Sunday, June 29, 2008

Off-island loop - South Shore and Seaway

3 pm on sunday afternoon and still haven't got moving yet? Got trouble getting going the morning after the night before? Got no gas for the car? Whatcha gonna do?

Cross the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge and follow bike path on the south shore through St-Lambert, Brossard, Laprairie, (signage all through here has improved) Candiac and St-Catherine, cross the ecluse Ste-Catherine locks (recreoparc, visit if you have time and explore excellent riverside landscape - picnic opportunities) , then take the mid-river seaway bike path (aka voie maritime) back to Parc Drapeau and cross Ile Notre Dame and Ile-Ste-helene to the Pont Jacques Cartier and arrive back on the island in time for supper.

A super 60km ride and in a few minutes from now... a super supper. Speaking of super suppers, we celebrated at BAZAar Anise last night for some real gourmet dining. This resto is a few steps above the level of "bistro" and one of the best eating experiences in Montreal. We opened with lamb somosas and petoncles on risotto, mained on osso bucco and veal cheeks with fries and grilled vegetables, and finished it off with cherry cheescake and terrine of fresh berries. Oink, that was good.


Note: This was post number 500!

Bike parking at Jazz Festival

There are two bike specific parking lots at the jazz festival, one at the east side of the site and one at the west side of the site.

You can see the site map here (link). You may have to drag the map left or right to see the bike-parking icon.

The Jazz Festival is a great activity, free to visit, free to park your bike, just be careful on your bike when going to or coming home from the site.

Note: the de Maisonneuve bike path through the site is open daytime only.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Bike path on Spacing Montreal

The Spacing Montreal website has an interesting photo and comment on the new "cyclist direction arrows" when the bike path crosses a major street.

Spacing Montreal always has interesting subjects and is a site we visit every week.

Parc Avenue bike path's south end extended to Prince Arthur

The new bike path along avenue du Parc south of Rachel has been extended along Hutchinson as far south as Prince Arthur street.

The path had ended abruptly at hutchinson and pine but some paint has been bought and applied to the road to create a two-way bike path on a one-way street. The with-traffic direction has arrows, the against-traffic direction has a painted bike lane.


So of course when I was checking this out I saw a few of the with-traffic cyclists riding in the against-traffic bike lane and forcing cyclists there to do crazy near-death things!

Simple lesson on how bike paths work: stay on the side of traffic with the arrows in your direction!

The same problem occurs on Clark bike path south of Laurier.

Of course, the real problem is idiots, a situation where we have a serious surplus.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Run down by cyclists

We walked to get our CSA farm basket last night. We pass the Clark street bike path. Idiot on a strange scooter-bicycle concoction ignores the stop sign and almost runs into us, missing us by inches.

When will civisime become part of cycling like (for instance) not smoking indoors has become?

When riding your bicycle and you come up to a stop sign and a crosswalk with people crossing the street, you STOP for them. You don't play "chicken" and try to run them down or make then jump out of the way.

We blame all of this on the use in quebec of graphic road signs so we never see the word "yield" in our society, and consequently we never yield. Well, a few dummies cause the most problems, and we hope you don't run people down. Or if you do, take a moment to consider changing this behaviour...

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Petit Temis

Vacation plans include the Petit Temis bike path from Riviere du Loup to Edmonston NB.

This is a 130 km (80 miles) trail that I will ride south on a saturday and back on a sunday, on the sunday riding with a buddy (Sid) who thinks it's a good idea.

The idea is mine, the motivation to do it NOW is his. He bought his first decent road bike this spring, and seems to have the fever. That's a good thing!

I had spoken to a tourism guy during the winter bike show about visiting this bike path and he was enthusiastic for me to visit, trying hard to convince me that 5 hours drive from Montreal isn't "far."

I hope it is a good ride, because it has good potential.


What do these numbers have in common?
  • 20.5
  • 20.7
  • 21.5
  • 21.0
  • 21.0
  • 23.6
  • 21.2
  • 24.7
  • 23.7
  • 22.9

they are average speeds for big rides this year. (i.e. 60 to 100 kms)

For anyone from the Canadian Olympic team who is reading this and about to call us, we should point out that the numbers are kilometres per hour, not miles per hour.

The speedier last three are non-hill rides, the first ones are all substantially hill rides.

Some people have suggested using correction factors to adjust the average, but we don't buy that. Nevertheless, for the kind of people who think reality isn't enough of a good thing, we present the CFM average speed adjustment factor index.
  • riding alone +2 km/h (done right, group cycling is much faster)
  • taking photos +1 km/h (trust us, it slows down the ride a lot)
  • hills 1 km/h per 1000 ft climbed
And now the numbers are getting respectable. Lyin' cheatin' respectable.

Anyway, we prefer the stark reality of the original numbers. They don't lie, they tell the story of the ride. And for us, the story probably involves a lazy approach to climbing. Minimalist.

The most important thing of any ride is to have fun, because if it's not fun then why are you doing it?

Actually that's a trick question, because cycling is always fun.



Tuesday, June 24, 2008

2nd anniversary of our Lanaudiere hill ride

A recurring ride that is certainly one of our favorites is our northern Lanaudiere hill ride. We did it for the first time two years ago. For the Fete St-Jean we reprint the ride report of our first visit to this AMAZING area.

Lanaudiere Hill Ride

I had the skinny on this ride last year. But it was late in the season and I waited until I had my light climbing bike back on the road again. This I accomplished yesterday with a drivetrain overhaul turning my road bike from a fast flatland ride to a super climber.
I took the 40 est (with a crack-of-noon start) to the exit for route 131 north, past Joliette and stoppped at Saint Jean de Matha. Home of Louis Cyr.
The ride started with a big climb within the first kilometre! Aieee! But I was feeling good and the bike was rocking. After getting lost because I missed the "rang 6" turn to Saint Gabriel de Brandon I fixed things and was soon off this quiet road and headed north on a busier road to Saint Emile de L'Energie. Eventually this meant turning off the busy road on to a a dirt road. A dirt road with a 12 percent climb/descent. On loose-ish road. I survived but it was a bit nasty, but soon I was back on pavement. It was the only dirt of the day.
Saint Emile de L'Energie has a mofo big hill leading out of town. I took it, halfway up the wall relents and I took a break to photograph it, when I looked at my directions and discovered that I was supposed to turn off this hill right at the start of the hill, Aieee! Down I went, and got on the right road.
This was maple leaf (feuille de erable) road, and it was quiet and long and twisty and steep. At the top was a sign showing the descent on the other side was 15%. I thought that was pretty good until I turned around to look at the climb I had just finished and saw the sign saying it was a 16% grade!
Then it was a really great long descent back to Saint Jean de Matha. A great descent! I stopped at a dep called "Lau-Den" for some water and chocomilk, and was back in Saint Jean de Matha in about 5 km.
In the village I had parked at the church, and there was now a childrens music festival going on at the church, then I walked around back and there was an entirely 'nother festival space all set up with food and beer for sale. Plus in the manse for the church was converted to a resto and BAR! Talk about your good post-ride services.

Conclusion, bike climbs great, I climb great, the ride had tons of great climbs (read: it was a hill fest)

Highly recommended.

The source of the ride information is the Velo Quebec publication "Les petites escapades." it includes a map, a step by step ride guide, and impressive altitude graph of the climb, it's got a zillion climbs!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

A new city bike

Townie bike in Parc Stanley

Certain people were unhappy with the too-tall stepover height of their highly-cursed old bike.

So, after a bit of bike shopping she came home with a new Townie Bike.

And now the city has one more happy rider. Let her tell you in her own words:

It was more than the initial high step-over (which caused multiple leg bruises), it was also stopping and starting, with the bar so high! The Townie also has another excellent feature: for non-racers, there is no need for low handlebars as no need to maintain an aerodynamic hulking over them .. hence the high sit-up-straight-and-don't-kill your lower-back handlebars of the Townie .. a definite plus .. and with the 21 gears, it's still easy to go uphill and down .. ♪♪ over hill, over dale, we shall hit the dusty trail, as the Townie goes rolling along ♪♪

To test that the happiness levels were sufficiently elevated, we took a bike ride on the main bike path north (Route Verte/axis Brebeuf/Christophe colombe) up the the river on the north side of our Montreal island, to the little-known Stanley Park.

Stanley Park

We know, you thought that Stanley Park was in Vancouver, just keep going on the route verte and you'll get there, eventually. But if you don't want to make the multi-month journey this would require, you can just stop at Montreal's own Stanley park.

Riding options from Stanley park are several:

Ride east or west on Gouin blvd bike path, which would take you eventually to the east and west end of the island, and you can continue around and come back also on bike path. These are long-distance options and you have the popular option to u-turn or head south at any point for a shorter return-ride.

You can continue across the bridge (any of several) and do a lap of the Laval riverside also. Or ride north on the route Verte which will take you eventually to the P'tit train du Nord in St-Jerome (which continues 200 excellent off-roadway kilometers later in Mont Laurier)

Or you can just stop sit on the first empty park bench and enjoy summer. Then just retrace the same route home. Don't forget to explore the many neighbourhoods along this route or anywhere you ride.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Orford bike ride? Rain? Plans B is a Mont Orford Hike

Friday's next big bike adventure finds the sky full of rain as we drive along the Eastern Townships autoroute. Our destination was a ride around Parc Mont Orford but the rain does not make this an appealing idea.

Quick, we need a plan B!

How about hiking the newly rebuilt Sentier des Cretes along the top of the Mont Orford massif? Hmm, sounds good, ok, we turn at the exit and park at the salle communitaire at the stukely sector of the park. The nonstop heavy rain had stopped, but we had paid for the people and the car to enter the park, and we were sticking with the new hiking plan. Until the rain decided to end our fun, which we were sure would happen in about ten minutes.

It never rained again this day...

Which was good because this was a long trail! At the three-hour point we reached the last peak before the ski-hill summit of Mont Orford itself. Time was running out and we turned around here (we should work on the crack-of-noon departures!) and came back down.

This rebuilt hiking trail is a good one, in a truly great location, and the amount of effort put in to this new trail is major: thousands of large stones and huge rocks were moved to build a long-term durable trail. We were very impressed. We had always avoided this trail, but now it is a leader-of-the-pack and worth the trip.

And to top it off when we got back to the car the depanneur in the salle communitaire in the campgrond where we parked was now open, and it sold cold beer. It doesn't take an advance degree in nutrition to determine that after a 5 hour hard hike that beer will taste great!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Montreal Air Quality

It is summer, and we all know that summer air can be quite a mess, and by this mean smog. Toxic smog. Toxic, dangerous to breathe and avoid being outside and don't go hard-exercising outside today toxic smog!

Where are you going to go to get air quality information for Montreal?

It is not in the Environment Canada's montreal-weather page.

You have to go to the separate Environment Canada "Air Quality Forecast" page (link) to get info and forecast information to see if the air is safe to breathe.

You can also go to the ville de Montreal's air quality page here. It is a bit more detailed than the fed's page.

Today's forecast?
Today..Air quality fair.

Rainy rest day over, today it's time to ride again!

Mont Orford - lac Memphremagog ride map (link)

The rainy thursday is over and now ancient history, so it is time to get on the bike again.

Today we will try a nice looking (on bikely) ride around Mont Orford and west of lac Memphremagog. The ride is callec cyclo-magog and we're leaving in T-20:00

A major expansion of Parc Orford was just announced, but still now news on land a bit further north, specifically the Lac Larouche (no-)rock climbing area where rock climbing has been banned for two decades. We are still waiting for further announcements for this land to be acquired and pronounced legal-to-climb. Do NOT go climbing here before it is legal, we have been waiting a long time for the climbing ban to end, so don't screw it up with the goal of legal-climbing being so close!

But we digress.

This ride will be sort-of "next door" to the excellent Knowlton-Sutton-Mansonville-Owls Head- Lac Memphremagog (link) ride of last year. At the time I called it "Sutton Loop - Southern Quebec's most beautiful ride" and that is still accurate.

Today's weather forecast is a bit iffy, but this week has been pretty good so far, only occasional rain showers, so let's hope today's rain stays away!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Louiseville -to St-Paulin to St-Alexis des Monts

Pastoral countryside roads

Tree-lined road tunnel

Horse enjoying summer too

one big trout!

rear tire worn out and flatted after only 11 months, and five of those months were winter!

Day three of vacation sees La Mauricie's Louiseville as our starting point for some more "north of the river" explorations.

We got a map off bikely which looked like a nice loop ride, and added St-Alexis des Monts at the north end of the ride to increased the ride's distance a bit. Plus St-Alexis des Monts was the easternmost point reached so far in our long-term odyssey we like to call the "Tremblant to Trois Rivieres" ride project. With today's ride we extended the ridden-so-far section east to St-Paulin. Yes! Once we've explored it all we will do it is a one day ride. A lo-o-o-o-ong one day ride!

Everything went our way on this ride, we didn't get lost or take too many wrong turns, the only rain was when we eating a snack at St-Alexis and we ducked under a nearby tarp, and when the snack was over so was the rain. (yes!). The scenery was first rate, the roads were mainly back-road and rural, only the ride to St-Alexis was highway. And Louiseville was a decent little town.

Here is the Bikely map of this ride (link).

We added St-Alexis des Monts to the northern end of this ride

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

ICE - telling someone where you've gone

When we leave for a bicycle ride, we like to tell our loved ones where we've gone.

Here's an example of this, telling where we driving to and parking the car, the ride, and possible variations. We use a bikely map as the source of our inspiration for the ride, so we link to the map too.


We're going for a ride, leaving at 10:00 am, back for 7-8 pm

The map (link below) describes todays route, it is again on north shore of river NE of mtl, but just a bit further away than yesterday and a bit closer to Trois Rivieres than Mtl.

I will park at Louiseville, again, probably at the town church.

I may add to this route:
northern end of ride: Saint-Paulin-to St-Alexis des Monts
Eastern end: chemin du Roy bike route: Louiseville to to Yamachiche
Western End: chemi du roy bike route: Louiseville to St-Barthelemy

this is the map of the suggest core ride:

Vacation day 2 - Chemin du Roi and northern explorations

Mandatory shack-ship photo

Perfect summer blue sky... for how long?

Beaver pond on northern exploration part of ride

Blue sky gone. Thunder storm on my tail...

We drove to Lanoraie along the St-Laurence tuesday to try an easier and shorter ride than the 100 km ride on Monday to St-Hilaire from Montreal.

The ride was easier, but not shorter!

We followed the on-road Chemin du Roy from Lanoraie (where we parked behind the church under the only tree) past Bertierville, then this route turned inland, and passed near St-Cuthbert and to St-Barthelemy. The section St-Cuthbert to St-Barthelemey was excellent and one of the highlights of the ride.

A snack break (technically, lunch) at St-Barthelemy gave us some time to explore the map. We had two maps, a decidely unhelpful-for-explorations Chemin du Roy map, and a useful Lanaudiere region map, with some suggested bike rides. Since we were at the eastern end of Lanaudiere and the map showed a ride near here, we decided to head north on backroads and connect to this ride near St-Cuthbert.

So we rode north from St-Barthelemy and watched as the road went from major to minor to quaint to petit to dirt to bears in the woods. (It was big, black, and moving fast!)

We were beginning to think that the now-dirt road would never end, but end it did and we started to head west and south. The section back downhill to St-Cuthbert was great, nicely paved and heading downhill.

Then we came to the suggested-bike route itself, and it was flatland and headwind, oh, with huge thunderstorm 5 miles away, which mostly stayed 5 miles away (it was hard to miss) and was our motivation to not dawdle and "Ride that bike!" At St-Norbert we stopped for a snack at a water-side rest stop at the church, but not too long, because geting home and not rained on was becoming a priority.

It's always good to be on the getting close to home leg of a bike ride, this ride had a long away from the car section in the woods with a steady uphill - slow and depressing! But now, even with some wind, it was feeling great to ride!

But what could possibly make this ride even better?

Fresh Quebec Strawberries! Woohoo! We passed the farm stand for Les Bonheurs du Potager on 451 rang Brulé and well, we hit the brakes!

Fresh quebec strawberry queen

We bought a not-so-little basket, ate some, and then we carried the basket for the next ten kilometres back to the car, meaning we had fresh berries while riding, fresh berries in the car, fresh berries on ice cream last night and on our cereal for breakfast. Death to plastic florida winter berries - and Long Live Quebec's real-food summer berries!

Total distance for the day was around 110km. Five minutes of rain. Supper fast-food on riverfront terrace at Lanourie.

And now it's another new day, and time to get on the bike for another day's adventure and exploration ride! Today, same concept but a bit further east in La Mauricie, maybe something starting in Louiseville.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Today's exploration: the Chemin de Roi

The weather says rain, but the calendar says vacation, so we're going to explore some flatland along the St-Laurence river between Montreal and Trois Rivieres, on the route of the historic Chemin du Roy, or King's road, named way back in time in the day when france mismanaged quebec (i.e. long before the english and then the quebecois mismanaged our beautiful province).

THis road ride is part of the Route Verte #5.

We think we will ride the between Lanourie and Maskinongé.

It's 10:51 am, so it is time to pack the car and get going!

Link: le chemin du roy

Link: Route Verte #5

Monday, June 16, 2008

Big Montreal to St-Hilaire ride

A spectacular 100 km after-work ride

Confession: we did not actually get to St-Hilaire, because we stayed on this side of the richelieu river and tried a new road. But St-Hilaire was our visual landmark, and we did the ride with this in mind.

This was the third time we tried to do this ride. We had some serious troubles previously, including two flats and a broken axle. Today was perfect and we used up all the available light: 4:30 pm to 9 pm ride. Rain missed us, while getting every body else in the area wet. Very lucky!

100 km ride from park and st-Joseph centre of the universe. Jacques cartier bridge. Spiral Overpass. Route Verte #1, Chambly, St-Basile le Grand, St-Julie (almost), Beloil, Chanbly, Carignan, and back on the route verte #1 back to Montreal, Pont jacques Cartier at sunset.

Here is the Bikely map of the ride.

Montreal-Chambly Route Verte #1

We spent some time going non-fast and non-far on a trip on the Route Verte #1.

Wild strawberries... are amazing!

Highlights were not getting rained on and the wild strawberries!

Last week's storm took down may trees at St-Hubert water park.

Pont Mercier Bridge renovations - bike sidewalks too?

The long-awaited renovation plan to the Pont Mercier Bridge are to be announced today. We want to know if the unprotected and narrow sidewalks will be replaced with something more like the sidewalks that appeared on the Pont Jacques Cartier bridge after it's complete renovation.

We are waiting, hoping, and while we are at it, we want a bike path connecting the south side of the Mercier bridge to the towns of Chateauguay and St-Catherine. By connecting at St-catherine cyclists will be able to ride a beautiful loop around the st-Laurence river using the Pont Mercier as the link back to the island.

Today, we get answers to these questions.


Cyclists and pedestrians get a new bike/sidewalk to safely cross this bridge.

Here's the quote:

Une nouvelle piste cyclable de 2,5 m de largeur du côté amont (ouest) du pont remplacera le trottoir et la bordure existants.
This is excellent!

The bad news is the project won't be finished until 2011!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

cellphones, laws, cars, bikes

The recent Quebec law banning hand held cell phones is having an effect. We see very few people holding a cell phone while driving.

This is a big change from before this law came into effect, when every third driver was holding a phone to their ear while pretending to safely drive a car .

This new law has to make the streets that cars and bikes share just a little safer. We are still waiting for official statistics, but close personal observation sees very few people holding a phone to their ear.

Paying close attention to the act of driving (or walking or bicycling) is of critical importance!

Now go outside in the summer air and enjoy life! Do it now. Stop sucking your brains out your eyeballs! See the real world. Go to the park. Climb Mont Royal, go to old montreal or the old port, ride north the very few miles to Laval (this is actually quite a lot better than driving to Laval!)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

St-Laurence Ferry season now open!

For a unique bike ride, take a ferry!

You can cross from Longueuil to Old Montreal at the vieux port, or from the vieux Port to Ile Ste-Helene. We do the ride to Ile Ste-Helene every summer, it is great to be on the water. The ferries have a open seating deck on top which is a great way to see the city from a new perspective.

It is easy to forget that Montreal is an island and a maritime city. So, live life to the fullest and get down to the old port for a ferry ride across the St-Laurence river.

Click here to go to the ferry service website.

Note that the weekend after St-Jean-Baptiste is when the service switches from weekend service to seven day service. Check the website for the details!

This is a unique Montreal experience that is NOT TO BE MISSED!

Mont Royal Training Plan

Tonight we did the Mont Royal training plan: ride up Mount Royal 6 times. The goal was ten times, but this is a goal, not an immediate must-do requirement.

The highlight was actually passing some people, the lowlight was getting passed.

First climb was olmstead road, then 4 times on Camilien Houde, then some time in the cemetery and finally up Mont Murray the hard way. The top of Mount Murray is one of the steepest climbs in Montreal.

One item we need to mention, the quality of the road surface at the top of Camieien Houde (through the canyon) is a disgrace, disaster, and an accident waiting to happen. It's a complete mess. Somebody call the city right now - on that new 311 number thing.

Aside from that, there were over one hundred cyclists climbing this road while I was there. Road cycling is getting popular (again).

It's great to be alive!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Stick in the spokes


Always check your wheel after you park it on the side of the road.

And this guy was of no help at all:

The flat tire

Pump it up!

Sometimes bicycles aren't perfect.

This thought occurs most frequently what a flat tire enters the usually blissful world of bicycle reliability.

Once every couple of hundred rides comes a funny feeling... Tire? Flat? Shit! Stop!

But having lived lives full of that priceless item called experience, we carry a spare tube, pump, and patch kit whenever we ride.

And that means that a flat tire does not ruin our day.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

ICE - In Case of Emergency

When you leave home for some adventure on bike, do you make sure that someone knows where you have gone?

Leave a paper with your name, car, and desctination and riding route with a responsible person. Make it a habit.


Cycling across the city or countryside can occasionally be perilous. This could be an unforeseen repair or delay, or an accident.

Or one of the riders gets eaten by bears. (reminder: practice sprinting!)

When you are not home by supper-time, and then by bedtime, what information does your loved one(s) know about your whereabouts? Do they have enough information if they need to call 911?

Your ICE (In Case of Emergency) information should contain the following:
  • The rider's name (including the one on the medicare card)
  • The model of car and the license number
  • The driving destination and parking location
  • Map showing the ride's route.
  • Cell phone numbers of the rider
  • Cell phone number of regular/todays riding buddies.

Over the 40 or so years of riding, there have been two or three incidents, and because we were a bit prepared, everything turned out ok.

Summer - Sunscreen, sweat, hot hot hot!

Perfect cycling weather, roads, and scenery

Don't forget protection from toxic solar rays

Green fields and sky-- we're likin' it!

Descent into the St-Come valley from Ste-Emilie de l'Energie

Riviere Noire- no swimming here!

The fantastic Lanaudiere hill ride, day one skipped the long-hill northern section.
Day two.. the long hill northern section

Saturday was the first HOT day of the summer season, nicely synchronized with the major event of the weekend: the Formula One Grand Prix race. Yes, it's the annual eurotrash invasion of Montreal, causing Montrealer's to make some effort to evade these well-tanned and foie-gras grazing high-value tourists.

CFM (and possible you too) put the good bike in the car and hit the hills. We went to do some hill riding in northern Lanaudiere, our favorite ride destination. Recent rain and general busyness meant that we had not ridden the racing bike in a couple of weeks. Uh-oh. Let's keep the comments short and sweet and say that the 30 degree C heat made everything 30% harder, the time away from the bike made it 20% harder, and the bibittes made it 10% harder. So it was a hard day.

We avoided the long and hard pair of St-Emilie-de-l'Energie hills (the northern loop of the ride) for a change, and essentially did the east, west, and southern sections of our favorite Lanaudiere ride.

It was great!

Summer is great!

Sweating is great!

Cramps are great! Not!

Actually we avoided any cramps until we were back home when a twitch sometimes turned into a aieeecrramp, but we'll pay that price any day for great summer temperatures and sunshine.

Was there one thing we had to relearn about summer on this ride? No, not to apply sunscreen, we did that very well. We had to relearn the car parking technique of parking in the shade. Luckily we did a stop back at the car in between the warmup part of the ride (eastern loop) and the long afternoon of the western/southern loop. THe car was in the sun, and it was as hot as the inside of the Sun in there.

Take care everybody and have a long and great summer!

Friday, June 06, 2008

Block that bike path!

Moving van blocking Mile End's Clark street bike path.

we occasionally draw the readers attention to the issue of "civisme," or civil behaviour. We like the french word civisme, it sums up the concept nicely.

It is a fact that most cyclists and motor vehicle drivers ride/drive safely and treat other users of the streets with courtesy and respect, they follow the rules of the road, they drive is a safe predictable manner that does not make aother road-user's life more dangerous or difficult.

Some people, perhaps born without the courtesy gene, don't give a flying f**k and

Whether it is not yielding the lawful right of way to the other road user, be it a cyclist, a driver or pedestrian, blocking the crosswalk or bike path (everyone's guilty here sooner or later), riding a bike too fast and too close to a pedestrian, riding a bike on the sidewalk or against one-way traffic, locking your bike up so that it blocks a reduced-mobility-person's access ramp in to a store, yes, we've ranted about all these and more.

But one rant has waited until today. Today we'll take up the dangerous habit of some motor vehicle users who park their car or truck on the bike path. Blocking the bike path. Forcing bikes in to the car traffic lane in a dangerous game of squeeze the bikes into the car lane and past the obstacle.

Tonight we'll look at that last one, vehicles blocking the bike lane.

A bike lane is a wonderful thing. Cyclists can ride carefree because they know, for certain, that there carefree bike lane is also car-free.

Until some jerkoid brain-dead good-for-nothing brain-the-size-of-a-pea didn't-your-mama-teach-you-anything loser maroon person parks his car or truck and blocks the bike path.

Thanks, sir, for your courtesy.

This forces bikes and cars together into the squeeze of death. Aieee!

This van habitually blocks bike path on Christophe Coulombe (at zigzag at Jarry to Boyer street)

In other news...

City forgets to paint bike path

The Rockland Overpass repairs are completed, and two lanes have reopened in each direction. This is a critical link for access between Plateau/Outremont and points west, like Saint Laurent (access via graham blvd through TMR).

The city seems to have forgotten to paint a bicycle-lane on the new asphalt.

Any volunteers want to do the job that the city forgot?

Need ride ideas? Here's 2007's best rides

If you are looking for some great quebec ride ideas, check this posting I did in January about the best rides we did in 2007.

There are descriptions and links to the original ride report and many of these have maps.

Sunny Hot Weekend forecast

Well, that's a weather forecast we haven't seen very often this year.

Go outside and ride your bike.

Were you busy and didn't get a chance to ride today? No problem: for the the 50 or so days the summer daylight lasts until 9:00 pm.... translation: you can ride after supper.

No excuses left... get outside and ride!

Summer! Woohoo!

Are you still sitting inside in front of a computer. I command you to turn it off. And go outside and ride your bike. Go somewhere you want to ride, explore a new region, live life to the fullest. Do it now.


Quebec Bicycle Vacations

If you google Quebec Bicycle Vacations, you get your search results, and on the right side, you get ads related to these search terms.

Question: are any of these ads actually for Quebec Bicycle Vacations?

Nope. Sorry. SOOL.

However, the regular search results are pretty good and you can get lots of info.

Try it for yourself. click here to search the Google. Then come to Quebec for a bicycle, culture, festival, scenery, history, and food vacation. We have a lot of all these things.

You also might want to go to Bonjour Quebec, the major quebec tourism portal. It's available in at least 12 different "languages."

Getting back to the ad search, what about the ad search in french? Using the canadian-french google I searched for Quebec Velo Vacances

With or without a "s" at the end, I got ads for places in quebec.

Here's a thought: perhaps Quebec business and tourism-regions should be trying just a wee-tiny bit to attract english speaking tourists from the rest of North America?

I know, we don't want to have our really good thing spoiled by bunches of tourists, but if tourism is part of our economic future, we should really try to attract more tourists from the rest of Canada and the USA.

Quebec is a great bicycle holiday vacation destination. The food can be pretty good, it's a good place to be a localvore. And if you bike all day, you can eat all night, guilt free (as long as you avoid the poutine).

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Little Italy stage

We went to the Tour de Grand Montreal stage race tonight to see stage number four, a criterium race in Little Italy.

At the finish line - inches separate the first three places.
To see a much better photo, go here.

The racing heats up near the end of the race

This was a great corner to feel the speed

A great night for a bike race - ended in the sunset

One of the leaders, the pink brakes are a nice touch

When the forecast says showers, it means you can ride your bike

If it isn't a major downpour, light or intermittent rain is not an obstacle to riding your bike.

To make it a lot more comfortable, we use detachable seatpost-fender, and a front fender velcro-attached to the downtube of the frame. Shoes get a bit wet but that's it.

If you have the luxury, you can set up your "old bike" for rain, with the addition of real fenders.

And remember to ALWAYS AVOID PUDDLES. In montreal, they could mask a two-foot deep pothole.

Existing in a state of high visibility is also highly useful. I turn on my tail-light (a very bright strobe model). This increases the safety margin considerably.

Sometimes. Rarely. Once in a while. You will be caught in a real downpour. Using humour, and even singing loud songs about riding in the rain, can alleviate any feelings of misery.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Bikes and local trains - the Montréal experience

Montreal's local train network - lots of great cycling destinations

Cycle Fun Montreal asks: The suburban train system: does it provide good access for urban cyclists to get to suburban/rural cycling destinations?

Cycle Fun Montreal lives urban (with wholesome rural roots). We would like to take the train to distant suburban destinations, and ride our bike back to home.

Is it possible?

FYI These train routes are collectively called the "Trains de banlieue." They are run by the AMT, and here is the link to their website.

The suburban train lines run from downtown Montreal to the suburbs of:
  • Montréal/ Dorion-Rigaud
  • Montréal/Deux-Montagnes
  • Montréal/Blainville-St-Jérôme
  • Montréal/Mont-Saint-Hilaire
  • Montréal/Delson-Candiac
All of these are excellent cycling destinations! Promotion of local bicycle tourism is essential in the greening of our travel and tourism infrastructure. People need to be able to travel with their bicycles on the train.


Several lines have a no-bikes policy. (doesn't mention folding bikes) Others are extremely limited in the number of bikes per train.

This policy is based on serving the market for the busy rush hour commute. The system is set up for bringing in the suburbanites from far away to a central downtown core.

Cycle Fun Montreal is asking about the reverse form of travel. On the weekend we can want to use the train system to travel to the (sometimes very-) distant burbs. If you know your history, early tram lines used this exact method to sell tickets on the otherwise-bad-for-business quiet weekend. These trains and trams took people out to amusement parks at the rural end of the line on the weekend. Belmont Park was one such example, from right here in Montreal. But we digress.

For weekend bike excursions many people are thinking "we don't want to drive our cars, cuz gas is expensive and burning gas to drive somewhere causes climate change and we don't want that!" So Cyclists are looking to the train lines to get somewhere on the weekend. But the trains don't go very far in this "reasonable accommodation." (groan!)

What cyclists want is weekend service on Montreal suburban train lines. (a.k.a. commuter trains) How about a bike-car as part of the train. It doesn't have to be fancy, it just has to be be big and empty. They used to call it the cargo wagon or something, now, in the name of efficiency and cost control (surely not customer service) there's no more cargo car to put your, and dozens of other peoples' bike in.

The exciting conclusion to our investigation:

Two lines permit bicycles on all trains all weekend. Three lines do not permit bicycles on board the train. And the really bad news: only 4 bikes per train. (It is not clear if this might mean 4 bikes per car, further investigation is needed).

So this presents a problem, because you have to buy your ticket from automated machine before you get on the train. What is the train is full for bikes and well, your trip idea is screwed and you are left holding a useless ticket that you won't now be using. Is there a way to get a refund? And let us point out: you have to do some sort of mysterious ticket validation perhaps before you get on the train, if you don't, you are subject to som ehuge (over $100) ticket for riding with an unvalidated ticket. So, we will have some outstanding questions on the customer service thing.

Four bikes per train? It would be easy, we assert, to sell excursions that would fill a cargo car with bikes. This idea could take off. Are we going to have to organize it ourself? We hope not. Stay tuned.

Here are present policies of bicycles on the different AMT trains de banlieue:

Montréal/ Dorion-Rigaud
Pendant toute l'année, le transport des bicyclettes est autorisé. Il est possible de monter ou descendre d'un train avec une bicyclette à toutes les gares à l'exception des gares Hudson et Rigaud.

Du lundi au vendredi, le transport des bicyclettes est autorisé aux heures suivantes:

* en direction de Rigaud, de 7 h 05 à 13 h 25 et de 21 h 15 à 22 h 10 ;
* en direction de Montréal, de 11 h 15 à 20 h 48.

Les samedis, dimanches et jours fériés, les bicyclettes sont permises à bord de tous les trains dans les deux directions.

En tout temps, le maximum de bicyclettes permis à bord d'un train est de 4.

S’il y a déjà 4 bicyclettes à bord, les cyclistes devront attendre le train suivant. L’embarquement se fait dans la voiture située à l’extrémité opposée de la locomotive selon la politique du premier arrivé. Les bicyclettes doivent être attachées aux supports prévus à cet effet.

Les cyclistes doivent être âgés d’au moins 16 ans ou être accompagnés d’un adulte.

Les cyclistes doivent se conformer aux directives du chef de train qui, en cas de force majeure, peut refuser de prendre des bicyclettes à bord.

Supports pour les bicyclettes disponibles aux gares suivantes:
Lucien-L'Allier: 2
Vendôme: 6
Montréal-Ouest: 6
Lachine: 20
Dorval: 14
Pine Beach: 8
Valois: 18
Pointe-Claire: 22
Cedar Park: 22
Beaconsfield: 48
Beaurepaire: 8
Baie-d’Urfé: 8
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue: 12
Île-Perrot: 8
Pincourt / Terr.-Vaudreuil: 8
Dorion: 10
Vaudreuil: 7
Hudson: 2
Rigaud: 2


Pendant toute l'année, le transport des bicyclettes est autorisé. Il est possible de monter ou descendre d'un train avec une bicyclette à toutes les gares à l'exception de la Gare Centrale.

Du lundi au vendredi, le transport des bicyclettes est autorisé aux heures suivantes:

* en direction de Deux-Montagnes, de 8 h 52 à 15 h 08 et de 19 h 07 à 1 h 08 ;
* en direction de Montréal, de 9 h 56 à 23 h 51.

Les samedis, dimanches et jours fériés, les bicyclettes sont permises à bord de tous les trains dans les deux directions.

En tout temps, le maximum de bicyclettes permis à bord d'un train est de 4.

S’il y a déjà 4 bicyclettes à bord, les cyclistes devront attendre le train suivant. L’embarquement se fait selon la politique du premier arrivé.

Les cyclistes doivent monter dans la voiture de tête et occuper l'espace à proximité du centre de la voiture. Les bicyclettes doivent être accrochées sur les supports prévus à cette fin.

Les cyclistes doivent être âgés d’au moins 16 ans ou être accompagnés d’un adulte.

Les cyclistes doivent se conformer aux directives du chef de train qui, en cas de force majeure, peut refuser de prendre des bicyclettes à bord.

Supports pour les bicyclettes disponibles aux gares suivantes:
Canora: 14
Mont-Royal: 40
Montpellier: 14
Du Ruisseau: 21
Bois-Franc: 21
Sunnybrooke: 27
Roxboro-Pierrefonds: 42
Île-Bigras: 11
Sainte-Dorothée: 14
Grand-Moulin: 8
Deux-Montagnes: 64


Accès interdit aux bicyclettes à bord des trains de banlieue de la ligne Montréal/Blainville-St-Jérôme.

Supports pour les bicyclettes disponibles aux gares suivantes:
Lucien-L'Allier: 2
Montréal-Ouest: 6
Parc: 11
De la Concorde: 7
Vimont: 7
Sainte-Rose: 15
Rosemère: 21
Sainte-Thérèse: 49
Blainville: 21
Saint-Jérôme: 14


Accès interdit aux bicyclettes à bord des trains de banlieue de la ligne Montréal / Mont-Saint-Hilaire.

Supports pour les bicyclettes disponibles aux gares suivantes:
Saint-Lambert: 7
Saint-Bruno: 7
Saint-Basile-le-Grand: 7
McMasterville: 7
Mont-Saint-Hilaire: 7


Accès interdit aux bicyclettes à bord des trains de banlieue de la ligne Montréal / Delson-Candiac

Supports pour les bicyclettes disponibles aux gares suivantes:
Lucien-L'Allier: 2
Montréal-Ouest: 6
LaSalle: 7
Sainte-Catherine: 7
Saint-Constant: 7
Delson: 7
Candiac: 7

New stage race Tour de Québec

The 1st edition of the Quebec city area "Tour de Québec" will run from 4-7 September.

Go here for a read.

It is being promoted as a quebec-france thing, but other teams are completely welcome. It's a great tourist destination, c'mon teams from the states!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Snake attack

Fresh Montreal roadkill

You see the strangest things when bike commuting.

Like... a dead snake on the road.

In Montreal?

On Cote des Neiges road.

And that's why we always carry a minicamera.

Added: No I did NOT eat it!

Sunny on Monday - Ride your bike to work

Get everything ready today, and tomorrow, go out and ride your bike to work.

Do it once, and you'll want to do it again, and again!

We have saved 200$ on gas so far this year by using the bike (hi Old Blue!) to ride the ten kilometres from home to work.

Tour du Grand Montréal stage race

To see Cycle Fun Montreal's photos of Sunday's world cup race on Mont Royal, please click here.

Tour du Grand Montréal, the most important tour in the Americas

Quebeckers can be proud of the cycling reputation Quebec has earned over the years. The Tour du Grand Montréal has become the largest road cycling tour in North America. Champions such as Nicole Cooke (first in the general rankings in 2007), Judith Arndt (winner of the Montreal World Cup event in 2006) and Oenone Wood (World Champion in 2005), attest to the quality of athletes who come to race in the greater metropolitan area.

Tour du Grand Montréal will comprise 5 stages for the 7th edition

The Tour du Grand Montréal has the highest level of international endorsement. This prestigious race takes place in 5 stages:

• The first stage will take place on Monday, June 2 in Châteauguay. This new stage will include a new road circuit of 5.7 km and 15 laps, for a total of 85.5 km. The race will start at 5:30 pm.

• The second stage will take place on Tuesday, June 3 in Granby. For the second year, the course will remain the same, with a length of 9.46 km and 11 laps, for a total of 104.06 km. The start will be given at 5 pm.

• The third stage will take place on the morning of Wednesday, June 4 in René Lévesque park in Lachine, a district with a well-established cycling culture. The stage will be an individual time trial over 2.8 km. The first start will be at 11:30 am.

• The fourth stage will take place on Wednesday, June 4 in the evening in the Little Italy district, as a criterium of 50 km with intermediary sprints and public prizes. Each year, more and more spectators gather along the race route, providing an electrifying atmosphere. We should emphasize the backing of the Italian community, which wholeheartedly supports the event. The start will be given at 7:15 pm.

• The fifth and final stage will take place in the late afternoon in Mont-Saint-Hilaire. This five-lap-circuit totals 115 km and will have a new start-finish area on Chemin Osias-Leduc. The race will start at 4:15 pm

In addition to the individual rankings for each stage, there will be two general rankings (time, team) and the following awards:

- Best espoir

- Best climber

- Best sprinter

The best cyclists in the world:

The World Cup and the Tour du Grand Montréal will once again welcome the best women cyclists in the world. Once again, we can expect to welcome the cream of the crop of world cycling and the best Quebec and Canadian athletes.

Défis des jeunes

In collaboration with their respective school boards, primary and high school students will have the chance to take part in a friendly race on a section of the Pro Circuit for the stages in Lachine and Mont-Saint-Hilaire.

Our partners and sponsors

Such a large event cannot be produced without the ongoing support and generous collaboration of a large number of partners and sponsors. We would like to stress the ongoing support of the Government of Quebec, our host towns, our private sector partners and our media partners. We are very proud to receive the support and collaboration of these partners in organizing this large-scale sporting event. Thanks to them, thousands of amateurs from here and elsewhere can enjoy this sporting and tourist event free of charge.

Montreal on NY Times list of 34 summer travel destinations

The New York Times again mentions that Montreal and Quebec City are worthy of New Yorker's travel plans.

Can you feel a warm glow inside you... They like us, they really like us!

Oh wait... We think we mean "They know we exist, I can't believe they know we we exist!"

Actually, Quebec is a great destination and you don't have to fly to get here, there's a train direct from New York!