Saturday, March 31, 2007

Giant Covey Hill-Chateauguay valley ride

Ormstown - south on Jamestown road & east on Tullochgorum road - south on Brysonville sideroad - past "The Rock" - south from Aubrey - to St-Chrysostome - to Havelock - to Concession 1, turn west here and the next 45 km follows along the US-Canada border on the first road north of border, until 2 km past Rt 138) - up Covey Hill - down in to Franklin and I took the busy and narrow route 202 west past Frnklin apple Orchard stores to - Concession 1 - Powerscourt- Rt 138 (near Trout River) - Ridge Road - Then east zigging zagging north of and parallel to Rt 138) - Dewittville - and back to Ormstown on the 138A.

Unusually for me, this a clockwise ride. I normally head west for the first leg, up the river, and then come back by covey hill. This time I warmed up with a tailwind.

Summary: 130 km spring ride, great roads (many newly resurfaced), great views from Covey Hill and the Ridge Road, powerscourt covered bridge (pont Percy), and I had great energy all day, including the big climb from Havelock to the top of Covey hill.

Lots of new terrain, the ride back via ridge road and various roads east from this point were all impressive: interesting, views, curvey, good road quality, all this adds up to... a great ride!

A really great ride, one of the best I've done.

In the amazing department: I saw ten thousand goose take off, and thousands more in the sky. Wow.

The road quality was frequently excellent, the road along the border is mainly BRAND NEW! There were very few bad sections of pavement.

This was about a 6 hour ride with a few short breaks, no big breaks, no food except a chocomilk in St-Chrysostome. Got home 30 minutes after sunset.

A great ride, I really had a great day. The only cyclists I saw was a pack about to descend Covey hill towards Havelock, just as I hit the top of the climb. Here is someone from Velomag discussing why Covey Hill is his favorite Monteregie ride (hint: a hill!) The Covey Hill note is at the bottom of the page.

Another good reason to visit here is the "cafe panaramique" just before the last steepest section at the top of Covey Hill. This is the best view in southern Quebec. On a clear day of course. I could see Jay Sutton, Pinnacle, Deux Montagnes, Mont Royal, the Montregienne hills, and more down into Vermont. Amazing 270 degree vista from Rigaud, the st-laurence river valley, the Richelieu river valley, and the Champlain basin.

The ride west-to-east along "the ridge road: north of Huntingdon was also superb. Excellent views of the foothills and northern peaks of the Adirondacks in New York State. The Adirondacks are part of the Canadian Shield, and not part of the Appalachian chain, a common error I hear frequently.

A note about spring riding. With the leaves still missing the views are better, and it reveals the landscape that would otherwise be hidden. So it's good to ride in all seasons!

Bike Paths open 12 months...

Montreal bike paths are opening tomorrow, and today's Saturday La Press has an article about keeping bike paths open for use a full 12 months a year.

Yes, this means all through winter.

La Presse coverage of urban cycling is generally excellent. Last year they had many good articles to promote urban cycling as a transportation alternative. Montrealers have the choice of walking, bicycle, Transit (bus/Metro), and the car. All are useful methods of getting around, and I use them all, in the same order as I write them. The bicycle is the preferable method for medium distance and maximum flexibility.

Here is the La Presse article on the pressure to open Montreal area bike paths year-round. Click here. OK, the article isn't on their website (yet) but it should be there soon. Until then, here's a link to their Cyberpresse search engine, search for the word cyclables or vélos and get out and ride!

Friday, March 30, 2007

Tour de Charlevoix

You know I like hills. You know I like exploring Quebec. You know by now that Quebec has lots of great riding at all levels, and has lots of top-quality hilly and mountainous road rides.

I found another great one.

The Tour de Charlevoix.

East of Quebec city, starting in Baie St-Paul, this circuit goes up and down, right to the water, then up and around a mountain, completely around, and back to Baie-St-Paul.

It looks like lots of this-is-fun-and-we're-having-it climbing.

I have added this route to my season's list of big-climb rides to do. Woohoo!

Here is the website for the Club Cycliste de Charlevoix

Here is a bikely map of the basic circuit.

Pont Jacques Cartier Bridge open

The excellent Pont Jacques Cartier Bridge bike path/sidewalk from Montreal to the south shore is now open (since thursday). Initially it is the outbound traffic side that is open, but the inbound direction side will open early next week.

Now, can they please widen the sidewalk for the last 600 metres on the south shoer when the bridge touches ground and before it reaches the street. They didn't widen this section of the sidewalk when they re-did the bridge a few years ago.

Some signage and maps when cyclists arrive on the south shore would also be welcome.

On the bright side, they did widen 5 km of bridge sidewalk/bike path when they redid the bridge. It's really great, but we need to put pressure onthe powers-that-be to please finish the job.

Here's the press release announcing the re-opening of the bridge sidewalk.

Here's some action video of the Pont Jacques Cartier bike sidewalk.

Montreal Bike Paths open on April 1

Montreal area bike paths open on April 1 2007.

This means that we can have safer routes to travel through Montreal when we use our bikes.

This doesn't apply to the Rachel street bike path, which in my opinion is much too dangerous to be called a safer way for bikes to travel through Montreal.

Starting this year. bike paths are open another 30 days of the year, from April 1 to November 15. Happily this year they co-ordinated with the jacques Cartier bridge to reopen the bridge's bike/pedestrian sidewalk. This bridge takes you the 5 km from Montreal across the Saint Laurence river to the south shore, and many great places to ride and lots of great loop rides.

Enjoy 2007!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

My favorite Chateauguay Valley ride

Chateauguay Valley road ride map
(click map to view large version)

Map legend
Green Dots - Chateauguay Valley Complete
Red Dots - favorite short Chateauguay valley road ride (this blog post)
Purple (blue?) dots - tour de chateauguay river (Howick to Powerscourt)

I did my favorite short Chateauguay valley road ride again, this time it was my season opener for 2007.

This is Ormstown -- Dewittville -- Rockburn -- St-Antoine-Abbe -- The Rock (St-Pierre) -- Tullochgorum -- Ormstown.

The route: Go to CVR, (west of Ormstown on 138A) -> Dewittville -> turn left to Rockburn (all the way to concession 1), turn left, follow most southern road in Quebec, take Route 209 south uphill, turn (before US customs!) left on Covey Hill Road, after a few miles of new pavement, turn left at fork in road, on "Mtee" Covey Hill, turned right on Brooks, to 202 (right, and endure a mile of busy road), then left on 201 north downhill to St Antoine Abbe, at northern tip of town, turn right at gas station (north) then right on road that will turn north to the Rock/ Reserve ecologique Pins Rigide, continue downhill to St Pierre (where the headwind hit again), then I turned west (left to Tullochgorum road to Ormstown.

Weather was combo of spring perfect sunshine, and some headwind and cold cloudy. 60 km ride, this is an old favorite ride of mine, that takes you through numerous eco-zones.

Checking back, I did this ride as my season opener last year too. here's how I described it then: click here

Saturday, March 24, 2007

montreal bike paths 2007

We are promised big improvements in 2007, sort of under the breath, just wait for the announcement... Well we're waiting, and we've been waiting since the last batch of bike paths were installed in the early 90s. We got a taste last year with some improvements on the plateau, and I expect to see some sort of bike path through the new pine-parc interchange, I mean new pine-parc intersection. And a cross-downtown bike path. And more bike stands. And greater integration of bike path and transit system, maybe we will get bike paths added to the metro/bus maps? Hmmm?

Still, any improvement is a good thing, and we're ready for more. Make it easier to bike to work, and people will bike to work!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Montréal-Boston Tour

New pro-men's bike race set for early august from Montreal to Boston. 8 stages, lot o'hills.

Velo-News article

The race's website's news article on the race - mid march 2007

Friday, March 16, 2007

Quebec Cycling Clubs

Joining a cycling club is a great way to find a group to go bike riding with. Organized road rides are offered by all cycling clubs, to find one in your area visit Velo Mag's link to quebec cycling clubs.

Mont Megantic - Tour de Beauce

The climb up Mont Megantic in Parc Megantic is incredible. It's one of the biggest climbs in the east. Are you going there this year?

Some quotes about Beauce and Mont Megantic cycling:

"On Wednesday the riders face the longest stage of 180 kilometers, with three rated climbs, followed on Thursday by the feared Mont Megantic stage, which finishes at over 1100 meters, with an average gradient of over 12 percent for the last 5 kilometers." click here to read article
Tour de Beauce website

See video of the race stage-by-stage! Stage 3 is the climb.


Here's a web page with times for the Mont Megantic hill climb from the Club Cycliste de Sherbrooke.

Here's a link to a discussion of climbing Mont Megantic, and a followup comment with suggestions for other rides in the area. Let's Go!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Les Cedres Bike Ferry

I have learned that there is a bike ferry between Les Cedres (The Cedars) west of Montreal along (nearby) the Canal Soulanges bike path, The ferry connects with the Iles st-Timothé park and Valleyfield island. You can ride a loop back along the Beauharnois canal/St-Laurence seaway bike paths, and back through Valleyfield, possibly along the dams, to the canal soulanges again.

some hills to ride in 2007

Some of the hills I want to ride this year include
  • Jay Peak VT from Sutton QC
  • Whiteface memorial highway NY (toll road to summit)
  • Lac Sacacomie QC (this year bring a victim)
  • Parc Mont Megantic QC - killer toll road to summit
  • Kacamangus highway NH
  • Appalachian gap VT
  • Chemin Cyclist St-Donat QC (This road is now named Chemin de Nordet and is in Google Maps, and, sadly, NOT in Google Earth)
  • Rt 99 Duane NY to Lyon Mtn and Chateauguay NY

If any one has any ideas for good or great hill rides in the northeast, let me know with a comment.

Ride to live.. live to ride.

spring melt-a-thon... yuck!

Spring is here and the melting snow reveals... ugly stuff, best not touched with bare hands.

St-Laurent blvd remains under construction for waterworks, this is both good and bad for cyclists. Avoiding becoming fender food at road bottle necks--be aware!

Riding to work tomorrow (friday) on first post-winter commute. 1 day later than last year.

See below for the Third Annual Montreal Bike Path cleanup.