Friday, June 10, 2011

VerMontreal - Day 3

Saturday was a "free" day, a day without any plans if you chose. Some people decided to meet relatives, go to museums, or shopping. I decided to go with our Montreal guide, Wayne, for one of his 30+ mile jaunts on the bike paths in Montreal.

First stop was to see the lady of the harbor. That's her on the left.

"And the sun pours down like honey
On our lady of the harbour
And she shows you where to look"
Suzanne

 Leonard Cohen


Then a 30 minute stop at Atwater Market for lunch fixings and a photograph beneath these physical specimens.

A mile long jaunt on the ice bridge - a concrete structure that spans the river. Because of it's proximity to the nearby Pont Champlain (auto bridge) the current breaks the ice against this ice bridge, alleviating the stress on the auto span.

As you can see, another beautiful day.
 A picnic in a park with a nice view of the Saint Lawrence River rapids.

Near the end of the ride I made my way to Velo Quebec's headquarters, ostensibly to research a Montreal to Ottawa route, but then I was looking for nice t-shirts for my family, and then the coffee corner was too attractive. I sat outdoors with an iced coffee and a slice of chocolate gateau. It was nice to be alone for a few minutes.

I followed Rue Rachel's bike lanes back towards the hotel. I like how they are separated from the auto lanes by a concrete barrier. There are bike traffic lights that signal bicycles to move ahead before the traffic starts.

After a few hors d'œuvres at the hotel, I bowed out of an invitation to go out for Chinese food with a group because I wanted to ride a BIXI.
BIXIs are Montreal's transportation bicycle system. You use your credit card, and at 5.00 per day, it's a bargain - the catch is you must dock your bike every 30 minutes, otherwise it adds another 1.50 and gets more expensive the longer you retain the bike. This encourages people to use the cycle for short trips, strictly for transport to the office, or for shopping, cirulating the bikes so everyone can use one.

My first trip went very well. The bikes are 3 speeds, easily handling Montreal's hills. Racks of BIXIs are every two blocks in a five mile radius of downtown. I docked my bike about 2 miles from the hotel, planning to get another one for the return trip. But I encountered trouble with the key punch code to unlock the next bike. I got help from some friendly locals, but still was not able to take out another bike. After trying several bikes and re-entering my credit card, I gave up and walked back. There had to have been something very simple that I was not doing right because friends had used one the day before and they raved about the bikes. I'd like to try them again someday. The BIXIs are clearly a hit with the locals. We saw them everywhere.

4 comments:

  1. Looks like you're having a lot of fun!

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  2. I love Montreal's bike paths. We do not have that extensive a system here in the U.S. so I feel fortunate to only live two hours away from that lovely city.

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  3. I'm loving this. Great photos and wonderful introduction to cycling in Montreal. Been many times, but have never cycled in Montreal.

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  4. Awesome photos, looks like a great fun time. I love seeing the scenery. I'm enjoying following your VerMontreal posts! Very interesting and fun reads. Thanks!

    Wayne

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