This coming summer won't see me in any intense cycling activity. I won't have the time at all this year.
However, after a 3-4 years absence, I'll pedal the Tour de l'Ile on June 3rd as well as un Tour la nuit on June 1st.
I guess that's my way of paying dues to the cycling community. The cyclists count is kind of important as the media make a huge deal of how big those events are. That becomes useful leverage for Vélo Québec to represent the cycling community in all relevant instances.
Whatever. It does not cost me much, so I can make the effort. Plus downtown gets closed down... For real (as opposed to the shitty 2008 New York Five Borough Tour of my ass where we had to put our feet down every three God damn blocks!).
But the real deal is that my sister is increasingly getting interested in cycling as an activity, but also as occasional transport. So I am "studying her case", hearing her comments, her reasoning, what convinces her, what deters her etc.
It is very interesting. All I can say for far is while road security and the availability of infrastructure are crucial, the "kick" to really get "into cycling" comes from somewhere else. She is very sensitive to the whole cycling as a cool factor. Those Lacoste and Armani ads, those Chihuahua in the front baskets etc. are having more impact than infrastructure, which she kind of takes for granted.So the Tour will be an occasion to teach her some basics cycling skills and abilities, i.e. the difference between wobbling around and going in a straight line, know your enemies 101, what can you do with a rear view mirror beside touching up your lipstick etc.
In any case, here is the program.
- Un Tour la nuit, 22 km, evening ride, starts at around 7 pm.
- Le Tour de l'Ile, 50 km, full day ride.
New this year: there will be a Défi within the Tour de l'Ile. Défis (translation: challenges), are really randonnées wherein one chooses to do 75 km, 100 km or 150 km (rounded). No competition, no winners, no losers.
- The first one is always one week before the Tour de l'Ile, i.e. last Sunday of May. Called the Metropolitan Challenge, it will start from Beloeil this year.
- There are two additional challenges later in the summer, a Laurentian (Ste Agathe) one and an Eastern Township (Sutton) one.
The Tour de l'Ile will feature a challenge as well, an event within the event:
"This Challenge, inspired by the Express, is the accelerated Tour de l’Île, the exhilarating pleasure of pedalling through Montréal at high speed. To register, you must be able to ride comfortably with a pack and maintain an average speed of 30 km/h for 1½ hours. Don’t delay. Registration ends May 28. Non-timed challenge. Early departure. Box lunch included at the finish site"
Hubby has been preparing now since February.
Yet, I am still very skeptical of his peloton abilities. Max distance has been 85 km before collapsing of exhaustion. And reaching 30 km/h is one thing. Maintaining it over 1h30 is something else... Well, we'll see.
I'll try to document this. As well as a few of the nicest rides in town: climbing up the Mont Royal and the Boucherville Islands.
But for sure, I'll miss out on a lot until early July. Already I missed out on the students' Tour de l'ile en rouge, a bike tour organised in support of the strike where everyone wore red (yep, we are a pretty left-wing bunch so students are on strike protesting school fee hikes that will double tuition in 5 years: the movement is entering its 12th week).
Well, you get it. The worst is I cycled past the last packs of them on my way on. But I had neither camera nor time. This will be, in essence, my summer!