Day Fifty Three – Aug 12 Mont Saint-Hilaire 116k
These easy distance days always turn out to be hard. This day would see us cycle through Montreal but by the time I got to Mont Saint-Hilaire I was tired from the ride. It had to do with the temperature of the day and the number of stops we did to figure out where we were supposed to be going.
I rode again with Cor for the day. We didn’t leave camp until 8am; a distance of 116k would be over in no time flat. The first part of the ride was nice as we cycled into the outskirts of Montreal. There is a bicycle culture in Quebec that is evident not only be the cyclists out on the road but the roads themselves. There is a continuous network of bicycle paths marked out on the highways. For a long distance we cycled on a pathway on Lakeshore Drive. It was nice.
The pathway followed the St. Lawrence. We cycled through the suburbs of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, Bain-d’Urfe, Dorval, Lachine and Verdun. We stopped in Lachine at a roadside café and had a nice Quebec breakfast. It was after Verdun that the riding got hard. The route began to twist and turn. Keeping a French name in your head for more than one turn is nigh near impossible. We were constantly stopping and looking at the map and sometimes the GPS trying to figure out how if we were on the correct road. It was mentally taxing.
We cycled through some picturesque parts of Montreal; but most of Montreal is picturesque so pick a route. Our designated route took us through the old dock area of Montreal. Then suddenly we were downtown Montreal at Jacques Cartier Square. It is a lively place but we had no time to party with the populace. We walked our bikes up the hill to just below the statue of Jacques Cartier. A car pulled over and the passenger waved at us. It was Merryn. She had hooked up with a friend who was driving her around the sites of Montreal. We became an unexpected site to Merryn. She had her bike in the car and would get out after the touring was done and then cycle to Mont Saint-Hilaire on her own.
To get away from Montreal we had to cycle over the Jacques Cartier Bridge to the south side and then follow a highway out of the city. The bridge is impressive as are the views from it.
Fred came over the bridge at the same time and he joined our duo again. We all stopped for milk and a sandwich before heading off east. The highway wasn’t so easy to find. Again we had a number of twists and turns to navigate. We finally stopped a local cyclist and told him where we wanted to get to. He pointed us in the direction and told us to go. Then we were in open country.
This was the farming area of Quebec. There were a lot of vegetables being grown in the area and we saw a number of fruit stands. We didn’t stop at any. At the bridge over the St. Lawrence at Mont Saint-Hilaire, Cor stopped to take some photos of the water and the mountain. He was straddling his bike and was to one side of the bike sidewalk on the bridge. Fred came riding up the sidewalk behind him. Fred was looking down at his map while riding and ran into the back of Cor. Cor got his own bicycle seat into the small of his back, Fred was laid out flat on the sidewalk. He stirred, looked at the sky and then got up. The right brake was damaged but that was it.
Too much map reading and memorizing of French names.