Wednesday, May 30, 2007

TMR/Outremont Rockland road Overpass now legal for bicycles

the Rockland road TMR-Outremont overpass, aThe critical bicycle transportation link between south and east Montreal and north and west Montreal, is now legal for bicycles in both directions.

Previously, and for all known history, this overpass had a "No Bicycles" sign on the northbound direction. (They should put signs this big and visible on Prince Arthur pedestrian street where bicycles are banned, and the very discrete "Walk Your Bicycle" graphic signs are both hard to see and hard to interpret, and where police gleefully hand out $34 tickets.)

The safety problem that exists with the northbound lanes of overpass is that at the north end of the overpass the right lane is "Right-Turn-Only" and any bike riding in the far right side of the road can be hit by turning cars. At the north end it is important for bicycles to move into the middle of the road between the two lanes of northbound traffic. And to be aware of what the cars around you are doing, and are intending to do (i.e. defensive driving).

Previously to travel north cyclists were supoosed to use a wildly ill-conceived and impossible-to-do crossing of two opposite-direction traffic lanes without a ped crossing, in order to ride the bicycle on the sidewalk. ALso, there is a sidewalk on only one direction (typical suburban anti-pedestrian planning idiocy). Plus, when you use the sidewalk, at the north end there is the little problem of the end of the overpass: you are supposed to ride off the sidewalk into high-speed oncoming traffic.


My conclusion: this is a positive development for anyone using a bicycle to travel around the city--one of the best ways to travel. "Good Work" to who-ever the nameless bureaucrat who made this happen is.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Ste-Beatrix - Lanaudiere hill ride

Only one of these trucks has a driver!

The 17% hill was a new discovery. The road crosses a narrow river valley, so it's a downhill then uphill, and as a result there are two 17% hills side by side. You could do laps here for extra fun.

I made another great ride in the northern Lanaudiere on Sunday. That's the eastern Laurentians.

I got up and away early for a change, and was on the bike riding at 9:20. I wouldn't say that's a record, but I am a member of the crack-of-noon club.

I parked at Musée/Halte Louis Cyr Museum in St-Jean de Matha (acros from the hurch behind the municipal building. It starts with the little loop road on the east side of the 131, and then over the big hill of St-Catherine road to St-Emilie de l'Energie. This hill got steeper since the last time I rode it. THe view from the lookout on top of this hill knocked me out as usual. Or was it the climb?

I took the funroad Rang des feuilles de l'erable for the first tine this year. The uphill is a bit bombed out since last winter. I needs some repairs, but the damage is generally ride-around-able.

I tried the other end of the chemin belle montagne, but it was freshly graded dirt road after the first km. Unfortunately, this one km contains a 17% climb, Because I u-turned at the discovery of dirt road, I got to do it twice.

When I got to the real turnoff for chemin de belle montagne (at the Lau-Dan depaneur) I turned and rode to Ste-Beatrix. Along here the rain started. The rain that was supposed to be later in the day, I had hoped. Oops, I guess if I want to beat incoming weather, I need to head east (instead of north) for the day.

So from Ste-Beatrix I decided to ride the highway back to St-Jean de Matha. I had actually never done this little section, always taking Belle Montagne. It was a good highway for a while, with good shoulder. Then, back to crap road with no shoulder, and a crazy sick hill too. Aieee!

I took a detour to another entrance for the regional park on the river between St-Beatrix and St-J-de-la-M, this one had a good view of a gorge without having to pay the $6 admission. THis meant a stiff climb back up out of the river valley to the main road.

I got back to the car at about the 67 km mark, not much distance, but a lot of climbing. Gravity was my foe today.

Ride map:
Green Dots: main ride route
Red Dots - extra bonus hills - Enjoy! The last two ride downhill to the Parc Regional Chutes (waterfalls) park. THe one in the middle is an out and back ride with a 17% climb in both directions!

Ste-Martine ride

Saturday I parked at Ste-Martine Quebec and did a ride along the bike path to the west end, then to Howick, brysonville, Bataille de la chateauguay museum at Allan's Corners, then riverside cycling back to Ste-Martine and a perfect creme glace molle.

This ride touched two abandoned bridges. Also I took a side detour to Beauharnois, and rode back via the bike path between Beauharnois and Ste-Martine.

There were windy gusts that made the cycling upwind slow, but made the tailwind sections woohoo!

Map guide:
Blue dots - main Ride route

Red dots - tiny side excursions
Excusions, in ride sequence, are: 1) the abandoned riviere Anglais bridge acrross the road from the end of the bike path, 2) the Battle of the Chateauguay museum and drinking water fountains, and 3) the closed bridge across the Chateauguay at Howick/Georgetown church, and 4) the St-Laurence river at Beauharnois/Beauharnois hydro electric power station, and connects to the Seaway bike path and other paths going west to Valleyfield.

Green Dots: the nearby Beauharnois Canal bike path

Friday, May 25, 2007

Montreal's new Plan de Transport 2007

Montreal has a new transport plan to guide it for the next few years of urban development.

Surprisingly, the plan is enthusiastic about bicycles.

The map showing current and proposed bicycle paths reveals a plan to double the amount of bike path on Montreal island. The total amount of bike paths ("piste cyclables") will go from 400 km to 800 km.

This sounds like a lot, but it's not, and not nearly enough. We want more!

Decide for yourself, here's the link to downloading the plan de transport report (link).

Here's the link to the Ville De Montreal website for the transport plan (link).

Some good news: there will be a winter bike path network, the city will keep these paths clean for use by hardy winter cyclists.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Good bad and stupid Montreal bike paths

The Journal de Montreal reports on Velo Quebec's evaluation of the safety of various Montreal bike paths.

Under the title "Des Pistes Dangereux" the bike path design of various paths around Montreal is evaluated.

Most Montreal bike paths were built on a shoe-string two decades ago. There is an examination of various aspects of poor design and planning, and what can be described as "negative safety features" (Hydro poles in the bike path?!!!).

They found some paths that are excellent, and some that frankly, were a big hazard to the cyclist's life!

Here's the link to the complete article on Canoe. (link)

Here's the most dangerous paths:

Prix citron (lemon prize) for potentially dangerous cycle paths:
  • La piste cyclable dans le Vieux-Port, rue de la Commune (entre Berri et McGill), a été éliminée et les cyclistes doivent circuler parmi les piétons.
  • La piste cyclable sur Gouin, à l'ouest (entre Saint-Laurent et de l'Acadie) : la piste est parsemée de poteaux d'Hydro-Québec.
  • La piste cyclable sur Gouin, à l'est (après l'île de la Visitation) : la piste est parsemée de poteaux d'Hydro-Québec. (bis)...
  • La piste rue Christophe-Colomb, entre Jarry et Crémazie (Métropolitaine) : la piste est affreuse, mal entretenue, les blocs de pavé uni gênent les cyclistes car ils se sont déformés par l'action du gel et du dégel. Les piétons ne savent plus où se mettre pour éviter les cyclistes.
  • La ruelle entre Christophe-Colomb et Boyer, au sud de Jarry.
  • La piste cyclable toujours inachevée rue Rachel, à l'intersection de Papineau : les cyclistes continuent rue Rachel au lieu de prendre le détour proposé.
Ride safe!

New bike path - St-Henri to Parc des chutes d’Armagh

There is financing for a new bike path from the town of St-Henri to the Parc des chutes d’Armagh. This is more good news to make Quebec a paradise for cycling recreation.

CFIN-FM reports:

La réalisation du projet de piste cyclable entre St-Henri et le Parc des chutes d’Armagh, qui sera concrétisé grâce à l’annonce du gouvernement du Québec d’une aide de 1,9 millions de $, réjouit le président de Vélo Bellechasse, Steeve Lapointe, et sera selon lui, un bel attrait récréo-touristique pour le développement de la région.

L’organisation de la campagne de financement va bon train, car Québec contribue pour la moitié du projet qui s’élève à un montant total de 3,9 millions de $, les autres municipalités touchées et la MRC contribuant pour 40 % de l’investissement.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Montreal drivers

To my surprise, most drivers actually move over when passing a bike, this is good.

On the downside, the montreal driver intersection behaviour leaves a lot to be desired.

So that's a C+, ok but room for improvement.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Montreal to Chambly ride

Montreal to Chambly is a nice sunny afternoon ride.

I was exploring the route to Chambly, were there any changes to the route? What was the best part, what was the worst part? (hint my rear derailleur cable broke!)

The best part is arriving in Chambly, it has a lot to offer as a destination a couple of hours riding time from Montreal. Plus, it is close to Montreal, second the route is fairly direct, and along bike paths the entire way.

Here's the Chambly Canal. It has a bike path along it to St-Jean sur Richelieu, not far at all if you want a bit-further destination. You can follow it south all the way to New York City!

The coolest part is the spiral bike overpass!

The worst part was coming back along the 112/chemin chambly. It became extremely crappy once back in the south shore from the open countryside, I suggest you take the same bike out and back for this ride. You won't miss the 112, I can assure you.

Riding across the pont Jacques Bridge is always amazing, the views of Montreal are world class.

Crossing the Saint Laurence river - On Bike!

So you've discovered the Lachine Canal. And you've discovered the Les Berges path along the St-Laurence through Lasalle and Verdun.

Now it's time to cross the St-Laurence river... on bike!

You won't need a life jacket, there are 4 bridges with bicycle access for cycling trips from Montreal Island to the south shore.

These bridges are (written bilingually)

Pont Mercier bridge (not recommended) - from Lasalle to Kanawake/Chateauguay

Estacade ice bridge - from Ile des Soeurs (Nun's Island) to Seaway bike path, leading to Excluse St-Lambert locks at east end of Seaway bike path, and to Ecluses St-Catherine (and park) at west end of seaway bike path. Access to Nun's Island is either a) from Atwater on Lachine Canal or b) the east end of Les Berges bike path. The landmark here is the Canadian Tire store in Verdun.

Pont de la Concorde bridge from end of Lachine Canal to Parc Drapeau, Ile Notre Dame, & Excluse St-Lambert locks/Seaway bike path

Pont Jacques Cartier bridge from eastern downtown Montreal/Plateau Mont Royal to Longueuil.

I have written several articles on linking two of these bridges for a loop ride off and back on to the Island. Here are links for these articles:

Google search of my recent articles (link) on (mostly) crossong bridges

But google doesn't want to search last summers posts, so here are links to some blog posts of last summer on this topic

Montreal and its Bridges (link)

Take a Ferry to the South Shore (link)

a typically great 50 km local ride (link) <- Describes a cross-bridge loop ride

Heading south - We're going to the south shore (link)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Destination: Rideau Canal 175 years old

The impressive Rideau Canal celebrates 175 years of it's existence in 2007.

For cyclists, The Rideau Canal between Kingston and Ottawa in eastern Ontario offers few hills and lots of scenery. The website below suggest several Rideau Canal-based cycling routes.

Here is a web page offering Rideau Canal info (link), and here is that site's web page on cycling the Rideau Canal (link).

Thursday, May 17, 2007

400 km of new Montreal bike paths?

The mayor has announced a new transportation master plan for Montreal, which will include 400 km of new bicycle paths. This claim will double the amount of existing bicycle paths.
Ambitious but feasible, Montréal's first transportation plan is intended to serve as the backbone of economic and social development for the metropolis. These 21 projects include the creation of a tramway within the heart of the city, increased comfort and speed of public transit services, an eastern extension of the metro, the creation of 400 km of bike baths (doubling the size of the existing network) as well as the implementation of quartier verts, which are designed to improve the quality of life of citizens in different neighbourhoods. "Active and collective transportation will begin to offer advantages over the car," said André Lavallée. The transportation plan will, outside of these 21 projects, include a set of mid- and long-term initiatives.
I guess dirty bikes are a problem, but that's a lot of bike baths. OK, let's assume, for a moment, that they meant bike paths, and no one looked beyond the spell checker to make sure the correct words were chosen, and not just the wrong word was spelled correctly. (Do anglophones work for the city of, excuse me, Ville de Montreal? Highly unlikely!)

That's a lot of new bike paths. Can we see a map please?

Oh, maybe in June...

We're ready now. Remember us? The people, the citizens? We who pay the government's bills? Let's repeat: We're ready, NOW.

Transparent government? It would be a refreshing change.


I have tried, all weekend, to get the plan de transport document from the ville de Montreal website. But all weekend, the servers at ville de Montreal have been returning this helpful message:

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Montreal Reseau vélo metropolitain map

Sometimes searching the web turns up new nuggets of information.

Here's an example: the Velo Quebec website has an ancient (from 2002!) low-detail map of the "Reseau Velo Metropolitain" proposed Montreal region (37 different municipalities to coordinate!) bike path future network development. To it's credit, this map shows the entire region.

But this McGill site has a much more recent map of the Montreal "Reseau Velo Metropolitain" bike network (map link) showing some recent proposals for bike path improvements.

This map includes the long-desired path extension along the railroad tracks between the "reseau vert" path, past Marché Central, and north to the Pont Perry train bridge crossing off the island to Laval. (on the picture it is the dashed red line passing beside Parc Jarry)

This path is a major upgrade to the Montreal bike path network. You can easily see what a major link this path will create in the Montreal bicycle path network.

It is mainly an off-street path, making it a lot more relaxing and recreational than some of the more-common on-street paths.


The new plan de transport for Montreal has identified completing this trans-island path as one of Montreal's "green transport" goals to be completed in the next seven years. Seven years, that seems like a long time, but things move sloooooooowly in Montreal's bureaucracy. What exactly have they been doing for the last seven years?, CFM wonders.

Well, better late than never.

Start planning your Quebec cycling vacation

It's easy to get ready for summer - sit down and do a bit of rainy day web surfing to discover some new Quebec cycling destinations.

But where to start?

Montreal's La Presse newspaper today published the second in a series on Quebec cycling tourism. Written by André Désiront, this is great information on Quebec cycling tourism activities and our many regional destinations.

Quebec is a genuine bicycling paradise, and it is the cycling destination par excellence in eastern North America (Move over, Vermont!).

Whether it is a day trip, a bicycle touring holiday, or even a B&B to B&B ride along the Route Verte bike-path network, Quebec has you covered. And remember, a morning on the bike means a guilt-free big supper replenishing those many calories you burned on the bike.

The first La Presse article is here (link)
The second La Presse article is here (link)

The articles contain news, tourism information , ride suggestions, and web links on the following following Quebec tourist regions:
  • Cantons-de-l'Est
  • Montérégie
  • Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean
  • Centre-du-Québec
  • Chaudière-Appalaches
  • Région de Québec
  • En Outaouais
  • Abitibi-Témiscamingue
  • Bas-Saint-Laurent

These two articles are essential reading for anyone who wants an overview on Quebec cycling destinations. There will be another article in three weeks. Stay tuned!

Here's a quote from the first article:

De juin à août, une série d'événements marqueront l'inauguration de la Route verte, ce parcours cyclable de 4000 kilomètres, qui traverse 16 régions du Québec. Une série de manifestations sont prévues pendant les trois mois d'été pour souligner l'événement.

Le maître d'oeuvre du projet, Vélo Québec, a publié en 2006 une édition revue et réactualisée du Guide officiel de la Route verte. Il répertorie tous les tronçons du parcours à l'aide de 118 cartes. On peut le commander en ligne sur le site de Vélo Québec (

Mais les régions touristiques qui ont, elles aussi, participé à la mise en place de la Route (dans bien des cas, le parcours se confond avec des pistes déjà existantes, comme la Montérégiade, ou le Parc linéaire du Petit Train du Nord, par exemple) lancent de nouveaux circuits routiers ou inaugurent de nouvelles pistes à l'échelle locale. Voici quelques-unes des initiatives prises par quatre régions en matière de cyclisme. link to article

Here's a quote from the second article:

Le Québec cycliste est en ébullition. Les derniers travaux d'aménagement de la Route verte, qui sera inaugurée cet été, ont permis à plusieurs régions touristiques de se doter de nouveaux parcours et de nouvelles pistes cyclables.

Plusieurs d'entre elles publient maintenant des cartes répertoriant pistes et circuits. Voici trois semaines, nous présentions les nouveautés vélo dans quatre régions touristiques du Québec.

Nous poursuivons, cette semaine, en signalant quelques nouveautés et plusieurs parcours intéressants dans cinq autres régions. link to article

1000 new bike parkings in Downtown Montreal

The new parking meter system in Montreal has meant the removal of the traditional parking meter, with it's solid post and top-mounted meter, which was a great thing to lock one's bike to.

The new central meter with the sleek parking-spot-i.d. post has meant no more parking meters to lock the bike to.

Le Devoir (link) reports that the Ville Marie burrough (downtown montreal district) has announced that they will install 1000 new posts with integral bike parking mounts.

The design will probably be similar to the ones in the photo above. It's not clear if these ultra-stylish posts located in the cite internationale district will be the chosen design or not. But the concept will be similar.

The city says that this will bring the total number of bike parking positions in downtown to 2000.

L'arrondissement Ville-Marie installera 1000 nouveaux supports à vélos sur son territoire au cours des prochaines semaines. On fera ainsi passer le nombre de places de stationnements pour bicyclettes à 2000.

Ces nouveaux supports à vélos seront installés directement sur la tige des panonceaux qui servent à indiquer les numéros de places des stationnements dans les rues. On retrouve ces panonceaux dans l'arrondissement Ville-Marie. Une variante de ce support sera installée le long de la nouvelle piste cyclable du boulevard de Maisonneuve. Il s'agit d'un anneau en acier d'un diamètre de 22,8 cm et d'une épaisseur de 3,2 cm. Le positionnement du support a été étudié afin de permettre le verrouillage du cadre et de la roue avant du vélo. Chaque support permet d'accueillir et de maintenir debout deux vélos. Ces supports seront installés en permanence, pour les quatre saisons. «Il s'agit d'une première étape», a par ailleurs assuré le maire de l'arrondissement, Benoit Labonté.

-Le Devoir (link)

Pont Jacques Cartier bridge - Links to Montreal and Longueuil Bike Paths - Major Improvements Needed

You would assume that the bike path/sidewalk on the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge (PJC) is linked to bike paths on either side of the St-Laurence river.

You'd be half right.

But, as my teachers used to say, there's room for improvement. In this case, LOTS of room for improvement.

Let's start with the Montreal side of the bridge. The bridge is connected to the Rene Levesque bike path, near the radio-canada/cbc building. (Note - all discussion refers to the western sidewalk on the bridge). But what about other directions, are there logical and clear links to other popular nearby bike paths?

For anyone coming from another direction, including the very popular and populated Plateau Mont Royal area (the Rachel bike path and the Berri-Cherrier-Brebeuf bike path at Parc Lafontaine is going to have to look long and hard to find directions to the Pont Jaques Cartier. In fact these directions and links don't exist. This despite the bridge being less than one mile from the nerve centre of Quebec Cycling at the Maison de Velo home of Velo Quebec, at the intersection of the Rachel and axis north bike paths.

For the record, to get to the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge, From Sherbrooke street go south on Champlain at east side of Hopital Notre Dame (NOTE: for access from Rachel bike path, you need to know that north of rue Sherbrooke, rue Champlain is named Marquette). GO south past rue Ontario, to Lafontaine street (yes, this is confusing), turn left (east) and you arrive at Papineau, which you must cross to get to the entrance to the PJC bridge bike path/sidewalk.

Crossing Papineau is a two-step process, first cross Papineau to the traffic island, then wait ten minutes for the car-first street light to give you the 20 second crosswalk priority light to cross the north-direction traffic (essentially this is a high traffic access street to PJC bridge). THen you are on the bumpiest sidewalk in Montreal for a couple of hundred metres and you arrive, alive and surviving the Papineau challenge, at the bridge.

Recommendation #1 - Paint bike route markings on the street and install signage to link the Rachel bike path and the Cherrier section of the north/south bike path Axis to the Champlain street/Lafontaine street access to the Pont Jacques Bridge.

Recommendation #2 - build a bike/pedestrian access overpass/bridge across Papineau to connect Lafontaine street to the sidewalk access of the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge.

Once you finally reach it, the sidewalk/bike path on the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge is a glorious, amazing thing. It remains one of the great success stories of Montreal cycling infrasturcture. It's 8 feet wide, and has incredible views of Montreal's downtown and Mont Royal park mountain backdrop.

The sidewalk also has the jail-like cage nature of a prison due to an anti-suicide barrier fence that was installed "after-the-fact" of the sidewalk reconstruction. I don't have a problem with taking action to stop bridge jumpers, I once saw a man lying dead on the ground under the bridge, and this shocking sight would make anyone think there must be a way to stop people from suicide.

Happily, crossing the bridge on bicycle is a uniformly excellent experience. The views are great!

The bridge crosses, and provides access to, the prime recreational real estate of Parc Jean Drapeau. This area was the Expo 67 site - the islands of Ile Ste-Helene and Ile Notre Dame. The bridge continues over the St-Laurence Seaway, and it touches ground again on the south shore. This is where the next (few) problems lie.

If you want to understand what the bridge sidewalk was like before the new, wider reconstruction, ariving back on land provides stark evidence. The sidewalk goes from the wide and safe, with room for multiple users (i.e. bikes in two directions plus pedestrians) to exactly 1.5 bikes wide, yes, 4 feet wide. One bike must stop to permit the other bike to pass.

What's going on here? Did they just, oh, forget to finish the job? No budget to complete what would be the cheap and easy on-ground part of the bike path improvement? Is this just not part of the "legal" definition of the bridge, and therefore the ever-popular bureaucratic shout of "not my department" was yelled at planning meetings? Did anyone phone Longueuil and say, "Hi there, we need to finish the sidewalk expansion of the Pont Jacques Cartier on the south shore part of the bridge, can we get together and talk?"

Apparently none of that happened, it was just forgotten about. So you arrive back on ground (to another "worlds's bumpiest sidewalk bike path") but at least it takes you back to street level in Longueuil.

Recommendation #3 - widen the bike path sidewalk and improve the sidewalk surface to the same standard as the bridge bike path/sidewalk for the location from where the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge arrives on ground on the South Shore to where the sidewalk reaches street level at Boulevard Lafayette in Longueuil.

OK, we're at street level, there are signs telling us where to go? Direction south to join the Route Verte #1 to Chambly (and beyond). Direction west to join the bike path along the south shore along the river, to cross back to Montreal via Parc Drapeau at the St-Lambert locks (ecluses) or the Estacade ice bridge to Nun's island?

Well, you'd think that some signs would be there to inform first-time bridge crossers about their next direction to take. But you can look all you want for maps, signs or bike path markings on the roads, but don't take too much time, because I can tell you that no maps, direction signs, or bike path connections exist here.

Recommendation #4 - Connect the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge sidewalk/bike path at Lafayette street in the following two directions: A) west to to the Tiffin bike path, and B) south to the bike path on Lasalle to Route Verte path to Chambly. Install maps and direction signs.

Once these 4 recommendations are implemented the bicycle access between the south shore and Montreal island across the Jacques Cartier bridge will be consistently high quality.

This will require a combination of linkages to existing bike paths, (signage and bike path markings on road surface), and a pedestrian/bicycle bridge-overpass over the high-traffic Papineau street access to the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge bike path/sidewalk from Lafontaine street.

Map Key
RED DOTS - Improved Bike Path Connections Needed
BLUE DOTS - existing bike paths

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Bike Bell

I got a bike bell today for my city bike "Rusty."

Bike bells are a good way to let people know you are coming up behind them and would they please take up only half the road please?

I got a drrrring bell, not the simpler "single Ding" bell.

Nothing says "Hi there" in a friendly way better than a bike bell. And we all need to be friendly to each others, to make the world a better place. (Well, a little bit better place, anyway)

Locks and locking your bike

I bought another kryptonite evolution lock today, my third with the improved flat key lock.

Good quality U-Locks are cheap insurance.

For the record, virtually all cable locks are easily cut in about 4 seconds. All cheap U-locks are easily defeated by even a half-brained bike thief.

I like using multiple quality locks. Lately I bought some big chain locks. Combined with a good u-lock, I think this is a fairly solid bike locking system. OK, it weight about ten pounds, but it's for at home and in-car use.

Having had two excellent bikes and a unicycle (my beloved Semcycle 24 inch) stolen, I now take more effort to keep the bikes locked well.

Apple blossom ride

There are several parts of the local "Monteregie" region that are known for fields of apple trees. Covey hill is one such place.

The upcoming holiday weekend (dollard day/Victoria Day) should see the peak of apple blossom activity.

This is an incredible visual experience. Do not miss it!

A great ride would be Hemmingford to Franklin/Rockburn along the US/Canada Border on the first concession road. Another good ride would be Ormstown - Covey Hill - Rockburn - Dewittville - Ormstown.

Here is the map of the 80 km/three hour ride I did last weekend. This goes through much of the good apple tree area.

Key Directions (not guaranteed accurate)
201 south from IGA in Ormstown
500 m turn left - east - on isabelle,
100 metres - turn south on Jamestown rd,
left on Tullochgorum (east) to Bryson, left/south along the Rock,
all the way and around the corner then first road south after the corner
to 209 est, take it east to Rang Lemieux (which turns west) , to 202
202 est (no shoulders) to Stevenson (uphill) to Covey hill road. Turn right, west,
continue west to T at Dorea, turn north/downhill,
turn west on first concession
west a while to to Rennie
Rennie to 202 (no shoulders), where you go west,
then turn at Herdman north ( right) towards Huntingdon,
take right Gore rd to Dewittville side road,
left to Dewittville,
at dewittville, right turn (east towards Ormstown) and don't cross bridge,
go east on fairview (south side of river) to 138A in sight of Ormstown,
turn right & go one km east to Ormstown

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Long days of summer

It might feel like spring, but the long days of summer have arrived.

With sunsets after 8 pm for the next 4 months, there is plenty of time for after work epics, and after supper outdoor activities.

I used to frame summer as St-Jean Baptiste day to Labour Day, but the long days phase of the annual cycle arrive in May.

So I suggest that we all get out and enjoy the outside world, on bikes preferably. Some time spent riding now will get your legs into shape and make escapades later in ther summer (i.e. during vacation) much easier, which means more fun!

Sunscreen 2007

Summer weather has more-or-less arrived, so this week I bought my 2007 supply of sunscreen SPF30.

I have been using spray sunscreen for a couple of years. It's non-greasy and easy to apply.

I picked up an economy size one for general use and for the pre-ride applicaton, and a smaller sport-size that is compact sized to fit in the already-well-packed Camelbak. I hope the containers are durable because I plan to refill the small one. This largely means not losing the bottle cap!

Sunscreen is important, so remember to reapply often. Fun is the sun is good for the body and mind, but bad for the skin. The sun is a giant nuclear reactor, and it's rays are not completely user-friendly.

Ahhh, summer.

Southwest Quebec - Le Suroit 2007 cycling maps

What's a Suroit? I'm not sure but it defines the region of Quebec upriver (west) of Montreal. It includes the region of the Chateauguay Valley, the "Haut St-Laurent" (Valleyfield/Coteau), Vaudreuil-Soulanges, and up to Rigaud/Hudson. It's a quiet region on the doorstep of Montreal.

Here's some 2007 info you can use for your visit.
Come visit today.

The 2007 printed tourist guide to the Suroit has several good bike maps inside. There are maps of both on-road cycling circuits (6 circuits), and a map of the bike-path (piste cyclable) network in the region(many good locations). For vélo lovers, it's a bit of heaven close to Montreal.

Here is the link to the downloadable pdf maps page of the Suroit tourism website. I always appreciate when a tourism website includes good downloadable maps. (link) This page includes the cycling maps. (Yes!)

The website (english link) offers maps, an introduction to the multiple regions of the Suroit, brochures you can order for free, and will help you plan a visit to this beautiful and close-to-Montreal region.
The Suroît: an exceptional cycling destination...
Whether you are an amateur of cycling trails or an enthusiast of on road cycling networks, the Suroît region will have something to please you. Close to 100 kilometres of cycling trails and more than 350 kilometres of on road cycling networks await you! Moments of pure escape guaranteed!
Here is the link to the cycling information page. (Link)

Here is the paragraph from the website describing the on-road circuits:

Those who wish to get out of the beaten tracks can explore the vast backcountry land by choosing among one of our six proposed routes. Located in the Vaudreuil-Soulanges area, the Mill Cycling Network (Tour of the island of Ile-Perrot: 29 km), the Mountain Cycling Network (on Mont-Rigaud: 61 km) and the Cageux Cycling Network (alongside the Outaouais River on 53 km) are all very well marked by directional signage. At the other end of the Region, in the Haut-Saint-Laurent, the Border Cycling Network (located at the most southwestern point of Quebec: 75 km), the Valley Cycling Network (alongside the Châteauguay River on 79 km) as well as the Covey Hill Cycling Network (traverses orchards and maple groves in the foothills of the Adirondacks on 69 km) all offer a real change of scenery.
In other Chateauguay Valley news, the regional IGA shopping mall in Ormstown (intersection of Rt 138 and Rt 201) has a "remote" tourist office/kiosk with brochures (with cycling maps) and phone to the main tourist Suroit office located indoors in front of the drugstore.

In the Mall parking lot you will also find a new outside sign/kiosk with multiple thematic maps. This sign is located in front of the drugstore entrance to the Mall. Good work tourist office! Make Ormstown your destination, park the car, and spend a few hours riding in heaven....

There is also a tourist office in Ste-Martine along the Rt 138 (western end of town) where the same information is available.

You can also combine cycling with canoeing along the chateauguay river. This is a great family adventure. Here is Kayak Safari in Huntingdon link.

For a good away-from-roads bike path, try the Canal Soulanges, a beautiful paved bike path along the old Canal Soulanges beside the St-Laurence river from Pointe aux Cascades (check out the free outdoor anchor museum here) past Valleyfield and to the end of the canal at Coteau du Lac, (the canal ends but the path continues west to the Ontario border). At the western end of the canal at Coteau de Lac get some snacks or food and then take a break at the lakeside Government dock (quai). You can also take a bike ferry (Link) (another link with photo) at Les Cedres to Parc iles Ste-Timothé. You can do a loop on bike paths west to valleyfield and across the Langlois bridge back to the Soulanges path.

The Mercier bridge is undergoing preparation for major reconstruction. There may be weekend traffic jams. You may wish to take the pont Champlain bridge or travel by the west island and Valleyfield. This advice is particularly relevent for returning back to Montreal after your ride.

I still don't know what a Suroit is, but I know it's a fine place to ride a bicycle.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Home from work... Get out and Ride!

That's what I'm doing and so should you.

french link VASY
less fun english link VASY

No ideas? Ride here.

Repairs needed to Christophe Colomb Path

The main North-south bike path runs along Christophe-Colomb between Cremazie and Jarry.

It is the worst section of Bike Path in all of Montreal. There are plenty of bad roads, but this is definitely the worst bike path. No one thought this out when it was built, they just painted some lines on the sidewalk, without any sort of safety or other assessment to the condition of the resulting path. Bump bumpity bump bump bump bumpBUMP ostie!

A mix of asphalt, brick, and concrete "decorating" driveway entrances, it is one bumpy, potholed P.O.S. mess.

The Villeray burrough city council had some visits by a cyclist. This person deserves a prize for making the elected representatives aware of the terrible condition of this section of one of the main bike transportation corridors in Montreal.

This cyclist believes that the new path on de Masonneuve boulevard in downtown sets a good example to how this section needing repair could be fixed.
Effet de montagnes russes causé par les entrées charretières, piste et trottoir qui se confondent, engendrant des conflits piéton/vélo : on se demande qui a accouché d'un pareil concept.
Here's a link to the article (link).

Whenever you find a bike path in need of repair, call city hall, it's their job to fix it.

Outremont announces cycling path network

Outremont has announced a network of bicycle paths forming a circuit.

The bike paths (pistes cyclable) will be painted on the pavement, forming bike lanes on the road. This is called chaussées désignées in french. (UPDATE: these markings are now painted on the streets). The principle is to let drivers and cyclists SHARE the same street.

Here is a link to the news article (link). Click on the photos link ("voir tout les photos") to see a picture of the bicycle path map. (map link)

The city will also add 155 bike new parking spots, and commented that they have tripled the number of bike parking spots since 2001.

The bike path and parking are steps 1 and 2, step 3 is to integrate the Outremont network into the Ville de Montreal network.

I have a suggestion concerning integrating Outremont into a cuty-wide bike path network. We need (1) a north-west bike axis along the north side of Mt Royal along Cote Ste-Catherine Road from Mt Royal avenue to to Decarie blvd, with (2) a link north-west through Outremont across the Rockland overpass to Jean Talon and (3) from there north-west through VMR/TMR along Graham street to (4) St-Croix street in Ville St-Laurent.

The city will be presenting bike safety information to school children this month. The city wants to remind everyone that children learn by following the example of their parents: so always obey the traffic rules, it's the smart thing to do.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cycling the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve

Gilles Villeneuve was a Quebecois, and a great race car driver who raced for Ferrari.


Until he died. Montreal has a race track named after him on Ile Notre Dame island in the St-laurence river. Along with Ile Ste-Helene they make up Parc Drapeau. This was originally the site of Montreal's Expo 67 world fair.

You can get here by bike path along the Pont de la Concorde (a.k.a. the road to the Casino). This is close to Old Montreal and the vieux Porte and Lachine Canal, but the bike connection signs and links are very poorly indicated (bike path from vieux porte to Casino road was closed in the past couple of years because of one unsafe sport - so bureaucreats "solved" the problem by closing the path, nice work bureaucreats - NOT!) . Happily Mill street from the Old Montreal/Vieux porte to the bike path's entrance in the Harbour has been completely repaved - now it needs "chausée designée" (bike lanes) painted on the road.

You can also take the Pont Jacques Cartier (via Ile ste-Helene).

The race track is the site of Montreal's Formula One Grand Prix race. It is also a great place to ride your bike. Cyclists from all over converge here to ride on perfect pavement. Some time themselves, to compare their lap time to the laptimes recorded in the F1 race.

I did an under 7 minute lap. It was a good way to fill in an hour on Friday night.

The west end of Ile Notre Dame island also connects at ("ecluse") St-Lambert locks to the south shore--here you can also take the seaway bike path to the Estacade ice bridge and back to Montreal via Ile des Soeurs (Nun's island).

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Lanaudiere - Some spring hills

Lanaudiere is the eastern Laurentians. The bike riding is excellent. It is a cyclists dream.

I parked at-Jean de Matha, headed for St-Emilie de L'Energie, then to St-Come, stopped for a soft ice cream, then retraced a couple of km and headed to St-Alphonse Rodriguez, and next to St Beatrix. Here I turned on chemin St-Cecille, then chemin de Belle Montage, a great high valley. Then I arrived at Depaneur Lau-Dan, and back to St-Jean de Matha.

80 km ride. 4 hours approx. Lots of hills and great scenery.

There are still traces of snow.

Here is the route: the green dots indicate the shorter ride option by turning in St-Emilie on to Chemin de feuilles d'Erables (at very bottom of big hill). The blue dots are today's ride.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Sunshine - all weekend long!

Last weekend was rainy, so with sun this weekend, it's time to head over a bridge into a quebec region... or two.

There are so many great places to cycle in Quebec, the hard part is choosing which one. We are going out this weekend to places near and far. north and south, flat and hilly.

I was thinking to ride across the US border around Lyon Mountain (south of Chateaugay New York). The US border is surprisingly close to Montreal. And the Adirondack mountains start right at the border too.

I think we have a plan. Now, I need a map.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

More new paths to come?

After the big announcement of the trans-downtown bike path (it only took them 20 years to build) there was a teaser today in La Presse saying that there will be "more announcements" to come.

This could be interesting, and hopefully useful, for cyclists.

As Dario Fo said, "Get out and ride your bike."

Well he didn't say that, but I am sure he'd agree.