Thursday, October 31, 2019

Slow Rolling with Adele - Riding Folding Bikes Around Montreal

Adele and I usually plan at least one bike adventure in Canada every year. This year's adventure came together pretty quickly, cobbling last minute accommodation in downtown Montreal during peak foliage, coupled with a few of my ideas for bike loops. What I didn't expect was that Adele would show up at my house with her Bike Friday in tow! What could be better than two women tootling around the city - and with Adele's penchant for picking out new restaurants and ideas for after hours delights - laughing and exploring?

With three days of stellar weather in the forecast we checked into a downtown hotel early, parked the car, and set out for a loop along the Lachine Canal, returning by way of Rapides Park along the Saint Laurence River.

We ate a picnic lunch at Rene Levesque Park. And basked in the sunshine, watching Canadian geese doing likewise.

It also happened to be Canada's Thanksgiving weekend, which made for empty trails!

After visiting Musee de Lachine, a local history museum which among other interesting information explains the prominence of the fur trade, and it's significance on the peninsula. Looping back towards the rapids we stopped to watch wetsuit-clad surfers briefly trying to catch a wave, then paddle out of the water a few yards downstream, and scamper on the path past us to repeat their plunge for another chance at a good ride. It seemed like a lot of effort but maybe for die hard surfers it was their only local opportunity.

Canada geese were everywhere, apparently not ready to head south. After a shower, and tasty dinner at Foxy we retired for the evening.

I always enjoy pedaling over Montreal's ice bridge, strategically placed to break up winter ice
from hitting the downstream major bridges.
Day two, we rode a loop that took in the ice bridge, and man-made paths separating the shipping channel from Montreal's inner harbor.

 The trees were stunning, absolutely vibrant.

 Detouring a bit, Adele kept wanting to pedal one direction. I kept admiring her front basket.

 But we had to turn around at some point!

 And just in time to watch a commercial boat cruise by.

I couldn't get enough sunshine or beautiful views. I like pedaling around Montreal and nearby communities for their trails and proximity to water.

We locked the wazoo out of our bikes. It is a city, after all. Dinner is Served - History of French Cuisine exhibit was located in the glass-fronted building behind our bikes.
We timed the ride to end up at the archaeological museum for a late lunch at L'Arrivage Bistro, then  to take in a special exhibit on the History of French Cuisine. Because of Adele's penchant for finding interesting restaurants and things to do, I get to enjoy a full cultural experience! But that wasn't all for day two. In the evening we took in live theater, watching - from box seats, no less - a wonderful play about an Italian immigrant family in Montreal called The Chain at McGill College's cozy theater. The acting was amazing - so much so - that Adele plans to see the sequel in 2020.

Our last and third day consisted of a shorter - and as Adele described, an urban ride - loop eastward, using Montreal's on-street marked lanes and bollard/curb segregated paths. The city has an extensive network of bike-friendly routes. I've always felt comfortable navigating through neighborhoods in that manner, but Adele apparently hasn't had much experience or desire. It's a great way to see a city, I noted, also describing how much I enjoyed a recent adventure in New York City, which she couldn't imagine! Like all of our cycling adventures together, we get to share new things with each other.

It's the little discoveries that make tootling new routes a wonderful adventure, like riding through a park with large Adirondack chairs...

Adele wanted her picture taken, wearing a Mexican hat.
...Or stumbling onto an outdoor market!

We also wanted to visit Velo Quebec, located in the back of a light-filled coffee shop, but the office was closed due to the holiday weekend.

Pedaling mostly downhill, we looped back to the hotel and checked out, then drove to the Italian section of Montreal. Adele is Italian, so she gave me a walking tour of Jean-Talon market, a wonderfully large indoor grocery store, plus we sipped cappuccino at a 50's style diner, an institution - indeed I was tired and overwhelmed after a while. Adele is 14 years my senior but has more energy than I do!

Late afternoon, we head home, but not before nearly running out of gas just shy of the border. Because many gas stations were closed - the holiday again - we backtracked and were lucky to find one place open, fortunately, which was a big sigh of relief. In typical fashion, we chat all the way home, marveling how we pulled off another amazing adventure.


  1. I always enjoy reading about your and Adele's adventures on bike. This was no exception. I'm always amused at the finds in various locations across the globe too (a Mexican sombrero in Canada amuses me terribly for some reason). Love the giant Adirondack chair, particularly juxtaposed with your tiny folding bikes! :) Sounds like you enjoyed another lovely adventure, and I appreciate that you take the time to share with us.

    1. Thanks GE. Adele and I sometimes act like children, but that's half the fun!

  2. A great trip blessed with glorious weather. Its such a oolourful season and you had the weather to enjoy it. A small wheeled cycle tour?

  3. I have been reading your blog for a while and haven't yet commented yet..
    but after reading your montreal post... i was brought back to my bike trip from vermont to montreal this summer and all the amazing bike paths up there... I was just in awe of how beautiful it was and how safe i felt riding around.. thanks for all the photos and im glad you had such a good time

    1. I'm happy you discovered Montreal as a wonderful cycling city!


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