Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Our bike store? ABC

We have a nice choice of bike shops near us, and we use ABC Bicycles for most of our needs. We also shop at Yeti and Gervais Rioux, pignons sur rue (?), Performance (but we liked the old store better), and yes even the small-local-shop-killer evilbigbox Mountain Equipment Co-op (but we stopped buying shorts there).

In the avoid department, we stopped shopping at Velo Villeneuve after they lost the wheel we took in to get rebuilt, and didn't offer us ANY sort of compensation.

25th DefiSportif - cycling competitions for the adapted athlete

It is a fact that we able-bodied people don't know how lucky we are.

Not everyone has a fully functioning body.

But the limitless capability of the human spirit shows that there is no limit to the possibilities to the pursuit of human performance (or just good old athletic fun), even for people who are physically challenged, for example having no use of their legs.

To see what we mean, go to one of the events at the 25th Defisportif this weekend in Montreal.

You will see people with (what we would ignorantly call) major physical challenges, but these people overcome these challenges and are racing at levels of the dedicated competitive/professional athlete. And probably faster than we could do it!

As we said, and we believe and we have seen with our own eyes, there is no limit to what the human spirit can accomplish, either mentally or physically.

Anyone who thinks that people with mobility limitations can't do things that regular people can do, well, are just plain wrong. The human animal is a marvel of adaptation, and we can adapt to just about anything.

Cycling, and cycling related activities will be held at the Circuit gilles villeneuve and Centre claude robillard.

Please visit www.defisportif.com for more information.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lanaudiere - continuing explorations in the northeast section

Northern Lanaudiere, hills, forests, farms, chalets, and hills!

Long time readers know our obsession with the excellent scenery, backroads, and hills of the Lanaudiere region northeast of Montreal (think: eastern Laurentians). It's not too far from the city, the road quality is usually very good, and the traffic to come back home is generally trouble-free.

We visited on Sunday for a 90 km ride expanding a bit on our Best-ever-Lanaudiere-ride of last year. Specifically, we explored some backroads between St-Jean de Matha and St-Damien.

The result was excellent! over 1100 metres of climbing, and don't forget our reason for enduring the climbing: there's 1100 metres of descending too!

We touched much of our favorite sections of the region on this ride, and again, they were definitely excellent. There were many other cyclists out on the back roads of this region, in fact more than we have ever seen before!

Although we skipped a potential southern half to this ride, we will return later in the season to combine it all together for a ride that tours all around St-Jean de Matha (our parking spot of choice). This is a route with numerous bail-out points to return to the car in case one has had enough hills for one day!)

Here is the bikely map to this ride. Please note that the western section (Ste-Beatrix) loops south and then north.

Bikely map for this spring hill-climb Lanaudiere ride

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Montreal region bike path network map

Many people visit Cycle Fun Montreal with a google search for the "montreal bike path map." Here is the link to the current montreal bike path network.

If you are interested in commuting by bike, Montreal's downtown transportation management centre website offers you many tips on safe and effective commuting. This is also a useful website for doing any sort of urban riding, explorations, adventure, etc. in Montreal.

This website also offers some tours you can do to visit Montreal on bike. Get out and explore your city!

P'tit Train du Nord - Gratuit (free!)

The P'tit train du Nord 200 km laurentian bicycle path will no linger be charging a daily or seasonal fee for bicycle use.

This path, one of the finest bike paths in Quebec, was noticing that the fee both annoyed and deterred users from healthy exercise, as well it prevented the path from receiving gov't money for maintenance.

This path has a rockdust surface from St-Jerome to Labelle (just north of Tremblant - the southern 90km), and is paved with asphalt from Labelle north to Mont Laurier (northern 110 km). It follows the rail line used by skiers for decades. It's transformation into a bike path has created one of the jewels of Quebec bike path cycling.

Many of the villages have restored train stations and are quite charming, and have useful and assorted local services. (museums, restaurants, bike shops or rentals, etc)

Our favorite section (and a good first visit) is Ste-Adele to Val David and back (downhill!) to Ste-Adele (or for a slightly longer ride start at Prevost), but since this is claimed to be Canada's longest linear park, there are lots of nice sections. We have done all of the path in different visits over the years, and you should visit all parts of this path and make up your own mind!

Please note that the rock-dust-portion of the path does not open until it is completely dried, and this date is the Victoria day (patriotes holiday in french) in late may. The paved sections are open when the snow is gone, which may be now.

The official website is at Laurentians tourism office, and the P'tit Train du Nord guidebook is available at all access points of the path. But if it is your first time you might want to stop at an official tourism office on the autoroute north to be sure to have one with you. This guidebook is really useful, and has excellent maps (including how to get to the path from the autoroute-useful info indeed!) and info on available services at different stops along the path.

The autobus company petittraindunord specializes in transporting luggage and users to different locations along the bike path. Their website has useful info including map. For those interested in doing the complete path in a multi-day bicycle trip (this is a trip that is accessible to all ages and expertise levels), then you should use this service!

The New York Times featured a three-day bike ride along this park in a travel feature last year. Click here to read it. If the article photo is any indication, this is a great destination for all ages!

Note: You can bike to the path from Montreal on the Route Verte. The section from Laval to Blainville is a bit indirect, but we are informed that this will be improved as 2008 progresses. From Blainville there is a paved path all the way to St-Jerome (also newly free this year).

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The after-work Estacade and Seaway ride

Over the mountain and across the river on the Estacade

A good after work ride is to ride to the bike path along the strip of land between the St-Laurence river and the St-Laurence seaway, I call it the seaway bike path.

Once you get there, there are no cars. It is flat. The air is maritime. it is a great place to bike.

Getting there involves some choices, I like to ride over Mt Royal to take Atwater and the Estacade at nun's island (ile des soeurs), and come back by Ile-Notre-Dame and Ile St-Helene and the pont Jacques Cartier bridge.

Either access point can be done as an out-and-back ride, you can also ride south on the seaway bike path for a long car-less ride, to St-Catherine locks, this is highly recommended if you haver the time.

Going there via the mountain and Atwater is a bit death-defying so a safer, all-bike-path alternative is to take the Route Verte #1 from the Lachine canal/Old Montreal, to Parc Drapeau and at Ile Notre Dame's western tip you arive on the seaway at ecluse St-Lambert locks.

This is typically a 90 minute ride for us.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Pedaling In Montreal, a dangerous sport

Pedaling In Montreal, a dangerous sport. says La Presse newspaper in a report on Montreal's 2007 road safety statistics.

Here's the numbers for cyclists in 2007:

  • 4 cyclists died
  • 27 cyclists were gravely injured
  • 766 Cyclists light injuries
That's almost 800 cyclists, and there were also 1513 pedestrians injured. And those were only the reported injuries, we are sure that there were many unreported injuries, so that's a lot of people who had their day, summer, or life ruined.

Here's the list of things you can get a ticket for, because they are dangerous to both the cyclist and the people they can injure.

  • Riding on the sidewalk
  • Riding against the traffic (i.e. the wrong side of the road)
  • Riding while drunk
  • Riding side-by-side (always ride single file)
  • Riding without the required visibility equipment (reflectors/lights)
  • Carrying a passenger
  • Riding with a music player (not legal, and not smart!)
It's not a legal requirement, but wearing a helmet in the city is an act of displaying sanity. In the 28 years of wearing a helmet, I can say that I only needed it once. But since we cannot predict when that one-second-oh-my-god-aieeeeeee-of-our-life will occur, so we always wear a helmet when we ride our bicycle. And from our experience, it can happen within 2 minutes of home, so we wear helmets for really short trips too.

Back to the article, the report continues to say that other forms of road safety have improved over the last decade. But cycling accidents have not improved. Why?

Partly the network of bicycle paths has not been improved over the last decade (note: after a decade of neglect, the city has begun improving the network starting in 2007, and this should improve things in the near future)

Partly, the number of cyclists has increased each year. With gasoline at record prices, the increase in people using bicycles as their daily transportation vehicle will probably continue.

But with increased numbers of bicyclists, there is a certain number who don't know or respect any "rules of the road." These people are a hazard to the rest of us. We have witnessed every form of dangerous riding possible, but most of them stem from one simple act: taking a shortcut, and trying to save a minute of red light, or ten seconds of stopping at a stop sign, not walking when you reach the sidewalk of the destination. Don't ride on the sidewalk, please, NEVER!

We always stop and wait at busy red lights. Sometimes this is hard, when it is empty and we can see there are no cars or pedestrians.

In 2008 we are following the principle of YIELDING to other road users at stop signs and red lights. The person who was there first gets the priority, and we let them go first. Pedestrians have the highest priority: and it is not cool to play chicken with people on foot. This also surprises the people walking and makes them happy. It feels good to make someone happy, so I always yield to pedestrians, and we share this freshly created happiness.

Life is good, summer weather is appearing, and Montreal is a fun and great place to live, work, and ride a bike.

Let's make 2008 the year when we all try to ride a little safer, ok?

Here's the start to the article, and you can read the whole thing here on their Cyberpresse website (link). We recommend La Presse for it's excellent journalism and local news coverage.

Pédaler à Montréal, un sport dangereux

Catherine Handfield

La Presse

La saison du vélo s’ouvre sur une mise en garde cette année. Alors que le bilan routier à Montréal s’améliore pour les automobilistes et les piétons, les cyclistes victimes d’accidents sont toujours aussi nombreux, selon les chiffres compilés pour La Presse.

En 2007, 797 cyclistes ont été blessés dans des collisions avec des véhicules dans l’île de Montréal, selon les rapports colligés par le SPVM. Ce total, qui englobe les blessures mineures, graves et fatales, frôle la moyenne des cinq dernières années, qui s’établit à 804 victimes.

Les cyclistes ont tout à envier aux automobilistes et aux piétons. Montréal compte 15% moins de victimes automobilistes en 2007 que la moyenne des cinq dernières années, selon le bilan de la Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec. Et du côté des piétons, on note une amélioration de 10%, avec un total de 1513 victimes en 2007.

Infrastructures insuffisantes

Comment expliquer l’absence de progrès chez les cyclistes?

«Il y a plus de cyclistes sur nos routes, mais les infrastructures n’ont pas suivi, répond le directeur des relations publiques de Vélo Québec, Patrick Howe. Ça fait près de 20 ans que le réseau cyclable n’a pratiquement pas évolué.»

Aujourd’hui, 110 000 Montréalais utilisent le vélo comme principal moyen de transport, selon Vélo Québec. Et ils se partagent 400 km de voies cyclables rarement connectées les unes aux autres.

«L’un de nos objectifs est de doubler les voies cyclables en sept ans, de les améliorer et d’assurer la continuité du réseau», répond le responsable de l’aménagement urbain et du transport collectif à la Ville, André Lavallée. Il précise que le Plan de transport sera adopté dans les prochaines semaines et qu’il y aura d’importantes annonces.

Au SPVM, le commandant Daniel Touchette, du module Sécurité routière et Circulation, promet des opérations de sensibilisation. L’an dernier, les policiers ont émis 1884 contraventions aux cyclistes, comparativement à 8907 aux piétons.

Arrondissements plus risqués

Les accidents impliquant des cyclistes varient d’un arrondissement à l’autre, selon une étude de la Direction de la santé publique de Montréal publiée en 2005.

Entre 1999 et 2003, près de 30% des accidents qui ont nécessité l’appel d’une ambulance se sont produits dans Ville-Marie–Centre-Sud et dans le Plateau-Mont-Royal.

Les intersections particulièrement dangereuses? L’angle Du Parc et Mont-Royal, et l’angle Viger et Berri, où se situe d’ailleurs une piste cyclable.

We have always noticed the immense danger of the Berri-Viger intersection, but we are surprised that Parc and Mt-Royal is dangerous, so we went and took a look.


Great cycling in the Chateauguay Valley, a mere 50 km southwest of Montréal

Yes, it was time to take our own advice and go for a spring ride along the Chateauguay river in the beautiful Chateauguay Valley.

We started at the IGA mall in Ormstown (intersection of 102 and 138 highways), where maps are available inside at the tourist kiosk and there is a map billboard outside the mall in the parking lot (near the pharmacy entrance).

We rode along the Rt 138A to Dewittville, crossed the river and continued upriver to Huntingdon, took a little detour to main-street, and then back on the south side of the river to Athlelstan and Powerscourt. We stopped in Athlestan at the dep (resto also available here) and picked up snacks to eat at the covered bridge in Powerscourt. This is the only covered bridge in the region and is the oldest covered bridge in Quebec.

We sat in the sun on the concrete "deck" on the east side of the bridge for lunch. A fantastic spot.

Then we headed east along the First Concession. This parallels the US-Canada border and is the most southern road in Quebec.

We took this (with a couple of zigzags) past Dorea and Canada Customs until the Mtee Covey Hill (direction Franklin), where we headed north, and, before reaching Franklin, took Brooks side road (east) downhill to the Rt 202. Brooks side road has excellent views of the St-Laurence and of Montreal in the distance.

Then it was a short ride on the busy and shoulderless Rt 202, and then downhill on the Rt 201 to St-Antoine-Abbé. We stopped at the bakery for some cookies, and a little break. Then it was turn north at the church (check the funky architecture on the priest's house), north past the Esso (cheapest gas in quebec due to lower gas taxes at border regions), across the 201 and turn right at the T-intersection.

Do not be tempted to take Rt 201 to Ormstown, despite the fact the Monteregie Road Cycling Map includes it a bicycle-route!!!!!! This is a very busy, narrow and shoulder-less highway. You will die.

Instead we are going to take the road to the local geological attraction we call "The Rock" on chemin de Rocher. Essentially the last glacier took all the dirt away and left behind the bedrock. This unusual natural feature should be a park. We stopped here for a break. The riding partner (victim?) was getting a bit tired on his first ride of the year!

From here you continue north, and can shortcut back to Ormstown on the Tullochgorum road. Or, do as we did, and continue to the Rt 1238, go to Allan's Corners (1 km of highway), then cross the bridge over the Chateauguay river (yes, we're back to the river!) and return to Ormstown along the River road on the north side of the river. This takes you past the Ormstown fairgrounds (the fair is during first week of june) and downtown Ormstown.

Back at the car you will find that you have done almost 80 km, a good early season ride.

Here is the link to the google map of the route.

IMPORTANT: Parts of this ride pass apple orchards on Covey hill, and in a couple of weeks the apple trees will blossom, this could be one of the most beautiful moments in your life!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Spring flatland ride - Ormstown!

Spring meals we cycling types like to get out on the open road, and in the spring, we look for flat land rides, in places where the option to go longer or shorter is easily available. An ideal location for this is the Ormstown-Huntingdon area along the Chateauguay River up tp Powerscourt, and along the US-Canada border.

We have one important suggestion: avoid the numbered highways, and we mean especially the Rt 138 and 201. These do not have shoulders, and are not safe for bikes. Both of these have quiet back roads paralleling these highways, across the river for the Rt 138, and at Dewittville or Alan's corners for the Rt 201.

If you enter the word Ormstown in the search box above, you will get maps and ride reports for this area from our visits here in the past.

Have a great 2008 everybody!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Les Amis de la Montagne hold consultation on mountain biking development in Parc Mont Royal

The plan, not publicly available yet, considers constructing a mountain bike trail in the hidden and forgotten little part of Mont royal park between Camillien Houde and Mont Royal Avenue.

Other sites in the city being considered for a mountain bike trail include the Falaise St-Jacques, the Miron quarry (eco parc surely?), and even parc maisonneuve, although that last one is a bit flat and manicured for any thing resembling off-road cycling!

Although these possible sites were discussed and users were invited to give their opinions during this consultation, there was no publicly availably timeline or budget.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

A trip to the South Shore and the famous spiral overpass

The Longueuil spiral bike overpass - a key bicycle transportation link

We took an after-work ride across the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge to Longueuil and went as far as the spiral overpass that crosses the railroad tracks. On the other side of the overpass is the bike path to St-Hubert and Chambly, a great after-work destination and an excellent weekend day trip for anyone.

Certain parts of this ride were excellent, but one part that isn't is the section of Route Verte bike path that connects the Spiral Overpass to the streets in Longueuil. It is a dirt/rockdust bike path and has all the worst characteristics that a rockdust path can have: deep ruts, deep footprint holes, wet sections, soft sections that cause your front wheel to sink or otherwise make bike riding dangerous. It's less than a kilometre, but it's one of the worst kilometers of bike path in Quebec.

'Nuff said; it needs to be fixed. Happily, the section of bike path just north of it that connects it to the street is freshly rebuilt, so I have hope that this section will be rebuilt also. Because this is an excellent ride and overall the bike path is excellent.


In other news, this is the 400th Cycle Fun Montreal blog post. (And we're about to get visitor #5000)


Cycling is fun, Montreal is fun, Blogging... is sorta fun.

Anyway, We've had a huge amount of fun in our lives riding around on bicycles and we hope you have enjoyed reading some of the stories and adventures we have had.

We are a firm believer that riding bicycles is a good thing for the planet, a good thing for our physical and mental well being, and is the most fun you can have with your clothes on. (And the bicycle is a BETTER invention than sliced bread.)

Oh, and we believe that Montreal and the province of Quebec are one of the best places to go for a bicycle ride, trip, vacation... as long as it's not winter!

For those of you from far away, today Wednesday April 16, is about the FIRST REALLY WARM DAY OF SPRING!

Tomorrow: shorts for the first time.

Woohoo! Spring is here, winter is gone, life is great!

The dirty chain blues

I had a nasty incident yesterday, I was riding Rusty, a bike which has some minor derailleur issues.

Typically the chain slips off the derailleur idler wheel, but this time it was it's other bad habit: it dropped off the gears in the back, in between the gears and the frame. There it gets jammed in that tight spot, and I have to release the wheel to make a bit of extra space so I can grab it and put it back on to the gears. Yes, this means touching the chain, and since Rusty is the rain and bad weather bike, the chain is best-in-class in the dirty greasy chain department.

Lucky for me it fell off close enough to work that I could walk the rest of the way.

But I still had to deal with it after work, and I didn't have the wrench for the wheel bolt (stupid V-V bike shop replaced my old quick-release-equipped wheel with one with bolts--and that's not all, they also lost my old wheel!) but I was able to use small vice-grips (is there anything they won't do?) to loosen the wheel nut and I got the chain back on the gears.

But the collateral damage was a pair of extremely greasy hands. So I came back inside the plant and went to a shop washroom and used the grit-super-hand-cleaner and the hands were perfectly clean after a minute or two, excellent! There are advantages working in manufacturing!

Of course, now I have the Rusty toolbag in my backpack which has the wheel wrench tool and rubber gloves for these incidents in future... because there will be more I am certain.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Gazoo launches a bike blog

The Montreal Gazette, our local english-language paper, has launched a bike blog, written by Kate Molleson.

While I think that the car dealers that keep the gazette afloat with their ads might be surprised, it is nice to see cycling coming into the mainstream.

Go Kate Go!

Here's the link to the Gazette's "On Two Wheels" bike blog.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Chicago's Rapid Trasit Cycleshop blog

We recommend you head upriver from Montreal, all the way to Chicago, and read the ChicagoBikeBlog from the Rapid Transit Cycleshop.

It has some good reading on different aspects the whole cycling thing. And not yer old elite racer thing, but practical stuff for everybody.

Highly recommended.


True Story: We were at the Oratoire St-Joseph Oratory one beautiful summer day enjoying the excellent views to the west in the late day sunset period. An asian couple who were clearly foreign tourists came next to us and also enjoyed the view. I turned to the man, pointed to the west and said, "Chicago."

He looked, then looked at me and said "Chicago, USA."

I looked back at him, nodding my head affirmatively, and said "Chicago, USA."

To this day we wonder if he got back in his car with his wife and said, "Let's go see Chicago, this man told me it's right over there.

New parking posts for bikes

little posts

Big posts

Bikes are finally getting some respect, which means parking posts are popping up everywhere. Well, everywhere but on "new" st-laurent boulevard.

Here's some examples of bike parking in Montreal.

Montreal bike paths open this week!

Yes, this is the week that Montreal bike paths officially open.

Get your helmets and get ready to leave your car at home until next winter.

Letter to a friend april 2008

Not too cold and sometimes sunny (more more!)

The cycling season so far:

Week one explorations: the end (and beyond!) of Mtl island
week two explorations - the end (and beyond!) of Laval island
week three explorations - civilization's-end in northern lanaudiere (NE of Montreal)

So Sunday drove and parked car in snow-covered parking lot (uh-oh) at Louis Cyr Museum and tourist info office in St-Jean de Matha and started out on my standard northern Lanaudiere (aka eastern laurentians) ride.

Arriving in parking lot - winter wonderland? Uh-oh

I decided I would explore a certain unknown over-the-wild-hills back road connecting the two highway-filled valleys (outposts of civilization surely). usually my head is hanging down and tongue dragging on ground cuz of effort and as a result I never actually see the road signs (this is a sad truth), but today I made the effort and kept an eye open for a paved side road that looked like a real road, and not one of those cul-de-sacs into a real estate project.

To my surprise, I actually found the side road on schedule (I had ridden past it a dozen times previously without ever noticing it) and turned off from the dry clean road onto a sand-covered steep hill with lots of icky wet. The road appeared to be paved under the sand. Based on this I decided that this was the good road and continued.

A map would have been... helpful, but was not essential. Challenge and Adversity build character, they say. Adversity included headwind, freezing temperatures, intense snow flurries, bike-eating potholes, sand and mud covered climbs, sand and mud covered descents (Aieee!), flooding creeks, mysterious backroad sugar shacks, wild dogs, geese, pigs, bears, crows, horses, moose, elevated risk of deers, snowbound-farmers, ice-fisherman, snowmobilers, but no other cyclists.

All sorts of hazards were present

This sort of early-season ride sort of defines hardcore (or insanity, take your pick).

Anyway, I survived the back road connector exploration with neither wipeouts, breakdowns, wrong turns, or night spent huddled beside a fire listening to the howl of the wolves.

The village I was aiming for, St-Damien, came up on schedule. As did the snowstorm. I spent the next hour riding into the wind, with added snow flurries, at times intense.


This was not fun. But the kilometres rolled by and the town got closer and closer.

I was happy to reach the next village of Ste-Emelie de l'Energie where the ride takes a left turn: both out of the wind and into the direction of home. On the other hand, this road had a 16% hill. I grunted and grinded my way up it. I have taken it many times before and know what to expect: a great descent once the top is reached. Zooomoom wooohoooo!

it is a nice descent here, plus you are back in the sunshine, especially nice this time of year. This is actually a great descent. One of my favorites.

The only problem was that despite the expolrations and adversity of climate, the total distance was pathetic - a mere 54 km and I wanted to make at least 60 (and preferably more like 100, but that fantasy would wait for warmer weather). At the mid point of this descent I have the option of a turn right to a very pretty valley leading away from the car (the longest version of this ride is like a four-leaf-clover, there are sort of 4 lobes away from a central point. I essentially had done the first two lobes. But today I was cold, tired and definitely beat and it was cold and the car was the closest destination. .

But there was conflict. I wanted a semi-respectable total distance for the day's ride, and 60 km seemed like it was the minumum for that. I knew this region had a regional park along a scenic section of the Assomption river, and I knew that at the edge of the village where my car was parked was a nice descent into the river valley, so I descended to the park entrance and then climbed out again and got my 8 extra km and ended the day with a minor sense of accomplishment (survival surely).

Winter was the scenic theme - Fresh Ski-Doo tracks at upper right!

For a first hill ride it made me think that I need to practice a bit (a bit? more like a heck of a lot) more before I am king of the mountain, a classification that isn't really my skill, my skill is selecting hard hilly rides, not necessarily conquering them, but merely surviving them, a motivation aided by my joy at encountering the anti-hills, aka the descents! WOHOO!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Northern Lanaudiere exploration 2008

First Lanaudiere ride of 2008, and third week of new-road explorations too.
route map of the ride is on Bikely.

Do you have the fever?

The fever to get out and ride?

To get out and ride some place that isn't on Montreal island?

To visit some place you know is great for bicycle riding?

Cycle Fun Montreal knows how you feel. We have the cure too.

Fever cured; and the open road was clean and dry

We headed out to our fav destination, St-Jean-de-Matha in the northern Lanaudiere, about an hour 20 minutes from Montreal, and the site of many of our favorite rides.

First problem, we park the car in a parking lot with fresh snow on the ground. Hmmm. The roads were dry. So, we figure, don't worry be happy. It worked!

Winter had not yet left northern Lanaudiere

So we got on the bikes and rode, and everything turned out ok. There were some dry roads, wet roads, sandy roads, wet and sandy roads, good roads, and lots of hills. And it snowed, but just little flurries, not anything that accumulated or caused us any trouble at all. Just some minor spring-very-early-season adversity.

Our rides here continue to be a source of exploration.

Today's exploration was an over-the hills shortcut to St-Damien. This turned out ok, and it was... extra hilly too. The was expected, and what was hoped was that it was all asphalt, which it was. A nice little option for future rides, we concluded.

We took Lac Mondor -> ch. de Cascade-> Principal to get to St-Damien (de Brandon).

Scenic new roads: spring melt means summer is coming!

Once in St-Damien we headed out to St-Emilie de l'Energie, and then back on Feuille de l'erable/riviere blanche (same road, good climb) and directly back to St-Jean de Matha.

Almost directly, that is, because we were close to St-Jean-de-Matha when we noticed we would not have 60 km of distance. We sould have less than 60 km. Hmmm, our achievement/ambition gland indicated that we had better raise the ride distance to 60 km.

Slightly amused horses watching our extra 8 km descent/climb

Luckily there is a fun little road at the entrance to St-Jean de Matha, it leads down to the Regional Park on the riviere Assomption, so we got one last climb and an extra 8 km of distance. This took our total nicely over 60 km, It doesn't sound like much, but there is significant hillage on rides in this area: this is why we keep returning here!

Louis Cyr welcoming me back to St-Jean-de-la-Matha

Here's the link to the route map of the ride on Bikely.

Returning for a dropped glove... the other one is the little dot 100 feet further.
Spring roads are sometimes not perfect!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The fruits of Quebec's deep-rooted bicycling culture

If you can believe that title, then the Canadian Press has a bicycle vacation for you!

Cycling enthusiasts saddle up to take in southern Quebec

Apr 4, 2008

MONTREAL — From craggy cliffs overlooking the St. Lawrence River to knobby cobblestones in Old Montreal, southern Quebec's geography and history can be seen from the saddle of a bike.

With more than 4,000 kilometres of bike trails, Quebec boasts the largest cycling network in the Americas, said Patrick Howe of Velo Quebec, a non-profit group that has promoted cycling in the province for 40 years.

"We now have a cycling identity, especially in Montreal," said Howe.

Travellers from around the continent are taking advantage of the fruits of Quebec's deep-rooted bicycling culture.

The Route verte - or Green Route - snakes along paved shoulders, quiet rural roads and old railway beds, cutting through more than 320 municipalities in Quebec.

Inaugurated last August, the Route verte was recently named the top cycling route in the world by the National Geographic Society.

With trails that lead bicyclists below shady forest canopies, along breezy coastal terrain and through the bustle of cities, its strength is diversity, said Howe.

"Each time I take my bike and head out on the Route verte I discover new corners of Quebec," he said.

Velo Quebec, which offers guided bike-touring packages around the province, will lead a troop of some 2,000 cyclists from across North America on its 15th annual Grand Tour in August.

The Grand Tour traces a new multi-day route each summer for bicycling enthusiasts of all skill levels.

Quebec's wealth of bike trails has also attracted interest from American tour operators.

Classic Adventures, based in Hamlin, N.Y., offers cycling travel packages to Greece, Austria and Germany, but Quebec has remained a top destination for about 20 years, said Mike Prohaska, a guide with the company.

"It gives them a taste of France without having to take a big plane ride," Prohaska said.

"We get that kind of old-world flavour in most places, a lot of French cuisine and excellent lodging."

He said the recreational tours, which serve cyclists of all ages from across the U.S. and Canada, stick mainly to low-traffic, secondary roads along the Route verte.

"They've been really popular over the years," he said. "We really love the cycling in Quebec."

Howe, meanwhile, said Montreal is no longer just a summer mecca for shoppers, foodies and festival-goers - it has become a cycling destination in its own right.

Once the snow melts - or even through the dead of winter for the zealous - the city becomes a hub of bicycle activity.

"It's huge," he said. "It's part of the image of Montreal."

Cyclists tackle Mont Royal for the sweeping views of the city's skyline and cruise the banks of the historic 14.5-kilometre Lachine Canal.

To celebrate their pedalling passion, Velo Quebec hosts the week-long Montreal Bike Fest, which kicks off May 25.

The festival includes an inter-city cycling competition, a nighttime ride through downtown Montreal and the annual Tour de l'Ile 50-kilometre race, where some 30,000 cyclists jockey for position on traffic-less streets.

Howe said the city plans to double Montreal's existing 350-kilometre biking network over the next seven years.

"Quebecers love to cycle and they demand more and more paths," he said. "And the more paths, the more Quebec cyclists we'll have."

If you go . . .

On the web: www.velo.qc.ca, for information on the Route verte, Montreal Bike Fest and the Grand Tour; www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/qc/canallachine/index-e.asp, Lachine Canal.

Montreal to rent bicycles for short trips

Montreal is planning to rent bicycles for short urban trips this year.

The price will be inexpensive for 30 minutes or less, and quickly get more expensive for longer trips... Does it come as any surprise that this pricing model is designed by Stationnement de Montreal, the parking meter rip-off agency?

You can read more here.

City plans bike-rental network

René Bruemmer
The Gazette

Friday, April 11, 2008

Montreal wants to become the first city in North America to introduce a widespread public bicycle rental system.

Based on similar, popular projects in European cities like Paris and Berlin, the system would see hundreds of stations holding several bicycles each that users could pick up for jaunts through the city. The bikes would be dropped off at another station, for a modest fee.

The emphasis would be on short trips of about 30 minutes, to ensure a rapid turnover of bicycles so that some will always be accessible, said Roger Plamondon, chairman of the board of Stationnement de Montréal, the company overseeing the project.

After 30 minutes, "prices would rise exponentially," Plamondon said. The company is conducting focus groups to determine what fees it should charge for usage.

Engineers are working on a bicycle design suitable for Montreal's harsh winters and hilly terrain, courtesy of Mount Royal. The bikes will also have to have unique components that aren't compatible with conventional bicycles, to deter theft.

The company is planning to introduce 40 bikes in September at three or four stations that will travel around the city "so people can try them out, as a sort of laboratory," Plamondon said.

By summer 2009, the goal is to have 2,500 bicycles at 300 stations in the Ville Marie, Plateau Mont Royal and Rosemont/Petite Patrie boroughs.

"That will be Stage 1, and we'll adjust according to demand," Plamondon said. "It will, I think, answer a need that's out there for short-term commuting without using a car."

In Paris, the system has grown to 16,000 bicycles and is extremely popular, Plamondon said.


Friday, April 11, 2008

A ride to Olympic Stadium

Spaceship Stade Olympique

Tonight we took a little trip to the stade Olympique, Montreal stadium from the 1976 Montreal summer Olympics.

Following up on our never-ending urge to explore the world, preferably on-bike, we combined the two and rode east on Van Horne and Rosemont over to the Stade Olympique/Olympic stadium.

To start, Van Horne transforms into quite a non-urban overpass (one of those relics of the 60s urban planning where "the car comes first" was the development mindset of urban planning). The overpass has a good side: there is a sidewalk and the views of the mountain from here are excellent. It's worth a look. Also, you can get this view from boul. St-Laurent, look for the stairs when you pass Bernard and head under the overpass and nearby rail tracks.

View from Van Horne overpass

Rosemont passed easily enough (you can do this route east on bike path if you take St-Zotique street). We stopped at all the red lights, as is the CFM plan for 2008. As is becoming common, people were surprised! Eventually we reached as far east as the Olympic stadium and we turned south in order to cross Parc Maisonneuve and the underpass under Sherbrooke to the Stade itself.

Parc Maisonneuve has a bunch of paved paths, and some of these were mildly barricaded because the water in low parts was 2-4 inches deep, easy to cross on bike. I took a direct route through the park and when I was within sight of the exit I turned to the direct route and discovered what looked like a little lake on the path. The water gradually got deeper and at first I pedaled, then I pushed the bike with one foot on the snow bank, but before I knew it the wheel and bottom bracket bearings were underwater. This is highly not good for bikes! So we stopped and pulled the bike out of the water and tried to walk on the snow.

Fat chance.

Warm weather had made the snow soft and bottomless. Bottomless until you hit ground. Before you hit ground you discovered that under the snow was a foot of water-soaked snow, so it was like walking in waterlogged slush covered in a foot of snow.

Not. Pleasant. At. All.

Since this was not just cold and miserable, but also very hard to walk through, I decided to walk on the path itself, at least it was cleared of snow, if full of water. But since my feet were now wet, it didn't make much difference I thought.

So I started to walk on the path.

The water got deeper. I kept walking.

The water kept getting deeper. I kept walking.

Eventually it was mid-thigh deep. Oh, we thought, this is going to a great story tomorrow, but today it's not so great at all.

A few inches more and family jewels would be submerged, and the bike shorts pad would become soaked in icy water.

But, just then the water got less deep, and a long-minute later I had waded back to dry land.

Almost back on dry land

Did I mention that the water had ice floating in it?

Lac Maisonneuve!

Anyway we picked up our spirits and got back on the bike and continued the ride. We took the road that goes underneath Sherbrooke street and down to the Big "O" as we call in english; we also call it the Big Owe, because we paid money on the cost overruns for 25 years.

Unlike two weeks earlier, the exterior plaza was now free of snow and I did a nice little ride around this strange "alien spaceship has landed" stadium.

We rode south from here through the Maisonneuve district, Montreal's poorest. I rode Ste-Catherine back westwards, at this location it is a two-way street. Then when it became one-way-the-wrong-way we went south to the bike path on Notre Dame, then took Rene Levesque as far as St-Laurent.

Coming north on St-Laurent I saw the new destruction/construction of the road surface by the awesomely incompetent Gaz Metro company.

2007 saw the near-total closure of this major and iconic boulevard for a once-a-century infrastructure renewal. The sewers, water lines, communications lines, and everything else that was underground was upgraded at the same time. Gaz Metro was contacted and they said, "Oh no, we don't have any work to do." "Are you sure?" they were asked. "Yes, we're sure," they replied.

So the boulevard was reconstructed from the bottom up and was awaiting only a final coat of asphalt to become a newly revitalized urban boulevard.

However, last week Gaz Metro decided to ask it's engineers one more time, "Hey, any plans for renovating our gas distribution network?"

"Yes sir, we're going to renew the boulevard St-Laurent."

"You mean the boulevard St-Laurent that we said last year we were not going to do any renewal on when the once-a-century rebuilding was going on?"

"Yes, that boulevard St-Laurent."

"Are you nuts? The city, the media, the citizens, and the merchants of boulevard st-Laurent are going to go ballistic."

"Yeah, well, we've gotta do it."

"And last year we didn't have to it?"

"You got that right."

"And this year we have to do it?"

"Right again."

Well the news hit the papers and the company now the most hated in the city. And for GOOD REASON.

Tearing up a brand new boulevard is something we were hoping to avoid for several years. We were hoping for perfect pavement for years and years. And now Gaz Metro is the going to destroy the huge effort made during an entire year, the end of which was promised to be a brand new and simply amazing urban boulevard.

Anyway, everyone is very disappointed in Gaz Metro, but I was on bike and could shortcut around the several huge traffic jams caused by their construction, of which there will be 40 separate construction sites in this one mile of boulevard.

And now, back to our story...

I arrived at Coco Rico, one of Montreal's better chicken joints (the chicken is good, but note that it's not a sit down resto). Trying to lock my bike I noticed a complete lack of bike-locking posts on this renewed ultra-modern boulevard. Thanks city of Montreal. You can't get your act together either I see.

Eventually I found a secure hydro pole on the side street, got my chicken and some slaw, and headed up St-Laurent to St-Joseph and soon I was home.

Coco Rico!

The first thing we did was get off the wet shoes, the wet socks, and dried my tootsies and put them inside my wool-lined fuzzy slippers that I got last christmas at the megabig crafts show at Place Bonaventure (salon des metiers des arts). No cheap chinese crap for us, we support local products.

These "pantoufs" are made in one of our favorite lanaudiere riding destinations, St-Emilie de l'Energie.

And then I ate almost a whole chicken! Cold feet are a good appetite stimulant we found.

So to conclude, a nice rode, but let's not get too fixated on the goal. There might be a better alternative route to the destination than the shortest one!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

City to make some bike-friendly-city announcements shortly

André Lavallée is the Montreal's executive committee member in charge of transportation.
Lavallée promised major announcements in the next two weeks that will pave the way to a more bike-friendly metropolis.

"Look at Paris (which is undergoing a cycling revolution), where they use the same types of incentives," he said.

"Seven years ago, nobody rode bikes in Paris. You have to change the mindsets."


Let's wait and see how much is recycled news of the existing expansion plans and how much is actually "new" news.

Any development of the cycling path infrastructure is going to be good news.

Last year after the publicity cycle for the city's plan's to expand the bike path network, I noticed tenders in the paper for building and painting bike paths on certain city streets and arteries. My guess is that these tenders are ready and the city will announce actual new routes to be in use this year. I'd say "in use shortly," but that's not how government works!

My guess for one such route is for Cote-Ste-Catherine road gets the painted bike path lane treatment.

Gazette reports on the delayed-opening of Montreal bike paths

The Montreal Gazette newspaper writes today about the delayed opening of Montreal bike paths. Cyclists are not too happy about this "we're delaying the opening so we can serve you better" little trick the municipal government is pulling on it's tax-paying and bike-path-supporting citizens.

Cyclists eager for all-clear
Season's snowfall clogs city network

The Gazette

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Chris Johnson sat aboard his high-end mountain bike in the late-afternoon sun on Monday, surveyed the wonders of the Lachine Canal before him, and sighed.

Acres of snow for as far as the eye could see blanketed the bicycle path, transforming the 11-kilometre paradise for two-wheelers into a haven for snowshoers instead.

"It's annoying," said the 34-year-old software engineer, who uses the path regularly when it's feasible to commute the five kilometres from his Verdun home to his Old Montreal workplace.

"There are a lot of hardcore bicyclists who would use this path all year if they cleared it. One pass with a little sidewalk cleaner is all it would take, and they would reap a huge return."

When it comes to running Montreal's bike path network, the city is in a bit of a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't dilemma.

The four-kilometre, $3.5-million de Maisonneuve bike path from Berri St. to Green Ave. was opened to great fanfare on Nov. 1, just as the first of the season's nine major snowstorms was getting ready to hit. It was impassable for most of the winter.

When a well-intentioned but misguided city worker cleared it during one of the first storms, the city received holy hell from Montrealers who pointed out their aged mothers couldn't even walk the sidewalks, so why waste resources on a path used mainly by deranged bicycle couriers?

Then, within hours of the first spring-like weather of the season, people are already complaining the bike paths aren't cleared yet.

"You have to remember that only 15 days ago we were still clearing snow from the last storm," said André Lavallée, the city's executive committee member in charge of transportation.

The entire bike-path network has been officially opened on April 1 for the last three years, but this year's winter, which saw the most snow since 1970-71, has pushed that date back to April 15. The city needs time to clean the paths and repaint lines, Lavallée said.

Bike paths are supposed to be cleared, but only when priority areas like hospitals and main arteries have been taken care of, he said.

Westmount has decided it will keep its portion of the de Maisonneuve bike path officially open from April 15 to Nov. 15.

"I have yet to be convinced that in the kinds of winters we have, it is really an option for an important number of people," said Mayor Karin Marks. Westmount tends to keep the bike path in its municipality clear anyway, resources permitting.

Many of the city's bike paths are already unofficially open and hosting a growing number of pleased-looking commuters. The bike path on the Jacques Cartier Bridge opens today.

Parks Canada is responsible for the Lachine Canal "multi-purpose path," which it calls the most popular path in Canada, with one million visits a year. The organization couldn't be reached for comment yesterday.

Rated the top cycling city in North America by a respected U.S. bicycling magazine in 1999, Montreal and its 400 kilometres of paths have lost ground to cities like Toronto and Vancouver of late, a slip Lavallée blames on the previous administration, which he said spent only $24,000 on bike paths between 1994-2001.

The current administration is pledging to inject $30 million over the coming five to seven years to add another 400 kilometres of paths. Many of the paths will be of the "lines in the road" variety, which Lavallée said are effective at encouraging biking.

They're sometimes criticized as dangerous, however, because they lack physical barriers between car and bike.

But Patrick Howe, of the bicycling advocacy group Vélo Québec, said riders who use them often are comfortable with them. Sunday riders and families should stick to easier trails and parks, he suggests.

Vélo Québec and the province were recently honoured for Quebec's 4,000-kilometre bike trail network, la Route verte, which was voted one of the Top 10 cycling destinations in the world by the National Geographic Society.

Vélo Quebec is positive about recent moves by the city, but would like to see more.

Lavallée promised major announcements in the next two weeks that will pave the way to a more bike-friendly metropolis.

"Look at Paris (which is undergoing a cycling revolution), where they use the same types of incentives," he said.

"Seven years ago, nobody rode bikes in Paris. You have to change the mindsets."


Some Mauricie bike maps

Head east from Montreal on the 40 and you will soon be in the Mauricie region.

And when you get there, you will need to know where to bike.

Veloshawinigan.com has exactly the information you need, and they even group the bike rides by distance, so you can get to the ride that's perfect for you, maybe, just maybe, your best ride ever!

Cycle Fun Montreal believes that our home province of Quebec is one of the best cycling destinations in the world.

Some Eastern Townships cycling maps

Club Estricycle has a large number of maps on their website.

I think we all know that cyclists needs destinations, so here's a bunch!

Here is the link to their maps page - a link called "parcours" on their website .

Bike helmets - Quebec stats

We always wear our helmets.

Always. No trip is too short to throw on the helmet.

One thing is certain, even if it is just a five minute trip, there will be three near-misses from cars, pedestrians, dogs, cyclists going ther wrong way or through a light or stop sign (hey, I've seen it all), and even, on Sunday dead skunk in the middle of my path! Yuck.

Here is a government report on Helmet use and cyclists. (click here - pdf file)

Here is a nice summary from the SDV Ti bike-manufacturer website:

Le port du casque au Québec: on s’en va vers 40 %
Par Christian Lemelin, 8 avril 2008

Le Québec a souvent misé sur l’information, la sensibilisation et l’éducation, en matière de sécurité.

Le port du casque, par les cyclistes, devait passer par cette voie. La coercition, non merci!

Selon les apparences, selon les constations que l’on peut faire, sur le terrain, on voit que le message a fait du chemin.

Or, quelle ne fut pas ma surprise - partagée par de nombreux observateurs - il y a quelques semaines, quand j’ai lu une dépêche venant d’Europe qui statuait que le port du casque de sécurité, au Québec, était encore loin de la pratique généralisée.

(Click here to read the whole article)

A couple of true stories.

A close associate of Cycle Fun Montreal regularly tests people with head injuries at the MUHC hospital. She sees many cycling accident victims, and she has seen the result of plenty of "I wasn't wearing a helmet." persons. The damage can be huge. The damage can be permanent.

Brain damage should be avoided. A helmet really improves your chances of survival.

This is a true story: two weeks ago I went to a funeral for my bosses father. Seven days earlier he was riding his bike, fell and hit his head, and suffered massive brain trauma and ultimately died. He was an active, physically fit man still completely in his prime of life. One second later, BANG! and it was all over.

One of our uncles had a brain injury when he was in his late 30s, and spent the next 50 years with a mental age of a 4 year old. His wife took care of him at home every day of that 50 years. That, in case you missed it, is as good a definition of love as we have ever heard.

Pont Jacques Cartier Bridge - Ouvert! We mean, Open!

The west side of the bridge is open April 9, the east side on April 10.

Now, can someone, anyone, please put up some maps, direction signs, and link the ends of the bridge to the bike paths that exist nearby?

The north (montreal) side has a link to one bike path but needs links north and west to Rachel and Cherrier streets.

The south (Longueuil) side needs links to the chambly route verte and riverside bike paths.

For directions, please visit my blog post on Pont Jacques Cartier directions.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

warm temps, dry roads, closed bike paths!

So, the city delayed opening bike paths for two weeks so "they could clean, them, put up signage, and paint fresh lines to identify the bike paths."

Funny how we haven't sen any of this yet!!!

It seems more like it's let the warm weather melt the snow and at the last minute we'll do something about making the bike paths safe (mostly) for bike traffic.

The city really dropped the ball on the spring opening of the bike paths.

They should have said that the no-parking on bike paths was now active, so that they could progressively cleaned and opened bike paths throughout the city.

Many paths are useable now, except that they are used for car parking. On some blocks, the cars leave the bike path open, other blocks the cars are parked on the path. This creates a dangerous and hazard-rich environment for anyone wanting to use their bicycle as primary transportation mode.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Spring has sprung - sidewalks full of bikes???

Sidewalks, made for walking.

Sooooo..... Please bike on the street, not on the sidewalk.

Did you know you have a 28 times greater chance of an accident on the sidewalk?

Did you know you scare the heck out of old people?

Did you know that doing the wrong thing... is wrong?

Please do the right thing, and when on the sidewalk, walk your bike. The sidewalk is not your private bike path. "Hey everybody, get out out of my way!"

If the busy street is too dangerous, please choose a nearby side street.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Stepping at red lights, and surprising pedestirans

We have been making pedestrians smile when they discover we are stopping at the red lights and not running them down! It takes some discipline, but the stop at urban (i.e. busy) red lights is beginning to feel like a good thing, and the right thing to do.

And it makes people smile and like us, so we are making the world a better place.

Sunday afternoon ride to Terrebonne

What the...

We did a Sunday afternoon ride to Terrebonne, which is northeast across Montreal island, northeast across Laval island (ile de jesus) and finally, northeast across the Mille-Ile river to the town of Terrebonne.

Our ride across Laval included a complete loop of the eastern tip of the island. Coming backon Masson directly from the bridge to Terrebonne was a lot faster than the outward segment!

There is an older-historic part of Terrebonne that we did not explore, and will be worth a return visit sometime when we leave home earlier than today's 2 pm!

Turn-around point at Terrebonne Catholic church

This was a ride to the northeast, and of course the wind today was 30 km/h, from the Northeast!!!

Stats, ride distance: about 75 km, ride time was about four hours. Weather was sunny!

Pie IX bridge, with sidewalks for bikes.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Stopping at red lights


like most cyclists, stopping at red lights seems to be an unnecessary delay to the point a to point b thing. but the red light is there for a reason, to permit pedestrians and traffic traveling the other direction to safely pass the intersection. A small number of people genuinely have no clue what this means, and a larger population thinks that any short cut is a good thing. These people use whatever means possible to shortcut a red light intersection, like traveling in the oncoming lane of traffic, cutting off cars who have the right-of-way, and generally causing traffic accidents and generally making people hate cyclists.

Short message: don't be an idiot! take the time to stop at a light. whether you treat it like a red light, and wait for the green, or as a stop sign and cross the intersection when there is no traffic is your decision. but we at cycle fun montreal believe that when the other vehicles have the light, they have the right of way, and you must wait for the intersection to be clear before you cross it.

face facts, we all complain about the other idiots on the road. don't be one of the idiots!

For 2008, CycleFunMontreal promises to stop at every red light. life is not about taking every opportunity for a shortcut, legal, safe or mind-blowingly stupid, it's about civisime, respect, and doing the right thing, at least some of the time!

Ride safe.


PS, accelerating away from red lights and stop signs builds power, something every cyclist needs more of!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Bike path news

Bike Paths are breaking out all over.

Even Japan has opened its first-ever bike path.

Here's a link to Google News for current news on bike paths. You're on the internet to read stuff, so here's stuff to read!

Tokyo opens 1st exclusive bike path

The nation's first exclusive bicycle path came into service in Koto Ward, Tokyo, on Monday in response to the increasing number of accidents involving bicycles and pedestrians.

The National Police Agency and the Construction and Transport Ministry will set up bicycle-only lanes separated from roads and sidewalks in 98 designated areas around stations and schools where there are many cyclists over the coming two years.

The 400-meter-long bicycle lane along the Keiyo Expressway near JR Kameido Station was created by taking a two-meter-wide strip from a three-lane carriageway.

The bicycle lane is separated from the road by guard rails.

At 11 a.m., uniformed police officers in raincoats started pedaling along the lane followed by other cyclists.

Montreal burroughs to link up bike paths

Don't you hate it when you are riding along a nice bike path, then it suddenly stops at the district's border. It might start again in a few blocks, but it will require exploration, and traveling mano-a-mano with the car traffic until you reach the next path.

Well, the city is promising to connect these bike paths and make sure that links are clear, well marked, and easy to follow (and I hope, safe!).

Here's two connections Cycle Fun Montreal would like to see:

1) Pont Jacques Cartier bridge linked to the Rachel or Cherrier (i.e. axis east-west or north-south) bike paths, probably along Champlain street. This is a big missing link! Note to Longueuil on the south side of the river/bridge: some signs and bike lane identification are needed to connect the bridge to the route verte to St-Hubert, and the bike path along the St-Laurence.

2) bike path between Berri bike path at Cherrier through Carré/Square St-Louis and Prince Arthur to the bike path on Prince Arthur starting at St-Laurent. This permits anyone east of St-Laurent to connect the major bike paths network to the north, south, and east. At the present time, this missing link is a source of revenue for the police who enforce the no-bikes on prince Arthur pedestrian section, even though it is right between two bike paths at either end of it. This is a great example of complete bureaucratic idiocy. On the other hand, it's not really a surprise!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

A view of Montreal, from Miami!

A critical look at Montreal from the Transit Miami website. Interesting reading.

Click here to go to the website.

Montreal...what a great city.

I spent the last several days there on a mini-vacation doing some urban exploration and enjoying the sites and culture that make the city so pleasant. Despite temperatures that were muy frio (Highs 25-32, Lows 8-20), it still was a great experience walking around the city thanks to fine urban design, livable streets, and thriving public spaces.

With that said, I'd like to walk you through (pun intended) some of my observations and experiences that both illuminate Montreal's successes and Miami's potential.

Click here to read the whole article.

2008 tour de l'Ile route now available

The 2008 Tour de l'Ile route map is now available.

If cycling with thousands of other people sounds like your kind of thing, click here!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Defi-Velo Mag 2008 - two days of fun planned for 2008

Parc de la Mauricie hosts the 2008 edition of the Defi-Velo Mag, the one not-to-be-missed event for the serious road cyclist. Besides the road rides (100 km, 50 km, and 35 km lengths)on the Saturday, new this year is on the Sunday there will be a 35 km mountain bike trail ride and a ten km hike. If you can't decide which one to do, you can register to do all three.

This could be fun. Aieee!

The following is from the sommetduvelo.com which is a small titanium bicycle company, and also has a good blog section discussing all kinds of things and quite a lot of information on the road regulations concerning cycling bicycles, and cyclists. (in french), recommended: I learned a lot here.

Défi Vélo Mag 2008: deux jours à pleins poumons!

Par Christian Lemelin, 1 avril 2008

Femme d’action, Marie-Josée Gervais aime bien que ses rêves les plus chers puissent, un jour, passer du côté de la réalité. Surtout quand ils peuvent se concrétiser dans un environnement, un espace ou un lieu qui lui est familier.

Le rêve: une fin de semaine de plein air et d’activités physiques. Le lieu: le Parc national de la Mauricie.

Couronné de succès dans sa première version, le Défi Vélo Mag de Shawinigan prendra une autre dimension, en 2008. L’an passé, on s’était préparé pour recevoir 500 participants: 719 se sont présentés. Et on a refusé quelque 200 inscriptions!

Cette année, 20 et 21 septembre, c’est environ 3000 personnes, enfants et adultes, que l’on attend dans le Parc de la Mauricie.

«C’était mon grand rêve de proposer une fin de semaine complète de plein air dans le Parc. Je connais son énorme potentiel», lance Marie-Josée Gervais, qui pilote ce dossier avec une armée de fidèles collaborateurs.

Nouvelle dimension par son ampleur, par le nombre de visiteurs attendus, mais aussi par un format original qui va rejoindre une clientèle encore plus large. Au programme, outre le volet sur route, on retrouvera, cette année, une épreuve de vélo de montagne et une de cross-country.

Le samedi 20 septembre, trois éléments au programme: le Défi Vélo Mag de Shawinigan et son parcours de 105 km réservé aux cyclistes plus aguerris, la Cyclo Le Yéti (53 km) et la Cyclo Desjardins (30 km).

Objectif: 1000 participants. «On devrait l’atteindre sans problème», affirme Marie-Josée Gervais.

Le dimanche 21 septembre, deux activités s’ajoutent: en avant-midi, le Raid Vélo Mag du Parc de la Mauricie, une épreuve de vélo de montagne dans un sentier boisé de 35 km et, en après-midi, le Cross-country Géo Plein Air, une course à pied dans un sentier de 10 km. «Le parcours de vélo de montagne est superbe, mais pas très technique. On emprunte les sentiers de ski de fond et on circule à 80% du temps sur le bord de plans d’eau. Le but de cette épreuve, c’est d’aller chercher tout le monde. Ça se fait sans problème par quelqu’un qui n’a jamais fait de compétition mais qui veut relever un petit défi», explique Marie-Josée Gervais.

Objectif: 400 participants pour le vélo de montagne et 250 pour la course à pied.

Pour ajouter à l’originalité de la formule, on offrira aux plus courageux de s’inscrire au Triathlon Vélo Mag, un concept unique qui permettra de concourir aux trois épreuves principales du week-end et de tenter de devenir le-la premier-ère gagnant-e de ce triathlon automnal.

Pour compléter le tableau et permettre aux familles de jouir des lieux pendant toute la fin de semaine, on proposera des activités d’interprétation, rabaska et randonnées pédestres, ce qui explique le total de 3000 visiteurs attendus pendant ces deux journées de septembre.

Les inscriptions aux diverses épreuves du Défi 2008 commencent aujourd’hui, mardi 1er avril. On peut le faire en ligne par le site www.cyclomauricie.com. Suggestion: faites vite car la demande a été très forte, l’an passé. «Y’a même des cyclistes de notre région qui se sont fait jouer le tour, l’an passé, car ils pensaient que la proximité et l’implication de certains commanditaires locaux leur permettraient d’avoir une place sans problème… mais ce ne fut malheureusement pas le cas. On a refusé du monde de partout», fait savoir Marie-Josée Gervais.

Serez-vous de la partie?

Pour joindre l,auteur de ces lignes:



Pont Jacques Cartier... open when?

April 9 - UPDATE - the PJC bridge is now open for 2008

The amazing pont Jacques Cartier

There's no word on the opening date for the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge on their official website. I phioned the number on their website info-velo and learned when it closes in december, but is planned to reopen in early april 2008. Helpful. Just not useful.


All the info is from 2007. I hate it when this happens. The internet is the fastest and cheapest method to spread information ever invented. I think someone forgot to tell this to government and their agencies.

Piétons et cyclistes

Les Ponts Jacques Cartier et Champlain Incorporée désire informer le public que le trottoir et la piste cyclable du pont Jacques-Cartier fermeront pour la saison hivernale, mardi le 4 décembre en début d'après-midi, pour des raisons de sécurité.

Cette mesure doit être prise chaque année pour la sécurité des usagers et en raison des difficultés d'entretien des surfaces durant l'hiver. En effet, la brume qui résulte des caractéristiques climatiques au dessus du Fleuve est propice à la formation de glace noire, sans mentionner l'inclinaison des surfaces nécessaire à l'évacuation des eaux, qui rendent les trottoirs dangereux pour les cyclistes et les piétons. De plus, les contraintes physiques font en sorte qu'il est coûteux de les déneiger.

Le trottoir et la piste cyclable rouvriront au printemps.

Veuillez noter que la piste cyclable située sur l'estacade du pont Champlain est accessible selon les dates et les heures d'ouverture du parc Jean-Drapeau.

Pour plus d'informations, contactez la ligne INFO-VÉLO au (450) 651-2377.
On the other hand, one of you can phone that number and post a comment with their answer (the question is, "What date will the Jacques Cartier bridge open to bikes?"


Did you know that this bridge (sidewalk on the west side) is one of my favorite bike paths? The view coming on to the island is "world class. I just wish I could ride it in early morning to get spectacular photos.

Quebec bike-path system named best in world

Slowly, quietly, over the last ten years Quebec has been building a very, very good network of bike paths all across this vast province of ours.

Suddenly, but not surprisingly, the world has woken up and and taken notice:

Quebec bike-path system named best in world
CBC News

Quebec's provincewide system of bicycle paths has been named the best in the world by the Washington-based National Geographic Society.

The 4,000-kilometre Route Verte, which was officially inaugurated last year, has topped the list of international bike paths in a recently published book of the world's best trips.

National Geographic's Journeys of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Best Trips listed Route Verte ahead of a number of notable international cycling destinations, including the Gran Fondo Campagnolo in Italy, and the Ruta Astral in Chile.

Once completed in 2011, the Quebec system will include 4,366 kilometres of pathways.

Another Quebec landmark making the book's lists is Montreal's underground city, which is included in the 10 best underground walkways to explore.

The Route Verte bike path joins US bike paths at the very top of Vermont and New York states.

Click here to learn more about the Route Verte, and plan your summer vacation "dans Québec!"

Click here for Quebec's tourism office, Bonjour Quebec (= Hello Quebec).