Friday, February 29, 2008

Véloroutes, voies vertes et tourisme à vélo

Velo Quebec's big discussion paper on using the route Verte as a tourism attraction is now online. (I've been waiting for it to arrive online, thanks La Press and Velo Nouvelles)

Here is what La Presse said:

La Route verte a le potentiel d'attirer des cyclotouristes internationaux. C'est l'un des éléments qui ressort d'un document dévoilé le week-end dernier par Vélo Québec Association, lors du Salon du vélo Expodium.

Martine Bouliane

Véloroutes, voies vertes et tourisme à vélo est la synthèse d'une semaine à bicyclette, passée sur différents tronçons de la Route verte, l'été dernier. Le groupe comprenait des invités de sept pays, dont l'Espagne, la Norvège et la Suisse. « C'était en quelque sorte un colloque ambulant. Nous voulions faire découvrir la Route verte à des leaders d'opinion du monde du vélo », dit Jean-François Pronovost, directeur général de Vélo Québec Association.

L'exercice a permis de comparer ce qui se fait ici et ailleurs. Il a aussi donné l'occasion de tirer de grandes lignes sur les défis, les atouts et les éléments à améliorer de ce circuit. « Ces invités considèrent que la Route verte est très intéressante et qu'elle deviendra un circuit de calibre international », dit M. Pronovost.

Parmi ses atouts, on compte les paysages où le fleuve et les grands espaces se côtoient. Les cyclistes invités ont d'ailleurs été impressionnés par le chemin du Roy, entre Trois-Rivières et Québec.

Un autre élément positif est le fait d'avoir une route signalisée continue à travers la province. Tout le long du parcours, des services sont offerts aux cyclistes. « Ça compose une offre complète. Ce qui nous manque est une organisation pour la location de vélo et l'amélioration du transport des bagages », dit M. Pronovost.

L'un des défis concerne aussi l'entretien du circuit existant et son amélioration. Ça peut signifier, par exemple, certains changements quant aux routes empruntées qui s'avéreraient trop fréquentées. « Au chapitre de la signalisation, il y a aussi beaucoup à faire », note M. Pronovost.

Le cyclotourisme existait déjà au Québec. Avec une telle infrastructure, il est en mesure de prendre davantage d'importance. Il faut maintenant faire connaître la Route verte au-delà de nos frontières. « Le cyclotourisme est un marché spécialisé et le Québec n'est pas encore très connu en tant que destination vélo », souligne M. Pronovost.

Le document Véloroutes, voies vertes et tourisme à vélo peut être consulté en ligne au

Letter to a friend

I've been snowshoeing, I took my coworkers out for a snowshoe walk on mt royal, at night, last friday after work.

Most of them think snowshoes is an activity for grandfathers, a slow, easy affair.

They don't think that now.

And they are a bit more aware that I set out to find victims, not sports partners!


but let me say in my defence that it was a spectacular little hike, with a solid uphill section (this killed the first half of 'em, then a great walk along the edge of the escarpment (the fear of being cliffside scared the next 25%), and then we came over the summit and down through the cemetery, which scared the bejezus out of the last 25%...

I organized the snowshoe rental and all the details and all they had to do was show up, which they did and the fun began.

Many had never been 1) snowshoeing, 2) on mont royal, 3) on mont royal the hard way, 4) winter hiking, 5) night hiking, 6) out for an adventure with the moi.

in other news my camera died, after being ran over by my bike on one of the worst bike rides of last summer (1000 islands parkway, which had a terrible, and puddly, sidewalk-type bike path that was crappy in every category. Anyway, it lived a few more months geting more intermittent, and then died. I wanted to wait a bit longer for the annual summer price drop, but g-f needed pictures taken at her book launch in 7 weeks (tick tick tick) and I wanted to take some winter pics before spring turned everything dogshit grey.

So celebrate I went out and did my first out-of-the-city adventure this year. I was aiming for lanaudiere, which is the eastern laurentians. I figured the place I was going, Foret Ouareau, was closer if I just went north and then east on some backroads.

I quickly learned that this was a shorter route.

But not... a better route.

In fact the road was covered in six inches of ice, and was full of steep climbs and descents and way too many curves. In other words, death city! I had ridden here last autumn and knew this, but thought they used road salt. My bad.

When I got to the park everything was good, and we had a great day in some very scenic landscape. We came home the easy way instead of the hard way.

Monday, February 25, 2008

New Camera

This is the missing bridge from my epic Prevost to Chertsey ride, the replacement is bridge is a lot better than arriving there last autumn to find no bridge!! Read about more epic rides from this post on our most EPIC-ADVENTURE rides of 2007.

I like to take photographs, the first thing I ever bought with money I earned myself was a camera.

For several months my digital camera was broken, likely as a result of it falling out of it's camera bag when road biking. It had been suggesting it had some problems for several months, and then died in December.

Don't be sad, this means I had to replace it. and just got a new one that is better in every way, including a wider angle lens to capture even more of the action on the fun bike rides I write about here in the Cycle Fun Montreal Blog.

I tested it out at the Foret Ouareau snowshoe trip and I can say with confidence that the blog is better because of the pictures!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Yeti year-end sale up to 70% off.

I wait for this day every year because of gloves. The disappear. They get thinner and colder. They get holes in them.

It is time to renew your gloves at the glove and tuque section of the Yeti store where all x-c gloves are 50% off. Half price. A truely excellent bargain and x-c gloves and mitts and tuques and headbands work perfectly well on the bike too.

I also recently rented 8 pairs of snowshoes from this store for a hike I guided for my coworkers - it was everyone's first ever cross-country night-time snowshoe winter hike up parc Mont Royal. Everyone but me, because I already knew the best secret in Montreal: snowshoeing up the mountain and along the escarpment trail at night. The snowshoes were MSR Denali, and these snowshoes work great. For around $13.50 you can go there tomorrow after work, rent the shoes, and go for an adventure hike of your own.

Explore your world. Explore your winter. And... big news last week: there is now daylight after 6pm... which means that summer has officially started! (editor's note: summer has NOT officially started.)

Take care and have some fun everybody!

Off season fun - snowshoeing at Foret Ouareau

A tiny part of the hills and valleys of Foret Ouareau

In the offseason we quebecois look to the snowy wilds for our fun.

Outside of the cities and town there are provincial parks, national parks, and regional parks. We visited Foret Ouareau today for a 12 km snowshoe adventure.

We pulled in the accueil (reception) on the rt 125 north of Chertsey (Notre-Dame-de-la-Merci entrance) and paid the $5 each and started to hike, uphill! This was my kind of park!

This trail followed the sentier-national which is Quebec's trans-quebec hiking trail. It went up to and along the tops of a series of mountainy hills. Lots of hills and mountains in the distance. Very scenic, and perfect late winter powder and packed powder conditions.

There are three main entrances to this park, and this one is the easiest to get to and probably the most popular. There were classic and nordic skiing also.

A fine day out in the fresh air and sun, trying to give my buddy a crise-cardiaque, except all he got was a blister from his boot heel. This meant I had to give him my good snowshoes (raquettes) and I had to use his crappy snowshoes! Well it was a sacrifice worth making, because he stopped complaining about blister and instead kept saying he wanted to build a fire.

I explained that we no longer build fires as we hike along the trail! Leave no trace!

Chickadee ponders my lunch, back off bird!

We descended after to refuge Prudhomme after getting as far as the lac Braque lookout on the Massif trail, we did a little backtrack after the lookout to take the descent trail for the route back home.

The under-one set at the refuge.

Cycle Fun Montreal officially declare's today to be the best day so far this year.

Evidence: for the first time this year when I sat outside at this refuge, the sun actually felt WARM on my face.

lac Mysterieux? Sounds.. interesting!

This can only mean one thing:.get outside and Have Fun everyone!

Some of the best scenery in Quebec... and no condos in sight!

Here is a link to an excellent brochure on the parc.

There are other parks in this eastern-laurentian area officially known as MRC Matawinie, and is contained in the larger "Region" of Lanaudiere. Happily, in the hilly northern Lanaudiere, where the terrain is not ever flat! I have been exploring here for the past three years, and like it's geography a lot!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Montreal bike parking - Downtown

A new company, Mavelocity, is offering indoor bike parking downtown with features like showers and lockers. Specifically:

Located downtown Montreal, mavélocity Bikestation offers 240 secure, indoor bicycle parking spaces.

"The advantages are numerous for the cyclist who will be able to find under the same roof a multitude of services. In addition, the supports for bicycles are secure. Lastly, since it is an indoor parking, the bicycles remain sheltered from bad weather."

Mavelocity also offers showers and lockers, bike mechanics, and even internet and coffee.

If you work downtown, this could be very useful for you. And, in a perfect world, your company pays for it!

I saw them at the bike show and couldn't figure out what they were doing by their name. When I asked them what they were doing, I was happy to learn all the above. Too bad I work in St-Laurent.

Stealing a bike... NOT!

We have had bikes stolen, fantastic expensive wonderful bikes that we still miss, decades later.

How to stop a bike thief? has an excellent article on preventing bike thieves from stealing your ride. This is a detailed article that will give you the knowledge to stop even very-determined thieves.

I learned about this from the also-excellent velopitimum's Velo Nouvelles website.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Winter cross-training

Plastic Fantastique: my excellent MSR snowshoes

I'm not one of those suicidal and slush-covered winter cyclists (I'd be a dry winter cyclist, but this year there's too much slush, every time the roads dry the forecast calls for more snow, which is rapidly transformed to slush, which is nasty stuff for the bicycle.

So to winter cross-train outdoors, I turn to snowshoeing and cross country skiing.

Both of these are uphill activities, and Montreal is blessed with that lovely little mountain in the middle of the city.

After-work cardio doesn't get better than going up to the top of the mountain!

My favorite snowshoe hike goes up the east side of the parc mont royal, under the escarpment, up the big couloir to the mini plateau below the escarpment trail, then to the summit (possibly also to the chalet mont royal), then descend via the Mont Royal cemetery (crosses the road above the canyon).

My favorite ski route is the complete bottom to top trail, with the two mini loops (1-below east side of hill, 2-little loop below chalet mont royal.

This ski trail is exceptionally great - a long steady uphill for 30-60 minutes, then a steady descent (lots of poling to work the cycling triceps!). The trail goes from the plateau at Rachel street, all the way west to the Montreal general hospital, then back east to the summit, then all the way back down. (Woohoo!)

The trail grooming / track set is a bit poor sometimes, but all in all this trail is a jewel, and uses the mountan topography to the fullest possible.

Both of these activities work out the important cycling muscles of the legs, and using the ski poles, it's a great upper body workout). best of all, both of these can be done day or night!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Some comments on the Bike show

Interesting things at Salon de Velo

Velo Quebec tried to get peopl eto leave their car behind, and use the bike
as transportation to work. They showed a bike like no body rides, with
full reflectors and lights, chain guards, etc. Surprisingly not too many
companies make the really practivcal form of bike, they tend to stay with
cheapies that only a motivated cyclist will fit out properly for urban
riding, and believe me, lights and reflectors are VERY important.

The Monteregis region

This region that wraps around Montreal from Sorel to the east to Rigaud to
the west, and all along the sough side of the st laurence and ottawa
rovers, had their nice series of cyling maps, one for bike paths, and one
for suggested road rides. I gave them feedback on these maps

1) Pont jacques Cartier, a major axis tro cross the st laurence from
Montreal to Longueuil, has very poor bike connections on the montreal side,
and completely nionexistent bike connections on the south side. I suggested
they improve this, because it is an excellent nk between the two regions.

Next I gave them some feedback on their road rides, the road just weast of
St-Bruno was what I guarantee was the worst road I have EVER riden, ful of
holes bigger than a pumpkin, christmas turkey, or a large dog. Other bad
roads include their chateauguay valley ride, along the Rt 201 betwen
Ste-antoine abbe and Ormstown, this road is narrow, no paved shoulder, busy
as all heck, has a big holiday campground, and is a death road fr bikes.
I've alreasy flaged this as a road to avoid, and there it is on the
Monteregie road-ride map. This is another good example of some map company
putting lines on a map to crate a bike ride, and NEVER testing it "on the
ground" for crucial parameters like SAFETY.

Otherwise, don't get me wrong, the Monteregie is A GREAT region to go for a
bike ride. Just a few minor improvements needed wither to the roads or the

The womans world cup race in Montreal, the on Mont Royal on May 31st (for
the UCI world cup race) and thee week after for the Tour de Grande
Montreal, is athe only chance we get to see olympians here in Montreal.
The Mont Royal circuit is a killer, with hill climb after hill climb, and
Camelien Houde is the road to watch the race on. One of the great events in
the Montreal cycling calendar.

Bas St-laurent

Past quebec city is the oen water of where the St-Laurence stops being a
river and is more an open sea. The south side of the river is more cyclist
friendly than the extreme hills of the noth side, and you can trave (often,
with the wind!) for many many hundred kilometers all around the Gaspe
peninsula. There is an interesting lineay path called le petit temis"
which goes from Riviere de Loup to Edmonston New Brunswick. It is 130 km
long, and rides from sea level to 1000 ft in the middle, always with grades
of under 4% so anyone can ride it. There are villages and camping along the
trail, and it in one of my dream destinations. For 45 km it goes beside
lac temiscouta, and this has got to be nice. There are road ride
opportunities nearby also. This area really attracts me, and I hope I make
the trip there this year, since it has been on my list a loong time.

Bikes and Bike stores

I didn't spend much time in the bikes section, just browsing, because my
philosophy is that once you have a bike, get out and ride it. There's no
need to droop over hot ne bikes, the one you have alreay is probably
perfectly good, and is wondering why you don't ride it more!

On the other hand, if you don't have a good bike (loose definition: a bit
that fits you and probably costs over $1000) then the new bikes are of more
interest,. I support thee manufactueres and bike dealers who show up at
this event (where were specialised, and OGC?) A good bike dealer will help
you find the best bike for you, since bikes are quite specialised in terms
of their function.

I noticed a lot more "fast city bike, which I like. You can make a fast
bike strong, but you can't make a heavy bike fast...

There was a good buzz around one dealer that sold folding bikes, which some
people find very useful.

To my suririse there were a number of financial institutions with bootsh,
here's my take on this: if you want to spend your retirement riding your
bike, make sure you start saving early in your career! . It is never too
soon to save, and although a wisse man once noted that there is a leisure
class at both ends of the income spectrum, it costs money to buy toys, and
you'll be glad you saved for it.

many regions were not only publicising their efforts to create bike paths,
road bike ride maps, and other bike services, bu also they all semed to
have their own group ride or cyclotorutique event, and a few even have
sanctioned races.

(Spelling mistakes will be fixed later, sorry!)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mountain biking in Gatineau Park

"What's that in the cut in my leg?" I asked.

"That's your bone." said the person being interviewed in italian in this very interesting link.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Revolution bike shop

Fixed gear bikes and lesbian haircuts.


Revolution bike shop (link) leads the pack in google when I searched for fixed gear montreal.

They sell fixed gear bikes. You can also get a haircut. A lesbian haircut.

Here's their myspace page (link).

Two of life's needs, one location.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Visited Yeti store

I visited the Yeti bike and outdoor store this week. It's one of the neighbourhood stores, and it's not bad. There's a lot of bike stores in the neighbourhood. But this one does the outdoor store thing too.
I had visited to get some replacement bindings for my MSR plastique snowshoes. After ten years of adventure, there were definite signs that it was time to change'em. (first the left one broke, then the right one!)

I left the store with a pair of last-year racing skis at a very good discount. End of season sales make the good stuff a lot more affordable. The store currently has gloves and winter stuff at 20%. It's a great time of the year to shop for specialized-function winter gloves like skiing.. on sale!

Oh, they had new bikes too!

Visitor number 3000

The blog has now passed the 3000 visitor mark.

Thanks everybody for reading my 336 bike-fun related writings.

Montreal is a great place to ride, and as a base to do rides in the country. There is an unbelievable amount of great road cycling in Montreal, the province of quebec, and across the border in Vermont, New York, Ontario, and New Hampshire. That's all within a couple of hours away.

The philosophy of my blog is that life is all about getting outside and having fun and getting exercise and having fun, and eating, and then having some more fun!

So get outside and have some fun. It'll do you good.

Thanks for stopping by. Now... does anybody have an extra plane ticket to some sunny and warm?

Orange bikes invade New York

This is too good not to report: Mysterious orange bikes have appeared in New York (link).

A publicity stunt?

An invasion from another planet?


You decide. (link)

New Velo Mag

The Velo Mag winter 2007 is on the stands.

It has the results and picture from the Defi Shawinigan from last September.

The Defi Shawinigan is a one-of-a-kind close-the-road-to-cars in the Parc de la Mauricie national park.

Cyclists ride a 105 km out and back on a road that is described officially as as smooth as a baby's skin.

I rode this circuit in June and I can confirm that this is one sweet piece of road, with not a even a crack in it.

The article noted that 80% of the participants were from outside the Mauricie region, and that 200 were turned away when the registration was full.

Reading some blogs and discussion boards it seemed that everyone had a good time.
It is good to see some autumn rides on the calendar, it's a great season for riding.

The photos showed lots of colorful maple trees. it looked like the best day for cycling.... ever!


Thursday, February 07, 2008

Montreal's winter bike path network - le Reseau Blanc

Montreal's Reseau Blanc

I found a map at Yeti of Montreal's new winter bike path network, the Reseau Blanc.

There is some useful information for winter cycling on the back of the map:

Useful winter cycling info, please click and read!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

La coupe des Glaces 2008

I watched some of La Coupe des Glaces 2008 bike race on my way back from the Grande Bibliotheque on Saturday.

The race was on a course inside and out of the skating rink in Jeanne Mance park.

I watched the final for the rubber tire class.

The winner was smooth and cool, the second kept running into the first place racer, then wiping.
There was a mix of geared and ungeared bikes and a fixie won.

I'm more of a hill climber, but I did used to ride fixed gear bikes at the Olympic Velodrome, way back in the pre-Biodome days (curse you Pierre Bourque, you destroyer of the Olympic Velodrome!).

Anyway I didn't see any broken bones, but I did miss the qualifying races. I hope everyone was ok and no spectators froze any body parts.

Here's a video link for a Coupe des Glaces race last year held at the Bassin Bonsecours (Basin) in the Vieux Port, CFCF was there!

The race I'd like to see organized is a hill climb some summer day on Camelien Houde up Mont Royal.

Ride safe you winter bike fanatics!