Sunday, April 12, 2015

Chateauguay Valley is a cycling paradise

purple: the ride. Yellow: optional roads. Arrows: quiet rest stops

So many roads to ride! This is not a problem.You can do 20 different rides around this region.
One of our favorite regions to ride is south west of Montreal in the valley historically called by the english as the Chateauguay Valley (roughly) between the Chateauguay river and the US border. The government has renamed this the Haut-Saint-Laurent, but nobody I know calls it this. If your riding style is authenticity-based, you'll call it the Chateauguay Valley also.

The Map shows the usual - but not the shortest - version of the ride.

The yellow is other roads in the region that we ride on. As you can see, the standard ride can be easily lengthened for a longer day on the bike.

Red arrows are scenic or quiet rest stops.

We like to call this region the Vallée Cyclable. It is superb. It is fantastic.

In spring the roads are clean, dry, smooth, and if you ride anywhere else in Quebec in spring, you will know that these qualities are rare. Add scenic and low on car traffic, and still undeveloped rural and not just one same-looking-town corporate-franchised town after another.  I say this , but yucky-coffee-is-our-brand tims arrived in Ormstown last winter. We suggest going to Café Namaste on Ormstown's main street for some non-brazillian-mega-corporation-coffee-chain coffee.

Montreal is an island spring ride

Trans-island spring ride
Every spring we do this ride, across pont Jacques Cartier bridge and the St-Laurence river to Longueuil, come back and head east over to the stade Olympique stadium, then north, cross the river to Laval with a little traverse, and then cross another bridge and come back home for hot food!

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

The season starts

the season of icy and dirty uncleaned bike paths starts.

The season of runners and pedestrians going in every direction possible fill the bike paths.

The season of mega potholes has arrived.

The season of bikes(s) by the front door arrives.

The seeason of freds riding like the bike path and streets are a race track arrives.

The season of nice cyclists stopping at stops and lights and signalling turns also arrives.

The seson of cars parking oon bike paths has arrived.

The season of cars making illegal turns on straight arrows into bikes has arrived.

Ride safe everybody, because life is short and the other people (cars, bikes, runners, pedestrians, truck drivers, bus drivers) don't care if you live or die.

Sunday, April 05, 2015

Gazette writes article on bike path-design problems.

A nice article in the Saturday gazette about five of the dozens of bike-path-design problems in Montreal.

Article takes a look at new bike-underpass at St-Laurent & Bellechasse which is a disaster in several ways but the article misses a chance to explain clearly the disasters.

Still, it is nice that the newspaper takes the time to explain how bad bike-path design makes cycling much more dangerous and how problems are caused by a city who's roads-department is staffed by people who don;t ride bikes, who don't get out of the office to look at their own bad designs, and doesn't want to fix the problems their designs have caused.

Maybe next week we can look at the many dangerous gaps inbike paths that nedlessley through bikes into trafic and increase danger and risk for cyclists. WHich is just how the bike-haters in the cville-de-Montreal roads department like it, apparently.

2015 1st ride: Chateauguay river Ormstown/Powerscourt/Rockburn

The closed bridge in distance is a great rest stop

Maple sap buck beside perfect asphalt on first concession road

This ride never disappoints.

Oodles of possible variations.

Smooth roads.

Clean roads.

Quiet roads.

Scenic roads.

Translation: perfect bike roads.

Ormstown to Huntingdown to Athelstan to Powerscourt (Quebec's oldest covered bridge) - to Rockburn along US border - to Dewittville to Ormstown.

For a slightly shorter ride, just retrace the ride along the Chateauguay river from Powescourt and forget the section along the US border, until next visit!

MUHC royal Vic hospital closing - time to give back some (parking lot) land to Parc Mont Royal

Area in yellow: Addition to Parc Mont Royal. Red line: new bike path.

Montreal need to decide: Is Mont Royal, with its beautiful and amazing Parc Mont Royal and protected ecological and heritage status, better off as a park or should its value be wasted and let's just keep using it as a parking lot. A parking lot! The answer is obviously no, Mont Royal is not better off being used as a  parking lot.

I am referring to the upcoming closure of the MUHC's Royal Victoria Hospital, a facility that was to remain "forever public" in the donation documents, and its recently-constructed (post WW2) parking lots that deface and vandalize the ecological region that is our jewel of Montreal: Mont Royal. 

These parking lots, which border the downtown edge of Parc Mont Royal, should be converted to park land and added to Parc Mont Royal. A bike path should be added through the parking lots to create a new, safe, scenic, bike path from points north and east of downtown into central downtown.

The upcoming 375 anniversary of the founding of Montreal is an appropriate moment in time to make this dream a reality.

The fact that this valuable land is being used for mere parking lots is a black stain on how much the MUHC and city government truly value the heritage value of Mont Royal. This is the perfect moment to remedy this neglect to what all Montrealers agree is the jewel in the crown of our beautiful city of Montreal.

Montreal must close these dangerous gaps in the heart of the bike path network.

Spot the cyclist-killing gaps!

Montreal #1 priority should be closing these dangerous gaps in the bike path network right in the heart of the city.

Does safety mean anything to Montreal? Because these gaps are going to kill someone.

Yes, Outremont is blocking these improvements. They cannot block them forever. Outremont cannot hold the safety of thousands of cyclists hostage.

Until these gaps disappear, Montreal does NOT have a safe bike path network.

Close the gaps!
Click here to send an email to the mayor (from the outremont city webpage).