Sunday, October 09, 2016

Vélopiste Jacques-Cartier Portneuf - start at western terminus at Rivière-à-Pierre

It took a long time but I finally got to ride the western end of the Vélopiste Jacques-Cartier Portneuf which is in the region of Quebec between Troir Rivieres and Quebec City.

I rode a nice out and back ride starting at Granite Capital of Quebec (sorry Stanstead/Rock Island) in Rivière-à-Pierre (River of Rocks, not River of dudes named Pierre)

The western terminus of this bike path is in this little village. I had done the eastern half of the bike path a long time ago and always had planned to return to do the western half. I did not like the eastern half too much - it was a straight line through a relentlessly boring conifer forest with no parks or scenic attractions. And then it rained hard and I u-turned and headed back to the car.

So on friday, about a decade later, I was in Trois Rivieres for the day so I figured I would do a nice ride starting in St-Genevieve-de-Batiscan but when I got here here the Catholic church has a big sign saying park here and we will tow your car. First time EVER I can't park at a rural Quebec Catholic church.  This is not what I call tourism friendly parking. I had even gone to the trouble of finding a paper copy of the bike map of the region MRC des Chenaux region (pdf).

I decided to (was forced to) keep driving.  Lucky for me early October is the best time to enjoy the most amazing fall colours in Quebec. So I drove on, through St-Severin, then through St-Ubalde (how come nobody names their kids Ubalde anymore? It's a great name.) where I stopped for lunch at Pain Pain Pain (which means something completely different in french!) and then on real back roads to Montauban-des-mines and then the super twisty road (popular with motorcycles, maybe too popular to make it fun on regular bicycle) to arrive finally at Rivière-à-Pierre where I knew the bike path started (or ended, depending on your perspective).

The terminus of the bike path here was easy to find and well arranged: it had five 100% solid polished granite picnic tables. These are extremely nice picnic tables.

The bike path was rock-dust, but well-compacted and with no large loose rocks and was very good riding on my 25mm tires (i.e. a good surface to bike on). It went through nice mixed forest with some lakes and changing scenery. I turned around just after the halte municipale pont-au-pierre (Stone bridge park, which is signed and accessible from the bike path) for a nice afternoon ride of not too big distance (for a change). It was more or less one hour out and one hour back with a rest stop at the stone bridge halte-municipale.

I cannot emphasize this enough: the drive from Trois Rivieres through St-Severin, St-Ubalde, and Montauban-des-mines to Rivière-à-Pierre has EXTREMELY SPECTACULAR fall colours.

Here is the website for the bike path:

And here are the granite picnic tables, very classy indeed. Did you know some of the granite for the base of the statue of Liberty in New York comes from here? No you did not, but now you do.

Price Guarantees are useless

I bought an expensive Brooks bike seat.  Did I mention it was expensive?   For a change I had treated myself to a quality product and did not as usual just buy the cheapest one in the store. I felt good about buying this. Then I discovered the store down the street sold it for $35 less. $35 is a lot of money and I had noticed the store where I has bought the seat had prominently posted their price guarantee policy, so back I went to the store to see how they would treat my request to honor their price guarantee and how this transaction would shape my perceptions about their brand. A brand I have been loyal to for 37 years (since 1979!) and was always my first choice when shopping.

Well, it turns out that treating me with respect was not how they train their staff or is the corporate policy.

I returned to ask for the price guarantee but the employee spent 15 minutes upstairs and came back and told me that their price guarantee didn't apply because of the saddle colour at the other store wasn't the same as I had just bought.

Then the clerk, when I asked if I can just return it for a complete refund, she said of course I could return it and get my money back and then go to the other store and buy it at the other store's lower price.

The sales clerk seemed quite happy to have worked hard to find a way OUT of honoring their price guarantee and she was certain she was being a good employee and had done a good job in denying me the price guarantee. But from my perspective as a loyal long-term customer... well my trust in their brand is destroyed.

 Price Guarantee 101: Our rules are designed so that you're screwed so don't even bother asking!

How screwed are you? There are seven ways you can be treated like a piece of shit for loyally and consistently choosing to shop at their store instead of at their competition's store.

Best Price Guarantee

"The store" will match all prices listed by its competitors. If you find it cheaper somewhere else, we will match it.
Certain conditions apply :
  • The reseller must be in Canada and must be an authorized dealer of the targeted product;
  • The product must be in stock at the competing reseller and also at "the store" (no special orders);
  • We must be able to verify the product’s price (flyer, website or by phoning the reseller);
  • The product must be identical (size, colour, season, model number);
  • Our Best Price Guarantee excludes sale items, going out of business blowouts, used items, demo items, and all additional charges apply (assembly or installation, delivery, etc.);
  • Price Match requests must be made within 15 days of the initial purchase date; 
  • This price policy applies on price before taxes only.
"The store" – Generous by nature

That last line about being generous by nature is complete bullshit.

 Conclusion:  The other store is selling the same bike seat at a lower price and this is how you destroy trust in your brand and lose a loyal customer of 37 years.