One weekend in June I cycled to Wakefield QC and back. This trip deserves recognition for being my longest ever trip at approximately 35km each way.
To begin, my traveling partner TC and I did some minor web research to prep for our trip. I owe large credit to GoBiking.ca for their clear directions and helpful tips. However, this did not stop us from taking a wrong turn on St. Joseph, nor did it stop me from lodging my front tire gracelessly into a railway track at the end of the most dangerous hill.
But I’m getting ahead of myself.
After packing our rucks with camping gear, protein bars, extra clothing and bottled water, TC and I were on the road by 6:00pm. We experienced minor delays on St. Joseph Blvd due to my superior map reading skills, but once we started in the right direction it was smooth
We navigated some pretty major hills (ones that put Sommerset to shame), but the sights as we left the city made it worth the slow haul on my three-gear. Traffic was pretty minimal and we frequently had drivers stop to ask if we were lost/needed directions/were out of our minds to be cycling in the middle of nowhere with 100-year-old bikes.
By the time we reached Chemain de la Riviere the sun was starting to set. Although we thought far enough ahead to bring bike lights, we urban dwellers forgot how dark it can get in the countryside. Needless to say, the last few kilometres were completed in darkness. By the time we reached Wakefield we had been biking for three hours and we were pooped. Our plan to pitch a tent in the Gatineau hills was spoiled by the darkness and we ended up making camp on the side of a road near a cemetery. Thankfully, a generous local we met at a bar offered to let us pitch in his back yard where we enjoyed beer on-the-house, homemade breakfast, a morning swim and a tour of the village. Wakefield is nice like that.
Helpful tips, from one amateur to another:
1. Chelsea is large. Seriously, you will be passing signs that read Chelsea for something like 90 minutes. Never get your hopes up that you are almost out of Chelsea, because chances are you will be wrong.
2. Biking in the dark is not as fun as it sounds. Give yourself enough time to get there during daylight, otherwise things can get a little sketchy.
3. Not all locals you meet in a bar will be the beer-sharing, breakfast-making, hospitable types. Use discretion and stay safe.