Routes we rode:
- Burlington to Alburgh
- Alburgh to Montreal
- Montreal to Trois-Rivieres
- Trois-Rivieres to Portneuf
- Portneuf to Quebec City
Spots we loved:
- Best Western Windjammer
- Earl’s Bike Shop
- Notre Dame Basilica
- Montreal Tam-tams
- Hotel Governeur and their in-room massages!
- Musée québécois de culture populaire
- Laferté Bicycles
- Ghost Tours of Quebec
- Montmorency Falls
- Via Rail
Things we learned:
- Even when at the airport with more than enough time, it’s possible to miss your flight.
- Purchasing expensive, untested cycling technology right before a tour will surely cause frustration.
- You will always bike more than you anticipated for that day.
- Terror + Ice Cream can be adequate fuel for about 90 miles
- Laundry stops are critical.
- Have a Plan B. And a Plan C.
- Celine Dion is like, seriously popular in Quebec.
Quotes we quoth:
- “Run Laura! Run like the wind!”
- “On today’s episode of Dawn and Laura bite off more than they can chew…”
- [Gazing upon fields of corn as far as the eye can see]: “This is really beautiful. But it’s also going to be really terrifying after dark.”
- “If we get murdered in our sleep tonight, I’m sorry, it’s all my fault.”
- “I don’t understand it. Forty-eight hours of air drying our wash and the only difference is that now they smell bad again.”
At some point towards the end of winter, some cycling friends and I were catching up at a happy hour, anticipating the start of the season in a few weeks. Chatting naturally turned towards our cycling bucket lists for the year, and then towards our bucket lists for “someday”. We were discussing European wine country tours when someone mentioned that it would be cool to cross a border on a bike. I flippantly said: “You don’t have to go to Europe to cross an international border,” and lo, the idea of a US-Canada bike route took hold in my mind. Me and my ideas.
I started researching and settled on cycling on La Route Verte through the province of Quebec. This time, I recruited Laura, another avid cyclist. Laura and I didn’t know each other very well, but we always had barrels of laughs on the various supported centuries and metrics that we’d done together, so I figured now was as good a time as any to figure out if we could manage to not kill each other over the course of 11 days and two countries.
This tour brought a lot of firsts in addition to the border crossing: first bike shipment; first multi-day, unsupported, bikes-only routes; first time in a french-speaking country. There was much to learn, and not enough time to train, especially after I suffered a minor bike wreck a month before the trip that put me out of commission until the day we left Vermont.
The trip also proved to be logistically complicated, with several of our established plans needing adjustment at the last minute due to missed flights, mechanical difficulties, weather, and even Amtrak suspending their baggage service on our return route; But Laura and I giggled our way through, spinning our wheels until we finished — almost to our own disbelief — the 275 mile route. Definitely an adventure!