Hero of the day: Yves Chartrand: Cyclotourism + Public-transport
Quebec's many amazing Cyclo-tourism destinations urgently need public transit links so that Montreal-based cyclo-tourists to get to these destinations (i.e. car-free).
Mr Chartrand wrote an excellent letter to the editor in La Presse saying that (off-island) Montreal-region provincial parks and bicycle-paths are too far to ride to on bike, but have non-existent transit and transit+bicycle options. Even the ones right next door, like Parc des iles de Boucherville (a travesty, in CFM's opinion). The system is based around cars. If you have a car, you have ultimate mobility. If you don't have a car, well, you're screwed.
Mr Chartrand has embraced car-free living, and thinks that the regional train systems (we're talking to you AMT) should get a lot better in the bicycles-on-the-train department. Because today only a few train routes allow bikes, and it is 4 bikes per train total. Disgraceful, we say. Also, other train lines don't go all the way to the end of the line on the weekend. Rigaud .
We think that taking our bicycle on the train to Ste-Jerome for a ride on the P'tit Train du Nord would be highly desireable tourism service, because the beautiful P'tit Train du Nord bikepath starts there (and continues north... for 200 km!) This would be an excellent Saturday or Sunday adventure. Or ride north on Saturday, camp or B&B and return south on Sunday.
We think that the AMT and regional municipalities need to embrace train+bike tourism. Quebec is an amazing place to visit, is embracing cyclo-tourism in a big way, and needs to make this next step in integrating bicycles into the regional public transit system.
Conclusion: Montreal-region needs better train service on weekends, and the train service provider AMT needs to allow more bicycles on its trains.
A look back, way back to early 1900s:
Early electric light rail/tram lines would build entertainment facilities (amusements parks -- Montreal had Belmont park) at the rural-end of the tram lines so that there would be a demand for tram-use on the weekends. This sounds a lot like today's bike paths and parks which are conveniently located at the end of several regional train lines.
We would definitely use the train to go to the P'tit train de Nord.
In other news, the New York Times has a travel story on exactly this kind of adventure, taking the train to the country for a bike day-ride.
Whatever you call it, we were doing it cheaply and efficiently. We had conceived this as a single-day call-in-sick journey into as rural an area as we could reach by Metro-North, the train lines that extend from New York City north into the Hudson River and Harlem River Valleys, and east into Connecticut.