Kelly’s write up of cycling in Quebec during our cross Canada cycle trip in September 2016. Click here to read Michael’s write up about exploring Quebec by bicycle.
We were excited to finally be cycling in Quebec! As soon as we crossed into Quebec the roads seemed more European. The buildings seemed more historic and there were bakeries and cafes everywhere. It was great! What did surprise me was that even though everywhere else in Canada the signs were in both English and French. In Quebec everything was only in French (even the signs in the tourist information booth). Time to brush up on my French!
Montreal – our mini holiday!
Overall it was pleasant cycling in Quebec along La Route Verte (Quebec’s designated cycle network) and into Quebec’s largest city, Montreal. We were super excited to be in Montreal! Montreal was our little “holiday” from the cycle trip, where we got to spend 4 nights in an Airbnb in downtown Montreal. The plan was to explore the city, eat lots of food and do touristy stuff.
My brother was also flying into Montreal for the 4 nights we were there. His work (Global Poverty Project) was organising a concert on the weekend, and we got VIP tickets. Woohoo! Cyclist bum turn to VIP! The only problem we had was that we didn’t pack any clothes worthy enough for an event where we would be brushing shoulders with Justin Trudeau, Bill Gates and Usher. I doubt we fitted in with the “posh and trendy crowd,” but hey, we still had fun. And, we were able to shower before the event, so at least we didn’t smell.
We even got to attend the after party at some trendy at gallery. If only we didn’t have to cycle in the morning, then we could have taken more advantage of the free booze. Unfortunately, we had already delayed our cycle trip to coincide with the event and seeing my brother. So we had to get back on the bikes as soon as possible to make sure we made it across Canada before winter. I barely got the chance to see my brother (if you know him, you’ll also know he’s married to his job). Actually if he didn’t decide to crash at our Airbnb I doubt I would have seen him at all. At least I got to see he was still alive.
Back to “work!”
It was hard getting back on the bikes after have a few days off. Especially after having a late night with lots of drinking. Luckily the sun was out, and we had a cycle path to follow for some of the way. We had decided to take the most direct route to Quebec City, which meant a 3 day cycle along the river (not that we seen much of the river with all the houses and their private beaches). It was still a pleasant and easy cycle, and the roads were much nicer than in Ontario.
Cycling in Quebec City
Cycling into Quebec City was a little confusion. We missed the cycle path signs a few times, but we got there eventually. On the cycle into the city we met several friendly locals. The city vibe was definitely more friendly and welcoming than Montreal.
Quebec City is one of my favourite cities in Canada. It is cycle friendly, has awesome views of the river, plenty of good bakeries and cafes with good coffee, markets and of course the beautiful, old city. Though a bit touristy, I still enjoyed sipping on an espresso and watching the world go by.
We stayed with a girl called, Maude. A warmshowers’ host that had previously cycled through Colombia and Ecuador. So I was keen to hear her stories. It also turned out that she had studied the same thing as me and was working as an urban landscaper. I guess cycle touring tends to attract the same type of person.
After spending a few days exploring the city and feeling like normal human beings, we were ready to hit the road again.
Cycling in Quebec on La Route Verte
We decided to take the ferry across the Saint Lawrence River to avoid the nasty looking bridge, save 20km, and just because I like ferries. Once across the river, we immediately we got on La Route Verte #1. We followed this route along the river for the rest of the day. It was a stunning cycle, with gorgeous views of the river.
Once we arrived at Rivere-du-Loup, we cut inland towards New Brunswick. The temperature had already dropped by 10 degrees in the past couple of days, so we thought we had better take a more direct route to the Bay of Fundy. We didn’t want to risk getting caught in frost and even snow.
We hopped onto another La Route Verte cycle path. This time the path was a compacted gravel cycle path, which had picnic sites, toilets and even primitive campsites along the way. I had heard mixed things about this cycle path, but after spending two days cycling along it, we thought it was awesome! The trees had just started to change to the Autumn colours. Everything was looking particularly colourful and warm (even though it felt far from being warm).
The route lead us into the next province New Brunswick, where we spent the night sleeping at the province border (next to a small airport). Overall, we loved cycling in Quebec! But, New Brunswick was calling, and it was time to move on.
I’m definitely a bit of a nerd at times, and have been keeping track of our cycle stats and route trip notes – hopefully this information will also be helpful to others!