Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City to Montreal: 1,318km

Day 26: Repentigny to Ajax by car

Friday, May 12

Sunny with some cloud. 16C. 

As it turns out, yesterday’s ride would be our final full day of riding on our Spring journey. After pedalling a total of 1318km our bike trip was almost complete.

After looking at the train schedules last night in bed we discovered that the train to Toronto with a baggage car for our bikes left way too early today for us to catch it and we would have to wait until Saturday which meant spending another night in Montreal. We weighed the pros and cons, the dollars and cents and ended up deciding to rent a car instead. 

So when we checked out of our lovely little motel in Repentigny we rode the 7km to the car rental place and picked up our ride back to Ajax. After stocking up on maple flavoured yogurt we set off and thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the car for the 6 hour drive home. We stopped for a picnic lunch and again in Napanee to visit Len’s Bakery. We were back in Ajax in time for a late supper.

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Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City to Montreal 

Day 25: Trois-Rivières to Repentigny 101km

Thursday, May 11

Cloudy, sunny, cloudy, sunny with a strong NE wind. 13C.

It was cool and wet out this morning, but by the time we were leaving the hotel the light rain had seemed to stop. We kept our rain ponchos handy to appease the rain God’s and set off on our way. Riding west out of Trois-Rivières was busy, but we had a bike lane to ride in and just before we connected with hwy 138 we came across a bakery.

The highway runs inland away from the Saint Lawrence and the wind today created the best possible tailwind we could have hoped for. We blew through Yamachiche and into Louiseville where we had our mid-morning snack.

Between there and Berthierville we sailed along without really having to even pedal the bikes. The sun came out and it was almost warm outside.

We had planned to stay in or near Berthierville for the night, but it was just after noon so we chose to keep riding. Another picnic, this time it was lunch in front of the grocery store and we were fueled up for another jaunt.

We witnessed more flooding along the way and this stretch of hwy 138 was mere inches away from being washed out. The wind was creating whitecaps on the flooded fields and we were thankful that we could get past.

The last 40km took us through Lanoraie, Lavaltrie and Saint-Sulpice before the wind gusts put us down on the edge of Repentigny at the door step of a lovely motel. Walking distance to the IGA (ee-g-ah) we had our supper in our sacs and back to our room by 6 o’clock. Being so close to Montreal now, we checked the train schedule for Friday and it is not ideal. Looks like we might have a change of plans.

Spring 2017 –  Ajax to Quebec City to Montreal 

Day 24: Deschambault to Trois-Rivières 72km

Wednesday, May 10

Mostly cloudy with a sunny break. E wind. 8C.

We were up and out of our hotel in Deschambault after a quick breakfast of toast and a muffin. 9am is our earliest departure time yet. The riding was easy again with no headwind and eventually we had a gentle east wind guiding us along. We tried racing a freighter upstream, but we ended up having to pedal up a hill.

When we crossed the Ottawa River over a week ago the water was quite high, but there hadn’t been any flooding yet. Today we saw first hand how the river simply overflowed near Saint-Anne-de-la-Perade. Even some of the fields on the north side of the highway were flooded too.

After stopping at a local fromagerie we stopped for our morning snack where Riviere Sainte-Anne empties into the Saint Lawrence. 

In Champlain we had another flat tire on Mom’s bike, this time on the front, so after our lunch we put in a new tube. We also crossed paths with our travelling buddy again and have named him simply – bike man. 

Our final 20km into Cap-de-la-Madeleine and then Trois-Rivières was fairly uneventful although we got a pretty good tour of downtown Trois-Rivières while searching for a place to spend the night. We weighed our options carefully and after pedalling across town, found the right spot for us. One of our main demands was having a microwave oven in the room. Where we are staying is also close to the grocery stores and a great bike shop where Mom got new tires.

Curry was on the menu tonight after 4 nights of cold plate salads and it hit the spot. 2 hockey games on tonight so we also got microwave popcorn. Let the games begin.

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City to Montreal 

Day 23: Quebec City to Deschambault 68km

Tuesday, May 9

Cloudy with some sun and a light E wind. 10C. 

Today we started the final leg of our Spring ride, Quebec City to Montreal. Our hotel was right on the route so when we left this morning we just turned left and started riding west. There was very little wind today and it was blowing from the east. We couldn’t be happier. 

We are now following Route 5 of La Route Verte along the north shore of the Saint Lawrence River. The route is predominantly along La Chemin Roy and hwy 138 although there were a few stretches that were not on the road including this steep trek down through the woods to a flight of steps.

There were smooth rolling hills following the shoreline and each little climb was complimented by a swift descent. 

We had a little bike trouble with a pesky, slow leak in Mom’s rear tire. After just pumping it up a few times it was clear that we needed another solution.  Instead of breaking for lunch we stopped again to swap front and rear tires with a new tube in the back and the patched tube in the front. That seemed to work, but parked on someone’s front lawn is not the most ideal place to snack. So we rode on and found a nice spot by the river in Neuville to have our lunch.

It was cold by the water, but we could actually feel warmth from the sun which at this point was only thinly veiled by clouds. 

In Donnacona we stopped at the grocery store to get our supper as our hotel tonight is in between towns. We almost picked up a travelling buddy on a bike who seemed to be following us everywhere. After our stop to shop we thought we had left him behind.

Pedalling through Deschambault with was established in 1680, the road narrows and is flanked closely by small and colourful structures. I was too busy taking it in to notice the boulangerie. Only 2km from our destination we saw our buddy riding up ahead,  his fully loaded bicycle was easy to spot. We actually pulled over and pedaled back to a nearby rest stop to ensure we didn’t end up with a house guest for the night. It was nearly 5 o’clock when we pulled up to our hotel and as always it was a sight for sore eyes.

After a delicious salad supper we were spurned with analog TV. No hockey game tonight we figured until we discovered the miracle of WIFI. Huddled in bed wishing we had Zoomies we ate dessert and watched the game. 

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 22: In and around Quebec City 29km

Monday, May 8

Cloudy with some rain and a SW wind. 7C. 

After our relaxing day of rest both of us were looking forward to doing some riding around the city. It was cold and rainy outside and that dampened our enthusiasm a bit, but we decided to go out after breakfast anyway. From our hotel in the western neighbourhood of Saint-Foy we can see both bridges over the Saint Lawrence River.

We rode east along Chemin St-Louis towards downtown and then along Rue Grand-Allee before turning north into Montcalm.

On the north side of the city we found the bike trail along the Saint-Charles River and followed that downstream to the Vieux-Port.

From there the old city was in sight and we stopped for our mid morning snack to look around before carrying on. 

As we headed west back towards Saint-Foy we were pedalling into the wind. We have almost gotten used to riding into a headwind, but not quite.

We pushed our bikes up a steep hill to get back to our neighbourhood and then stopped at the local bakery for our reward. It was another low-key afternoon and we did some planning for the final leg of our journey. Stay tuned. 

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 21: Quebec City Rest Day 0km

Sunday, May 7

Cloudy with rain and a touch of sun. SW wind. 9C. 

Finally a day of rest. Aside from a quick walk to the grocery store – we got absolutely soaked on the way back from a burst of heavy rain – hanging up all of our wet clothes and changing a flat tire, we had a supremely lazy day in our modern looking hotel room. We even have a view of the Saint Lawrence River. 

This is what the room looked like when we arrived… 

And after we settled in…

Other than eating a lot, watching hockey on TV and enjoying a lengthy afternoon nap, we did pretty much nothing all day and it felt great.

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 20: Lyster to Quebec City 65km 

Saturday, May 6

Cloudy with spurts of rain and a relentless E wind.

With all the talk of rain over the weekend – it rained heavily overnight –  we just assumed that we’d get a bit wet today. So leaving our lovely cabin in Lyster was bittersweet. After our oatmeal we quickly packed up and were pedalling away by 9:30am, one of our earliest starts yet. We rode the short distance back to the trail and immediately slowed to a crawl on the rain-soaked gravel path. Time for plan B.

Plan B is the hwy, so we pedaled back into town and follow the highway out the other side. After a few minutes, anticipating an eastward turn, we realize with some help from google that we are going the wrong way.  It was a little confusing because hwy 116 winds through town, but we figured it out before travelling too far in the wrong direction. So back into the wind we pedal, a sure sign we are heading east. We pass the trail again and continue along the road until we come to a manned barricade.

Every trip we take we inevitably come across some sort of detour or road closure and our motto is “we don’t do detours.” Here in Lyster today there is a CBC film crew shooting a comedy/discovery show featuring the town and we are told that we cannot get through. Now for Plan C.

Plan C is to take the detour so we check google maps and the next nearest way around is a whole country concession west, then another north and then another east for a total of 5km or so, putting us back on the other side of the film shoot. The wind is already howling from the east and we’ve already been pedalling back and forth in the tiny town of Lyster for twenty minutes. We confer, deciding that we don’t do detours and we ride back to the flagger at the gate. We plead our case and he refuses us passage saying if we wait for a little while that we’ll be able to pass when the film crew breaks.

So we pull up behind the crowd on the sidewalk and watch and wait. The crew is filming and it appears like the camera is pointed right in our direction. I wasn’t sure if the rest of the crowd were extras or spectators, but we were the only ones wearing bright yellow jackets, bike helmets, ear covers and sunglasses. I started to wonder if we were crashing their set? Well, after a few minutes, before I thought to take a picture, we were offered passage by what looked to be the guy in charge. I think some of the nuance of the conversation was lost in translation but we took our cue and pedaled through as the crowd parted. As we escaped their street-scene set the comedic, big band music continued to blare. We made it through and down the street. Then we turned east, into the wind. 

As I mentioned before, the wind was relentless today, even pedalling on the smooth surface of the highway, we just couldn’t get up to our normal cruising speed. The traffic wasn’t terrible, but it made for an overall unpleasant experience.  At least we were approaching the end of our journey to Quebec. We tried the trail again for a bit, then the road again. At one point we rode along the trail where it was paved and then got off when it turned back to gravel. After passing through Saint-Etienne de Lauzon we intersected the Route 1 trail again and it was paved.

After following the trail for awhile we saw signs for the Parc des Chutes de Chaudiere and although we were exhausted, decided to make a quick side trip to see the falls.

Les chutes were even more raging today with all of the recent rain and the spray in the air was threatening to get us wet. The wind was blowing so hard that whitecaps were forming on the surface of the river, seeming to push the water upstream.

Back into the wind we rode for our final push to Le Pont du Quebec. The signs at the bridge suggest you walk your bike and that is exactly what we did.

The walkway is narrow and the wind was whipping so fiercely that it almost undressed us on our crossing. I was tempted to stop for a photo or two,  but I didn’t want my camera/phone pulled from my grip into the Saint Lawrence River. 

After crossing, our hotel was nearby and we checked in and flopped onto our respective beds. After 5 hours of pedalling – not including breaks – we had arrived. It was a short walk to the nearby grocery store followed by supper in bed. Tomorrow we are taking a day off.