Sunday, July 04, 2010

Ste-Martine and Beauharnois canal in Le Suroit region

Today's bike ride, red line is side trip to Beauharnois canal and power dam

This is a flat land ride.

Hydro-Quebec's Beauharnois Dam, the St-Laurence river completely diverted for this power dam.

The bike path network in the Suroit, yellow circles are a few missing links.

Continuing our first weekend of the bike season on the recumbent bike (we wanted to give our regular bike muscles their 3000 km rest break). Riding the recumbent is great for comfort and also optimized for regular scenery-enjoying country riding.

The recumbent bike excels in flat rides, and we chose another canal for today's ride.

The route of today's ride was to ride from our regular starting point of Ste-Martine, and go north on perfectly flat land to the edge of the St-Laurence river at Beauharnois, and explore the open/closed bike path(s) around both sides of the Beauharnois canal.

Because of construction work on I rode around the beauharnois canal but not actually on it. Zones near beauharnois are closed to bikes for construction of autoroute 30. Aut 30 is the big new southern bypass of montreal island/ It is now under construction and will be a toll road. These are not popular in Quebec. Combine that with foreign ownership of the road for 35 years and we predict that Autoroute 30 will soon be a major public shitstorm. But I digress.

We had not done much riding on roads north of chateauguay river, so this turned out after much meandering) into a real nice route for the homeward bound direction from St-Louis-de-Gonzague. (this is the ride version we created on the bikely online map).

There were some major winds today (35 km/hr!), but this situation is a lot better on a low, aerodynamic and relaxed seating position recumbent bike like our Rotator Tiger. The return ride with the wind again proves to us that riding with the wind on our backs is the best thing ever.

We stopped at, but didn't go inside the beauharnois mega-power dam guided tour welcome centre. We'll be back to visit the dam when we are carrying our bike locks.

Once autoroute 30 construction/bike path blockage is finished there will be a nice loop to do from st-martine to canal and westward (this'll be 90%+ on bike path!), then home via the quiet country roads and/or chat river road.

We biked underneath this ship

The road tunnels under the St-Laurence Seaway ship lock. It was a walk-the-bike sidewalk tunnel.

Birds in their maritime environment

A little bit of the Beauharnois hydroelectric power dam

This dam harnesses the St-Laurence river for 1.903 megawatts of power. That's a lot. It is one of the biggest power dams in the world. Do not put your finger on the wire.

This is Quebec's biggest dam outside of the Baie James complex in the far north. You can take a free tour. You must have I.D. if you are older than 18. There is a rooftop deck.

Montreal island and Mont-Royal from across the St-Laurence river at Beauharnois.

Hydro-Québec landscaping.

This satellite photo displays the landscaping a bit better (it's a quebec flag)

Many kite-flyers were here. A vast riverfront park is located in front of the dam.

Family of electricity pylons waving hello at us, as the electicity heads south to power America.

Quebec's peak electricity demand period is in the winter, so we have extra energy to sell to Americans in the summer. We learned today that Quebecers use 22 megawatts in summer, and 37 megawatts in winter.

Rest stop along the Ste-Martine trail part of the Parc Regional de Beauharnois-Salaberry

Recumbent bike contains version 2 bike sound system. Version 2 has the ipod+speakers on the handlebars, not in/on the rear bag. The situation is still quite improvised. It required a mesh bag, a nylon webbing strap, 6" of twist-tie, a custom ipod pocket made with clear packing tape, and a velcro-pant strap. Version 3 will be a bit more self-contained.

Bike ride map on Bikely (this is the quiet-roads/no dam version, you can add the dam)
Suroit Tourism website (anglish)
Map of bike path network in the Suroit.
Hydro-Québec Beauharnois Dam website
Autoroute 30 website


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