Monday, December 29, 2008

Montreal's Reseau Blanc winter bike path network: just a PR stunt?

The gazoo (ahem, The Gazette) cycling blog takes a view-from-the-saddle look at Montreal's winter bike path network, the Reseau Blanc.

They were not too impressed. In fact they were not impressed at all.

Full story here.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Welcome to... Ice-opolis


Can this winter get more bleak and despairing?

Ice-coated everything, slush as deep as Lac St-Jean, and months until spring?

We don't advise traveling south, preferring to enjoy the beauties of winter, but we can understand anyone who desires some non-ice-covered scenery for a change.

Oh summer, how we miss you .

OK, we bought some MSR lightning snowshoes, and we are going to use them, with a trip to Parc de la Mauricie en hiver.

We might even camp... outside.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

our fav cycling gift

We were happy to get a cycling-related christmas gift from grandma and grandpa.

16 shiny new Mach 3 razor blades.

Now that's a gift to get your legs through the summer.

Ahhh summer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Ho Ho Ho

Happy winter time celebrations everyone!

Go outside and enjoy the fresh air and snow.

Spring is coming!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Stormageddon? Not.

Another little snow storm has dumped decent quantities of road-blocking snow onto our town. We have seen cyclists, skiers, snowshoers, toboggan, snowboarders, skateboard-on-a-ski, skaters, outside having fun and practicing their craft.

Now it is time for us to go outside and play...



Friday, December 19, 2008

Snowshoe Raquette winter fun

We have switched our outdoor fun activity to snowshoeing up Mont Royal.

As long as there is snow, there are good conditions for snowshoes.

And when weather conditions are bad (read: snowstorm) then conditions are great for snow shoeing.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter, snow, sidewalks, bike paths, complaints

We have seen the first of this season's "how come the bike path is cleaner than the sidewalk" complaint letters/columns.

Like Cyclists don't deserve our 0.0001% of the snow clearing budget?

Cycling on city streets in winter is sometimes suicide, we would guess that perhaps one life is saved with the winter-cleaning of the Reseau Blanc (winter bike path) network. Seems like a good deal to us.

Read the Le Devoir article on this subject here (french).

Roof rack still on your car?

Is your roof rack still on your car? Is the bike rack up there too?

Winter is not your roof rack's friend.

It is not too late to go out and remove the bike rack (and complete roof rack too if you want). Do it now. So it Saturday. Do it Sunday. Just do it.

Winter does not start until Monday, so on Tuesday we want to see a lot less bike racks on cars!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Montreal's Reseau Blanc winter bike path network

Montreal's Reseau Blanc winter bike path network should be active and open.

Is it?

We will investigate this weekend.

The test, as always, is how functional it is immediately after a snow storm.

If anyone has any opinions or experiences with the reseau blanc this winter, please leave a comment.

For a map of the Reseau Blanc winter bike path network click here for Montreal's map, and here for Velo Quebec's.

Our favorite Giftmas present for cyclists

Our favorite Giftmas present for cyclists is a LOUD bicycle bell.

It is a terrific way to let people hear you coming (so they know to get out of the way and not block the intersection), and works very well on the Montreal bike paths.

We love our bell.

If you urban-cycle on a nonrace bike, you should have a bell.

Plus a bell is a fun and happy sound, and our city needs more of this!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pont Jacques Cartier bridge now closed

Pont Jacques bridge now closed to bikes for the season.

The PJC is a fabulous way to cross the mighty St-Laurence river, and we'll see you there in the spring when its excellent bike-sidewalk reopens to cyclists.

Bonne hiver!

checking out replacement cars

Cyclists and cars have a mixed relationship. We need cars to get to our cycling adventure start points, but the rest of the time they suck, and are a hazard to the enjoyment of the bicycle ride.

However, a car is a necessity for the recreational cyclist with a habit of exploration. Therefore we consider the automobile as the most expensive (and sadly essential) bike accessory.

We presently have a 95 volvo wagon, bought second hand after seeing how cavernous these things are. We admit we had a fever, and it was a bad idea, since every old euro car has a reliability rating not dissimilar to the Lada brand. In fact we call it the crapwagon. It's only redeeming feature is that it also serves as a garage for some bikes!

So we are checking out small wagon-ish cars under 20 large after tax, mainly the Honda Fit and the Pontiac Vibe. We think that the Honda is the better car with better fuel consumption, but the vibe is sold under cost (GM ain't making money on any car it sells!) and that is an attraction, as well GM is more motivated to make deals to sell and keep factories busy, a problem Honda does not have. As well the Vibe is built in a Toyota factory, which can't be a bad thing. The vibe, however, is hideous. Not as hideous as the Versa hatch, but up there.

We are testing out the dealer experience, and no decision is made. We have an open mind about buying a north american made car (the vibe) although we know two close friends who are very satisfied with the Fit.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Morning bike commute, afternoon blizzard

We rode our bike to work this morning, but we sure didn't ride home.

Because we have our first blizzard!


As an act of superior civisme, we cleaned off our sidewalk front and rear, and we did it the whole length of the block! (We waited a week last year for the city to do it.)

Monday, December 08, 2008

We meet Richard Pound

On the weekend we met the anti-doping czar Richard Pound of IOC and WADA fame and we didn't ask him why he killed professional cycling, because we know (and you should too) that cycling did a fine job of that all by itself.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Our favorite northern Lanaudiere hill ride

This excellent ride has many shorter options

We have (finally!) created a map on Bikely of our favorite northern Lanaudiere hill ride.

This one is the complete version, which you can shorten because it is clover-leaf shaped with many shortcuts or shorter variations.

We really love this ride and do it at least 5 times a season.

Here is the link to the bikely map of the ride.

We love it for it's hills, both up and down, and the excellent views in many parts of the ride.

We think that the descent south of Ste-Emilie de l'Energie is one of the best in Quebec.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

our winter reading suggestion

Our winter reading suggestion is to read some of our summer-month blog posts.

Look over on the right side of the page, there they are... now click on one!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Dry roads, riding to work again

the roads are dry again, so we are leaving the car keys at home and riding to work again.

The motivation is... somewhere. We're sure we'll find some in time for breakfast.