Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Pont Jaques Cartier bike path - Montreal's 2nd best view of the city is now open for 2011

Go to the Pont Jacques Cartier. Ride the sidewalk to the lookout on the bridge. Enjoy the view. This is the 2nd best view in Montreal. (The Mont Royal Chalet lookout is the best.)

Look down, way down. That's the fresh water of the St-Laurence river.

Once you have your fill of this great view, continue to the other side of the bridge. Explore!

You can also explore Parc Drapeau's various islands. There's a new workout-station park on Ile Ste-Helene. Why can we have one of these in Mont Royal park?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Urban bike ride to the North Shore of Montreal

Is this really better than no bike path?

One early season ride we like to do is to ride to the north shore of Montreal Island. It's not far, there's good scenery, and getting here and back can involve quite a lot of urban exploration. In other words, there's lots of potential for a fun and interesting ride.

We rode through TMR and ville St-Laurent. Two points of interest are the church that was moved from downtown and one of the oldest trees in Montreal.

This church was moved stone-by-stone from downtown Montreal.

Oldest tree in Montreal?

Next we rode along the north shore to the biggest tree in Montreal. (selon moi.)

Montreal's biggest tree?

Is this Montreal's biggest tree? We measured six metres around the outside.

You might also note the Tamarack/Larch (Méléze) tree at left. Oh, and the river in the back too.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Spring ride Chateauguay river

Fields and forests. Paradise found.

A bike ride through the country side.

Our favorite early spring ride is along the Chateauguay river from Ormstown to Huntingdon or further to Quebec's oldest covered bridge at Powerscourt. (Interactive map here)

We highly recommend the Ormstown to Powerscourt ride using the same road out and back. But if you want some variety (and a shorter return section), do the ride as indicated on the map. Note that the diagonal nature of the road network can cause minor confusion so the return by river route is more idiot-proof in the route-finding department.

We saw 1000 snow geese here on Wednesday.


Ormstown-Huntingon 32Km / 20 miles round trip.

Adding Powerscourt adds about 20 km more.

Road trip roadblocks: upcoming road construction season

La Press has a good summary of road and bridge construction/repair work coming up in 2011.

Why is this important?

Well, we had quite an epic adventure in the Laurentians in Chertsey when we discovered that the "Pont Gouvernmental" was being rebuilt and was not in fact there.

Many excellent bike rides require some highway driving to get to the start. Being aware of road construction can save you a lot of time and frustration. You should choose your car driving route as carefully as you choose your bike-ride route.


1- Échangeur Turcot: 155 millions

> Asphaltage de l'A15

> Entretien des structures actuelles

> Construction de la route d'accès au futur Centre de santé McGill

2- Autoroute Métropolitaine: 92 millions

> Réaménagement des échangeurs Des Laurentides et Décarie

> Réfection des structures de l'A40 entre l'A520 et la rue Provencher, dans l'est de Montréal

3- Échangeur Dorval: 70 millions

> Asphaltage des autoroutes 20 et 520

> Réparation des stuctures de l'A20

> Reconstruction du viaduc A520 et des voies de desserte au-dessus la montée de Liesse

4- Pont Mercier et approches: entre 20 et 100 millions (budget non divulgué)

> Réfection du pont

> Réparation du pont d'étagement (route 138) au-dessus de la rue Monette, dans l'arrondissement de LaSalle

> Réparation de l'échangeur Saint-Pierre

5- Laval-Montréal: budgets non divulgués

> Réfection du pont Lachapelle

> Réfection du pont Viau

> Réfection de la chaussée de l'A15 entre la rue De Salaberry et l'autoroute Métropolitaine (A40)

> Réaménagement des échangeurs Des Laurentides et Décarie

6- Autoroute 40: entre 10 et 50 millions (budget précis non divulgué)

> Protection des poutres du pont Charles-de-Gaulle

> Reconstruction de la chaussée entre le pont Charles-de-Gaulle et le boul. Henri-Bourassa

7- Autoroute Ville-Marie (A720): budget non divulgué

> Réfection des murs de l'A720 entre les rues Panet et Hôtel-de-Ville (direction est)

> Réfection des ponts d'étagement du boulevard Saint-Laurent et de la rue Saint-Antoine

Modernisation de la rue Notre-Dame (est de Montréal): 0$

> Pas de travaux prévus dans ce projet, en cours depuis 1999

Total des travaux routiers 2011-2012: 3,9 milliards, 1645 chantiers

* * *


Ponts et structures

> 29,2% des investissemens (1,14 milliard) dans les ponts et viaducs

> 875 structures en réfection (dont 272 ponts municipaux)

Développement routier

> 30% des investissements (1,17 milliard) pour l'expansion du réseau routier

> Prolongement de l'autoroute 35, en Montérégie

> Prolongement de l'autoroute 410, à Sherbrooke (Estrie)

> Construction de l'autoroute 85 (Gaspésie)

> Prolongement de l'autoroute 73 (Beauce)

> Fin des travaux d'achèvement de l'autoroute 25 (Montréal-Laval)

> Poursuite des travaux d'achèvement de l'autoroute 30 (Montérégie)

> Poursuite des travaux d'élargissement de la route 175 (Québec-Saguenay)


Lots more info at the required-reading Quebec 511 website, Transport Quebec's highly useful tool for trip planning.


Friday, March 18, 2011

Last winter adventure for 2011?

Quebec's most scenic road?

Pictures from march 2011 trip to Charlevoix

Spring is here, but we took advantage of winter's joys one final time with a trip to the Charlevoix region NE of Quebec City, where the mountains meet the sea.

Our destinations were Parc des Grands Jardins (excellent), Sentier des Caps du Charlevoix (secteur Le Massif) (excellent), Parc des hautes Gorges de la riviere malbaie (road closed for winter 15 km from park entrance), and scenic drives along the Route des Sommets and Route du Fleuve (both excellent).

Sunday, March 13, 2011

High performance design show at UQAM design school

You can check out some high-performance consumer products including some fancy bicycles (yes, the usual exotic wankfest time-trial bike that is basically of no use to anybody anywhere outside of a few hundred competitors worldwide) at the exhibition going on now at the "High Performance/sport, design et innovation au Canada" show at the ÉCOLE DE DESIGN at UQAM.

1440, rue Sanguinet, Montréal
Coin Ste-Catherine
Renseignements :
514 987-4479

It's a nice example of aspirational product marketing, and totally worth the 15 minutes it takes to see it. This show was created as an ad for Canada for the Vancouver Olympiques.

And in case you think we are down on the show, we really liked the sea-kayak that disassembles and packs in to a large dufflebag.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Montreal promises and fails to deliver promised bike paths

Let's look at the city of Montreal's promises about new bike path construction.

2009 bike path promised: 60 km
2009 bike path delivered: 42 km

2010 bike path promised: 50 km
2010 bike path delivered: 23.4 km

It was the weather's fault, says Manon Barbe, and promises to do better in 2010.

Ms Barbe is the transportation poobah for Montreal.

The city also confirms that the big headline-grabbing 500 km of new paths that they promised in 2008 to be ready by 2015 is still "the plan." Years of discussions with the buroughs and municipalities is over and we should see new bike paths and bike-path connections to improve the bike path "network" in the near future.

The source of this info is Marie-Eve Shaffer of the free Metro newspaper.

Something else we can expect in the near future is the joyous arrival of spring.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Bixi stats 2010

These are our Bixi stats from 2010.

We renewed for 2011.

User2 like the simplicity and ease of use of the Bixi and was much more active on bike than usual.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Canada to close several important-to-cyclists border crossings

The "Harper Government" plans to screw canadians who want to cross the border to the USA at several points in Quebec.

A cost saving plan (surely not a service improvement plan!) will see several border crossings closed and others have their hours reduced.

This will happen on April 1. That is in 3 weeks time, so when you are out bike riding in spring and summer, be ready for an unpleasant surprise when the border crossing you used in the past is now firmly closed and you will be making a 25 km+ detour. Thanks to PM Harper!

Why is this bad for cyclists? Because cyclists use quiet roads and quiet border crossings to enjoy recreation and tourism in the beautiful regions along the Canada-US border that defines southern Quebec for a couple of hundred very scenic kilometres.

Two border crossings we think should stay open are at Franklin Centre in southwest Quebec and Glen Sutton in the Eastern Townships.

We don't normally cut-and-paste news stories, but this one is very important to cyclists.

MONTREAL - Three Bloc Québécois members of Parliament were in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, trying to persuade elected officials in Congress to ask the Conservative government to postpone imminent cuts in Canadian border-station services.

The cuts are to take place on April 1. But the Bloc says they should be postponed until the federal government can assess the outcome of new Canada-United States talks on a proposed North American security perimeter.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and U.S. President Barack Obama announced last month in Washington that the two countries plan to begin negotiations to create a security perimeter.

The goal of the negotiations is to explore grounds for an agreement that would see Canada and the U.S. harmonize certain aspects of their respective refugee, immigration and security laws.

The idea of a security perimeter was first brought up by the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks. The U.S. has made it clear it would be more willing to loosen up border controls between it and Canada if Canada were to agree to create new joint continental security controls.

Given last month's announcement, then, Canada should be working toward keeping border stations open - not closing them, the Bloc says.

Bloc MP Claude Bachand, who represents the Montérégie riding of St. Jean, said from Washington that his delegation was in the process of trying to meet 10 members of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, or their aides. At 1 p.m., he said they had already met five of the 10.

Among them was Candice Miller, chairperson of the House subcommittee on border and maritime security. Miller is a Republican from Michigan. Bachand is co-chairperson of a House of Commons committee of MPs from ridings in border regions.

"The cuts the Harper government wants to impose make no sense, given the new push for a security perimeter," Bachand said. "But the government won't listen to anybody in Canada. So we have come to Washington to see if we can persuade some of our American friends to put pressure on Ottawa."

As a result of changes announced last fall, the Canada Border Services Agency plans to close three border stations on the Canada-U.S. border on April 1 (including two in Quebec), and cut back the operating hours at another four (including three in Quebec).

The two slated for closing are Franklyn Centre and Jaimeson's Line south of Montreal, near the towns of Franklin and Huntingdon. The three to see their hours cut are Glen Sutton, East Pinnacle and Morses Line, in the Eastern Townships. A customs office in the town of Drummondville is to be closed on April 1, as well.

The cuts are the result of a spending review by the CBSA. That review, in turn, is part of a larger review of government spending that the governing Conservative Party promised as part of its 2008 election platform.

The other two Bloc MPs in Washington with Bachand were Christian Ouellet (Brome-Missisquoi) and Roger Pomerleau (Drummond). They were joined by Ron Moran, president of the union representing CBSA border guards.

djohnston@ montrealgazette.com

This is complete madness.