Friday, September 30, 2011

The one and only...

   

... bicycle box of the city is already a mess.
I was rolling on Milton St. approaching University St., hoping to enjoy the newly installed bike box ("sas vélo") facility, so generously provided by the city. How nice, how innovative!

When it was launched earlier in the summer, everybody gloated about it, reporters came and took pictures, police paraded around it to show the populace how they were enforcing the Code, bla bla bla...

Months later, I pull up to see where it is at...


Well, as always, it was too good to be true. Sure enough, some broad had her fat car sitting squarely on the path leading to the box.


I knocked at her window, explaining as nicely as I could that she was blocking the $%#@? way and she needed to move from there. She barely got off her $@\%# cell phone to tell me off, invoking some emergency or whatever.


I had plenty of time to cross the street, turn around and take the picture of the @#%? broad who had not budged, even though her light was green.


Only after the next round of lights did she finally move her a$$ out of the box, probably as she realised I was taking pictures.

And for those not familiar with the city, the cars behind her are not in line to drive off: they are parked. So she is not in a lane, she actually parked on the ramp to the box.


For the record, I must admit that I have cycled the area quite often since the box was inaugurated. Most cars ignore it and stop on it or in the middle of it. I just never seemed to have my camera on hand at those times to take the proper pictures.


So, to the lady's defense, she is not, by far, the only one shitting on that bike box.
For some reason, the police has stopped parading around it... Just like in everything, as soon as there is no enforcement, hell breaks loose.

Authorities are currently "observing" and "monitoring" the "experiment" to see whether they should extended to the rest of the city.
Ahem! Whatever.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Nice videos: the Dutch Cycling Embassy

 

And it's a go!
The Dutch Cycling Embassy kicks off nicely, launching with with this very inspirational video, included here for your enjoyment.


Cycling For Everyone from Dutch Cycling Embassy on Vimeo.

I wish them all the best of lucks. All help is needed in the promotion of cycling as a valid transportation alternative.


 .

Sunday, September 25, 2011

The Copenhagenize urban cycling index 2011


I  do not want to brag too much about it, so it will be a pretty quick post, i.e. no deep analysis, whatever that means. Others have done it already.




This year, Montreal made the top 10 and is actually the only North American city there. Which is totally normal. This place is definitely not receiving all the credit it deserves.

In the top 20, only Portland, San Francisco and New York join Montreal which is pretty fair, even though I am surprised a bit not to see Toronto somehow... It probably failed to make it based on the political atmosphere. Vancouver, the only other Canadian city with some potential did not make it either. Now that's totally understandable as Vancouver's bike culture is totally controlled by its sub-cultural groups. My assessment last time I went was that it had a very nice recreational network and culture but nothing utilitarian. Plus, the helmet law kills it all.

It is always unsettling to see cities the size of Portland ganged up with the New York's and the London's of this world. Why not include Davis, Lyon or Bordeaux then? Aren't smaller cities more cycle-friendly by default anyways? And what about the position (i.e. political, economic etc.) these cities hold within their region and with respect to other cities, in other words is Portland's status in the West coast (see I am being nice, I am not even comparing it to the entire US, just to the West coast) the same as say, Paris' position within France, Barcelona's position within Spain, or London's place within Britain? Why compare apples to oranges?
[Dodging and running for cover]
Ok, ok... Whatever.

Now, the big scoop (to me) is Barcelona, right after Copenhagen, ahead of Tokyo and Berlin. Who would have thought? I spent one year in Spain about 10 years ago and I do not remember seeing even *one* bicycle anywhere. Rather, I quite clearly remember being honked to get the fuck out of pedestrian crosswalks  a.s.a.p. so asshole motorists could rape red lights full blast under the police's absolute placid gaze. Ok, I was in Madrid (ahem... oops... Dodging!) and it was way back then, so I am well willing to accept that within 10 years, with no dominant sub-culture to control the cycling practice, you can achieve such great results in getting normal people to view cycling as a safe  and valid option. I just need to go check that out, it must be quite a sight.

I am *very* skeptical of Paris being more cycle-friendly than Montreal but hey, it's been a little while that I have not properly cruised this particular scene so I'd need to go back to get a better (i.e. updated) assessment. I'll see if my sister decides to haul her soon-to-be-born baby around, something she would definitely do in Montreal. Yep. These are the real-assed, non-bullshit tests. It's either pass or fail so we'll see.

"cities marks for their efforts - or lack thereof - towards reestablishing the bicycle as a feasible, accepted and practical form of transport. Cities were given between 0 and 4 points in 13 different categories, with a potential for 12 bonus points awarded for particularly impressive efforts or results. In short, a maximum of 64 points could be awarded."
The 13 categories of criteria are as follows:

- Advocacy
This is one area where a lot of North American/Anglo-Saxon places fail, thinking they are well represented by their cycling organisations while a lot of these are very often working actively against cycling's best interests. Other advocacy efforts, such as Critical Mass events, usually only antagonise non-cyclists instead of generating the inclusive type of sympathy that Cycle Chic has been able to do in way less time than the other have had. Others, such as the constant push for always more cycling sports events, only concern those already interested, with the majority of the population not giving a flying fuck, i.e. useless advocacy in terms of urban cycling.
Vélo Québec on the other hand is as mainstream and as non-confrontational as you can get, keeping a soft-assed balance between sports (its roots) and urban cycling, with heavy involvement into infrastructure issues, all the while being the "voice of reason and moderation". This is not to the taste of a lot of Montreal's advocates (including me) but results in Vélo Québec being taken seriously by the authorities and being systematically invited to committees, panels, consultations etc. Their opinion is always heard and taken into account which is *not* the case of the other groups. May hurt but those are the facts.
Superior advocacy is one that associates stakeholders coming from outside of the cycling family, such as pedestrians, urban planning etc.because it gets more traction and generates better and concrete results. We'll see how this new adventure works out.
- Bicycle Culture
North American bike cultures are heavily dominated by sub-cultural groups such a the sports-lycra pack, the green ecolo tribes or the "kwoool" messenger infatuation thing. Yet, Montreal is not. Or not anymore. There are more normal people on bikes than sub groups. One only needs to cruise our lanes and paths to see that.
Oh, and hipsters are part of the normal population, like it or not. They're a marketing designated niche consumer group. That does not make them a sub-cultural group. Let's not do them this favour, it would be too much of a stretch.
- Bicycle Facilities
"Are there readily accessible bike racks, ramps on stairs, space allocated on trains and buses and well-designed wayfinding, etc?"

- Bicycle Infrastructure
 
We have bike paths dating back from the 1980's. The de Maisonneuve bike path, i.e. Claire Morissette bike path, which crosses downtown, is the busiest in North America with one million trips a year and countless jams at rush hour. That's what *mainstream* means. Of course, more, much more actually, needs to be done, but this would require a change in administration, hopefully coming in 2013. Our network is highly fragmented, starting and stopping randomly, does not cover certain neighbourhoods and insufficient in the downtown area.

- Bike Share Program 

Well I will not comment this one. Pretty obvious.
I will just say this: montrealers are so proud of their Bixi program that sometimes you would think they created the concept. Totally *NOT* the case. Bixi is a Vélib copycat. And Vélib is a copycat of a Lyon program. Which itself is a copycat of an older La Rochelle program. And those got their idea from somewhere else. Etc.

- Gender Split - Perception of Safety

 These two go together.
Anyone biking in Montreal will tell you there are as many women cycling as men. I see 50% women or even more on the streets. I have an extremely hard time understanding how the stats get the 1/3 or 29% female share. This does not square with the reality one can easily observe.
Maybe it is just a time delay issue, i.e. I am observing the 2011 scene with my eyes, while studies coming out even this year actually date back to 2010, 2008 or even prior.
Women being the canaries in the cycling mine, wherever you see them cycling en masse means the place is and feels safe. Better, whenever you see mothers hauling babies, parents trailing kids etc. you know you've got a winning proposition. 
 
- Modal Share For Bicycles - Modal Share Increase Since 2006
 
Officially, we are in the 2% modal share, which is an absolutely mystery to me. I really feel we are in the 10-15%.
My take is that it depends on what we call "Montreal" for the purposes of statistics. As well, there must be some sort of serious time delay between what we observe in the streets as of today, and the realities at the time of the stats gathering. See the gender-split issue above.
 
- Politics - Social Acceptance
 
On that subject, we are in a bipolar situation where everyone and their mama thinks cycling is cool, nice and a good thing. We are all happy and proud to be citizens of such a bike friendly city. Cycling is normal. You're not weird for being a cyclist. People in business attires and high heels galore. Some companies even encourage their staff to cycle.
Yet, the minute someone wants to touch a particular street, affect a specific light, update certain rules, those same people get up in arms against the changes, bitching at the cycling integrists, invoking pedestrian security, motorist security (?), mass bankruptcy in the local businesses and other similar nonsense.
We have to see how this evolves as well.

- Urban Planning - Traffic Calming
 
Right now, we are at zero. No budget, no political courage, no this no that. 


Ok, well...
Finally this ended up being a bigger analysis than planned. Anyways, we have to see which direction things go. We are at a tipping point where if the good decisions are not made on time, we could actually regress on the cycling front.
The current administration is not one that can handle this. They are not really interested and there is never any money  in their coffers (anyone guess where that money went?).
Once the broom is swept in 2013, maybe then we will be able to give a dynamic impulse to cycling in this city.

  

Saturday, September 24, 2011

At the market

The other day, on the last stretch of my run, I got to Jean Talon market and noticed this sign:


This is what the sign is referring to: bike parking.


Of course, this parking has been there for a good while now. But it is always nice to see it officialised and institutionalised.

And then surprise! What do I see:


Geez... change is creeping on me!
Are the days of the rattling clunkers counted? NOT!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Few minutes of random bike path traffic

I posted myself at the corner of Ontario St. and Berri St. and filmed these random minutes, few hours before rush hour. There is a protected bike path on the forefront, where the cyclists come and go; we do not see the details of it because I posted myself at the corner.

Hey, I know this video is shitty quality but gives an idea...
Enjoy!


video

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Along the Claire Morissette

 

Back to Montreal and its cycle paths.
On my way to Canadian Tire, I took those pictures: random day, at random hour, for a random errand.
The easiest route is through de Maisonneuve bike path a.k.a the Claire Morissette bike path.


So, we start on the René-Lévesque path all the way from under Jacques Cartier bridge to Berri St. corner.


Up Berri St.


Turned left onto de Maisonneuve St
Corner of Sanguinet St. (I think). Anyways, always blasting that red!


Nearing St Laurent St. a.k.a. The Main, red light District...


On Place des Arts,


Where stupid design,


Encourages pedestrians to walk on the path.


This must be Bleury St.



Hum, University St.?

So, I am pretty sure this is McGill College


 Peel St.


Drummond St.

Crescent St.


Bishop St. or Mackay St.?


Nearing Concordia University bike parking,


 In front of the John Molson School of Business, girl with set of tires. Ah! Memories... Of both carrying similar load in similar fashion AND attending said school... Oh well, time flies.


Somewhere before Atwater,


There we are.

 
Terminus, tout le monde descend!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

300 Years of fossil fuels in 300 Seconds

 
 
Ahem... Well another video on... well... It does not mention it explicitly but basically it's about Peak Oil. Again. Well, let's say, Peak Everything!
This one was put out by the Post Carbon Institute. Note the little bikey at 3:54.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Important! Public consultation on sharing the cycle network

The city of Montreal will be holding public consultations throughout the boroughs to discuss fair and proper sharing of the the cycle network.

We all know that cycle paths are not only used by cyclists, the users for which they were conceived, but by joggers, dog walkers, stroller pushing parents, wheelchairs, mopeds, e-scooters, roller-bladers, skateboards and plain old obnoxious pedestrians.
The issue of who should or not not have access to the network will be à l'ordre du jour. If you are in Montreal, please book the relevant dates in your agenda.

I truly hope that we can get those *freaking* electric mopeds ruled out once for all.
Now before anyone sends me loads of bitchy e-mails, THIS is what I am talking about:


Those need to go: they are bulky, heavy and dangerous. They will fight back, expect a big turn out at the city Hall as they got screwed by the sellers who promised them they could go on cycle paths forever. Tough luck, everywhere in the world they are being expelled from them.

Normal e-bikes are fine. Like these.


Basically, the cut-off is you should be able to pedal it like a normal bike. If you cannot handle a Tour de l'Ile on your "bike", get out of the path.

Now, pedestrians. Well, there are pedestrians and pedestrians:

- You have those, obnoxious, PITA pedestrians who pay no attention, don't give a fuck about your bell ringing, step right in front of you and insult you. These need to be steeply fined. 
These are general assholes anyways and cause problems to all. They are the same who jaywalk left and right, cause accidents everywhere, smoke in your nose where it is prohibited, yell in their cell phones in libraries, cut you off and overtake you on the right on the highway etc.
By that, I mean there is no "pedestrian issue" with these, there is a general common sense and manners issue.

- The other pedestrians can be lumped with the joggers etc.
With these, we usually have an infrastructure issue. They will be on the path because there is no sidewalk, or the sidewalk is too narrow, full of holes, of obstacles, too busy (i.e. not big enough), poorly designed, was located in an area that should be exclusively pedestrianised or was stolen from them!

Below, example of a well designed path where it is clear, by design, that only cyclists are allowed, with proper sidewalk next to it..


Poorly designed "path" where said path looks like some plain old sidewalk.


Of course, pedestrians do not realise they are on a bike path! In addition, Place des Arts (the location in this picture) is a central location in Montreal where virtually *ALL* the festivals are held. Why cut a bike path across this area? You know there will be permanent conflicts with peds. As a matter of fact, the path was closed virtually all summer with cyclist dismount signs everywhere. And this was true for most of the Maisonneuve path: around Berri (picture below), Crescent, McGill College etc. Fucking useless!


Another example: sidewalk/footpath too narrow AND stolen from pedestrians. In the Parc Lafontaine, one of the nicest bike path sections of Montreal, both bike path and footpath are extremely busy.

The bike path is pretty decent,

Wikimedia Commons image
But the footpath is tiny. Normal a good chunk of it was allocated to the bike path!

Wikimedia Commons image
This area is source of major conflicts with joggers and dog walkers, who, understandably also want to enjoy the park!

Last example is the Old Port which is a so-called"mixed" area. Perfect example of too busy an area for telling cyclists they can use it.

Image: Alex Drainville
 
So, unless these infrastructure deficiencies are addressed, problems will persist.

Now, for the other users:

- Roller blades and skateboards *BELONG* in the bike path, end of discussion.
- Strollers get in bike paths when the sidewalks suck. Fix'em and parents will go back on it.

- Wheelchairs: well, I don't know what to say. I know my opinion will sound very cruel and insensitive to many.


By law they belong on the sidewalk. The chair is a substitute for legs and does not have a vehicle status. Therefore, they are pedestrians who, by law in Montreal, belong on the sidewalk.
I do not have any personal problem in sharing the path with them. But it would be much better if they lobbied to obtain better sidewalks. Same with parents with strollers.
They might want to remember that all sidewalks corners have be lowered for their convenience. If they abandon them now, no one will be there to push for their improvement. In the same fashion that cyclists cannot ride the sidewalk, I truly believe wheelchairs should not use cycle paths.

Yet isn't it filthy hypocritical coming from someone who claims rights to BOTH path and road and occasionally rides the sidewalk? Well, yes. That's why, whatever the final decision, I am ok with wheelchairs.

I am sure a big crowd will show up, it will be a blast!
Full communiqué below, in French.

*****

Montréal, le 12 septembre 2011 - La Commission permanente sur le transport et les travaux publics invite la population à participer à l'assemblée publique itinérante qui portera sur la question du partage du réseau cyclable montréalais, et ce afin de donner suite à une demande citoyenne.

Conçu à l'origine pour répondre aux besoins des cyclistes, le réseau cyclable montréalais fait actuellement l'objet d'un partage. On constate que ce réseau est également utilisé par des personnes qui se déplacent à pied, tant au pas de marche qu'au pas de course, en patins à roues alignées, en planche à roulettes, en aide à la mobilité motorisée ainsi qu'en scooter et en vélo électriques. 

Par conséquent, la commission devra se pencher sur la problématique de la compatibilité entre ces différents types de déplacements sur les voies du réseau cyclable montréalais. Ainsi, dans le cadre de cette assemblée, il est prévu de réserver la première séance publique à la présentation de l'information technique caractérisant la configuration du réseau cyclable montréalais et les différents groupes d'utilisateurs se côtoyant sur ses pistes. Les représentants de la Division des transports actifs et collectifs, de la Direction des transports de la Ville de Montréal, se chargeront de cette présentation. À cette occasion, le public aura la possibilité de poser des questions aux experts. Par la suite, les personnes qui le souhaitent seront invitées à prendre la parole lors de l'une ou l'autre des trois séances réservées à l'audition des commentaires et au dépôt des mémoires. Quant à la dernière séance inscrite au calendrier 2011, elle vise l'adoption des recommandations de la commission, le cas échéant.

L'assemblée de consultation publique se tiendra comme suit :

HEURE:  19 H 00

DATES ET LIEUX:

- Le 22 septembre 2011 − Présentation du dossier (Centre-ville)
Hôtel de ville, salle du conseil, 275 rue Notre-Dame Est / Métro Champ-de-Mars
- Le 26 octobre − Audition des commentaires et dépôt des mémoires (Nord-Ouest de l'île), Centre communautaire de l'Est, 9665 boul. Gouin Ouest / lignes 68, 268, 213 et gare Sunnybrooke
- Le 27 octobre − Audition des commentaires et dépôt des mémoires (Centre-Est de l'île), Arrondissement de Ville-Marie, salle du conseil, 800 Boul. de Maisonneuve Est / Métro Berri-Uqam
- Le 23 novembre − Audition des commentaires et dépôt des mémoires (Sud-Ouest de l'île), Arrondissement de Verdun, salle du conseil, 4555 rue De Verdun / Métro Verdun
- Le 1er décembre − Adoption des recommandations (Centre-ville)
Hôtel de ville, salle du conseil, 275 rue Notre-Dame Est / Métro Champ-de-Mars

Documentation
Le document de soutien à l'assemblée publique peut être consulté dans les bureaux Accès Montréal et les bureaux d'arrondissement, les hôtels de ville des villes de banlieue, de même qu'à la Direction du greffe, salle R-134 à l'hôtel de ville de Montréal. Le document est également accessible sur le site Internet des commissions : www.ville.montreal.qc.ca/commissions
 
Inscription Les personnes qui souhaitent participer à la période de questions et de commentaires du public sont priées de s'y inscrire, à l'avance, en communiquant avec la Direction du greffe au 514 872-3770 ou par courriel à l'adresse suivante : commissions@ville.montreal.qc.ca. Il est également possible de prendre la parole en s'inscrivant sur place, et ce 30 minutes avant le début de la séance.

Les commissions permanentes sont des instances de consultation publique instituées par le conseil municipal et le conseil d'agglomération. Conformément à la Loi sur les cités et villes et à la Charte de la Ville de Montréal, leur mission consiste à éclairer la prise de décision des élus municipaux et à favoriser la participation des citoyennes et citoyens aux débats d'intérêt public.

La Commission sur le transport et les travaux publics est présidée par M. Luis Miranda, conseiller de ville et maire de l'arrondissement d'Anjou. Quant à Mme Elsie Lefebvre, conseillère de ville à l'arrondissement d'Ahuntsic-Cartierville, elle agit en tant que vice-présidente. Les membres de la commission sont : M. Maurice Cohen, conseiller de ville à l'arrondissement de Saint-Laurent; Mme Véronique Fournier, conseillère de ville à l'arrondissement du Sud-Ouest; Mme Ann Guy, conseillère d'arrondissement à l'arrondissement de Verdun; M. Beny Masella, maire de la Ville de Montréal-Ouest; M. Alex Norris, conseiller de ville à l'arrondissement du Plateau-Mont-Royal; M. Lionel Perez, conseiller à l'arrondissement de Côte-des-Neiges−Notre-Dame-de-Grâce; M. François Robert, conseiller d'arrondissement à l'arrondissement de L'Île-Bizard−Sainte-Geneviève; M. Edgard Rouleau, maire de la Cité de Dorval et M. Bertrand Ward, conseiller de ville à l'arrondissement de Pierrefonds-Roxboro.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Some toughts on "Aftermath: The World Without Oil"

  
Continuing on the previous post.
No big analysis here, just a few random thoughts and ideas...

1. The assumption in the video is that oil abruptly disappears completely from one day to another. Of course, this is unrealistic. Partially.
We all know by now that Peak Oil is *not* the end of oil but the decrease in its extraction/production due to increasing technical difficulties in access and financial cost of rarefaction, i.e. we do have some time to see it coming. So we shall expect a painful transition, a slowly unfolding scenario rather than a badaboum catastrophe.
That's for the people already cognisant in the issue, those *aware*. What about those who do not have the beginning of a fucking clue about anything? Those robots and zombies who go through the motions on a daily basis and never question anything?
Not only will it be violent for those, it WILL feel like badaboum, believe me.

2. It is incredible how people clung to the old schemes until the very last second. The scenes around gas pumps are soooo revealing. What's the point? Folks, oil disappeared, for good!! But no, they keep pulling up and engage in fist-fight for a gone resource. They hoard it even as it has become obsolete and irrelevant.
And what with the whole cooking oil thing?
The idea to just give it up and ride bicycles, which most people already own, only occurs to the occasional random fellow. This is both crazy and scary to me. My notion of common sense collides with this "reality" in a very brutal way and sends both shivers and cold sweat down my back. It means that behaviours will be unreliable and erratic with logic, reason and general life smarts counting for nothing.
*Scary shit*.

3. The folks behind this program have a not-so-discreet agenda of pushing for ethanol, biofuel, lithium and algae and what not. Basically let's see if we can transition to a new world... exactly like the old one!
The notion that this is the opportunity to finally transition to something radically different flies above their heads. Or maybe, it does not, it does perfectly register, and their approach is part of a strategy to reassure people that we will emerge on the other side of the shithole in a world that looks very much like this one... Don't be scared, do not worry too much, do not pay attention to those agitators pushing for change... Rather, ask for more of the same... comply... obey!

5. The issue of food availability and local food production is another one that is currently totally under the radar. The scenes of food distributions and food riots that we associate with developing countries are a thing of the close future for us.
There is a currently a petition pushing for urban agriculture to become public policy. If you happen to live in Montreal, please sign the petition so we can force the authorities to have an open debate on the place of food production in this city.
Initiatives like these are part of the solution. Will it be enough?

6. The issue, though, that *I* had  never considered is the garbage pick up and disposal. Ugh... I can't even begin to imagine...

7. The whole health care talk is misleading though. A lot more people get sick from modern medicine than the system cares to admit. Its collapse and scaling down will actually be a great service to public health. You need no rubber gloves or other plastics. Health practitioners can do and have done very fine with metal instruments. Just boil them. Re-discover herbal medicine and good hygiene.
Between having only the bare minimum to eat and having no choice but to walk and pedal around, I am betting an arm and a leg that diabetes and heart diseases will be a thing of the past very quickly. There might be some short-term mayhem but over the long term, we'll all be better off. A lot of our diseases are lifestyle generated.

8. I am amazed how animal traction is not an option at any point. Same with sailing: why not tap into wind power to ship merchandise by sail boats instead of sitting around waiting for biofuel? Aren't museums full of them? Aren't there plenty of yachts in ports? Aren't people winning races in which they cross the Atlantic rowing alone with no support etc.? So? WTF?

9. Dumpster diving and garbage recycling: so much to retrieve it's crazy! We really are a disposable society.

10. The new car paradigm looks very much like the golfcartopia of Peachtree city, GA.

11. Yet, the best of it all is at min 17:01 in the third video. Too bad it only comes at the very last minute and nobody elaborates on the subject.

12. At no point do they show the tons of people who will die because they cannot keep up.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Aftermath: The World Without Oil

 

Alas, it was too good to be true.
After a long struggle against my sinister addiction, I must publicly admit that I lost the battle. I lavishly relapsed into Peak Oil stuff and the end of the oil civilisation. I deeply enjoy indulging into these kinds of doomsday scenarios...
Am I sick?
Well, I am not totally nutty about it yet, I have not dug out a bunker in my basement in which to store ages of canned food or whatever, but I sure do have survivalist tendencies. Particularly, I started thinking about a bug out bike... This is absolutely scary to me as survivalist folks tend to be extremely right wing which *I am NOT*.

Anyways, here is, for your enjoyment, the latest of my crazes, found random on Youtube...






Sunday, September 11, 2011

Back in town

 

It really seems that time flies from weekend to weekend. Still in a mental honeymoon from last weekend, I made plans to take it more seriously this Saturday by attending the Expo Cycle 2011. Unfortunately, hubby hijacked that plan by dragging me into all kinds of errands. So we spent the entire day on bike, racing to Home Depot to choose hardwood floors.
I was able to get a revenge though, by forcing a brunch at L'Avenue du Plateau in extremis right before the menu changed to dinner!


This place is the best brunch in town really.


Then on the Sunday, more errands. On our way back we stopped for sandwiches at l'Express St Zotique. Seriously they make best sandwiches in the province!!
If I combine this, the brunch and the two raids at Le Bilboquet, I can honestly say we had a very healthy and nutritionally sound weekend!

Unfortunately, it so happened that the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal was going on at the same time, while the Alouettes played the Tiger Cats also at the same time... If anyone needed a definition of the word "mess", they should have come the the corner of Park and Rachel!

Seen on Canal Lachine...


 Honestly you can not invent these...


[Edited: I added a title!]

Saturday, September 10, 2011

"Le p'tit train du nord" bike trail - Part 3

 

Now, down to business. it was a very lazy three day weekend. Every day's scenario was pretty much the same.

First, we would treat ourselves to some nice breakfast.


Miam!


Then, out and about!


Into nice landscapes, part countryside


Part forest



Part lakeside beaches



On day one, we cycled from Ste Adèle Km 25 down to Prévost Km 14. Then we noodled around. Enjoying the day. The old rail stations have been transformed into little tourist information and convenience spots with washrooms, snack, pique-nique tables etc.


In every town along the trail, you can stop in one of these.


The next day, we toured Val Morin Km 37, Val David Km 42, up to slightly before Ste Agathe-des-Monts Km 49. Lazily. Merely two hours after breakfast, we were already brunching at La Vagabonde in Val David, treating ourselves to giant chestnut-walnut brioches with nice cafés au lait.



Yep. Who said cycling would contribute in the fight against obesity? So much for cycling as a sport.

There were not many people on the trail; a healthy mix of sports, families, campers and locals. The pace was quiet and relaxed for most, even for the lycras!

Yep, that's a Po Campo on the rack. Who said weekend escapes cannot be done in style?

In the afternoon, we pulled up to Tremblant. Additional random views:





Yes, that's a swimming pool ladder over there!!

Then, on the last day, we investigated the Montreal-St. Jérôme connection to assess the feasibility of it by different modes: suburban train vs. straight cycling.
St. Jérôme, became a suburb of Montreal as a victim of rampant sprawl. However, it is a little town on it right with a super cute downtown.




We finally found Km 0!

That's all folks! End of the adventure.
To be repeated, some time next year... for real!


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Happy Labour Day Weekend! 
"Le p'tit train du nord" bike trail - Part 1
"Le p'tit train du nord" bike trail - Part 2