Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 19: Victoriaville to Lyster 49km 

Friday, May 5

Cloudy with light rain showers and a slight E wind. 9C.

Both of us woke up today eager for breakfast. The hotel had a very nice dining room and a better than average spread of food. With rain on the way we didn’t delay and were on the road before 10 o’clock. We found the trail with no difficulty and set off on Route 1.

The trail surface was in good condition and the trail itself was straight like an arrow. 

In Princeville we went under an overpass covered in graffiti and stopped to take some pictures with my SLR – film camera. Hopefully there will be some interesting results. 

Knowing that there was an IGA in Plessisville, we stopped to shop for our supper. Soup is on the menu again because it is cold and wet outside and we also know that our cabin in Lyster comes with a microwave. We were already carrying our lunch and stopped at noon for a trailside picnic.

As usual the final 20km was a struggle.  The trail surface seemed slower, like little hands were grabbing our wheels, preventing us from getting any speed. Turns out we were also gradually climbing and so we felt almost powerless. After a few short breaks we were almost in Lyster. The last few kilometres went by fast as the rain started to intensify a bit. We found the cabins were we are scheduled to stay and were pleasantly surprised with both the location –  right by the river – and the interior. 

We have the large cabin which is beautifully appointed including a full kitchen, sitting room and separate bedroom. It was a lot more than we were expecting. 

After a short walk to the nearby marche we were back in the cabin with everything we needed by 4 o’clock. We spent a few minutes ridding the place of some unwanted guests and an hour or so planning our weekend accommodations including tomorrow’s approach into Quebec City.

Ladybug infestation!

Supper was as exciting as we’d hoped it would be including our leftover bread from Boulangerie Montagne. It was hard to stay awake after we ate, but we lasted until 10 o’clock. We’ll be sad to leave our cabin in the morning, but a weekend in Quebec City sounds like fun too.

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 18: Richmond to Victoriaville 55km

Thursday, May 4

Sunny with a mild SW wind. 15C. 

Morning came quick after our long ride and Kate supper yesterday.  After a short walk, we ate the last of our yogurt and granola in our room before packing up for our departure. 

Because the trail was in such rough shape yesterday we have opted to stick to the road today. We wound through town and picked up hwy 116 which had us pedalling up and out of Richmond. Ultimately our ride up and out of the Saint-Francois River valley was a 4km climb which left us huffing, puffing and stopped to peel off a few layers of clothing. The next few kilometres weren’t as steep of a climb as we seemed to plateau before cresting at the summit.

There before us was an absolutely spectacular view of the countryside. Rolling hills, distant farms and fields upon fields almost as far as we could see. Each field a finger, interlocking like hands on a lap. The pine and spruce trees blue in the distance, covering the hilltops like woolen caps. 

The view was certainly worthy of photographing, but our descent started unexpectedly and within no time we were freewheeling down through the valley at 50km/h. For 5km we plunged lower and lower all the while soaking in the serene vista. At the bottom we pulled off the highway at a trail access point with wide eyes and wild grins. The cruel climb to start our day now seemed completely worthwhile. 

From there we followed the flat trail into Danville where we stopped at the tourist information centre for a map and a chat. Then we ate our lunch at a picnic table in the shade. 

Despite our rough ride on the trail yesterday we decided to give Route 1 another chance.  The surface of the trail is much better in the section we are riding today and after our massive climb this morning we are quite happy pedalling along on the old rail bed.

Next was Warwick and then the final 20km into Victoriaville. When we arrived in the city we stopped just in time to recalibrate our directions and then left the trail to find our hotel. 

We got checked in early compared to yesterday and got directions to a bakery a little ways away. Once we settled in to our room we put on our walking shoes and dress up clothes and went out in search of the bakery and our supper. Long story short, after walking 7km we arrived back at the hotel with two full shopping bags of foodstuffs. We spent the next few hours eating and are already looking forward to the hotel breakfast in the morning.  Sweet dreams. 

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 17: Magog to Richmond 82km

Wednesday,  May 3

Sun, cloud, rain with a SW wind. 8C.

The day started with some bike maintenance – cleaning our chains – after yesterday’s gritty ride.

Our ride started with us navigating out of Magog  along the trail “La Montagnarde” and we climbed up and up for awhile. 

We did come down there other side and luckily someone else had already cleared the path.

There was smoke on the water by Lac Magog, although it was just a nearby resident burning some brush.

Approaching Sherbrooke we passed another “chute” along the Magog River.

Our modest picnic by Lac des Nations. Crispbread, Camembert, apples and peanut butter. It was chilly in the wind.

After finding our route out of Sherbrooke we pedaled on Hwy 143. It wasn’t very scenic, but it was direct. From Windsor we found Route 1 of La Route Verte and started the final 20km of our ride. The trail was rough, soft, wet, slow and flooded out in parts.

We carried on anyways and it took forever to get even 5km.

When we could, we got back on the road and pushed the final distance.  It was after 5pm when we arrived in Richmond and we stopped at the grocery store on the way to our beds. Tonight we are staying in the old train station and it is pretty interesting both inside and out.

With hardly anytime to unwind, it is bedtime again. Maybe tomorrow will be a shorter ride?

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 16: Grandby to Magog 65km

Tuesday, May 2

Cloudy with some sun and sprinkles of rain. 16C.

The overnight rain stopped like clockwork by 8 o’clock this morning. After a short walk around the neighbourhood we were back at the hotel for breakfast. It took us a little longer to pack up our stuff this morning because just about everything we were carrying was unpacked and hanging up to dry lastnight. Once we checked out – leaving a trail of sand and grit in our wake – we found our way back to the Route Verte #1. After riding through some light industrial, we found ourselves cruising down a lovely tree covered trail.

We stopped in at the tourist info centre and picked up a couple of maps and then carried on out of town. Mont Bromont in the distance was an indication of what was in store. 

Thankfully the rail trail has a gentle incline although we were ascending for close to 30km until we reached Waterloo. Lunch was next on our list, but the tourist office was closed so we went into town in search of a bathroom. We ended up going into what we thought was a coffee shop, but it was actually a fast food restaurant and I ended up with a hot dog with coleslaw on top. Not a bad surprise. We ate lunch under a gazebo at the Town square and there was a fleeting rain shower. 

After lunch the rain stopped and we started our journey again. Our trail turned to gravel and then threw us a few hills. Then we were spat out onto a road with a few more hills. Approaching another steep up a sign pointed us left avoiding the hill but forcing us onto a wet dirt road. Half sinking in the soft surface we climbed and bombed several hills. This route we nicknamed Peanut Butter Road. Once we got unstuck we had a great view.

Thankfully we were able to divert to hwy 112 before reaching Eastman and it was paved with pretty good shoulders to ride on. Again we stopped at the info centre for maps, water and a photo.

The final 15km to Magog were fairly fast along the highway with a few ups and several big downs. Without much trouble we found the motel we had chosen,  the grocery store and the way out of town tomorrow.  We are curious how our legs will feel in the morning. 

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 15: Chambly to Granby 49km

Monday, May 1

Rainy with an E wind. 12C. 

The rain started overnight and was coming down when we peeked out the window this morning.  We stayed in bed a little while longer until it was really time to get up. No microwave, kettle or coffee maker so no oatmeal this morning.  The tap water was pretty hot so I made a cup of tea in a tupperware container. After we got the bikes out of the garage we loaded our bags under cover in front of the motel.

Once we hit the road we crossed over the Richelieu River and found our way through town onto the bike path. La Route des Champs is a regional velo route that branches off from La Route Verte’s Route 1. It started off as crushed gravel and despite being a bit soggy from all of the recent rain, it was in fairly good condition. It made for a messy ride and we were both wet from the waist down in no time. On the outskirts of Marieville we spotted the Tigre Geant and stopped for breakfast in the parking lot after buying some granola there.

When we picked up the trail again on the other side of town we could see it going straight away into the distance. 

After 15km of pedalling uphill, into the wind, in the rain on soggy gravel we were elated when in the middle of a farmers field the trail  turned to asphalt. The pedalling was still challenging as we approached Mont Yamaska in Saint-Paul-d’Abbotsford. After cresting the low rise we seemed to descend slightly towards Granby. When we passed through the tunnel we knew we were just about there.

In Grandby we slogged our soggy selves into the hotel lobby and negotiated a room for the night. In the room we draped our wet stuff off of every conceivable surface and turned the bathroom into a drying room by cranking up the thermostat. 

The rain held off for a bit while we walked to the nearby grocery store. Soup is on the menu tonight and we plan on using our microwave to the fullest. A lot more rain is expected overnight, but the sun is rumoured to reappear by morning.

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 14: Montreal to Chambly 44km

Sunday, April 30

Cloudy with afternoon showers and an E wind. 7C. 

Yesterday while planning the rest of trip we decided to change our route a bit. We are going to ride to Quebec City by way of the Eastern Townships instead of following along the north shore of the Saint Lawrence.

 So today instead of heading north out of Montreal we turned south and then crossed the Pont de la Concorde onto Ile Sainte Helene. 

In hindsight it was fun navigating our way across to Longueuil, but at the time it was taxing.

We pedaled past what was part of the Olympic village – Habitat – and around the island before crossing onto Ile Notre-Dame. We got to ride on part of the Formula One race track and after a few quick turnarounds we made it to Longueuil. 

Lost in Longueuil. Trying to find our way onto the correct velo route that would take us to Chambly we seemed to get stuck in a particular subdivision going round and round the same streets. With a little perseverance we finally escaped and made it across town and back onto route 1 of La Route Verte. 

We had our mid – morning snack at 1:30pm in a park on the route. It started to rain so we put on our rain gear to finish our ride to Chambly. Before arriving in town we pedaled along a lovely, treelined street. 

We found the motel, and even though we are paying more for less than we did in downtown Montreal on a Saturday night, we are thankful to be off the road for the day. We walked over to the Maxi grocery store to see what would be for supper. Judging by the amount of people shopping there and the amount of stuff they were buying, we thought that maybe we missed the news about the coming apocalypse. Down the street at the Metro it was similar,  like people only shop on Sundays here. Weird.

It didn’t stop us from procuring another delicious meal. We are eager to get going in the morning and the rain in the forecast will only inspire a nice warm supper tomorrow night.

Spring 2017 – Ajax to Quebec City 

Day 13: Coteau du Lac to Montreal 77km

Saturday,  April 29

Sunny with a very strong WSW wind. 18C.

Last night our neighbours at the motel weren’t “the clomps” after all,  they were “the romps” and their lovers quarrel went on until well after midnight. We got to sleep eventually, but probably didn’t get as much as we should have.

In the morning we said au revoir to Motel des Erables and set sail for Vaudreil. The wind pushed us along down the long straight pathway along the canal. There were lots of other people walking and cycling the trail on this beautiful Saturday morning.  

Since spring has sprung all sorts of animals and critters have come to life including the frogs who were singing away as we passed this soggy pond.

Approaching Vaudreil our path veered northwest and we got a taste of the wind we had been pedalling with. In town we turned east again and crossed the Ottawa River before stopping for our morning snack in a mall parking lot with a pile of dirty, stubborn snow melting in it.

From here on out we pedaled almost exclusively on bicycle paths heading into Montreal. When we were on the road we had our own lanes and the drivers really give way to cyclists. The cycling infrastructure in Quebec has always impressed me with both its practicality and its design – like this curly q down ramp from a bridge over a canal.

I also love the state of mind that comes from a strong cycling culture. These signs were posted along a residential street that was teeming with people on bikes.

The wind was so strong today that the waves were lapping up onto the shore. We almost stopped at this little green space,  but the wind was just too much.

The wild wind in combination with the high water levels resulted in our pathway being flooded out in a couple of spots.

The last several kilometres into the city centre were crawling with people. The nice weather seemed to have brought everybody out in one way or another and navigating through them all was challenging. As we approached the old city the business was compounded by the wandering tourists who don’t quite know how to stay off of the cycle-paths. We were patient, but were running out of steam. We found our little hotel with little trouble and got settled in. 

After a quick trip to the nearby grocery store we prepared our supper and ate. I slipped into a post-meal coma and woke up refreshed, but still exhausted. We spent the evening relaxing and discussing the plan for our next few days. Sounds like we’ll be doing it a little differently than we had originally planned. Stay tuned.