Tuesday, May 29, 2012

torrential rains make biking more... fun?

bike unfriendly weather in this bike friendly city

We waited and waited for a cyclist to pass by, but then we had to go deal with the volcano in the bathroom when massive volumes of roof drain water found a new way to exit the plumbing system.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Farmer's union still fighting proposed Haut-St-Laurent bike path

The UPA (Quebec industrial farmers union) is still fighting against the proposed new Haut-St-Laurent rail-to-trail bike path that is supposed have Phase 1 (Howick/Tres-St-Sacrement to Ormstown) built in 2012.

The UPA wants the countryside reserved exclusively for industrial farming uses and is working furiously to block recreational uses of rural lands and specifically this bicycle path.

The Haut-St-Laurent UPA motives are clear: the UPA believes that the rural regions are exclusively for the purpose of industrial farming.  And now they have hired lawyers to fight for this belief that the only legitimate land use in rural areas is industrial farming.

Shame on the UPA.

The Haut-St-Laurent rural landscape has high scenic value that can improve this region's economy.

The economy of the rest of Quebec is benefiting from recreo-tourism development, and Quebec is in fact becoming internationally famous for the quality of its rural landscape.The MRC of the Haut-St-Laurent is trying to get in on this economic development opportunity, only to discover that the UPA is against the diversification of the rural economy if this diversification involves something other than ever-more-industrialized factory farming. 

Sunday, May 27, 2012

a big Thank You / Merci to all careful car drivers

We notice (frequently) that there are many careful and considerate car drivers sharing the streets and roads with those of us on bicycles.

Thanks careful car drivers!  We love you too.

Here are some tips on sharing the road with people on bicycles.

Drive Cautiously:
- Reduce speed when encountering cyclists
- Don't tailgate, especially in bad weather
- Recognize hazards cyclists may face and give them space

Yield to Cyclists:
- Bicycles are considered vehicles
- Cyclists should be given the appropriate right of way
- Allow extra time for cyclists to traverse intersections

Be Considerate:
- Scan for cyclists in traffic and at intersections
- Do not blast your horn in close proximity to cyclists
- Look for cyclists when opening doors

Pass with Care:
- When passing, leave four feet between you and a cyclist
- Wait for safe road and traffic conditions before you pass
- Check over your shoulder before moving back

Watch for Children:
- Children on bicycles are often unpredictable
- Expect the unexpected and slow down
- Don't expect children to know traffic laws
- Because of their size children can be harder to see

Saturday, May 26, 2012

une des plus parfait tours de vélo dans Québec

A shortish/medium distance and 100% primo ride this afternoon. Starting the ride at 4:00 pm has some advantages in the sunshine department.

Park at bataille de le Chateauguay museum at Allan's Corners and ride south on Mtée Rocher, then west on rang Lemieux, Brooks sideroad and Covey hill, then: paradise occurs, and you ride mtée Rockburn sideroad until you're back at the Chateauguay river. Follow the river back westwards to the parking at the Museum.

Rockburn sideroad in late afternoon is one of Quebec's best roads for bike ridin'.

a "Best of" kind of ride in the Chateauguay Valley

We made a map on Bikely map service. Click here to enter paradise.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Riding the Mont Royal stairs

We did not actually ride the Mont Royal stairs. But we have been doing laps going up using leg power to conquer these 256 steps. These stairs go up the side of Mont Royal forest between Peel street entrance and the Chalet/downtown lookout up top.

These steps are working magic to our quest to use the "spring time is time to get into bike shape time" phase of the bike season.

These stairs are amazing.

These stairs are highly recommended.

One step at a time, two steps at a time, at a fast pace or slow, with recuperative pauses or without, with motivational tunes or encouraging buddies or without, but surely with the feeling that I have reached my maximum and must now pause. Repeat, and again and again until ten laps are completed.

Why is this good: Because doing the stairs will make having fun on the bike a lot easier. 

There is a bike stand at the bottom so you can ride there from Peel entrance or using Olmstead Road through the Mont Royal park and park the bike right at the bottom of the stairs.

Don't go thinking this is for the elites, because in fact it is for everybody. The variety of the people climbing these stairs is tres special and shows that it is an activity than anyone of any age or fitness or weight or gender or shoe size can perform.

Finally, don't forget to go up to the chalet/downtown lookout to enjoy the view: you have earned it.

We observe Montreal's worst cyclist - from a safe distance

On the commute home from work we were passes by a dude on a hybrid bike. Good for him we thought, since we were not in speed mode due to ten laps on the Mt Royal stairs last night.

Then we noticed the dude was doing pretty much the opposite of what a non-suicidal person would do when riding a bike.

  • blast at speed into intersections that had cars crossing directly in front of him (he skidded to a stop at the last second a few times)
  • blasting through red lights and through moving traffic directly in front of him
  • taking the shortest route is the only route which includes busy sidewalks and front yards
  • red lights with pedestrians crossing in front of him caused him to jump on the sidewalk and blast through the light on the sidewalk playing chicken with anyone on the sidewalk (T-intersection so the sidewalk had no street to cross)
  • And generally causing havoc and enemies every 30 seconds.
We all see him or his partners in crime (and the way he rode a bike is a nonstop crime)  all the time every day. Darwinism doesn't seem to be working fast enough to make the streets safe, imho.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Would you like some hills with your scenery? Think St-Jean-de-Matha, Ste-Emilie-de-l'Energie and Ste-Beatrix

Ahh summer.
This hilly ride in northern Lanaudiere is continuously fun and scenic.

leaving/arriving at town of St-Jean-de-Matha on top of that famous "little" hill on the edge of town.

sunshine, green, farms, forests, we love this ride

shift gears... and PEDAL! Then coast for miles and miles

This house in Lac Noire has its own miniature copy on the front lawn. This is just weird.

Bad bike rack (the "wheel bender" model) recycled into something actually useful

one of the closest fences yet to an actual pioneer-style wooden rail fence

translation: life is good and about to get even better

we rarely stop for scenery on the downhill, but we stopped here on chemin riviere blanche

riviere l'Assomption in full eau vive mode at parc des Chutes' Ste-Beatrix entrance

 Spot the St-Jean-de-Matha's church steeple.  View from near Ste-Beatrix across the l'Assomption valley

L'Assomption river at bridge to Rang Ste-Cecile

Chemin Belle Montagne sure is.  Going east we now turn left here and climb the little hill.

zoom, zoom, and zoom some more

bikes get a downhill warning: zoom zoom.

Summer weather: Ride, add water, and then ride some more.

Rang St-Guillaume is the usual hyper scenic end to this ride

Rang St-Guillaume also has this unchained and aggressive dog.On a slow steep uphill (yoinks).  The beast didn't cause any trouble, but likes to get really close, probably because cyclists smell really good and more than a little bit tasty!

Sunset on Rang St-Guillaume is obligatoire mes amis

the end of a beautiful hill ride on a beautiful day

Monday, May 21, 2012

5 Quebec bike path rides for nature loving cyclists

Here are 5 bike paths that nature-loving cyclists will enjoy.  They are not high-speed express style bike paths. They are relaxed, deep in the countryside, take a few scenic breaks and enjoy the beauty of nature kinds of rides. These are all relatively short drives from Montreal, and the La Voie Maritime bike path starts from Montreal - no car needed for this one - and id a ride that is easily done with a 3 pm start, for you crack-of-noon types (a great after-work ride too).  

P'tit train du Nord - start with the section Val David to Ste-Adele (this is the downhill direction) and then explore the entire 200km length of this incredible path.

Tomifobia Nature trail: Ayer's Cliff to Stanstead along Tomifobia river - this is a true jewel of a bike ride

Sherbrooke's Grande Fourches network: section North Hatley to Lennoxville along Massawippi river

La Montagnarde bike path (route verte #1) trail through Parc Orford's forests

Montreal/Rive-Sud's la Voie Maritime is in the middle of the St-Laurence river (literally). This is an awesome weekend picnic ride.

Lots more information about Quebec's bike path rides at the very extensive and all-new Route Verte website (français ici / english here). 

another hot sunny day in happy bike land

Sunshine!  Hot temperatures!  It's looking a lot like summer is here.

It's nice to replace the early season risk of freezing to death with the lesser risk to our mortality of getting a radiation burn from our sun's toxic rays.

Speaking of radiation, we've been reading about Marie Curie and her immensely well-deserved two Nobel prizes (Did you know that her daughter received a Nobel prize also? And that Otto Hahn shamefully and scandalously prevented Lise Meitner from receiving a well-deserved Nobel prize? But I digress.) Nothing to do with bikes, we're just saying that our understanding of radiation owes a lot to her and these other women and the fact that Marie Curie sacrificed her life learning about the mysteries of radioactivity and radiation before the dangers became well known, so put on your sunscreen and protect yourself from that dang dangerous solar radiation.

Our prescription for happiness and fun today is to get out and explore your city, your countryside, and try to have a (or another) "best day of the year." 

This involves turning off your computer, getting out of your chair, putting some air in your bike tires and getting out of the house. North, south, east west, it doesn't matter, just do it.

Do it!

(Note: this is post number 1500! - now we are taking our own advice and shutting off the computer and going outside and riding in some beautiful Quebec countryside)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

riding on Montreal's most scenic bike path: La Voie Maritime in the middle of the St-Laurence river

The best ride in the Montreal area is the Voie Maritime, aka the Saint Laurence Seaway. The bike path follows a narrow strip of land between the seaway canal and the river proper. It is car free, and the scenic and nature aspects are top of the line.

Getting there can be interesting, we took:
  1. Cross the river via Pont Jacques bridge, and
  2. Parc Drapeau: Ile Ste-Helene and Ile Notre Dame to St-Lambert locks (ecluse)
  3. Voie Maritime (15 km?) bike path (a couple of km are dirt, the rest is paved)
  4. until you arrive at the Parc Recreoparc at the ville Sainte-Catherine end of the bike path 
  5. The Recreoparc is an amazing riverside park along the Lachine Rapids, (ride to its end)
  6. Note that the Recreoparc now has a second location: Secteur de la Digue
  7. Ride back along the path, hopefully with the wind
  8. Cross the St-Laurence beside the Pont Champlain bridge on the "Estacade" ice bridge
  9. traverse the river, Nun's island, Verdun, north to the Lachine Canal bike path (going west along the river's edge Parc des Berges through Verdun and Lasalle is a very scenic "long way home" option, and also takes you to the Lachine Canal bike path)
  10. Lachine Canal bike path east to Old Montreal and the Vieux Port
  11. North into city on the Berri bike path

Map is not exactly today's ride, but you get the idea: cross to the middle of the river, and ride!

(sorry the pics are out of sequence, the Voie Maritime pics are after the urban parts of the ride)

look up: the invisible friend of the cyclist reveals its direction

returning though (and walking) Place Jacques Cartier, into the sunset

look up: City hall

look up: Admiral Nelson

Place Vauquelin is one of our favorite sunset locations in Montreal

look up: the Vauq himself

Montreal's only remaining city wall, from the early days when we were a fortified town (newly renovated)

Om, or being one with the sunset

Berri bike path's most dangerous section (coming up to Viger corner)
The amazing view from the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge sidewalk's lookout: a scenic spot on our top ten list of scenic spots

Obligatory Bucky dome pic

Part of the ride is on the track of Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Um, we cannot promise this will be a bug-free riding experience

We saw every type of rider (gender, age, family size, national origin, shoe size, etc) enjoying this amazing bike road

Montreal downtown and Mont Royal are close but far away

Impressive St-Laurence river and Lachine rapids and Mont Royal (see the Oratory Saint Joseph?)

Some of those rapids are house sized

even my shadow was having a good time

The very big Saint Laurence river from the "Estacade" ice bridge

And that big pile of very enjoyable bike riding was today's ride.

a few parked bikes

The wheels went for a ride and left the bike behind.

"We're free, we're free!" they sang as they rolled down atwater.  

We revisit Montreal's least safe bike rack.

Decorative arts are not found exclusively at the Montreal museum of fine arts

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Pictures from East Hereford mtn bike ride

Giant quartz rock. Definitely not an urban bike stand

Newest trail on the mountain

prettiest flower on the mountain

sleepiest rider on the mountain

biggest animal track on the mountain, this one's a moose fersure

heavy duty bridge on newly built and soon to be well-used Aguille

The view from Sapiniere is getting greener and yellower

Rang 9 uphill is the killerest uphill we know, and yet we do it again and again

East Hereford village from scenic Panorama trail

small sea of mountains
experiment with mood, lighting, and a dropped camelbak