Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Don't forget to enjoy summer

Summer means flowers, flowers mean happiness.

More happiness than biking in summer?

You decide.

Our choice is to combine them, thus maximizing our happiness.

Sunset bike ride up Mt Royal - deluge avoided

Beaver Lake and diabolical cloud

Our bike ride up Mt Royal's Olmstead Road last night was interrupted by a storm cloud extraordinaire as we arrived at slopes above Beaver Lake. Usually this is a great view. Tonight it was a great view of a highly not-great cloud.

So extraordinaire was this cloud that we immediately changed our direction and headed west, and away from this cloud.

Within minutes some major winds arrived, and a minute more and rain was washing away the road, and everyone on it. Our quick action meant we had avoided the rain, unlike all of eastern Montreal.

We headed over to the Westmount lookout and saw that downtown had disappeared under the rain! Or as two roadies said, that's what 2012 would look like.

View from Westmount lookout: black cloud that ate Montreal

Next stop was the other side of the Westmount summit at St-Joseph Oratory - uppermost parking lot. This location is one of the most primo sunset viewpoints, and tonights mixed clouds did not disappoint. In fact we rate it as one of the best sunsets ever.

Sunset time from St-Joseph Oratory

Actually, this is a pretty good Mont Royal three-view ride.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Montreal maps? Visit the city's map portal

Montreal has maps of all of its borroughs here at this link. Some maps are better than others. We like maps, and find they can be useful to discover new things to see and do. We love to discover our city.

visiting one of Montreal's newest parks: Parc des frères Charon

A new park in the Ville Marie district: Parc des frères Charon

Spot the park (hint: the circle right in the middle of the picture)

Nature encroaching close and closer... gotcha!

Tall grass and other native vegetation, the wind really made it come alive.

Modern, high-tech, drinking fountain. It was not working.

A drinking fountain does not need modern digital technology. Mechanical valves have worked well for, oh, around 7,000 years. But to a young designer reinventing the world this old technology is not a desirable feature. This high-tech version of the traditional water fountain does not work, and is therefore useless. How useless? As useless as...

Condo dwellers out for a stroll in the park

One of the better views from on top of the park's lookout deck.

Located at the edge of Old Montreal, but surrounded by newly built condos of varying appeal, this square was rebuilt in the last couple of years, and is now a "new park."

The park is a circle of untrimmed green space, where nature takes charge (but in this post-modern universe, it's probably a curated selection of plants). At one corner is a circular tower/deck. Up here there are some historical plaques to inform you, and a bench lets you sit to enjoy a break from enjoying the view.

Read about the project to redesign the park here. You might be surprised to learn that it cost $1.7 million dollars. For that money, the high-tech water fountain should not be broken only one year after it is built. In fact this should be a lesson taught to all first-year design and architecture students: don't futz with new solutions to problems that were solved a century ago, like a drinking water fountain that actually works.

Nearby is the Poste Adélard Godbout. You'll have to visit it to learn more.

Who was Adélard Godbout? You should know this. This electrical station is dedicated in his honor.

Le Taz pump track

Destination: the pump track at le Taz

Mont Royal, Le Taz skatepark building, and the "Complexe environnemental de Saint-Michel"

Recreational path around the ex-quarry has its moments of beauty

On the way home we stopped in Jarry Park to see one of Montreal's few big Elm (Orme) trees. (It is the tree behind the bike)

The elm is easy to find: go into the playing fields and just look for the biggest tree in the park.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Trying out... Le Taz's outdoor pumptrack

We have yet to try out Le Taz stakepark's outdoor pump track, so today that's where we're going.

What's a pump track? We'll let the google answer this (click here). Essentially, it's a mountain bike skills course, and the skill being learned is smooth riding over obstacles so you don't lose momentum.

We'll be back later with pictures.

In other pump track news, the new-and-excellent trail Le Bobine at Mont Hereford has a pump track buried deep in the forest along the Bobine trail. A pleasant little surprise! This is one of our favorite mtn bike destinations.

Urban bike tour: Giant Heads of Montreal

A copy of an Easter Island Moai giant head at the excellent Point a Calieres museum.

Newly renovated Dorchester Park has this delightful lion's head.

Other giants appear, in this case the Guaranteed Pure Milk bottle.

Diabolical demonic dog heads on St-Hubert in the Plateau

Joseph Beaubien doesn't look diabolical at all. He looks like he just won a street fight.

This head doesn't look anything like Réné Levesque.

Slightly more realistic photo-illustration of the Réné we knew and loved

Hey lady, please I've got an itchy nose... help!

Seriously, the Easter Island (Ile au Paques) exhibition at Point a Calliere museum is excellent. and a must-see for 2010.

Prime Minister Wilfred Laurier, and a couple of 20th century canucks

Some of us are looking for an on-island bike tour, so we gave it a few brain cells and came up with... The Giant Heads of Montreal bike tour.

Head #1 Easter island Moai head sculpture (this head was sculpted at Expo 67)
Location: in front of Pointe a Callieres archeology museum in Old Montreal on de la Commune. Visit the exhibition on Easter Island inside at the museum, it's very interesting. The museum's permanent exhibit of the archeology of Montreal is always excellent. This is a good starting point to explore 1) the vieux port (old port), Old Montreal, and the Lachine canal bike path.

Head #2 Réné Levesque
Location: West side of Hydro-Quebec building on boulevard Réné Levesque
Réné was the architect of nationalizing Quebec's electricity industry, and of separating Quebec from the rest of Canada. He's the principle "saint" of the Quebec separatist movement.

Head #3 Pierre Elliot Trudeau
Location: Park located at corner of Stephen Leacock and Chemin Mackle beside the Arena Sam Moskovitch in Cote-St-Luc (it is a quite a long way from the others)
Trudeau was the arch-nemesis of Levesque and the separatist. Loved by anglos, hated by the french, the westerners, Richard Nixon, so we renamed the Dorval airport after him. While here, ponder when boulevard Cavendish will pass through the rail yards and connect western Montreal with St-Laurent, a long-overdue transportation link.

Head #4 Joseph Beaubien

Parc Beaubien, Outremont along the Cote-Ste-Catherine bike path
Beaubien was a builder of Montreal as we know it today. The location of his head sculpture in an Outremont park is a nice little urban oasis-destination for a summer picnic.

Head 5: Jean F. Kennedy
Avenue President Kennedy (north side of Place des Arts)

One of the bigger heads of all time, Copernicus at the Montreal Planetarium. Copernicus is THE founding father of modern astronomy

Friday, June 25, 2010

Three things to do this weekend

We suggest that you:
  1. Go for a bike ride
  2. Go to a public market and get some fresh quebec strawberries
  3. Go to the Jazz Festival
If you combine all three into one fun-filled action-packed activity, that's ok too.

We will crush cyclists, like a bug... BANG!

The management of the Parc Jean Drapeau that run the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve race track and popular site for road bike riding has proven that they mean business, and cycling at speed will not be permitted.


Now, police radar and tickets are part of their 2010 management plan for this sports facility.

Imagine an olympic pool, where anyone in the fast lane was prohibited from going at their maximum. You get the picture.

Tickets, and radar surveillance are the new reality.

We don't know if this is a one-time "show of force" or if it will be a recurring risk to cyclists riding there.

What this most represents is the complete failure of parc management to solve the problem of safely combining different speeds of users on the race track.

Our solution: start with new management at Parc Jean Drapeau. And this time, management that doesn't hate cyclists.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Parc Drapeau/Circuit Gilles Villeneuves management hates cyclists, continued...

The F1 race is over and the management of Parc Drapeau who permit cyclists to use the race track for relatively car free and nonstop cycling, are getting ready to install the "Chicanes" that will slow down cyclists. Apparently police radar will be out to enforce the 30km/h speed limit.

If you think this is a bad idea, here's the Facebook group to join: Laissez le Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve aux cyclistes. (translation: Leave the Gilles Villeneuve track to cyclists).

We agree that this is the one place in Montreal where what is called "speed cyclists" can practice our legitimate sport with safety and minimal road hazards, that is, until the management fabricates new excuses in order to crush the sport of cycling and builds "Chicanes" and calls out the police.

Why does Circuit Gilles Villeneuve hate cyclists so much? We don't know the answer, but their actions speak volumes about their hate-on for us.

It is time for a change of management at Parc Drapeau, starting at the top.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

A few vacation rides

Balsam Fir - a.k.a. christmas trees & phantom bike

Giant Quartz at Hereford (no, it's NOT snow!)

Looking downhill on Rockburn side road

Tiny dots on road are a couple of cyclists who would have to work very hard to catch me, but eventually catch me they did... doh!

Stevenson's Orchard in Rockburn, a family favorite for decades

We have just completed one awesome week of vacation, with rides in Maskinongé, Chateauguay Valley (twice: both times Ste-Martine to Covey Hill), Mont Laurier area in the upper laurentians, and today for 2010's first mountain bike ride at East/Mont Hereford in the eastern townships.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Another middle of the Maskinongé ride

We had a beautiful sunny day for this ride through beautiful Quebec farmland, rivers, and forests, about an hour east of Montreal on the north side of the St-Laurence river.

We like this region a lot.

Click on the title to see a Bikely map of the ride.

View Larger Map
The drive is super-easy.

Strangely, the wind was a headwind in both the going out and the returning to the car directions. We checked the weather records at environment Canada, and the wind did actually change direction at 2 pm to give us bonus late-ride headwinds. This would be fine, except we had set up the ride's direction to give us some late-ride tailwinds. Thwarted again by the weather gods!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Big beautiful Chateauguay River ride

Today's ride was a big 115 km Chateauguay river & Covey Hill ride. Totally excellent in every way we could measure.

View Larger Map

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Saturday's Gazette - 2 good quebec bike tourism articles

Tomifobia Nature Trail in the heart of the eastern townships

Saturday's Gazoo has two good articles on Quebec cycling tourism.

The first one is a week long tour via Route Verte(s) from Montreal to Quebec City along the St-Laurence, and then back to Montreal via the Eastern Townships.

Author David Yates and a group of guys hit the road, and in a wise move strategy-wise, had a support van to carry the luggage. Trip members rotated the driving, and as a result the bike riding was unencumbered by heavy panniers. The group stayed at b&b/hotels/motels along the way, many of then part of the "Bonjour Cyclists" accreditation, which ensures that cyclists special needs are catered to, like a secure place to store bikes at night, and hearty breakfast to fuel the legs for long days of riding. We've said it before and we'll say it again, successful riding is about eating enough food to keep the leg muscles going all day long. (and chamois cream, don't forget the chamois cream!).

The second article is in the travel section and explores the Tomifobia Nature Trail which is between Ayers Cliff and Stanstead in the Eastern Townships.

This trail really takes you away from civilization and keeps you immersed in nature along the scenic and winding Tomifobia river. We really like this trail for it's away-from-it-the-modern-world character. The article didn't mention it, but if you look closely, you will see a memorial marker to a train wreck that occurred in the trail's previous life as a rail line. Note that this is not a paved trail, so tiny racing tires are not the best choice here. We think the Tomifobia is one of Quebec's best beginner/intermediate cycling adventures.

So, you now have some inspiration for a multi-day Route Verte bicycle trip for your summer vacation, and a nice day-ride adventure on the Tomifobia Nature Trail if a one-day exploration is more your style.

The maps in this post identify the approximate location of the Tomifobia Nature trail. For a much better map, go here to the official website.

Ayers Cliff, 1 hr 40 minute drive from Montreal

Friday, June 11, 2010

Get out and ride, summer is officially here

it's the weekend, turn off your computing device(s). No, not sleep mode, turn it off! Now go outside and ride your bike.

Is it raining? Then take your bike and give it an inspection and take it to the bike shop for any repairs. Look at the tires. Are they cracked or worn or need air? Change them now so your bike can be your best friend for the upcoming summer and vacation phase of our Quebec seasons.

Now, you don't actually "have" to go outside and bike. You can stay inside. But you won't have nearly as much fun as the folks who go outside and ride their bikes. (thanks frank)

If you are urban and seeking a nature fix on your bike, riding up the dirt and forested Olmstead Road to the summit of Mont Royal is as close to a bike-paradise ride as you will find in this city. Or any city.

If that still isn't enough summer fun-ness, go and buy some quebec strawberries. Our weekly panier biologique gave us our first taste this week. Mmmmm good. With the arrival of Quebec strawberries, summer is officially here.

Strawberries the cycle fun montreal way
Cut off the caps and mushy parts on the strawberry, and core if you want.
wash the berries
Slice berries into smaller pieces
add some sugar and 1 tsp of j.d.
stir to dissolve the sugar (add a tsp of water if needed)
When some sweet juice has been formed
Add berries to 0% thick-style yogurt (phoenicia is good)
Taste the taste of paradise.

the world is wierd department

We've been at this blog thing for a while, and sometimes we get surprises. We don't claim to unnerstan' the what "makes people do the things they do" thing. So we were surprised to see that our recent post on how to lock your bike to a particularly poorly design of old-school bike rack got lots of attention. Huh? A post about a bike rack? On the subject of bike rack, we really like the bixi-ability to lock into its docking station in 3 seconds flat. In fact this is the thing we like best about Bixi. Having a bike to ride in the rain and/or with normal clothes are the other bixi avantages. The bike itself, well, our friend once told us, when he road our fancy road racing bike for the first time, that he never knew that bikes were smooth light and fast. This is the revelation that awaits Bixi riders when they go out and buy their own bike, which we hope (and encourage) Bixi riders will do.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Mt Royal's Chemin Remembrance redesign: road cyclists screwed?

The redesign of the road over Mt Royal (Chemin Remembrance) from a 4 lane divided roadway into a two-lane side for cars and the other side will be converted to some kind of path or road for bikes and assorted pedestrian-powered activities will mean a lot of changes for the cycling public.

Many of these changes are good, but we wonder about one thing.

We wonder if cyclists will be obliged (i.e. forced) to use this new bike path only, and lose our right to use the auto-road. Because the law in Quebec says that if there is a bike path beside a road, the cyclist is obliged to use the bike path.

Meaning that those of us who are road cyclists cannot use the car road. Even though we travel at car speeds.

We also wonder if the road will be built with car street-style lanes with no paved shoulders (because the road at the present time has exactly zero inches of shoulder, paved or otherwise). We need paved shoulders on the auto-road so road cyclists, we mean cyclists who travel at road speeds, and not at the slower Mt Royal mixed-use road speed (20 km/h legal max on the similar olmstead road) will be able to pursue our habit of riding the road over Mont Royal.

We have seen no blueprints of the road reconstruction, but we wish we could. The construction is happening right now, so if cyclists don't ask some questions soon, we may have our access to this road stolen from us.

(Rainy days remove our optimism about the notion that gov't always gets it right)

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

3-step program to a better life

Step 1 - Get away from your computer (turn it OFF!)
Step 2 - Go outside on your bike and ride
Step 3 - Explore, have fun, enjoy summer, and make a great adventure out of life.

Le ride du jour - Voie Maritime / St-Laurence Seaway

In the near future there will be bike paths lining both sides of the st-Laurence river

Today our sunshine daytime ride is leaving the urban jungle to get some fresh air and river views along the Voie Maritime / St. Laurence seaway.
  1. This bike path (actually a closed-to-cars roadway) exists between
  2. Longueuil near Pong Jacques Cartier bridge
  3. Parc Drapeau/Ile Notre Dame/Ecluse St-Lambert locks
  4. Estacade/ice bridge between Nuns Island (ile des soeurs) and the seaway (parallel to Champlain bridge)
  5. You can touch south-shore terra firma at Ste-Catherine.

The Voie Maritime / St-Laurence Seaway bike path has many attractions:
  • Completely & totally away from roads and cars
  • Amazing view of Montreal from across the river
  • A nature park at St-Catherine end of path, with lots of rest/picnic possibilities
  • Follows the St-Laurence river's edge - real nature, not park designer-built "nature."
  • No commercial activity, this is 100% away from civilization (this is a good thing).
  • 1/4 dirt road 3/4 paved road (the section between the Estacade to St-Catherine is completely paved). Can't win them all.
  • Two ship locks (St-Lambert & Ste-Catherine) to entertain you with transportation technology and infrastructure
The downside, the Parc Drapeau access is blocked during the grand prix and other races at the Ile Notre Dame Circuit Gilles Villeneuve race track.

The future: This path will soon be connected to the Pont Mercier bridge new bike path sidewalk (a couple of years away) and will make a great loop ride on both sides of the st-Laurence river/fleuve St-Laurent.

If you have never visited here, we think this should be your number one exploration goal, and it may even become your favorite local bike ride and nature destination.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

La Presse travel feature - Le Québec des artistes

Do you want to explore a part of Quebec outside Montreal but don't know where to go or what to see?

La Presse has a great travel feature this weekend about places in Quebec as recounted by some Quebec artists, like Fred Pellerin, Les Trois Accords, and a few others.

For instance, Fred Pellerin is a big booster of Ste-Elie-de-Caxton (Ste-Elie for short) where this blog regularly visits on our rides in MRC Maskinongé (i.e. starting in Yamachiche). (visit the Calvaire/summit behind the church: obligatory!)

Each artist offers memories and tips about what to see and do in their destinations. There's a lot of love here.

We find it very interesting to get these artist's first-hand look at these places. Because we love traveling and exploring throughout Quebec.

Torching rural landmarks

We read in today's newspaper that the church in Inverness was burned down last month.

Inverness is located in the heart of what is known as The Celtique Way, a regional tour of the Irish roots of the region. There was a wonderful feature article written about it last year in the Gazette. We were intending to visit this year on some fine summer weekend.

This church was one of the jewels of this tour. We love to ride from town to town and village to village across this beautiful province of ours, always looking at the churches as we pass through. often stopping and admiring the beauty and hard work that went into building our churches. We often have a snack on the church steps, under a tree or in a nearby cemetery. We value this part of our heritage. Every church has a unique character, a character that is the foundation of each community that built the church.

And then some arsehole torches the church.

We are sure many city dwellers will give this news a quick "meh" and move on without really caring or giving it a second thought. But.... we came from the countryside. We value the rural heritage of Quebec (french, english, scotch, irish and a few others here and there). And although the secularization of our society continues, we will continue to value the cultural heritage that our churches legitimately claim.

And then some peckerhead moron burns one down.

And we lose a piece of our history, a piece of our lives. Churches are frequently the heart and soul of the community, ans the centre piece of village life. When they burn down they are gone forever.

Here is the link to our original post about the Celtique way, and here is a link to the story about the fire.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Bonjour à nos visiteurs de Cyberpresse

Nous supposons que vous voulez à vélo, et nous écrire ce blog parce que le vélo à l'intérieur et l'extérieur de Montréal est bon, très, très bon. Nous prenons à vélo et à écrire à leur sujet, faire des cartes, et vous encourager à découvrir les étonnantes vélo au Québec. Pour plus d'informations sur certaines des attractions les vélos que nous avons fait, s'il vous plaît voir nos postes passé (voir les mois la liste sur le côté droit de la page de blog), et profiter de la grande terre de cyclisme de Québec.

(translated by the not-yet-perfect google)

Hello to our new cyberpresse visitors. We assume you like to bicycle, and we write this blog because bicycling inside and outside of Montreal is good, very, very good. We take bike rides and write about them, make maps, and encourage you to discover the amazing cycling in Quebec. For more information about some of the bikes rides we have done, please see our past posts (see the months list on the right side of the blog page), and enjoy the great cycling paradise of Quebec.

BUSTED - our commuter bike gets a police inspection

The police are doing their usual spring bike-law-compliance blitz, and one of these activities involves inspecting bikes for the legally-required set of reflectors.

First, let is say that we ride at night with front and rear lights, and we wear a reflective jacket or vest. Because bike riding at night is hugely more dangerous than in the daytime. And visibility is safety.

How did we do? Well, since we had none of the required reflectors, we failed. but we showed the policewoman our lights and told her that we use reflective clothing at night and she let us go without any penalties, although, as always, it is useless to try to argue or discuss obeying the spirit vs the letter of the law with any member of the police force.

We wonder, however, why this sort of safety blitz doesn't occur at night time, when the need to have reflectors is a bit more evident than in the middle of the day.

We note that many bikes do not come from the manufacturer/store with the legally required set of reflectors Why is this? Because it isn't cool for fancy bikes to be safe!

Why do bike tail-lights not attach to bike racks?

Today's bike tail-lights are wonderful: bright, and light weight. They are a real addition to safe riding at night.

The problem is that today's bike lights are almost universally designed to attach only to the seatpost of the bike, and no other place. Even though many bicycle riders use racks, and would like to put the bike light on the back of the rack, bike light manufacturers ignore, totally, this legitimate and popular location to attach a bike light.

Our friend bought a city bike with bike rack for her local transportation needs, and bought a tail light at the same time, and the bike store tried to install the light somewhere on the back of the bike with completely pathetic and "failed" results. If she wanted to light up the night sky with the light, it was fine, but to shine a flashing light towards the rear of the bike, well, failure was the best way to describe the bike shop's efforts to install the bike light.

The solution to this problem currently requires a bit of human ingenuity. However, we think that the basic design of bike tail lights should permit attaching the tail light to a bicycle rack. And for once, we think it should be the law.

At the very least, there should be some sort of rear-rack to seatpost-bike-light-mount adapter available to purchase. Some of us do really care about safety at night.

You would think it would be easier than this to put a tail light on your bike rack.

Time to climb

Our little city has quite an excellent cycling fitness test piece, Mont Royal's Camelien Houde. This impressive road winds up the east side of Mont Royal hill for 1.6 km, and has been part of both men's and women's World Cup races and even the Olympic road race in Montreal's 1976 Olympics.

Local cyclists use it to train, train, and train some more. (ten laps of this climb each Wednesday will make anyone a superhuman climber). We usually do one lap, but we know the recipe to improvement involves repetition.

Humans, for some evolutionary-biology reason, like to measure their individual performance against their fellow man (or woman).

According to the the user Becane on the local cycling website Velocia, the time-to-climb results can be categorized as follows:

Temps de référence:
  • Les pros .................... <>
  • L'élite national ............ 4:01 - 4:45
  • Coureur provincial ....... 4:46 - 5:30
  • Cyclosportif express ..... 5:31 - 6:30
  • Cyclosportif rapide ....... 6:31 - 7:30
  • Cyclosportif ................ 7:31 - 8:30
  • Cycliste courageux ....... > 8:30
Let's get something clear right from the start, there is a fixed start and end point to measuring your time on this climb. Down at the intersection of Mont Royal avenue and Camelien Houde is a small grass-covered traffic island (a pork chop in traffic engineer parlance). This is the starting point. Past the canyon at the top of the hill is the summit of the climb,and there is a line across the road here (somewhat worn down, but it's still visible). This is the end of the climb. No cheating!

Ok, so we like to climb, the problem is that we like to climb at a pace that is under our maximum effort (it's training, not a race, and we're old and like eating dessert), as well this year we have been doing all our urban climbing training on our mountain bike, with its fat knobby tires and full suspension. And this resulted in a time of 8:47 (this was a very relaxed evening ride). We can do better, much better. We will take out our Bertrand road race bike and ride up the hill to attempt a better result. And we hope our wheels survive the downhill, because our road wheels and Montreal's rough roads don't play well together.

For those who like a bigger challenge, the time to climb on a Bixi is 8:37. Yes, we were beaten by a Bixi (although this had to be a very motivated Bixi rider).

We think there should be a public race up this road on Bixi, perhaps as part of the Tour de l'Ile weekend or the women's world cup race activities. Funny costumes optional, but we note that our friend who participates in Swiss cross-country ski races and uphill mountain marathons has been beaten by very colourful dressed and costumed race participants (one team carried a cow sculpture for an entire race!). Heck, this race could be part of the Montreal comedy festival!!! We hereby renounce all rights to this idea if the Just Pour Rire comedy festival wishes to pursue this idea.

You might not obtain olympic-class times up this hill (or, maybe you will!), but it is very inspiring to see the expert climbers practicing their craft. This climb welcomes all sorts of climbers, you included. Stopwatch is optional, we usually climb it just for the fun.

Friday, June 04, 2010

SPVM (the cops) safe cycling information

The city's police department cares about safe cycling. We know, you thought they cared about "enforcing the rules" over the more abstract concept of safety. But we think the more information about safe cycling, the better, so we conclude the SPVM cares about safe cycling.

The SPVM website has a bicycle section. Read it and learn something (we hope) about bicycling safely. Here is their safe cycling page.

rainy weekend?

The weather gods have dictated a rainy weekend. But look out the window and look and see; if it isn't raining, then you should go out for a bike ride.

If is it raining, we suggest that you spend some time researching some new places to go for bike rides/trips this summer.

Quebec is a cycling vacation paradise. Explore it a bit, and then a bit more.

Woohoo summer!

Thursday, June 03, 2010

New La Presse cycling blog

OK, we know it's cyberpresse... And they now have a cycling blog.

It's dueling bike blogs at the two main daily newspaper websites, meaning more power to the pedaling people here on our little island paradise.


Gazette's On Two Wheels bike blog resurrected from the dead

You thought it was dead... but no it's alive. Zombie blog..... Aieee!

A new author has been found, and once again car drivers have a place to learn how to complain share the road with bicycle riders. Seriously, it's good stuff, give it a read.

You can read the Montreal Gazette's On Two Wheels bike blog here.

Parc Jean Drapeau/Circuit Gilles Villeneuve HATES cyclists - part 2

The management of the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve race track is standing firm on it's anti-cyclist track-use policy.

Even though their cyclists-accident reasons have proved to be completely false, they are not backing down on their plan to build dangerous chicanes which will be an obstacle to safe use of the track by cyclists.

We have to ask, is this chicane idea really the best solution they can come up with to safely manage the flow of users on the track? Really? Or is it the solution that pokes a finger in the eye of the cyclists using the park and the track as the ONLY safe alternative for sport cyclists? We think the latter since this whole sordid tale has deep roots in the strong anti-cyclist attitude demonstrated by Parc Jean Drapeau management.

Read more here at la Presse. Read the FQSC's press release here. They have a file on the subject at veloptimum.net (a good quebec cycling news website that we check every day).

Heck, even Velo-Quebec is against the chicane idea!

This is both a disgrace and a scandal, and the accountable to almost no-one park management need to feel some heat on this issue, so call the mayor today.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Why we like our northern Lanaudiere ride

There are many things go combine to make a bike ride into a great bike ride.

We like our St-Jean-de-Matha / Ste-Emilie-de-l'Energie / Ste-Beatrix ride because:
  • good distance
  • good hills
  • The two long hills have good descents after the summit is reached
  • good scenery
  • A few good scenic lookouts, one has benches (northbound to ste-emilie)
  • good roads (mostly)
  • quiet roads
  • 97 km from Mtl car distance, not so far
  • undeveloped area (no tims, macDo, other corporate crap)
  • the ride is made up of many short sections
  • many options exist to increase ride distance a bit
  • easy to abort - many places you can call it quits and get back to car
  • Good descents
  • No jerkin' around with flats until the hills finally arrive (first 20% hill
  • at 4 minutes into the ride)
  • The two major highways part of the ride have good paved shoulders.
  • There's a raspberry farm at foot of one of the major climbs
  • There's annual repairs/rebuilding to the roads of this ride
  • You feel like a tour de france mountain stage survivor by ride's end (and not
  • one of those front-of-the-pack guys)

Add it up and you see why we think this is one of the best rides around.