IT’S FALL. And biking in fall is literally one of the best things in the world. Or at least in the fall, in this soon to be ice-cube of a country. Like, light neck-tube and hand warmers weather. You know.
About a month ago, still in the sweaty throes of summer, my partner and I took a day trip to Chambly and back. Why? Because it’s not CLOSE close, but also not FAR far. And the sun was shining. And our legs were itching. And he swore that there’d be beer at the end of the line.
Once you get off the island and do the old uppy downy on Mr. Cartier, it’s a breezy two dozen kilometers on mostly bike paths and side roads. We left sometime well past noon (as is our signature move) and got there in time for an early dinner/beers AND were back on the island before dark.
If you have a free day kicking around before the air gets cold, you should hit up this trip. Even if you are a bixi rider. I’m pretty sure you could bike to Chambly and back on a bixi without too much problem. I mean, if their invisible tethers reach that far, or whatever.
Yep. I feel ya.
Montreal is a beautiful city. It is full of old buildings covered in new art. We are presently smack in the middle of Montreal en Lumiere, a festival that combats the dark and dreary winter with lights and shows and art installations that I whole-heartedly appreciate and half-heartedly understand.
Over the summer, during our graffiti festival (which is exactly what it sounds like), I fell in love with a local neighborhood installation. These guys fit so well into my stereotypically hipster borough that I needed to immortalize them on a minimally visited cycling blog with low-quality cellphone pictures.
Yes, I am aware of the irony here.
Yesterday I went to go buy groceries. Grocery shopping at my chaotic little supermarket is a good think to do on a weekday because in the throes of samedi madness there is literally no parking. Similar to when I attend a more popular yoga class in the same neighbourhood on busy St. Laurent, you sometimes circle around, shiftily trying to size up whether or not your u-lock will fit around that little sapling and how likely it is the Plateau policiers will come by and ticket you for willful destruction of borough property.**
Imagine my happy surprise (and that of probably many Segal-ers) when I pulled up, paniers in tow, to discover a butt-ton of once perma-occupied bike parking liberated by an official bike rack. Oh, and it was on the street in what I assume were once spots for automobiles.
I don’t like to be competitive with the whole bike vs car thing, but WE WIN THIS ONE, SUCKAS.
Ahem. It’s the little things.
**And yes, in the Plateau, it is a ticket-able offense to lock your bicycle to a baby tree. I’m not sure if the same rules apply to grown-ups (trees) because it was about that time that my French reading became lazy and I threw the newsletter into the recycling bin.
So, it’s almost October and in this part of the world we are enjoying what are probably the last few days of summer-fall. I am working on a blog narrative for my summer trip to the beautiful east coast, but it is all kinds of hard to capture the magnitude of those mountains and beaches in words and cellphone shots. Also, I have been sneak-attacked by life and sunshine and beautiful people and sometimes just laziness. But I’m trying.
In the meantime, here are two bikes stacked taller than my lovely roommate.
I have been living in Montreal for almost nine months, and I am sad to say that I have done very little exploring outside of my comfy little neighborhood. My reasons are valid, I am a working student with little time for anything else, but now that it’s almost summertime I am excited to the rest of the island.
Montreal is a pretty big place.
I started Project Explore Montreal with a leisurely trip to Brossard. Admittedly, Brossard is off the island (South east-ish), but I had to visit a friend so it was a good place to start.
It was a weekday, and gloomy, so I had the bike lanes all to myself. Usually I avoid bike lanes, but when I am traveling somewhere new I like the security they offer. Somehow I feel like I can’t be too lost if I am still safely within those parallel, painted lines.
On the way to Brossard I got lost around five times. The reason? I had to cross three bridges and Montreal has A LOT of bridges. Between figuring out which bridges were the RIGHT bridges, and finding the cycling entrance I got a little turned around.
The bright side? Cycling from the Village to Brossard turned out to be fantastic, scenic ride (despite the gloom). For instance, I got to see a view of Montreal that I don’t often get to see:
I also cycled through Jean Drapeau Parc (which is both beautiful and dangerously close to my favorite, only local amusement park)
And Brossard? Brossard isn’t half bad. In fact, they have a MEC, which will make me a repeat visitor.
On the way back I was pumped to make the trip (16km each way) in half the time. No getting lost to slow me down! Unfortunately my plans were thwarted by the world’s slowest boat taking its sweet time through my only exit (which happens to be the world’s scariest bridge).