flat ride, with minor hills on north side of island. Free ferry ride back again for supper. A excellent day for a slower ride (after the grand prix de charlevoix ride I needed a break!).(link)

Ste-Emilie de L'Energie to St-Michel des Saints. One of my final explorations in northern lanaudiere. Ride north from Ste-Emilie, past St-Zenon and to St-Michel des Saints. Middle part around st-Zenon very nice and hilly: paved shoulder, road follows river. Great return ride with descents. Tried to head west to Tremblant park entrance, but flatted. (new tire!) A worthwhile ride. St-Zenon area is good hiking too.(link)

Riding Partners. I’d like to take a moment and thank a few of my riding partners (victims!) particularly Pierre, who has introduced me to so manuy greatrides in Vermont, Mike, Jim, Shelley, maxi, Don, I'd like to also thank anyone who read any of these rides and tried them on their own, I know that there are plenty of people reading the blog, and I get feedbackl sometimes about how great the rides are, so I know it isn't just me who things they are great.

Ste-Anicet - Dundee This ride, in the extreme southwest corner of quebec, is a thin wedge shape bordered by the USA border and the st-Laurence river. The terrain is left over from the last glacier, so there are up and downs, not too long or frequent, but don't be surprised by the fact it's not a flats ride. Starting at riverside st-Anicet, it rides south and west to the US border, then zigs and zags east past some history and even an iroquois settlement, Les Droliers, which isn't a multimedia disneyfied experience in any way. Peaceful roads, farms and forests, and a beach and dock for after-ride relaxation (stretching surely?), this ride exceeded my expectations in every way.(link)

Verchere to St something de Richielieu. Initially a crappy ride, this ride got hugely better when I left the Rt 132 and went cross country to the villaghe of St Roch de richieleu. This village had lots of old, really old, homes, a cable-ferry across the river, a little dock for a riverside lunch. The ride back to verchere was exceptional (ok, for flats...) because it passed many ancient houses, from the pre-conquest era. The town of Vecherres is named aftet the quebec heroine Madeliene de Vercheres, a teenage woman who closed the fort gates and fooled the marauding indians that the fort was full of soldiers and they'd better not attack. It also had a nice riverside park. on the st-laurence. The only downside was that my usual road bike was out of action and I had to ride my urbanified original mtn bike. Oh, and the fact it was a flats ride. I prefer hills!(link)

Beauharnois Canal - South of Valleyfield is the huge Beauharnois canal, where electricity for montreal comes from. Along the sides of the canal on both sides is a bike pah,, The only downside, the only safe river crossing is at beauharnois, not the two valleyfield briges. Aside from that, it's a big riverside bike path, and is away from cars. The valleyfield area is quite rich in bike paths, with rides along the canal, the old abandoned canal soulanges has a bike path, and there are some options on valleyfield island too. It is a good family ride here, bring picnic supplies because there are no deps on the south side, the north side has services, if you enter the town of Valleyfield. Did you know that more material was removed to build this canal than the panama canal? That's what they say.(link)

Well, that's it, many memorable rides, most of them top quality, all of them a great way to spend a sunday afternoon. Note that my usual "crack of noon" departure time isn't recommended!

See you in the spring!

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At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like some great rides. Why don't we fix up a meeting point and time a all get together for a ride?


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