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).


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