Some days, the crazy desire to start a bike adventure takes over and haunts me for hours. Unfortunately, I do not always have the money to travel far and rarely enough vacation time to undertake a multi-week bike tour.
Article by Marie-Pierre Savard
Luckily, Quebec is vast and I will never run out of places to discover by bike. While searching for a route to explore, I discovered Le Saint-Laurent à vélo, a company that specializes in cycling trips (organized, semi-organized or autonomous, with luggage transport or not!) along the St. Lawrence river at large, between Montreal and Quebec City.
To begin in Montreal and to finish in Quebec City by following the north shore of the St. Lawrence river, and come back by the south shore, seemed a simple adventure adventure to undertake. So, I hopped on my bike to discover my St. Lawrence a little bit!
Result : 592 kilometers in 6 days, 0 flat, 4 hours of rain and 413 photos shoted!
Here is my detailed route and my week’s “best of”.
Day 1 : Montreal – Louiseville, 107 kilometers
Although the road, from Montreal to L’Assomption, is fitted for cyclists (Route Verte No. 5), it is only from Saint-Sulpice, 40 kilometers out of Montreal, that I actually started to feel like I was elsewhere. The Chemin du Roy until Berthierville is splendid. Architecture, history and the river are everywhere along this route, which is also ideal for beginners.
Day 2 : Louiseville – Deschambault, 101 kilometers
I spent the first night in Louiseville, at B&B Le 100 Saint-Laurent run by a couple of inspiring entrepreneurs, Sonia and Réjean. In the morning, they served me a delicious and 100 % organic breakfast that allowed me to pedal with energy to Lake Saint-Pierre and go for a swim. This was an easy bike day, by following the Route Verte and/or the Chemin du Roy.
Once arrived at the destination, La Maison Albertine in Deschambault, I simply enjoyed the sunset in this B&B that is perfect for groups of travelers!
Day 3 : Deschambault – Québec, 75 kilometers
First stop, for breakfast, at Le Soleil Levain, in Deschambault. Croissant with ham, simply delicious, even more so when enjoyed on the riverfront! And there is an access to the shore behind the church, very close to the bakery.
Further, around Neuville, I followed Route Verte no 5 that goes through the village. I felt like I was in 17th-century Europe! I also took the opportunity to stop in at one of the many local fruit and vegetable stands, they are impossible to miss. Neuville is renowned for its corn, but all the vegetables are fresh, tasty and full of vitamins. That’s exactly what I need!
The road that goes to Cap-Rouge is superb despite two enormous slopes (the only ones, during this week, that I did not manage to climb), but this is a very pleasant area, bordered by golden fields and the St. Lawrence river.
Cap-Rouge is the ideal stop for a picnic. I left my bike just after the marina and explored the St. Lawrence’s shore by foot. After, to hightail it to downtown Quebec City, I used the Promenade de Champlain parkway, via the Corridor du littoral! What a fine example of architecture and urbanism perfectly integrated in its environment! It’s one of my favourite places to ride in in the Old Capital.
Day 4 : Québec – Leclercville, 86 kilometers
Since I was staying at L’Autre Jardin Inn, in the Saint-Roch district, the easiest (and prettiest!) route was to hop on the Quebec-Levis ferry to reach the south shore of the river… Except the surroundings of Saint-Nicolas, where there is a lot of traffic, the day goes on quietly on a calm, agricultural and hilly road 138.
Once in Leclercville, I had a big crush for Le Parc de l’île, a campground and a rest area developed by volunteers, located in the heart of the village. For 10 $, I pitched my tent. It’s best to arrive early, because the village has a lot of stories to tell. You must get the detailed map (available at the park restrooms) to fully take advantage of the area.
Day 5 : Leclercville – Sorel, 130 kilometers
A big day during, in which I distanced myself from Route Verte no 3. I had fun getting lost between the Becancour industrial park and the never ending country roads of Centre-du-Québec region! Unfortunately, in a lot of places between Nicolat and Yamaska, there was roadwork, a lot of traffic and very little road shoulders. The day ends well, despite my sore butt… For the last 12 kilometers, I take the lovely La Sauvagine bike path until I reach 12 George, a B&B established in an ancestral home, in the heart of Vieux-Sorel.
Day 6 : Sorel-Montréal, 82 kilometers.
In the morning, it is a joy to ride along the 132 towards Verchères, the road is easy and, obviously, very picturesque.
On the other hand, I feared the rest of the day. To cross Varennes, Boucherville and Longueuil did not seem exotic to me… So, I was quite surprised to see how those municipalities managed to create an excellent network of bike paths while highlighting the beauty of river. From Montréal, those three cities are nice 1-day destinations and there is a ton of places where to stop and rest. A loop is also possible, in the summer, thanks to a river shuttle (reserved for cyclists) linking the north shore of the St. Lawrence river.
Therefore, this trip was a well-invested week! Thanks to my new friends at Le Saint-Laurent à vélo, I achieved my journey while having all the information about the route and what to see, do and visit. When choosing a place to go on vacation, we often overlook places nearby home. But for me, it was full of discoveries! And I fell under the charm of those rural landscapes on the edge of St. Lawrence river. As a bonus, the roads are beautiful, safe and well appointed for cyclists!
Article by Marie-Pierre Savard Photographer and bike enthusiast!
Octobre 12, 2015