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.
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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.

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Stop #2: Drawn and Quarterly at 211 Bernard Ouest

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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.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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