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  1. #1
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    National Geographic Rates Route Verte "Top Bicycle Route"

    National Geographic, in its latest edition of Journeys of a Lifetime has rated Quebec's Route Verte as the Top Bicycle Route in the world.

    I am a frequent rider on the Route Verte and I have travelled around the USA and Europe and can only agree with National Geographic's selection. My girlfriend and I have met many cycling visitors to the Province and everyone has mentioned to us how impressed they are with how cyclists are treated here and how many people they meet on their bikes.

    I am a particular fan of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy program in the USA and am always pleased to see how many decommissioned railways were integrated into the Route Verte. Our favourite stretches of route include
    - Route 1 between Richmond and Quebec City which uses the old Grand Trunk railway right-of-way;
    - Route 6 between Quebec City and Riviere-a-Pierre which follows the old CN rail right-of-way and what was the one of the first steel-on-wood railways in Canada;
    - Route 2 between St-Jerome and Mont-Laurier, commonly referred to the the "P'tit Train du Nord" (a.k.a. "Little Train of the North");
    - Route 5 which follows in great part the old "Chemin du Roy", which was the first road built in Canada in the 18th Century to allow the transfer of the Royal Mail between Quebec City and Montreal;
    - Route 6 between Riviere-du-Loup and the border of New Brunswick (towards Edmunstion), especially the segment between Cabano and Degelis along Lake Temiscouata, another converted railroad right-of-way.

    Cheers,
    Ronald (Ron) Houde
    Living Life at 16km/hr, the ultimate Canada bike vacation
    Seeing Less, Seeing Better, Living Happier
    Cycling Vacation the Bike & Boat Way

  2. #2
    Forever CLYDE ! cyberpep's Avatar
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    Hi RHoude, I have riden all of the Waterfront Trail in Ontario to the Quebec border but never realized that Route Verte was so an extensive a trail system. Thanks for posting this info, maybe I can fit it into some future touring route plans.
    2003 Giant Cypress R
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  3. #3
    Senior Member skiracing's Avatar
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    I've never ridden on "bike trails" such as these. I'm just wondering how common are road bikes on them? And can you easily go at the same speed as you would be on the road or are they more designed for slower and more relaxing pace?
    Work hard, play harder.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiracing View Post
    I've never ridden on "bike trails" such as these. I'm just wondering how common are road bikes on them? And can you easily go at the same speed as you would be on the road or are they more designed for slower and more relaxing pace?
    Many segments of the Route Verte are on roads, generally in the form of a paved shoulder. The Route 5 trail that follows the "Chemin du Roy" is almost entirely on paved road shoulders or secondary backroads. For those, road bikes will do just fine and there is no speed limit as such.

    When the segment is on a dedicated paved bike path, the speed limit is normally 20 km/h. Road cyclists will normally avoid those and follow roads (that are often not very far away) instead. The parts of the Route Verte that are covered with stone dust are more for hybrid bikes and MTB. I would be nervous to ride on stone dust trails with a tire narrower than 28mm.

    The Route Verte interconnects a very large network of regional and local bike trails which keeps expanding every year. As you travel through the various regions, you can find in the local Tourist Information kiosk bike maps that will show you what is available (both bike trails and road circuits) and how it interconnects with the Route Verte.

    Best,
    Ronald (Ron) Houde
    Living Life at 16km/hr, the ultimate Canada bike vacation
    Seeing Less, Seeing Better, Living Happier
    Cycling Vacation the Bike & Boat Way

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyberpep View Post
    Hi RHoude, I have riden all of the Waterfront Trail in Ontario to the Quebec border but never realized that Route Verte was so an extensive a trail system. Thanks for posting this info, maybe I can fit it into some future touring route plans.
    If you ride east a bit over 1km to Riviere-Baudette from the end of the Waterfront Trail, you will connect into the Route Verte Route 5. There are plans to complete Route 5 all the way to the Ontario border and interconnect the Route Verte and the Waterfront Trail. It cannot happen a day too soon if you ask me.

    Best,
    Ronald (Ron) Houde
    Living Life at 16km/hr, the ultimate Canada bike vacation
    Seeing Less, Seeing Better, Living Happier
    Cycling Vacation the Bike & Boat Way

  6. #6
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    Route Verte, road bike and tires

    Quote Originally Posted by skiracing View Post
    I've never ridden on "bike trails" such as these. I'm just wondering how common are road bikes on them? And can you easily go at the same speed as you would be on the road or are they more designed for slower and more relaxing pace?
    It depends on which segment you're travelling. Most of the rails to trails conversions I've ridden on on the Route Verte consisted of very fine packed gravel, which accommodate just any tire. However, There are the occasional sections that are looser (newer sections I'm guesting) which can be, with skinny tires, frustrating. If you're planning a long trip, I'd advise not using anything under 700x28 tires.

    As for road bikes, I've seen many, but as I mentionned earlier, some sections of the Route Verte are't too friendly for the skinnier tires.

    I've done two 2-day trips on the Route Verte: Montréal-Sherbrooke and Montréal-Mont-Laurier. In urban areas, the tracks are often paved, but between the cities, you can get just about anything, including cement, packed dirt, packed gravel, somewhat loose gravel, new asphalt, older asphalt, etc.

    So, don't let that stop you from going with your road bike, but wear the proper tires. From my perception, the ideal bike for the Route Verte would be a touring bike with 28mm tires. But then again, I've only ridden part of the network.

    Both trips were fantastic, with many facilities - especially the "Petit train du Nord" segment, which is absolutely delightful.

  7. #7
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    You guys got any recommendations for maps and/or accommodation lists? I'm aiming at a week there in the fall, and also welcome any suggestions on recommended routes or where to stay -- the idea is credit card touring, staying in hotels/motels/gites rather than camping. Ideal would be about 50 miles (80km) a day.
    Zero gallons to the mile

  8. #8
    Gordon P
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    Coincidently I just came back from a walk along the Hull section of the #1 route and it is still covered in snow. In regards to guides there is a new guide available and the Route Verte website has information on loggings.

    I am planning a few short tours this year and may consider a long tour in autumn.

    Quebec will be celebrating its 400th anniversary this year so come and celebrate!


    http://www.routeverte.com/ang/facts....ge=publication

    http://www.hihostels.ca/en/index.aspx?sortcode=2.3.8.10

    http://www.bonjourquebec.com/qc-en/quebec_400ieme0.html

    http://monquebec2008.sympatico.msn.c...08/?lang=en-ca

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
    You guys got any recommendations for maps and/or accommodation lists? I'm aiming at a week there in the fall, and also welcome any suggestions on recommended routes or where to stay -- the idea is credit card touring, staying in hotels/motels/gites rather than camping. Ideal would be about 50 miles (80km) a day.
    Maps and Guides wise, as Gordon states, the guide published by Velo-Quebec is the ultimate tool for navigating the Route Verte. It identifies all the hospitality services that have achieved the "Welcome Cyclist" accreditation.

    Each administrative region also publishes cycling maps that include local and regional networks. a good example are the maps published for the South Shore (a.k.a. Montérégie) region. Downloadable maps are available (for free), either cycling path networks or road circuits.

    What kind of cycling are you looking to do (flat, hilly, relaxed, sporty, urban, country, etc.). We probably could start narrowing down possibilities from there.

    If you are interested in a Montreal/Quebec itinerary with around 50 miles of cycling a day, check out http://www.latitude45n.com/en/circuit-roy.asp

    Cheers,
    Ron
    Ronald (Ron) Houde
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    Seeing Less, Seeing Better, Living Happier
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  10. #10
    Senior Member ottawa_adam's Avatar
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    This gives me something to think about. I want to do a 4-5 day tour this summer with a buddy who is getting a new bike this season. I'm starting to think Quebec City to Ottawa would be a nice tour.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by ottawa_adam View Post
    This gives me something to think about. I want to do a 4-5 day tour this summer with a buddy who is getting a new bike this season. I'm starting to think Quebec City to Ottawa would be a nice tour.
    Yup! That could be interesting. Taking the Route Verte from Quebec City to Repentigny with stops in Portneuf, Trois-Rivières, Lanoraie, Ste-Eustache/Oka and Montebello. You may not want to bike onto the Montreal and Laval islands and stick to the North Shore via road networks instead to avoid the traffic and what ends up being quite a detour if you take the Route Verte to go from Repentigny to St-Eustache.

    You get a few good climbs (short ones however) on day 1 and its pretty much level riding West of Neuville. There is a stretch of route 148 in the Ottawa region which has not been made "bike friendly" yet (i.e. no paved shoulder to ride on so you get to tango with traffic).

    Cheers,
    Ron
    Ronald (Ron) Houde
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  12. #12
    Senior Member ottawa_adam's Avatar
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    Awesome, thanks for the tips Ron. I'll definitely keep them in mind if I do program this trip.

  13. #13
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    i




    I ride the section of the route vert from Labelle to Mont Laurier quite often{ labelle is just 15 k north of Mont-Tremblant]. From Labelle the path is paved: this part of the route vert is called le Petit Traine du Nord. it is a popular cycling path from St.Jerome to Mont Laurier. a beautiful laurentian cycling experience. The path is not paved from st.jerome to Labelle.

    We must give the Quebec government kuddos for funding this cycling venture.
    If you plan to come to Tremblant during the summer,don´t forget your bikes!

  14. #14
    Conquer Cancer rider Boudicca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RHoude View Post
    Maps and Guides wise, as Gordon states, the guide published by Velo-Quebec is the ultimate tool for navigating the Route Verte. It identifies all the hospitality services that have achieved the "Welcome Cyclist" accreditation.

    Each administrative region also publishes cycling maps that include local and regional networks. a good example are the maps published for the South Shore (a.k.a. Montérégie) region. Downloadable maps are available (for free), either cycling path networks or road circuits.

    What kind of cycling are you looking to do (flat, hilly, relaxed, sporty, urban, country, etc.). We probably could start narrowing down possibilities from there.

    If you are interested in a Montreal/Quebec itinerary with around 50 miles of cycling a day, check out http://www.latitude45n.com/en/circuit-roy.asp

    Cheers,
    Ron
    In an ideal world we're looking for a circular tour rather than an end-to-end one, just because it makes the logistics so much easier. As for cycling, I won't search out the tallest hill in each region just to say I've done it, but am happy to do them if they are there. Key thing is nice trails, relatively empty roads and good scenery. The aim is 50 miles/80km or so a day, with motels or hotels at the end of them. I have a touring bike, friend has a hybrid, so we need roads or paved/packed gravel trails rather than mountain bike stuff. And some bits without shoulder are fine -- we're both used to traffic, and my Quebec experience a few years ago was pretty good as far as cars are concerned.
    Zero gallons to the mile

  15. #15
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    If you are looking for a circular route, check out the Veloroute des Bluets, which is a 256 km ride around Lac Saint Jean in the Saguenay region. (Not sure what part of the Route Verte this is.) We have done this twice, once pulling a B.O.B. a camping gear with our recumbent tandem, and 2 years later on the same bike but doing B&B's. I can not speak highly enough of this route. We've done it in 4 days, and many do it in 3, but there's a lot to see. There is no English spoken in this region of Quebec, so the immersion in the French language simply adds to the total experience. I have many more details and contacts for this ride so send me an email if you'd like more info. We would do this ride again in a heartbeat!

    Mike

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
    In an ideal world we're looking for a circular tour rather than an end-to-end one, just because it makes the logistics so much easier. As for cycling, I won't search out the tallest hill in each region just to say I've done it, but am happy to do them if they are there. Key thing is nice trails, relatively empty roads and good scenery. The aim is 50 miles/80km or so a day, with motels or hotels at the end of them. I have a touring bike, friend has a hybrid, so we need roads or paved/packed gravel trails rather than mountain bike stuff. And some bits without shoulder are fine -- we're both used to traffic, and my Quebec experience a few years ago was pretty good as far as cars are concerned.
    A very nice loop to do would be:
    - Day 1: Quebec/Portneuf (Route 5);
    - Day 2: Portneuf/Trois-Rivières (Route 5);
    - Day 3: shuttle across the St-Lawrence to Bécancour then to Drummondville (Route 4);
    - Day 4: Drummondville to Richmond (propose here to cut across via a road circuit or add another day if the Route Verte is taken, via Sherbrooke);
    - Day 5: Richmond to Victoriaville (Route 1);
    - Day 6: Victoriaville to Quebec, longest day, you may want to push a bit beyond Victoriaville to shorten it (Route 1).

    Another one would start from Montreal:
    - Day 1: Montréal to Lanoraie (Route 5);
    - Day 2: Lanoraie to Trois-Rivières (Route 5);
    - Day 3: shuttle across to Bécancour then to Drummondville (Route 4);
    - Day 4: Drummondville to Granby (Route 4);
    - Day 5: Granby to St-Jean-sur-Richelieu (Route 1);
    - Day 6: St-Jean-sur-Richelieu to Montreal (Route 1).

    Some like to do Montréal to Trois-Rivières by following the South Shore to Sorel, then taking the ferry to join the Route Verte in Ste-Ignace-de-Loyola.

    I also second the proposal to do the Veloroute des Bleuets.

    Cheers,
    Ron
    Last edited by RHoude; 04-13-08 at 07:06 PM.
    Ronald (Ron) Houde
    Living Life at 16km/hr, the ultimate Canada bike vacation
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    Cycling Vacation the Bike & Boat Way

  17. #17
    Year-round cyclist
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    I would say that the Route verte is a nice initiative, but a good tour in Québec should also consider the main and secondary highways. In the St. Lawrence valley, there are many local routes, and even many main highways (100 series) have mostly local traffic because the neighbouring expressway drains most traffic.

    For instance, a loop from Montréal could be done this way:

    - Montréal to Québec City via highway 138/bike route 5
    or via highway 343 to Joliette, then Charette, Saint-Paulin, Shawinigan, Saint-Tite, Sainte-Thècle, Normandin, Rivière-à-Pierre (on local roads), Québec (via bike trail)

    - visit of Québec

    - Québec to Lévis
    - Lévis to Sorel via highway 132 (little traffic, except between Nicolet and Sorel); lots of nice sceneries and old houses to see
    - Either Sorel to Montréal on highway 132 (direct but less interesting)
    - Sorel to Chambly to Saint-Jean via local roads along the Richelieu river, then back to Chambly via the canal trail (children love that when the locks are in use)
    - Chambly to Montréal via highway 112 (which has a couple of local options) or the bike trail


    I have done the trail between Lévis and Richmond. On that occasion, it was a nice way to shelter myself from the furious headwind of the day, but otherwise, I would have seen farms on highway 116 and people on highway 132, and some openings would have allowed me to see some scenery.
    Michel Gagnon
    Montréal (Québec, Canada)

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