I have perfected the best southern Quebec road-bike ride, with various distance options.
I have found the perfect road bike ride. It is not a hilly mountain ride, because that's a different thing. It's not just lowland flats, because that's boring. This ride combines scenic rural country road riding with a moderate hill climb in the middle, all of it on great roads: quiet with few cars, always scenic with mix of forests and farm fields, and almost always on good to very good quality asphalt.
The itinerary is
Section 1 : St-Bernard-de-Lacolle to top of Covey Hill
St-Bernard-de-Lacolle to new bridge on Covey Hill (above town of Franklin Centre)
St-Bernard-de-Lacolle /piste cyclable la paysan bike path /Chemin Hebert/Country roads near St-Chrysostome, Havelock, Franklin and finally chemin Brooks to top of Covey Hill. On a clear day Chemin Brooks has a view of Montreal from 80 km away. We stop at the bridge because it is scenic and a zen spot.
The Covey Hill bridge is the turnaround point - or the start for all longer-ride tours to the west
This bridge is where all the ride options start. You can return back to the start (by a the same route or a slightly different route), or head further west for whatever distance you want to ride or extra time you have in the day before sunset. Sunset time and remaining daylight is the constraint you need to decide what to do here.
The return from Covey Hill to St-Bernard-de-Lacolle via Chemin Moore
This section of the ride takes a slightly different route from the route we took to get here.
I use a different route to make the start of the ride a bit easier and less complicated and since it's on a bike path you can chat with buddies a bit more comfortable than on a road. The return simply takes a series of perfect roads for road-biking, including the funfest Chemin Moore. This direction also exploits the downhill trend of the landscape so it is speedy. Pure gravy!
All the optional circuits to the west will return to the Covey Hill bridge and will use the Chemin Moore route back to St-Bernard-de-Lacolle.
Section 2: West between Franklin/Covey Hill and Powerscourt
There's a bunch of excellent options in this section. Riding around Rockburn and Powerscourt is road bike paradise. In Powerscourt is QUebec's oldest covered bridge, built in 1863. It crosses the Chateauguay River. This region is called the Chateauguay Valley and don't you forget it!
This option adds one hour. It pure bike-ride perfection. Highly recommended. Either direction is good, I like clockwise. You could do even it both ways because it is that good. I usually do this version of the ride because I have just enough time extra to still get back in time for supper. So I often say to buddies, we can do this little extra section, one hour, and it's great riding." Then next time they tell me that want to do it again, so I know it's good.
There is a restaurant in Rockburn. Because this ride avoids towns and civilization, this is a chance for food without having to take a detour into a village.
Powerscourt allez-retour direct
Go west (one hour) direct out-and-back to Powerscourt & Quebec's oldest covered bridge.
You will be riding on First Concession. A few hundred metres south of here is the border with the USofA. It is a another great road for road-bike riding. No I am not bullshitting. THis ride overflows with great road-bike roads.
This version goes straight and does not use the Rockburn Loop (Although I suggest including the clockwise direction of the loop on the retour/return leg of the ride because it's a free downhill, and it's really good riding.
Powerscourt plus Rockburn Loop
Go west (2 hours) hour direct out-and-back to Powerscourt This version includes doing both directions of the Rockburn Loop separately on the allez and the retour parts of the ride.
Franklin > Montée Rockburn, Athelstan, Powerscourt
Franklin > Montée Rockburn, Athelstan, Elgin, Powerscourt
Franklin > Montée Rockburn, Chemin Gore, Gilmore Bridge, Elgin, Powerscourt
We'll finish this later. It's time to go outside.