Sojourners by Bike ~ Day 4

19 Sep

~The daily account of a 6 day Bike Tour from Burlington, Vermont to Quebec City, Canada~

Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu to Sorel-Tracy – 61 miles

Today, we leave Auberge Harris and Madame Boutin  behind. Madame came out to see us off and to give us a map of cycling in the area, and a map case which attaches to the handlebar of the bike. A nice souvenir and very thoughtful of her.  She is an icon in bicycling advocacy here, I wish we had someone like her in my area.

Madame Boutin, Auberge Harris

Getting out of town was easier than getting in yesterday. The traffic was light and the temperatures cool. I should mention that we rode in and out on marked bike paths which are part of the street – i.e., a complete street. Complete Streets is a program in the U.S. aimed at getting our roads to work for everyone – young and old, cyclists, pedestrians, the disabled and drivers. What I realized as we rode from town to town this week, is that Quebec is one big example of the complete street philosophy.

This is about the time I started noticing for sale signs on homes and thinking as we rode by cute and quaint house after house, I could live here. Turns out Mark was doing the same thing.

Still going for that LA look with the socks. (Sojourn photo)

We made our way along the bike path that follows the Chambly Canal just as we did yesterday afternoon.  It was even more picturesque today since the sun wasn’t beating down and the wind wasn’t blowing.

The bike path also takes you past several locks on the way to Fort Chambly.

Lock along Chambly Canal (Google Earth-wimzip)

We arrived at Fort Chambly at 31 miles.  It had been an easy ride thus far – we even had a nice tailwind.  Much deserved after yesterday!  We parked our bikes and took a quick look inside the Fort.  Fort Chambly was built in 1711 to serve as protection against British invasion.

Fort Chambly (

We posed for a group picture (taken multiple times – with every one’s cameras) and individual/couple pictures.  What a photogenic group!

Still smiling and having fun!
Joshua & Mark – our fearless leaders!
Richelieu River at Fort Chambly

We refilled our water bottles, stocked up on goodies, then headed to a local bike shop for socks for me.  I still had the sun rash despite all the sunscreen I was using.  Jeff in our group had loaned me a pair of his socks which were longer than mine and came up high enough to cover the rash around my lower legs – thanks Jeff.

Still smiling.. still standing.

I picked up a pair of socks and more sunscreen and we were off.  The bike shop didn’t sell sunscreen but the guy that worked there gave me lots of sample sized tubes – what a nice guy – cool bikes too.  I love bike shops – my favorite kind of shopping.  No time for that now, there were miles to cover.

We may look lost, but we’re not. Really.

Our ride took us along the river and through small villages and towns, it was a pretty ride.  We stopped for a Sojourn picnic lunch at Saint-Marc-sur-Richelieu.

Lunch stop along the Richelieu River

I was slowly learning not to eat so much at lunch because it made the afternoon ride too hard.  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.

The Chateau Saint Antoine
Susan & Bruce
Lisa & Jerry

Just before we got into Sorel, we stopped for ice cream.  Nothing like ice cream, raspberry sorbet for me, to cool you off.  It was delicious – and an unexpected treat from our tour leader Joshua.  Thanks Joshua!  We would use this tomorrow to try and get something similar out of Mark – but alas, to no avail.

It was so nice to ride from town to town in Quebec.  The majority of time we were on good roads, often on marked paths, but whether we were on a path or on the road the drivers accommodated us.  No horns, no yelling, only waves.  Even in the larger towns or cities like Sorel it didn’t feel dangerous to ride.  It was busy and there was a lot of traffic, but drivers accommodated cyclists.  There are lots of reasons it would be nice to live in Canada, the ease and civility toward cyclists is just another.

For the day, I rode 61 miles, avg. speed of 15.1 (Hello tailwind!).  Another fun day on the bike!

Read on:  Sojourners by Bike ~ Day 5

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One Response to “Sojourners by Bike ~ Day 4”

  1. Tri Girl September 20, 2010 at 12:24 am #

    I’m loving reading your daily recap of your tour. It not only looks incredibly beautiful, it sounds like it was incredibly FUN! I can’t wait for the upcoming days.

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