Friday, April 21, 2017

The classic Chateauguay Valley (Haut-St-Laurent) road ride

The Chateauguay Valley southwest of Montreal (aka Haut St-Laurent) has very nice roads for biking. I think the classic ride is this one.

I encourage you to stop and have a scenic break at every bridge across the Chateauguay river.

The ride is triangle shaped. It starts in Ormstown then follows the chateauguay river all the way to the US border. Then it goes straight east along the US border. Then it returns to the chateauguay river on the road LaPresse called the best bike road in Quebec.

First stop is the hamlet of Dewittville (scenic bridge) to Huntingdon (2 scenic bridges) and then the road & river turn south towards USA you'll see mountains in New York State south of Malone.

The map says cross Gilmore bridge. This is a closed-to-cars-bridge and is a great rest stop. Crossing this bridge takes you into the rural municipality of Elgin. The bakery is only open friday until 6 pm/Saturday until 3 pm. (Shortcut: Note that you could go direct to Powerscourt from Gilmore bridge on the road you were on from Huntingdon)

The covered bridge across the Chateauguay river at Powerscourt is Quebec's oldest covered bridge. Nuff said!

You will have noticed that the ride up until to this point (from Ormstown to Powerscourt) was very good bike riding. I would like to make it known that for me, from this point it is bike paradise.

From Powerscourt you go straight east on First Concession road, then you turn left and have a lovely descent (zoomy, then mellow) back to the Chateauguay river through apple orchards, maple forests, and farm/forest mix. (Shortcut: turn north  on Montée Rockburn from the First Concession. However the map version is only a couple miles longer, and adds a heck of lot of good riding into this little corner of the ride.)

You will eventually arrive at Dewittville, turn right and head back for the final leg of the ride to Ormstown along the Chateauguay river. Try to spot the century-old giant cottonwood trees. They are tall!

Tips: a good regional map, washrooms, full retail services and parking are all available at the IGA mall in Ormstown at corner of Routes 138 & 201. There is a hospital in Ormstown with an emergency room. To get to Ormstown take pont mercier/Rt 138 or B) take Autoroute 30 to Rt 138 at Chateauguay, then drive west to Ormstown. You can also come via Valleyfield. (You cannot cross bridges from valleyfield south to Ormstown on bike.)

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Springtime - three easy rides near Montreal with smooth clean dry quiet & scenic roads

Springtime is when I ride my favorite easy rides. Too long, too hilly, too far, those are bad things.

Spring means finding rides that are
  • start close to montreal
  • roads are dry not wet
  • roads that are clean not dirty
  • Roads that are smooth and not crapfest
  • Roads that are not full of cars
  • Roads that have lots of scenic variety
For me the first destination is Ormstown. Rides south and west of Ormstown are textbook perfect spring rides (and also perfect for summer and autumn).

The first two rides follow the Chateauguay river to Huntingdon and then upriver south to
 the covered brige at Powerscourt. It's quebec's oldest covered bridge!

You can always just ride the same route back to ormstown, or as on the first ride, take a direct route back. The second ride takes the longer route back, but adds the section along the US border and dewittville sideroad (actually called Monté Rockburn), two of the best roads in Quebec for road bike.

For rides starting in Ormstown, there are maps in the mall at the tourist kiosk located beside the pharmacy & SAQ.

#1 The first ride is the shortest: Ormstown-Powerscourt 55 km

#2 Ormstown>Huntingdon >Powerscourt>Rockburn>Stevensons orchard - it is a bit longer with all the deluxe features including Boulangerie Elgin & Verger Stevensons Orchard downhill.

Same but with direct return shortcut to Ormstown instead of Dewittville sideroad because sometimes buddies are not in shape for the last 1/3 of the ride.

#3 The other ride has an even easier car trip to the starting point at St-Bernard-de-Lacole (exit 11 on Autoroute 15 Sud, starts on bike path and then on country roads.  St-Bernard-de-Lacolle to Franklin

This is a shorter version: Shorter Lacolle-Franklin

Rides 3 and 2 can be combined into a fabulous longer ride. I recommend starting at St-Bernard for this epic length and top-quality road ride.