From Hawkesbury I take the bridge over the Ottawa River and finally make it into Quebec.
As wonderful as it was to cycle on the south shore, the feeling and experience is even better on the north side. Why? There are cyclists everywhere and the extensive “La Route Verte” system of cycling paths is well labeled and well maintained.
Very early in the day, I meet up with two serious cyclists who give me all sorts of advice about the route to Montreal and they insist that I zipper up my cycling jersey all the way as they were recently stung by bees that got trapped in their open jerseys.
I follow La Route Verte 1 all day with the aim of linking up with the pathway along Lachine Canal, which leads all the way to the old port of Montreal.
Some of the route is a dedicated bike path through forests.
I follow the route of a bicycle blogger I have found helpful throughout the day as the Route Verte system is full of options. It includes taking a ferry across the river at the town of Oka. From the ferry you can see the silver church steeples, something that has dotted the landscape all across Quebec so far.
I go through a first nations – Mohawk – community along the way and in a ten kilometer stretch there were dozens of little shacks selling cigarettes. A lot of people still smoke in Quebec, more so than in any other province as far as I can tell. I guess they get them tax free in these shacks.
I get closer and closer to Montreal and continue to pass back and forth on each side of the river. In Quebec, always with a dedicated bike lane.
And even when the route must use part of a road, plastic bollards have been installed to keep cars off the bike paths. How welcome.
When I get close to Lachine Canal, I get a dedicated path once again.
Shortly after reaching the canal, I am met by a big goggle-wearing Pearson alum, Mike Watson, Pearson Year 20. The goggles are to protect the eyes from the bugs that sometimes swirl around the canal this time of the evening as Mike was kind enough to guide me into the city. It takes us a while to reach the heart of the city and our efforts to find a restaurant still serving meals proves to be a challenge we did not anticipate. It is not until about midnight before we are fed. We then make our way to the home of another Pearson alum, Benoit Charlebois, Pearson Year 9, who has offered me a place to stay for the evening.
A long fun day from the countryside to the city.
Stats – for Wednesday 25 July 2012
Distance: 120 km
Time on Bike: 5 hrs 26 min
Average Speed: 20.2 km/hr
Distance to Date: 6025