Sunday, October 09, 2016

Vélopiste Jacques-Cartier Portneuf - start at western terminus at Rivière-à-Pierre

It took a long time but I finally got to ride the western end of the Vélopiste Jacques-Cartier Portneuf which is in the region of Quebec between Trois Rivieres and Quebec City.

I rode a nice out and back ride starting at Granite Capital of Quebec (sorry Stanstead/Rock Island) in Rivière-à-Pierre (River of Rocks, not River of dudes named Pierre)

The western terminus of this bike path is in this little village. I had done the eastern half of the bike path a long time ago and always had planned to return to do the western half. I did not like the eastern half too much - it was a straight line through a relentlessly boring conifer forest with no parks or scenic attractions. And then it rained hard and I u-turned and headed back to the car.

So on friday, about a decade later, I was in Trois Rivieres for the day so I figured I would do a nice ride starting in St-Genevieve-de-Batiscan but when I got here here the Catholic church has a big sign saying park here and we will tow your car. First time EVER I can't park at a rural Quebec Catholic church.  This is not what I call tourism friendly parking. I had even gone to the trouble of finding a paper copy of the bike map of the region MRC des Chenaux region (pdf).

I decided to (was forced to) keep driving.  Lucky for me early October is the best time to enjoy the most amazing fall colours in Quebec. So I drove on, through St-Severin, then through St-Ubalde (how come nobody names their kids Ubalde anymore? It's a great name.) where I stopped for lunch at Pain Pain Pain (which means something completely different in french!) and then on real back roads to Montauban-des-Mines and then the super twisty road (popular with motorcycles, maybe too popular to make it fun on regular bicycle) to arrive finally at Rivière-à-Pierre where I knew the bike path started (or ended, depending on your perspective).

The terminus of the bike path here was easy to find and well arranged: it had five 100% solid polished granite picnic tables. These are extremely nice picnic tables.

The bike path was rock-dust, but well-compacted and with no large loose rocks and was very good riding on my 25mm tires (i.e. a good surface to bike on). It went through nice mixed forest with some lakes and changing scenery. I turned around just after the halte municipale Pont-au-Pierre (Stone bridge park, which is signed and accessible from the bike path) for a nice afternoon ride of not too big distance (for a change). It was more or less one hour out and one hour back with a rest stop at the stone bridge halte-municipale.

I cannot emphasize this enough: the drive from Trois Rivieres through St-Severin, St-Ubalde, and Montauban-des-mines to Rivière-à-Pierre has EXTREMELY SPECTACULAR fall colours.

Here is the website for the bike path:

And here are the granite picnic tables, very classy indeed. Did you know some of the granite for the base of the statue of Liberty in New York comes from here? No you did not, but now you do.


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