Good By USA, Hello Canada

After a great ride on Sunday, I decided to spend an extra day at my parents house, so I didn’t leave for Montreal until Tuesday morning. Not a problem, it’s only 85 miles from there to Montreal where I catch the train to Nova Scotia. The ride north was perfect, not to hot and a light tail wind. I followed dirt roads and low traffic paved roads, through the Missisquoi National Wildlife Refuge, to New York where I crossed into Quebec. Unlike entering the States, all I had to do was show my drivers license and tell them where I’m going and how long I intend to stay. No passport needed, no bags searched and no feeling like a criminal.

After crossing the border I followed the Route Verte, Quebec’s amazing collection of low traffic roads and cycling paths, north through small towns and farmland. Route Verte 2 took me to Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu where I then joined Route Verte 1, which took me to Montreal.

Route Verte 1
Route Verte 1

I’ve traveled this route a few times before, but I am still amazed at the effort the province of Quebec puts into there cycling infrastructure.

Chambly Canal Locks
Chambly Canal Locks

My traveling style is definitely low cost, so the one thing I never do is pay to camp. Fortunately, I have found most Canadian’s attitude towards stealth camping to be supportive and I always “leave no trace”, so no harm is done and I’ve never been hassled.

Lots of things prohibited, but camping isn’t one of them
Lots of things prohibited, but camping isn’t one of them

Many sections of the Route Verte allow camping, or at least don’t prohibit it, so with a little work, some great free campsites can be found. I spent my first night in Quebec camped about 30km from Montreal in a patch of woods along the Chambly Canal.

 No fires allowed, but nothing mentioned about camping
No fires allowed, but nothing mentioned about camping

My plan was to get to Montreal early, check my bike and bags at the VIA Rail station, and enjoy some unencumbered time in the city. The closer you get to the city the more cycle paths there are, so it can get a bit confusing at times, but most people are more than willing to tell you the way they think you should go.

 Yes, this was built just for bicycles and yes, it’s a whole lot of fun spiraling down
Yes, this was built just for bicycles and yes, it’s a whole lot of fun spiraling down

Bicycle travel is a huge part of the Quebec culture and many Québécois regularly commute to work by bicycle.

 No, this is not a college campus, it’s one of the many bicycle parking areas around the Canadian Public Broadcasting building
No, this is not a college campus, it’s one of the many bicycle parking areas around the Canadian Public Broadcasting building

I stopped for some lunch in Old Quebec, a beautiful part of the city that still retains much of it’s old time feel.

 Foot traffic only on this street
Foot traffic only on this street

I was also told by someone I met that the Jazz Festival was currently going on, but before I went to enjoy the music, I went to the train station to check my bike and bags. The process couldn’t have been easier. It cost around an additional $30 to bring my bike and gear on the train, but no boxing or disassembly was required.

 Train station yard sale
Train station yard sale

After checking in my bike and gear it was off to enjoy the music.

Montreal Jazz Festival
Montreal Jazz Festival

6:00pm came to soon and it was time to board the train. Next stop, after a 20 hour train ride, Truro, Nova Scotia.

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