Eastern Canada

Discussion in 'rec.bicycles.rides' started by Charles and Kamala Land, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. The wife and I are dusting off the tandem with plans to do a stretch in
    Eastern Canada this summer (Detroit - Toronto- and on to the East Coast then
    down into Maine and .....?) Usually we are skittish of big cities but a
    glance at the map doesn't really show too many choices. Are Toronto,
    Montreal, and Quebec bike friendly enough for a couple of old geezers on a
    loaded tandem to enjoyably ride through or should we be thanking of
    alternatives? Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks
    --
    Tailwinds,
    Charley & Kamala
    Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
    body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "Holy
    Shit, what a ride!"
     
    Tags:


  2. Montreal is a great bicycle city. Everyone rides there. They have the
    biggest bicycle ride in the world. Montreal is as close as you get to
    an International City in North America.

    They have an excellent system of bike trails through out Quebec.
    Combine that with great food, the best beer in North America, and
    outdoor dining, what more could a bicyclist want?

    We often stay in Longueil, across the river from Montreal and take the
    ferry into the city. You can ride the bridge but there is something
    about bikes and ferries that just seems to work. Longueil is close to
    the bike system that takes you all over Quebec. We love the ride to
    Chambly.

    Quebec City may be the most beautiful city in North America, much more
    Quebec than Montreal. It is also a great bicycling destination.

    Enjoy the ride ... Roland

    You can see some of my rides at http:www.e-bent.com
     
  3. "Charles and Kamala Land" <[email protected]> wrote in message
    news:[email protected]
    >
    > The wife and I are dusting off the tandem with plans to do a stretch in
    > Eastern Canada this summer (Detroit - Toronto- and on to the East Coast
    > then down into Maine and .....?) Usually we are skittish of big cities but
    > a glance at the map doesn't really show too many choices. Are Toronto,
    > Montreal, and Quebec bike friendly enough for a couple of old geezers on a
    > loaded tandem to enjoyably ride through or should we be thanking of
    > alternatives? Any advise would be appreciated. Thanks
    > --
    > Tailwinds,
    > Charley & Kamala
    > Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved
    > body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting, "Holy
    > Shit, what a ride!"
    >


    Here are some daily reports of the Canadian portion of my long 2004 ride:

    Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - Day 4

    I "waited out" some rain, since the radar showed it was passing -
    showed in fact, that it had already passed. I welcomed a little extra sleep
    anyway.

    I left about 6:25 and biked 64 miles to St. Johnsbury, arriving about
    11:15 and stopped to eat and rest.

    There were a few flat stretches that acted like a real river valley -
    but also still a lot of climbing. The small town scenery was like
    yesterday; village greens with white Congregational/UCC Churches, sometime a
    bandstand.

    After St. Johnsbury, I continued on Rt. 5 for 9 more miles - I had
    been on Route 5 since Springfield - then switched to 114 to the Canadian
    line, which I hit around 4:30 at mile 113 for the day. The country was
    markedly less populated and less "quaint" - mostly wooded land. Still
    plenty hilly but less so than further south.

    Temperatures today were mostly in the 50s peaking at 61° or so. It
    started raining near the border and continued for a couple of hours, so I'm
    all wet again.

    I took Quebec Route 147 to Coaticook, where I got some Canadian
    dollars at an ATM. Then I switched to Route 141 to Magog where I quit for
    the day at about 7:15.

    Mileage for day - 145
    Vermont - 113, Quebec - 32.
    Mileage for trip - 602

    Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - Day 5

    Light rain and drizzle in the morning caused me to "wait it out" - 3
    days rainy weather (in a row) is too much. [Drei-Tagen Regenwetter is a
    German expression for a bad situation.]

    So I left at 8:30, after having some breakfast in the room [there was
    a store next door]. I caught the last half of a Mass at Eastman about 10
    miles out, and then rode to Granby, where I had a roll and juice, and got
    some bike lubricant. It was a hard town to ride through. It seemed every
    traffic light was red.

    After Granby the road flattened a lot and the countryside became farm
    country.

    Route 112 was not good riding. In some areas there was no paved
    shoulder. In many areas, the pavement was in awful condition

    Nearing Montreal, I asked a police officer for directions to get
    across the St. Lawrence river, which was a good idea, as there is only one
    option.

    With some difficulty, I found the Notre Dame Basilica and St. Margaret
    Bourgoys Church/Museum, leaving a few prayers behind as silent "markers" of
    my visit.

    Then I found a bike shop and asked about the best route to Quebec
    City. The fellow I asked consulted someone who "knew" and the advice was to
    use 138 along the north bank of the River. It was good advice!

    I rode about ½ way to Trois Rivières, stopping at Berthierville. I
    expected there'd be motels all along the way. I was wrong. I had
    difficulty finding a place - it was after dark when I got here.

    There were 2 brief showers today before my big mistake tonight.
    Instead of ordering food, I took the bike 1 ½ miles into town to eat. About
    as I arrived at a restaurant, so did a big thunderstorm. I ended up very
    wet.

    Mileage for day - 134; all in Quebec.
    Mileage for trip - 736.

    Thursday, May 27, 2004 - Day 6

    I left, seemingly a little late, at 7:15, intending to ride to Trois
    Rivières before breakfast. What I quickly discovered was the light fog I
    thought I saw at the motel was not so light and I didn't feel safe riding in
    it. So I stayed for breakfast in Berthierville.

    The road up from Montreal so far has provided the best riding yet on
    this trip. It's been flat, good pavement, extra width much of the way and
    only modest traffic. Having a freeway nearby is usually helpful in reducing
    traffic and this is no exception.

    Unlike the Connecticut River earlier, the St. Lawrence, at least in
    this area, has a broad valley. There's consistent but not constant
    development along the river bank but within 5 miles or so past the end of
    Montreal's island, farms took over on the inland side of 138.

    I got started riding at 8:30 and by 8:50 the sun was shining and I was
    soon able to shed my heavy shirt, which I wore for the first time this
    morning. Temperatures warmed into the 60s and have stayed there.

    I stopped in Trois Rivières and, feeling a little dehydrated, drank 2
    quarts of Five Alive, plus ate 2 large Valencia oranges. I also got $80
    more of Canadian dollars. A 15 ½% sales tax in Quebec doesn't help limit
    costs. That was at 43 miles for the day, after which I rode another 44 to
    Portneuf, which I reached a little before 3:00, and am having some pizza
    here.

    I put on sunscreen for the first time since day 2. The roads remained
    flat until 10 miles ago and have had only gentle hills since then.

    The stop in Portneuf was calculated, as ancestors of mine lived here
    eons ago (18th century). Notably, there are few farms around here, after
    they dominated the countryside all the way from Montreal to where the small
    hills started a few miles ago.

    The moderate hills continued north of Portneuf. The road was
    frequently level but elevated, so you could see down a length of the river,
    and not just across it. It was really a majestic view, watching the river
    course north-eastward. There were farms there, but not as prosperous
    looking as further south.

    There were a lot of bike riders out - a couple dozen on 138 south of
    Quebec and many dozens on bike paths along the north shore beyond the City.
    The land there forms a small valley where the road, railroad and paths are,
    then there is a sharp rise. The Montmorency falls were spectacular -
    there's been a lot of rain, obviously, contributing water to the falls.

    Ste. Anne de Beaupré proved to be on the plain. If it had been at the
    top of the highest local hill - like the Holy Hill shrine and monastery near
    home in Washington County, Wisconsin, that would have been a negative for my
    ride,

    I'm having some Canadian red wine tonight - nothing to boast about.

    There is a political campaign going on. The signs are uniform
    (regulated?)- more party oriented than in the U.S.

    All of each party's signs are of the same color and all have the same
    slogan: "A party proper for Quebec" for the Bloc Quebecois; "Team Martin"
    for the Liberals; and "Enough is Enough" for the Conservatives. The only
    difference is the picture and name of the local candidate. In Montreal,
    where there are many districts (ridings) there are signs with no "local"
    candidate; just the party leader. Conservative signs are missing in many
    districts. Social Credit doesn't appear at all. None of the signs
    identifies an incumbent, all of them are in French " Un Parti propre au
    Quebec" "L'Equipe Martin" and "C'est assez", for the three parties,
    respectively.

    Mileage for day - 144, all in Quebec
    Mileage for trip - 880

    Friday, May 28,2004 - Day 7

    I went to the first Mass at Ste. Anne de Beaupre at 7:10, and was on
    the road about 8:10, riding back to Quebec and locating the ferry to Levis,
    which is where I am as I begin this note. I was on the boat at 10:00 a.m.

    The weather channel promised rain for today, which is just beginning.
    (It also apparently rained during the night, as there were lots of puddles
    to ride around or through.)

    By the time the ferry arrived in Levis, it was definitely raining,
    which continued all day. I battled it for 75 miles, plus the 23 mostly dry
    miles I had from Ste. Anne de Beaupré to Quebec. I made no stops for those
    75 miles and knew I'd have trouble when I did have to stop. That's exactly
    what happened. I stopped at a McDonalds at La Pocatière and was immediately
    cold when I went back outside. The odds are I could have "worked up" enough
    heat, but this was not the place to take a chance. The temperature was
    around 50° and dropping. So I rode back a mile or so to a motel I had
    passed and checked in before 6:00 p.m. The "white whale" won today! I
    didn't get any where near to Rivière du Loup which was my goal for the day.

    Other than the rain, the ride on Route 132 wouldn't have been bad.
    There were some hills but not bad. The area near Quebec had paved
    shoulder area which continued much of the way, though it's been absent in
    "recent" miles. There's a parallel expressway that picks up the through
    auto traffic, so traffic isn't bad.

    Mileage for day - 98, all in Quebec
    Mileage for trip - 978

    Saturday, May 29, 2004 - Day 8

    Following the early stop yesterday, I got an early start this morning
    at 5:00 a.m.

    The rain has exited, and been replaced by mostly cloudy skies - it's
    also colder, low 40s maybe and hasn't warmed by noon. I've had my heavy
    shirt on all morning and considered switching to my full-fingered gloves,
    though I never did.

    I rode 46 miles to Rivière du Loup to Route 185 only to find it closed
    to bikes. The bike path was near it but didn't look attractive. The stone
    was insufficiently packed. There was a gas station nearby where I had some
    pastry and beverages. Then I started down the path, not liking it at all.
    But about a mile later, I realized 185 was no longer an expressway so I
    moved over to it and have been on it ever since,

    I stopped at a Mike's restaurant in Cabano with 81 miles for the day,
    which is where this note is written.

    Most of the way from La Pocatière to Rivière du Loup was fairly flat
    farm country. That changed toward the end to hills, which have also
    dominated the route east of Rivière du Loup - and trees - with few farms.

    I reached Edmunston about 3:30 EDT - 4:30 locally, since New Brunswick
    is on Atlantic time - and looked into the Mass situation. The two Churches
    I went by had late Saturday Masses - 7:00 and 7:15 -so I crossed to
    Madawaska, Maine just in time for a 4:00 Mass, after which I rode 25 miles
    to Van Buren, and found no motel. But there is one across the river in St.
    Leonard, New Brunswick, which is where I am tonight. It wouldn't have been
    out of the question to go another 22 miles to Caribou as it wasn't 7:00 yet,
    but I hadn't eaten since the earlier note, it had never warmed up (high
    around 47°) and it was threatening rain.

    Quebec was as stereotyped as Vermont had been or more so. The street
    and town names were usually after Saints (or Notre Dame), and each small
    town was dominated architecturally by a large Catholic Church. Old Quebec
    was as truly Catholic or more so than Poland or Ireland. But the faith in
    the current generation isn't what it used to be.

    The Church in Madawaska still has a French Mass on Sunday. French
    ethnic Catholics apparently dominate in the far north of Maine.

    Mileage for day - 148
    Quebec - 107 (515), New Brunswick - 14, Maine - 27.
    Mileage for trip - 1126
     
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