Quebec Bike Tour

My daily account of a 6 day bike tour from Burlington, Vermont to Quebec City, Canada.  We rode 345 miles in 6 days, with the longest day being 85 miles.  Beautiful scenery, very bike friendly and 6 consecutive days of riding – what more could a person ask for.

*Below is a link to each day’s post/pictures, along with an excerpt.  Day 6, 85 miles, took two posts-

“The description said it was mostly flat and on lightly traveled roads.  Beautiful scenery, good roads, small groups and a part of the U.S. and Canada neither of us had ever been – sounded perfect.  The trip was filling up so we had to make a quick decision – we did, we booked it in January, anticipating/hoping that all would be well for a bike tour in late August/early September.  Mark’s appendix was already out so no worries!”

Sojourners by Bike – Day 1:

“Met our fellow sojourners at 10am, got a quick fit on bikes (they had previously obtained measurements and did a good job of guesstimating fit with that info). There are 16 of us, a nice and fun group of people. The tour leaders, Mark and Joshua, plus Susan, president of Sojourn Bike Tours all seem committed to making sure we all have what we need and that we have a good experience.”

Sojourners by Bike – Day 2:

“It was as a quiet a border crossing as you are apt to find anywhere – no one there, but our group.  The border guard asked Mark and I how long we would be in Canada, when we replied 2 weeks, he looked at the small trunk on the bike and asked, “and that’s all you’re bringing for your visit?”  We managed not to laugh since border guards aren’t allowed to have a sense of humor, and pointed to leader Mark and the Sojourn trailer – he looked us over and let us in.  Once we crossed the border it immediately felt different being in Canada – the fact that we got there on our bikes made it even more so.  The area was still rural and agricultural – boatloads of cornfields.”

Sojourners by Bike – Day 3:

“We left the cool and dark of Michel Jodoin’s and walked out into a bright, hot oven.  A few of the group took the van back to the Auberge Harris, a few of us headed back on our bikes.  Betty was not happy.

The hills we climbed to get to the Cidrerie we had to climb again.  Hot, windy and hilly – three words cyclists hate to hear – much less do.  The hilly section ended quickly but the heat and wind continued.  We rode through flat farmland with nothing to block the wind.  Did I mention that the roads were terrible.  Many in the group would later say this was the hardest day.  There were lots of turns, we were either going into the wind or with a crosswind.  Never a tailwind.  If there had been a tailwind we would have flown – but it was not to be.

Sojourners by Bike – Day 4:

“Overall the days got easier the more we rode.  Strangely, I felt better after day 4 for instance, then I did after days 1 and 2.  I could tell from the information from the Garmin Edge that I wasn’t working too hard – at least cardiovascular wise – my legs and butt had a different opinion.

Today was another day of riding through quaint towns and beautiful scenery – bucolic you might say.  Although we didn’t stop often to take pictures, I couldn’t pass this one by.”

Sojourners by Bike – Day 5:

“We passed the candy factory, Les Bonbon, considered stopping, but didn’t.  Although we had taken our time and enjoyed the sights along the way, at some point most rides you get to the stage where you just want to get to where you are going so you can stop and get off the bike.  The fact that I passed a candy factory and didn’t stop, is testament that I was at that point.

We got into Trois-Rivières and followed the Route Verte 5 signs on the sidewalk/bikepath.”

Sojourners by Bike – Day 6/Part I:

“Before going very far it quickly became obvious that we now had a head to cross wind.  Oh boy – now we didn’t just have 85 miles to ride but we were going to ride it against the wind too!

As we rode on, the stronger the wind got – plus it was more of a straight headwind.  It also seemed like we were gradually climbing.  I rode in front and put my head down and pedaled.  I was feeling not so good and as we rode along heading to Deschambault for lunch I was coming to the conclusion that I probably wasn’t going to ride the full 85.  Even though it wasn’t the best of conditions for riding a bike – sailing, maybe – it was still nice to be out there riding.  It was our last day, and it was still fun – hell, we were in Quebec riding bikes!  Hard yes, but fun, definitely.”

Sojourners by Bike – Day 6/Part II:

What was tricky about this descent was:  1) it was steep, 2) you had to stop at the bottom because there was a traffic light and it probably would be red (Murphy’s Law impacts cyclists too), 3) there were cars coming in from side streets, 4) it was a twisty/winding descent, 5) did I mention it was very steep and you had to STOP or you would end up crashing into a car waiting at the light or end up in the middle of the road.

I think I was the most nervous about the descent, in part, because I don’t like to crash (and have), hate getting hit by car (and have) and also because I hated the brakes on my bike.  I had to squeeze the brakes so hard to come to a stop my forearms would have looked like Popeye’s if there had been many descents like this one.  I haven’t always been so skittish about descending, in my earlier days of riding I would hit 45mph on my 23c tires.  That was before thousands of dollars of dental work though.”

Sojourners by Bike – Au Revoir:

“We biked, ate, slept, packed – and repeated – for six days – Sunday, August 29, 2010 – Friday, September 3, 2010.

Six glorious days of riding – 345 miles – ending with an epic ride into Quebec City of 85 miles (6.5 hours on the bike) fighting head and cross winds, walking up the final (10% +) two *hills* we (4 of us, plus our leader) rode in along the bike path to our hotel.”

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For the Love of Bikes Blog by Susan Lash (2009 - 2014) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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