Sunday, November 30, 2008

a goose-filled ride

We took advantage of the dry, non-freezing temperatures today for a restrained ride along the Chateauguay river (bonus: planned traffic chaos on Pont Mercier was finished by saturday night).

We leisurely meandered along the river, and the highlight was surely the 30,000 geese we say landing, taking off, and flying around.

In a future life we would like to return as a goose. their life doesn't seem too bad at all. Until, we are living as cyclists, and lovin' it!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Winter "active transport" = BMW

Bus, Metro Walk is active transport in the winter slush'n'snow season, with biking on dry-road days--they do happen, just not last winter.

There's no reason to drive a car around if you have the BMW options available to you. And do you really want to give your money to the vultures at Parking Montreal? We didn't think so.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Montreal's crappy bike weather season arrives


We will ride in cold, we will ride in wet, but we really try to avoid slush or icy, which is what we now have.

When the roads dry in between sessions of crap-falling-from-the-skies, we use our bike, but we just avoid icy and slushy. Which in bike speak, means narrower streets and less safe conditions. (It's not about comfort, we like misery, we just hate near-death experiences.)

One day a true winter bike will be designed. Here's a link to an article on a what a winter-bike might be like. Very interesting.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Does your bike fit? Does your bike hurt you? Bad bike!

Riding a bike should not hurt or cause pain. Your bike should be your best friend and you and it should be having a good time together.

Unfortunately this is not always the case. The biodynamics of cycling can cause pains in quite a wide assortment of body parts.

Just as your bike needs all the parts correctly installed to function properly, so does your bike "fit."

For a couple of decades the science (technology? mystique?) of bike fit has been developing. Many of the top end bike shops have trained technicians who can assess and improve your position on the bike.

The New York Times newspaper took up this subject this week. Read the article here.

Locally, we know that the Cycles Gervais Rioux shop does bike fit, and we are sure that other shops do also, especially if they sell high end bikes. No matter what shop, when you buy a bike there should be a step in the purchasing/delivery process that includes bike fitting adjustments for your unique shape and size.

You might want to ask them what "system" they use, it should not be guess work!

Read more on this subject here, with the google.

If you want to experiment on your own, you should start by writing down the details of the present setup, so you can make adjustments, and keep track of the changes. Park Tools has a bike fit checklist here. Thanks Park Tools!

Good luck, have fun, and if nothing else works, there's always recumbent bikes.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Mountain bike trails for Montreal?

Espace magazine takes up this contentious question.

Click here to read what the Espace editors think, and how other cities have provided facilities for people who want to enjoy off-road cycling.

As always, let us state that off-road cycling/mountain biking is completely illegal on Mont Royal. Not permitted, not at all, anywhere on the mountain.

Urban ride destination - Jean Talon Market

Jean Talon Market is always a great destination.

Even in cool autumn weather it is worth riding to there. Remember to bring an EMPTY backpack, because it is easy to fill it up with all kinds of goodies.

There are bike stands at the east side of the main building, and at the northwest corner of the outdoor area.

Some of our favorite stops are the interior/exterior central market area, Hamel cheese for a big chunk of parmesan, and Saveurs de quebec for all kinds of great quebec terroir foodstuffs. We would even say that almost every store is very interesting, and tasty!

Downtown grey-cup gridlock and cyclist safety

Ontario drivers are in town and OMG cyclists, be careful.

One tried to take me out by passing me with a right turn in front of me, right off a red light when the green changed to the straight-only arrow, and he did this right in front of a cop. This dim bulb of a driver then did a lot of rude shouting at me when I (respectfully, as in please sir...) protested his attempt to kill me. Anyway, we'd like to say that we are immensely proud of our magnificent cyclist butt, and thank you for bringing it to our, and the worlds, attention.

We don't want to say that all Ontario drivers are bad, we saw many driving courteous and safely, but there are some grey-cup booze-fueled and downtown-gridlock frustrated drivers who think that cyclists are better off as road kill. This man clearly believed that the only good cyclist was a dead cyclist.

So please everybody ride safely and respectfully. You never know when the car driver is looking to take out his aggression and frustrations on an innocent victim.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Our Bixi question

The bixi public bicycle rental thing is set to go in the spring and we have a question.

Suppose everyone who lives in the residential areas all take bixi down to a festival, overwhelming the Bixi bike station parking at the festival sites. Where do you park your Bixi if all the spots are full? You must lock it to a Bixi station to end your rental period.

If you can't lock it in a Bixi station, you definitely don't eant to just keep renting it! Letting the clock tick on a bixi rental gets expensive fast. Very espensive, very fast. The pricing structure is based around short rental periods.

So we wonder how the system plans to deal with destination-parking surges/overflow at major events?

And that's our Bixi question.

Actually, we also wonder when electic Bixis will appear? We just don't worry too much about this question.

warehouse sale

we scored big at sport dinaco warehouse sale, replacing our ancient shell, shoes, and several gloves and head neck things. And yes we biked there and back. Back, with the wind, was better.

There was not much specific for cycling but a there was a good assortment of outdoor footwear, packs, and assorted soft goods. It seemed especially good if your feet were in the medium sizes!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Reseau Blanc winter bike path network

Yes, the 500 km of bike paths in Montreal are closed for the season, but the 30 km year-round mini network "names the Reseau Blanc is open for business.

Read more at this La Presse article. There's some Bixi news there too. One card for bus/metro, parking, and Bixi?

Montreal bike paths closed for the winter

Yes, November 15th has come and gone and the official Montreal bike path season has ended.

Signs and poles are coming down for the winter.

April 15th they'll be back, until then, ride safe.

Mountain Equipment Co-op to sell bikes

We have heard the the Co-op (aka MEC) is going to sell bicycles next year.

Great, how many more local bike shops will they kill?

Shop local folks, and avoid the big-box stores. Yes, even the "ethical" ones like MEC.

Now, if we could actually live up to our own high standards!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wind chill

Most interior-dwelling lifeforms speak of wind chill as if it is the actual temperature. It's not. It's the rate of cooling on exposed skin. But galumps galore will regale you with tales of Montreal's -40 winter temperatures.

Yeah, right.

For real wind chill you have to be outside, exposed to the wind. For a period of time. And after a certain number of time, your flesh will freeze. This isn't good!

Like when you are riding a bike to work. Against the wind. Predawn.

Then you gain an awareness for what is genuine wind chill exposure. (cold+ wind + time + exposed flesh)

And you certainly gain an appreciation of the the value of covering your extremities.

Today was the first day that real wind chill took effect for us. We headed north west, into the north wind. The wind chill was around -15C.

Not TOO cold, but certainly getting a lot closer than any time since last winter.

So, cover your exterior well, but don't over dress the core area. Leave the big protection for hands, head, neck and feet.

Cold weather cycling isn't for everyone, but anyone can do it if you dress properly.

Here's some links for winter cycling.

Here's a link on wind chill.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Mont Royal Parc "ring road"

The proposed Mont Royal Park's (unknown north side) ring road is soon to be built.

This is great news.

This part of the park (and the montreal residents living on the north and west sides of the park) have been short-changed in the park-access department for a long time, i.e. forever!

Here are some articles on this great development: French / English

Enjoying sunsets on Mt Royal just became much easier.

The downside is that the completion daye is 2010. Aieee!

Civisme, manners, shouting at car drivers

We do you it. You do it. We should stop doing it.

The New York Times has an excellent article on runner rage, that applies very well to cyclists.

Let's all be nicer, try to get along, and make the world a better place. We all need to do our part.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Night + bikes = Invisibility

We once had a bad bike accident.

At night.

We were invisible.

We destroyed our new bike.

We almost got destroyed ourselves.

Flying through the air we had time to think "So this is how we die."

Please go and buy a bike light if you don't have one (be smart and get a front and a rear light.)

It might be the only 20-30 dollars you have, and it might seem like a lot of money.

Your life is worth it.

Or... your loved one's life is worth it, so buy one for them right away. Don't wait for Giftmas!

Electric bikes? We don't think so.

Bikes are great for their simplicity and low cost and maintenance-free nature.

Electric bikes have none of these benefits, and they require large amounts of lead in their batteries. Lead, the metal, is bad shit. Since these bikes are pretty much certain to come from china, the safety of the lead processing production process is probably nonexistent. So, buy an electric bike, kill a chinese worker. We do not think we are exaggerating.

Also, since people mostly shop on price, you are probably getting a shit bike too. And, we point out, that would be a pain in the ass to pedal, since it weighs so much with the added batteries and motor, and would have such cheap and poor quality mechanicals.

Many electric bikes are sccoter-styled and are in reality low-speed motorcycles. Many bike paths prohibit their use on bike paths because they travel too fast and add danger to the bike path used by bikes and other foot-powered transportation modes.

Our advice: go buy a decent human-powered bike at a decent bike shop, and happiness will occur. We live by those words.

Anyone who says that buying an electric bike is environmentally friendly is doing what is called greenwashing. This is not a complement.

When we see someone riding an electric bicycle, we know these are good intentioned people, and the road to hell is paved with good intentions, as they say.

We are not unkind, so we do offer a special exemption for very old people, who can't pedal uphill any more, and who choose not to drive a car.

gas prices down? Not for long!

With the recent sharp drop in gas prices, you might be tempted to think it's the 1990s again.

We are here to yell you that gas demand globally is only ever going to go up, and supply is pretty much the most it's ever going to be, meaning (a touch of classical economics here) the price will go up. (remember last summer? Now, think about next summer!)

Why not use the savings from this temporary price drop to save for a bike, and shop this winter when bike shops are highly motivated to make a deal.

Then next year, when warm temperatures and sunshine return, you can take your bike to work and save even more money!

And after work you can go for a ride, and have fun and lose weight, and defeat stress, and have fun, and make your own world the best it can be. (We didn't call our blog cycle Fun Montreal for nothing!)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quebec bike ride maps on Bikely

There are now over 1000 Quebec bike rides on Bikely.

There are 1150 as of today.

Exploring our wonderful province has never been so easy!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

old bike, new home

we sold our ancient ccm one speed recently.

If you have a bike you are not using, why don't you sell it?

We sold ours on Craigslist Montreal.

Early morning fox sighting

We were surprised to see a red fox scampering through TMR this morning.

We were on our commute to work along Graham, and Mr Fox was doing whatever foxes do around dawn.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

New bike path on ile des soeurs

Nun's Island has a new riverside bike path (piste cyclable) between the existing bike path and the new "Bell campus."

When you arrive on Nun's island from Verdun you sill see a new path leading down to the river's edge. This will take you to the new Bell campus along the river between Nun's island and Verdun on Montreal Island.

The only downside was a few smashed beer and alcopop bottles on the new path. Oie!

In an interesting irony, there was a big billboard touting Verdun's respect for nature, ironic because Verdun is cutting down forest and filling wetland as fast as it possibly can on Nun's island!

Enough negativity, this little path will be an great little detour for an excellent view of Montreal island during summertime after-work and sunset rides.

2008 cycling year almost over

Another season of cycling is wrapping up.

Thanks for reading our Montreal bike blog, we have tried to write some semi-coherent information to help you enjoy the great activity, sport, lifestyle, transportation alternative, and mental health improvement plan called riding your bicycle.

Montreal is a jewel of a city, with good urban riding, an improving bike path network, and truly great riding opportunities in any direction off the island.

We wish you a happy winter, and we will try to spend some time this winter putting together some summaries of some of the things we covered this year to give you some great riding ideas for 2009.

As for surviving winter, we recommend you get a pair of good snowshoes and go up mt-royal, after work at night is NEVER dark once there is snow on the ground. You can also cross-country ski up Mt Royal, it's an excellent 45 minute ski climb, with a great 30 minute downhill once you reach the top!

But wait... the sun is shining, it's not winter yet (or raining), so we're going for a ride. A good not-too-far destination is chambly, maybe that will be today's ride-from-home destination.

Indoor winter bike storage

Easy to build wall-leaning indoor bike rack

We built our own indoor bike rack, and so can you!

We copied the design from a 90s era commercial model, and with surprisingly little skill or effort it seems to have been quite a successful project.

This bike rack just leans against the wall, so it is ideal for apartment dwellers. It holds two bikes, you can adjust the bike-arms for your specific bike sizes.

The best thing is that we no longer have a bunch of bike leaning against each other, traying hard to fall down at every variation in the earth's gravity!

Simple to build, a successful home project!

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Pont Jacques Cartier bridge bike-path winter closing on Dec 4

The Pont Jacques Cartier bridge sidewalk-bike-path will be closing for the winter season on December 4.

Fermeture de la piste cyclable
du pont Jacques-Cartier pour la saison hivernale

Les Ponts Jacques Cartier et Champlain Incorporée désire informer le public que le trottoir et la piste cyclable du pont Jacques-Cartier fermeront pour la saison hivernale, mardi le 4 décembre en début d'après-midi, pour des raisons de sécurité.

Cette mesure doit être prise chaque année pour la sécurité des usagers et en raison des difficultés d'entretien des surfaces durant l'hiver.

En effet, la brume qui résulte des caractéristiques climatiques au dessus du fleuve est propice à la formation de glace noire, sans mentionner l'inclinaison des surfaces nécessaire à l'évacuation des eaux, qui rendent les trottoirs dangereux pour les cyclistes et les piétons. De plus, les contraintes physiques font en sorte qu'il est coûteux de les déneiger.

Le trottoir et la piste cyclable rouvriront au printemps.

Rachel bike path missing link to be completed!

thanks to my fav quebec bike news site vélo nouvelles for identifying this news.

The missing link (presently a big, annoying, and very-ignored detour) between Marquette and Des Erables will soon have a bike path instead of crazy cyclists riding the wrong way through traffic.

Click here to read about the changes to come, (french).

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Les Amis de la Montagne's monthly Public Forum

tonight - wednesday November 5

Parc Mont Royal park
Les Amis de la Montagne's Monthly Public Forum

The Mount Royal Forum gives the community, both citizens and organizations, the opportunity to exchange ideas about issues and projects affecting the mountain. To this effect, public meetings are periodically organized at the Smith House.


“Outremont, the ‘hill beyond’: Projects and vision for a forgotten summit” will be the featured topic at the next public forum to be held Wednesday, November 5 from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Smith House in Mount Royal Park. Members of the public are invited to participate in large numbers.

The northern summit of Mount Royal, located in Outremont, remains left aside during discussions on the protection and enhancement of the mountain’s heritage. In the absence of any formal landscaping or public access points, the northern summit is the least known by the community.

The latest news on the project to control mountain biking on Mount Royal will be presented by Les amis, as well as an update concerning plans for the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges Cemetery by the director of the cemetery, M. Yoland Tremblay, followed by a question period.
For more information, please contact François-Xavier Caron, public forum coordinator.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cote Ste-Catherine bike path Nimby-ism rears it's ugly head

Some angry residents do not want cyclists to have a safe way to travel by bicycles on Cote Ste-Catherine road, and are planning to storm the Outremont city hall tonight.

We have supported this bike path since day one. You should too. THere is no safe way to travel east-west north of Mont Royal,

The current unsafe situation is a complete disgrace. The residents of Montreal who travel by bicycle have a right to a safe route to travel, and cote ste-catherine road is the only logical route.

This is something the minority of angry residents are going have to get over.

they argue about safety and secutirty, but the present autoroute-de cote-ste-catherine-road is not at all safe.

Here's a link to the angry person who misrepresents many details about the new bike path.

His (her?) main point is that cars will travel beside the sidewalk. It works on many streets in Montreal just fine, but these anti-progress people like to take one fact, portray it as a huge danger, and then build their argument on this baseless fact until they are so angry they can't see straight, I mean think they have a case.

We've said it before, and we'll say it again, a bike path is better than no bike path, and the main reason people some residents are angry is the removal of on-street parking. Poor little rich people, boohoo, boohoo. Can't park their 3rd and 4th cars for free on the street.

Sorry for the arrogance there. Anyone who actually read the plans can see that the Nimby group misrepresents many aspects to the bike path.

We'll say it again, a bike path is better than no bike path, and the present situation is very dangerous for anyone riding a bicycle.


We went to the Outremont city hall meeting tonight and there's no going back on the bike path (good thing, since it's half constructed).

The mayor Marie Cinq-Mars repeated the following points:
  • the bike path will improve life for cote-ste-catherine residents
  • the reduction of the speed limit to 40 km/h will improve safety
  • the traffic lights will be synchronized to improve traffic flow
  • she will lose some votes for doing this, for doing the right thing
  • cyclists have a right to safe use of the road
  • the Cote ste-catherine route is the most logical for a bike route north of Mt Royal
  • there have been consultations since 2002
  • active transport is a choice the city is providing for it's citizens

Sunday, November 02, 2008

time change - early sunset - bike lights?

Yes, it is time you got and used a set of bike lights.

Unless getting run down by a car is your idea of fun. It's not ours, so we always use our bike lights, and believe that visibility is safety.

wearing black, at night, on a bike, without lights isn't just dangerous, it could be fatal! Aieee!

Saturday, November 01, 2008

another perfect weather weekend?

Late autumn seems to be making up for the crappy summer weather, and how!

So put on the tights, the jacket and toque and gloves, and do another ride. The cool weather is not a bad thing, and with fewer leaves on the trees, the views are better.

Winter will be here soon enough (too soon!) so ride while you still can.

And then ride some more.

and some more. You get the idea. Get away from that damned internet!