You could say I`m a bit of a frustrated tourist. But besides having lived in Montreal for about 40 years, I`ve also put in about 200,000km on the road and visited just about every national park in North America. And the last 6 years I spent a total of about 3 years total exploring parts of Peru and Colombia.
And basicly I find the same story everywhere - whatever restaurants get advertised the most are the ones catering to tourists with no price limits. In fact locals seldom eat there.
So here in Montreal we have a similar situation with the bicycle paths extensively mapped, but no references for some of the really important things like: Where are all the Ben&Jerry ice cream shops? Is there a super take out restaurant close to a nice park so I can take the girlfriend out for a picnic as well as a bike ride? Who has the best desserts and are they bike friendly? ie is there a place to lock up a bike?
In a city that went out and bought 3,000 Bixi bikes and opened 400 rental areas, you`d think this is really the kind of info that might actually get people more interested in getting on a bike and disappearing for a day but ...... it ain`t there!
So I guess like everything else - I guess that leaves us poor underappreciated rider to fend for ourselves. Personally my biggest reluctance to using a bike for anthing expect recreation is limited by the bicycle theft rate in this city. Some grocery stores have installed bicycle racks, but they`re not common in shopping centers in general and very rare outside restaurants and convenience stores. But there is lots of parking for cars.
As a contrast. shopping centers in Cali colombia have security at all entrances and weither you enter by car or bicycle you get a ticket. When you leave - the lisence number is verified against the ticket and the serial number on the bike is verified againt the ticket. Needless to say - theft rates aren`t the same problem there that they are in Montreal.
But the purpose of this thread is to invite any other riders in the Montreal area to share their favorite stops. Hopefully that will include some great places to eat, pick up an ice cream, or do something else interesting - all while not having to worry about the bike. Yup - you can expect to see a number from me here too!