A summer Brompton ride around Montreal

It is no secret that Montreal is my favourite city.  It’s always a joy to return in the summer (January less so).  But summer in Montreal is special.  And biking in Montreal makes you realize that Ottawa’s gold medal status seems a lot less shiny outside the Ontario provincial limits.

After arriving at the central bus station, I rented a locker for my backpacks and lightened my load for some city riding.

Montreal (at least in the core) has a pretty decent minimum grid of bike lanes.  You can actually travel from major destinations on mostly separate or traffic calmed streets.  So, with a short 7-hour stop-over, all I had to do was unfold the Brompton and make my way up the hill to the Mile End area to a few favourite shops.

The recently re-lanscaped lanes on Rachel provide a true east-west bikeway.  It’s easy to navigate the grid of streets thanks to the lanes and on-pavement bicycle markings.

Stop number one: Tres Normale (T-shirts for normal people) at 207 Avenue Fairmount Ouest to get a few new tees for the boys back home.


Stop #2: Drawn and Quarterly at 211 Bernard Ouest


I love picking up cool French comics for the kid.  On this trip, I bought: Le voleur de sandwiches, Comment élever un écureuil de compagnie, and Mile End (by Michel Hellman) for me.


Bernard is a very bikey street.  And Montreal believes more in bike lanes than bike parking, so you may need to look around for a free post.


With a bit of time to kill before “beer o’clock”, I took the Brompton for a slow walk.


And saw these traffic calming planters on rue Hutchison that were on top of speed bumps. Fantastic.


Walking is hard work and Pagaille! on the corner of Saint-Urbain and Villeneuve was just the right ice cream stop at just the right time.


I regret not buying a bag of their ‘trouble on the high seas’ themed coffee beans.  Darn.


What stop am I on?  I’ve lost count.  Anyway, the time approached beer o’clock and Reservoir on Duluth was a great stop for a local beer.


But beers can’t last forever and I knew I needed to get to the bus station to make it home for the kid’s bedtime.  Buying a bus ticket to Ottawa was a bit of a fiasco with Greyhound charging me the full bike fee ($30) to transport my Brompton.  With a bit of extra time, I would have taken the time to scoff at that price and bike to the train station.  I wonder if these guys ever made it on the bus.  Boxing bikes is hard.


Of course, leaving at 6pm from Montreal on the bus was a dumb idea for more than just the bike fee.  Traffic was brutal.  Traffic at the airport stop was brutal.  We got to Ottawa very late.


Over beers plans were hatched for a return visit the following week to get a little more Montreal quality time.

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