When you were a kid, did you ever spend the whole day on your bike? Our first ride out of Montreal is like that. It’s an almost six-hour 46-mile adventure. Yes, that sounds like a very long time, but we get a late start so there is a lunch stop in addition to two ferry rides during the excursion. We don’t ride that slow.
Montreal is a big city with lots of traffic and lots of people commuting on bikes. Much like Amsterdam, the bikes seem to have or take the right of way. It doesn’t take us long to decide that our rides would be remote starts for sanity and safety.
The first ride is what the locals call the two mountain ride. I would say a better name would be the two ferries ride. The highlight of this ride would definitely be the water views. We see the St. Lawrence Seaway, two different lakes and a small but forceful river.
Our second day of riding is scenic in a different way. We are in Canadian farm country. Much like western New York, the farms here are large and beautifully maintained.
I don’t know what this area looks like in other seasons, but August is lush and verdant. I am amazed that the hydrangea plants are white. I don’t know if it’s still too soon for them to have turned purple or if the soil is just different and they stay white. I’ll have to do a little research.
On this day we get an early start and ride at a decent clip, so we finish our ride have lunch, and get in some sightseeing in Old Montreal. A visit to The Notre Dame Basilica (five dollars Canadian!) comes complete with a tour. I learned that Mario Lemieux and a few other notables were married in this church and that Rocket Richard had his funeral here. Oh, there was some other historical non-hockey stuff too!
My favorite part of our third ride is the start along a fantastic bike path that goes through a park and beside the St.Lawrence Waterway.
Great views and some stunning homes make the 41 mile ride notable. With about 8 miles left, we stop at a local fruit stand for some berries. We stuff them into the bike trunk and all but the raspberries survive the trip back.
It’s one of the hottest day of the year here (91 degrees), but we visit the Montreal Botanical Gardens and the Olympic Park (remember Montreal in 1976 when Bruce Jenner won the decathlon and Nadia Comenaci and the first perfect 10) to round out the day.
The gardens are so spectacular I don’t know how I can limit my photos.
Right across the street from the gardens is the Olympic Park.
It’s far from spectacular. It’s an ugly concrete jungle which surrounds the Olympic Stadium, a “white elephant” that took 30 years to pay for and currently needs 300 million dollars worth of work to fix the roof.
We are planning three more rides and hope the weather cooperates with us! Coming up in my next installment of this blog we are going to talk Poutine, as soon as I find out what it is!
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