Monday, June 19, 2006

Corridor Aerobic

I visited the Laurentian's Corridor Aerobic bike path this weekend, after knowing about it since the 80s!

This bike path is a 56.4 km rails-to-trail bike path that goes between Morin Heights and St-Remi-d'Amherst. The section I rode (including the Beavan Lake road option) was estimated as 50km. (as loosely meaured using google earth).

I parked and started on the west side of Weir (km33), and headed from here to Arundel (worst section of the day, flat, sunny, hot, sandy, and beside the highway), I stopped for a map in Arundel and found a great one at the general store.

Just after Arundel the trail got much better--it left the road behind and entered the forest. I took the allez-retour 2 km side path to Huberdeau where I saw a zillion playboat kayakers, then the path followed along the Rouge river, crossing it via an ancient train bridge, then through the very scenic Gray Valley and I went as far as Rockway Valley road where the wooded double-track path had turned to road and I decided to turn around. It had been a bit of a grind getting here, with uphill (gentle, but uphill!) . Going back was faster, woohoo! Scenic views are great along here.

Riding back I took a break in Arundel to drink a chocolate milk for energy and repose a while in the searing summer heat. I found and checked out the old train station which is scenic and has a unusual steam engine made from an oil barrel, an oil tank, and milk cans, horseshoes and a variety of other iron things that are acting like a steam engine when ensembled together.

I had got an excellent map in the Arundel general store, "carte regionale Huberdeau Arundel regional map" which showed the region and the western half of the Corridor Aerobique. It also showed some suggested road bike ride routes that allowed me to skip the hideous section between Weir and Arundel by riding around Lac Beavan Lake. There was a big hill, but otherwise it far superior to the Weir to Arundel no-trees-and-loose-sand-right-beside-the-364-highway section.

When I arrived back at Weir it was too early to quit and I stil had some energy left in my legs, so I explored the trail to the east as far as km 26. The Corridor Aerobic trail is closed between Km 24 and km 25 due to a landowner-trail conflict situation. Let's hope this reaches the conflict resolution stage soon because this was a very nice section with a 5% 3 km climb, meaning sooner or later the downhill side will be enjoyed. I found this section very scenic and enjoyable.

Along here you can see the impressive overhanging cliff of Weir and the really BIG satellite dish built by Canadair back in the slow days of the 1970s after the big-defence-contracts era and before the current biz/regional jets era when they had to find other precision engineering work to keep busy.

Conclusion: Why did I wait so long to ride here? I should have come here years ago. It was scenic and mellow riding in forest with lots of trees, river, swimming holes, beavers, scenic vistas, towns, hilly-road bypasses, and in general a nice relaxed ride. All it needs are some steep and hilly mountain-bike side trails to make it perfect.

Note: I rode this on my wide-tired mountain bike, and it was the right bike choice, I would not not recommend this bike path for roady bikes.


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