Thursday, August 18, 2011

4 Years after the city consults the mountain bike community, there is still no off-road bike trail anywhere in Montreal

We demand the city stop delaying and start building off-road mountain bike trails in Montreal

In 2007 the city started consultations on creating an actual mountain bike trail in Parc Mont Royal. Problematically, the mountain bikers wanted access to the same Bois St-Jean-Baptiste as was coveted by the planners for the Ceinture Mont Royal trail. As well, Les Amis de la Montagne is 100% against any mountain bike trails, today or ever.

Read more about mountain biking on Mont Royal at our report from 2007 here.

Absolutely zero progress has been made on the mountain bike trail issue. And we are very disappointed and fed up.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

10 climb tour of Mont Royal

We took our coworker on a ten climb tour of Mont Royal, and to our surprise it was total mission accomplished!

The route:
  1. Cote de Vesinet from Cote-Ste-Catherine (easy or hard way, it's your knees)
  2. Vincent d'Indy up to Salle Claude Champagne (right to the Salle's front door)
  3. Université de Montreal - main entrance (Chemin de la Rampe)
  4. Saint Joseph Oratory (new road at west side)
  5. Westmount: Ave de Clark & Aberdeen switchbacks to summit
  6. Westmount: Mount Pleasant switchbacks & Belvedere to summit
  7. Université de Montreal Queen Mary entrance to Polytechnique climb
  8. Pagnuelo from Cote Ste-Catherine to ave Mont Royal (misidentified on map)
  9. Mont Royal cemetery Mont Murray direct from main entrance (turn right 3 times)
  10. Camellien Houde legendary 1.8 km climb

We encourage you to try this ride, it is one of Montreal's very best bike rides. Explore your city, it's really quite the nice place in the non-winter seasons.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Happy 23rd birthday to our Bertrand bike

The Bertrand bike has been very, very good to us.

You only have to buy one really good road bike (and then stop listening to bike advertising and marketing BS), and ride happily ever after.

This approach to life assumes the standard 3-bike collection: a road bike, mountain bike, city bike. This is the minimum: a touring bike, a rain bike, a cargo bike, a unicycle, a Bixi, etc can all add to the fun and utility to be had from cycling.

Bike history
No bike wheel lasts forever, and here are the original specs, and the parts we have changed on the Bert.

original bike
the bike began as a full campy chorus on a custom measured columbus slx frame of the 1988 specs. The frame is hand built steel in what is described as classique 1980s TdF style. This is before the materials revolution that brought us fancy aluminum alloys and bikes made from plastique.

both wheels (3rd set) (presently ultegra/open pro), Back wheels and me don't have long-term relationships
rear derailleur - now a ultegra long cage
gearing: since I ride hillz, it's a mountain bike cassette
tires (700x25 tuff-tires preferred so I can ride ANY road)
bike computers, presently a nice little cateye wireless
SPD pedals - so I use one pair of shoes for all riding.

Parts that need changing include:
rear wheel (hub and rim)
handlebar tape
brake cable housing (its been 23 years chris')

What annoys us?
the bike's finish could be better. A lot better.
seat post should be a little more adjustable.
Shifter is a bit slippy.
I eat back wheels.

What do we love the most.
Point this bike down any road and ride!

Most memorable bystander comment
at the 80 km point in a 100 mile ride (aka a century ride) I was really slacking off in the pedalling department, and a kid (around 10 years old) outside a house in the country shouted at me to "Ride that bike!!!"

Bike Philosophy
You can easily see that the bike isn't set up for pure speed anymore. It is set up for adventure... and fun! It has given back to me more fun than anything else in life. This has substantial value in the quality of life department.

Best ride ever
too many to count, Quebec is a terrific place to ride. Here's some favorites
St-Jean-de-Matha / Sainte-Emilie-de-l'Energie / Ste-Beatrix in northern lanaudiere
St-Alexis-des-Monts to Hotel Lac Sacacomie
Jay Peak loop from Sutton
Any variation of a ride around the Chateauguay Valley (Haut-St-Laurent) (2 dozen)
Any variation of a ride around the MRC Maskinongé on this side of Trois Rivieres (a dozen)
Chemin Craig/Gosford Appalachian ride - an amazing area for riding.

OK, we like hills.

Rides we still have to do:
Montreal -> Quebec city

tomorrow we take some coworkers for a ten-climb tour of Mont Royal

Hee hee hee.

This should be very interesting.

Monday, August 15, 2011

New Mont Royal loop road delayed until 2013

The future is looking good, but it is taking its sweet time getting here.

The "Ceinture Mont Royal" loop road around Mont Royal is a great idea, and is supposed to be completed for 2011. (A "ceinture" is a belt)

Well, now it's planned for completion in 2013.

Better late than never, but we are waiting... and waiting... for access to the beautiful northern side of Mont Royal.

Easy access to Mount Royal in 2013 ...

Everything comes to those who wait. The city of Montreal was inaugurated in May Park Third Summit of Mount Royal. But the work has been delayed. The inauguration of the summit will finally Outremont in 2013, together with that of sections four and five of the way of the mountain belt.

Two components of a project of particular interest Outremont, since it is a beltway for easier access to the park from the north-west. But also the development of the wooded St. John the Baptist.

"In the summer of 2013, visitors will have a panoramic view of the north of the island. This is the northern flank of Mount Royal we want to highlight, "said Alan De Sousa, Head of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks to the City of Montreal.

"The public tender was launched on July 6 for the fifth and final phase of the project," he adds.

A beltway

It must be said that the need was real. Currently, visitors arriving by Outremont have no convenient access to the northern slope of the mountain. And for good reason: the land in question are private and belong to the University of Montreal and Cemetery Our Lady of the Snows.

* It will take until 2013 before the opening of the summit Outremont, where access will be facilitated with the unveiling of the Third Summit of Mount Royal.

A situation that has changed for the summer 2013. "The future ring road winds up the north side of the mountain, crossing the Notre-Dame-des-Neiges and along the University of Montreal," says Alan De Sousa. Both of these institutions grant the City the management of 23 hectares in total.

The beltway is an extension of the type of experience offered by the Olmsted Road, located in the Parc du Mont-Royal. Ultimately, it will connect the main peak at the top of Outremont, to join the Olmsted Road along Park Avenue.

The wood Saint-Jean-Baptiste in the spotlight

Finally, the wooded St. John the Baptist will be given a makeover. Until now, the oak forest, unique in Montreal, is relatively unknown to visitors.

"In the summer of 2013, visitors will have a panoramic view of the north of the island. This is the northern flank of Mount Royal we want to emphasize. "- Alan De Sousa, Head of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks to the City of Montreal

A situation deplored Friends of the Mountain, by the voice of his communications director, Gabrielle Korn. "This wood has a really significant ecological value. It includes native species such as white trillium, for example, "said she.

It is therefore natural that the association supports both the proposed beltway and enhancement of woodland, led by the City of Montreal.

But still it provides remain vigilant. "We will ensure that the work be done in accordance with the exceptional natural heritage site, grade Gabrielle Korn.

Can you see the difference in the trails between this picture and the one at the top?

This picture shows a road/trail going inside the cemetery to link the trail with the Beaver lake/maison smith area of Parc Mont Royal.

It is nice to see some news about the progress for this important quality-of-life project.

We first reported on this in 2008 when the city sought public input on this project.


What about a real off-road mountain bike trail?

In related news, in 2007 the city started consultations on creating an actual gen-u-wine mountain bike trail in Parc Mont Royal. Problematically, the mountain bikers wanted access to the same Bois St-Jean-Baptiste as was coveted by the planners for the Ceinture trail. As well, Les Amis de la Montagne is dead set against any non-protective activity in this forest that could disrupt the natural ecology, although that exact thing has been going on for years under the radar.

Read more about mountain biking on Mont Royal at our report from 2007 here.

Absolutely zero progress has been made on the mountain bike trail issue. And we are very disappointed and fed up.


Anyway, if you want to see the north summit / bois de st-jean-baptiste, you can go there today and hike it, and see it before they "amenage" it to 21st century design standards.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Youth wing of Quebec Liberal Party attacks cyclists, claims it's social justice.

The youth wing of Quebec Liberal Party attacks cyclists, and claims it's social justice. (did they leave out the anti-?)

Anyway, this is the view of a few of Quebec's fine young elitists. Here's a bad translation:

Following a heated debate, the young liberals in Congress voted overwhelmingly on Sunday morning for an application "severe" Code road safety for cyclists.

"They (the riders) have a nice bike path, but they will garrocha in the way of motorists," railed one militant young Saguenay.

The representative of the Young Liberals of Montreal, making the proposal, spoke of "social justice" to explain that we want to apply the law as severe as for cyclists and motorists.

Several speakers at the microphone admitted that they spent more time behind the wheel of a car than a bicycle handlebar.

The layer of our society's social stratification where our political elitists live is a scary place for the rest of us peons.

You can thank (or express your unhappiness to) the group's president, Maripier Isabelle, for this progressive measure to improve cycling safety. Click here to reach her on twitter.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Say goodbye to Bixi - and buy your own bike!

You need to own your own bike, and frankly, bike stores need the business. Death by Bixi is an ugly thing to see.

Don't forget to buy and learn to correctly use a good U-lock (yes they are expensive, and worth every penny). You want to keep your new bike for a long time.

Please bring the bike inside when it rains, and fersure bring it inside for the winter!

You will love your new bike. We promise.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Runners in the bike path

How about a joke.

How can you tell the difference between the sidewalk and the bike path?

Answer: all the runners are on the bike path.

This would be funny if it wasn't true.

80 km this week riding to work

Riding a bike to work is a great way to save on gas, get some exercise, and have more fun in your life.

And with Montreal construction detours, the bike is faster than a car in many situations.

Just watch out for intersections, where bike-car/truck/bus/cement mixer fatalities occur with alarming frequency.

Ride safe!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

639-NXE Silver Honda CRV

If you see a silver CRV with these plates, watch out, since we witnessed the male driver run a RED LIGHT at Laurier & Cote-Ste-Catherine road.

While looking down at his PHONE.

And almost, almost hitting the vehicles crossing the intersection.

Two blocks later he was still holding his phone because clearly the phone is more important than other peoples lives.

Saturday, August 06, 2011

Northern Lanaudiere Festi-Force ride

Today's version of our Lanaudiere Nord ride.

This ride's variations on the basic circuit are:
  1. L'Assomption river to near St-Alphonse-Rodriguez (avoid: bad road surface)
  2. short version of the Ste-Beatrix south loop (this is the non-complicated version)
  3. chemin Pied de la Montagne out-and-back from chemin Belle Montagne (do it!)
  4. Rang St-Guillaume at end of ride (do not skip this, it's 100% top quality)
The ride map is here on Bikely (good luck with incredibly unreliable bikely!)

We did a cycling version of St-Jean-de-Matha's Festi-Force Louis Cyr

Louis Cyr was a legendary Strongman - and this ride requires strong legs that are tested with a dozen steep climbs, which -- we promise -- are also fun.

The upside of uphills are the descents: woohoo!

We powered the ride with summer sunshine in the form of fresh-picked raspberries.

The raspberry farm is Ferme Sarrazin on Rang Ste-Catherine. They also sell various pork products in both raw and transformed forms. This is at the start of the first long hill: the three-step climb up and up and then UP to the Ste-Emilie-de-l'Energie townline at the hill's top -- and the excellent Scenic Lookout with benches and a great view.

It is OK to take micro-pauses when climbing this hill. Mainly because you don't want to burn out too soon on this ride, but also because you want to have fun too.

Looking back from the top of the Rang Ste-Catherine hill.

There is new asphalt on the first two climbs up this hill, but this last climb remains very rustic (and hard). It feels really good to crest the top of the climb and look down into the Ste-Emilie-de-l'Energie valley.

Hilltop church in St-Jean-de-Matha town.

Yes, the ride finishes at the church up this little hill.

Top of first/last hill of the day. See the church?

Also, see the dog?

That dog ruined our zoom-zoom blast down this last hill of the ride.

Cursed beast!

Spot the church.

Go ahead and click the photo. Yes, that is the St-Jean-de-Matha church.

This view is from St-Joseph near Ste-Beatrix. The view from here shows the upper part of the valley of the L'Assomption river. This river valley has waterfalls and is a regional park that includes the three municipalities that contain the L'Assomption river downriver from Ste-Beatrix to St-Jean-de-Matha and Ste-Melanie.

Parc Regional des Chutes

The ride passes over the L'Assomption river at the Ste-Beatrix entrance (one of the three entrances) to the Parc Regional des Chutes. The St-Jean-de-matha entrance is a good bike ride, but has no scenic view. The Ste-Beatrix entrance has a great view, as you can see in these photos.

Waterfall at the Ste-Beatrix entrance to Parc Regional des Chutes

The photo taken from the road bridge over the falls - no entrance fee for the view from the road bridge.

Downstream view from the road bridge.

This is possibly the other best way to enjoy a heat wave.

Road names like Pretty Mountain and Foot-of-the-Mountain promise scenic riding

Some times road names promise things, these roads deliver on the promises.

The section Belle Montagne & Rang St-Laurent rewards better than winning the loto.

Because the reward occurs every time you play here.

Ste-Beatrix has a scenic little main street

Ste-Beatrix is one of the three villages on this ride. They are each located a nice distance from each other. In Ste-Beatrix there is a park beside the church for rest stop, conveniently located right across from the grocery store.

Speaking of rest stops, Ste-Emilie-de-l'Energie has the nicest rest stop. It is located beside a little lake at the Tourist Info building. This is located a very short detour off this bike circuit but is recommended. Directions: when the bike ride arrives in Ste-Emilie the circuit turns left. If you turn right instead and follow the Tourist Info sign you will not be disappointed with the quality of this rest stop. Check out the sawmill model inside the Tourist Info building.

Scenic view from rang Ste-Celine before arriving in Ste-Beatrix.

Refilling water bottles and camelbak with lots and lots of water.

Ice-cold water on a heat-wave day is a good thing.

Good hydration management is required when cycling on a hot day.

Rest&refuel was at "near" St-Alphonse-Rodriguez waterfall

This abandoned dam is easily accessed from beside the Rona. The depanneur is located where the back road meets the highway.

This segment of the ride was an out-and-back deviation from our regular route along the L'Assomption river. Frankly the road surface is pretty bad, but if it gets repaved it'll be great addition to this standard circuit. We love northern Lanaudiere back roads.

We saw only two other riders today.

This dude is arriving into Ste-Emilie-de-l'Energie from Ste-Come direction. It's a big downhill, and he rode the brakes all the way down. Speed control is probably a good idea in busy areas.

It was a perfect day for riding in a cycling utopia.

It is the weekend of St-Jean-de-Matha's Festi-Force Louis Cyr that festivalizes the memory of Quebec strongman Louis Cyr. So we went out and did out own strongman activity: riding the excellent hills of northern Lanaudiere.

Some bike rides, when repeated, are boring, repetitive, or just grindfests, with a distinct lack of fun. Not our northern Lanaudiere circuit, which is fun fun fun.

Which is why we keep returning to the parking lot behind the city hall (across from the hilltop church) and (until 2013) beside the Louis Cyr Museum. We park under the giant maple tree. We take the bike out of the car and 50 feet after crossing the Rt 131 east of town we are in the country, and in another minute, are climbing a short but crazy steep little hill, observed with disapproval by the bovines chewing their cud.

It is a fact that this ride contains a few hills, and this means that for those of us without triples, there will be standing up on the pedals, and for honesty's sake, let's be upfront and say that there are a dozen stiff climbs that will test your fitness and possibly make you see god, or at least be begging her for some assistance. Here's a hint: instead of doing the zigzag up the hill thing, take some micro-pauses on the hill, 30 seconds to a couple of minutes, and then continue. (You can thank me later).

So this ride has quite a concentrated amount of climbing, but what if it is too much, will we need to call a taxi to get back to the car if we max out and enter cramp city? Let us advise you that this ride is shaped in a series of three (or four) loops from St-Jean-de-Matha. So if the first or second loop kills you (ok, we mean satisfies your need to discover your hill climbing ability), you can abort back to the car. We won't jusdge when you've had enough. Many people say 50 km is nothing, there's no way I'd have enough riding in only 50 km, but in fact on this ride 50 km can be quite enough riding for one day. The option to go long is available, as is the option to go short. It's up to you how much fun you want per ride. And if you go short, you can come back latr in the season for the longer ride. We know, we keep coming back!

But what if you are a hill addict, and you want more? And then you still want more? This ride delivers, with extra hills available even when you arrive back in St-Jean-de-Matha with the road down the the Parc Regional Des Chutes' St-Jean-de-Matha entrance (highly recommended!!!)

Let's list the pluses of this ride:
  • Quiet roads
  • Good asphalt
  • lots of hills
  • Good and great scenery
  • More quiet roads
  • More good asphalt
  • more good hills

Shadows on Rang Ste-Guillaume

For a change we're here long before sunset!

Tilted barn picture of the day.

We love Rang Ste-Guillaume - don't miss it.

Seriously: make sure to add Rang Ste-Guillaume at the ride's end. Since you have to pass though St-Jean-de-Matha to get to this last segment of the ride, it is very tempting to call it a day and skip Rang St-Guillaume. Don't succumb to this temptation. You want to ride Rang St-Guillaume, and this desire will be rewarded with a fantastic finale to the ride.

The fact that you will find this to be a fantastic finale is in fact a guarantee.

St-Jean-de-Matha roadwork almost finished, and no more bike-unfriendly detour.

The Bertrand is happy to bond at ride's end with its friend the giant maple tree.

What secrets is the bike revealing to the tree?

The surprise of the day was how well we rode in this heatwave.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Another cyclist killed by car

Another Quebec cyclist has been killed by a dangerous car driver.

The crash was so violent that the cyclist's body was cut in half.

Read the full story here at Cyberpresse.

Remember that when it comes to car-bike collisions, it is the bike rider who is most likely to be killed. In this accident the car driver has only minor injuries.

The acident occurred in Saint-Gabriel-de-Valcartier.

No one can replace a life, so please ride safe. And hope and pray that each and every passing car is not going to be the last thing in our life.

Also, the bike rider had no identification on him. Always carry identification!

St-Gabriel-de-Valcartier: terrible death of a cyclist

A cyclist aged between 50 and 70 years had a terrible end, yesterday, shortly before 7:30 p.m., at St. Gabriel de Valcartier, when he was hit by a car driven obviously at high speed. The violent incident occurred on 5th Avenue in a section of road that was straight. A blood sample was taken from the driver of the car to see if driving with ability impaired by alcohol or drugs at the time of the tragedy.

Following impact, the rider's body was literally cut in half. The car ended up in a ditch. The driver of 34 years in Quebec, which was the sole occupant, was traveling northbound, but the Sûreté du Québec (SQ) were unable to say when exactly where the impact was the cyclist on the road.

"What is certain is that it speaks of a high velocity impact," said the publicist of the SQ, Daniel Thibodeau. "The investigation is complicated for our investigation because the accident took place in a rural area and there was no eyewitness to what happened. Our reconstitutionniste has a lot of work to do to remake the scene of the accident. We sent one of our best reconstitutionnistes on hand to do the job. "

The scene seemed pretty elusive, indeed.. No trace of braking was visible on the asphalt. When the ambulance arrived, the driver was conscious and did not seem to be of major injuries, said a supervisor of paramedics CTAQ. He was taken to the Hospital of the Child Jesus, where blood sampling was performed.

"We still do not have the version of the driver, said Thibodeau.. We have reason to believe he could be intoxicated by alcohol and / or drugs at the time of the accident, and that is why a blood test was done on this man. He could be charged with driving while impaired causing death. "

According to what The Sun has learned, the motorist has a criminal history, including at least one charge for driving while impaired.

Police work to identify the victim was also difficult because the man had no identification on him at the time of the tragedy. 5th Avenue was still closed in the area of ​​the accident, at the time of printing.