Saturday, September 3, 2011

Happy Labour Day weekend!

This year, we will be taking the full weekend off. 
It's been years since we've actually been able to enjoy that weekend in Quebec.
We chose to go to the Laurentians, a nice region up North at about one to two hours drive. Drive? What do you mean drive?
Well, we're renting a car for the weekend (getting ready to dodge). Cos' we are going cycling (Oops, dodging!)...

Ok, public transportation being what it is in this province, there is really no other alternative for us to get there. Oh yeah, there are those Greyhound type of buses, that make a fuss of taking bicycles in and have impossible schedules. Not flexible enough.

Why don't we bike there then? Good question. Because it is still quite far for us (and I *don't* camp), we don't know the area nor the route and the point of it all if for us to get a good rest and get ready for the upcoming busy season. So it needs to be relaxed.
We will be exploring one of Quebec's most famous bike circuit: Le P'tit Train du Nord linear park.
This park is actually an old rail track that was converted to a recreational bicycle path.

We will be staying midway into the circuit and explore it up and down hoping to get a good feel for it. Next time, we will probably do it the proper way, i.e. starting at either Km 0 or Km 200 and cycle the whole thing, sleeping in cute B&B's along the way.
There are even services transporting your cargo for you to your hotel or B&B so you can travel lite. Other services organise pick-ups directly from Montreal and drop you at Km of your choice. However, again, the schedules are not flexible enough and, let's just say that I have done my fair share of waking up at 5 am these past years.

Yet, one thing disturbs me to this day. 
Km 0, i.e. St. Jérôme, is now, thanks to urban sprawl, a suburb of Montreal. By that I mean that there are people commuting to Montreal from St. Jérôme. Which, then means, that there is a suburb train line going there.

St. Jérôme is the green line terminal station, up on the left. 
So theoretically, we could have taken our bikes into these trains up to St. Jérôme or even Blainville, and bike on therefrom.
Alas, service is only provided during the week, no service on the weekend, and only during rush hour!
Yet, due to the mayhem in traffic and transportation these days (our infrastructures are literally falling apart), service has been increased. The on-board bicycle policy has been softened as well with greater flexibility. Still, 12 bikes per train and 4 bikes per car sound very low to me:

"The AMT authorizes a maximum of twelve (12) bicycles on board each train. It is therefore forbidden for anyone to get on a train if it already contains the maximum number of bicycles authorized. If the maximum number of bicycles per train has been reached, the person must take the next train identified on the schedule as accepting bicycles."
Not reliable as far as I am concerned: I am not interested in having to wait hours for silly reasons. Especially when you've taken weekdays off from work specifically for that.
Another time maybe. I need to check the scene first. Once I get a good grasp of the situation I'll plan accordingly for next year.

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