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P'tit train du Nord

Old 01-29-15, 09:24 AM
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P'tit train du Nord

Anyone done the P'tit Train du Nord, starting in Montreal and heading up into the Laurentians? Or the other way around for that matter, which means more downhill than uphill. I'm thinking about it for sometime after Labor Day, or perhaps a bit later when the leaves might be just about thinking of starting to turn. Any advice on where to stay (we're looking at hotels, not camping), shuttle services, and on what sort of bike to take?
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Old 01-29-15, 09:37 AM
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Here's some information I ran across. I have been thinking of the same thing but just haven't put together the time or date yet.

Marc

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Old 01-29-15, 10:13 AM
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I road it a number of years ago, took the shuttle up to the northern end, then we biked back over 4 days. We had a great time, very nice inns, great food, The trail was easy and lots to see. You could easily do it in 3 days, but we were just taking our time. There was even a service that would shuttle your luggage from inn to inn if you choose that. We just carried our stuff (way too much), but the trail was easy & short days made carrying extra not a big deal.

Here is my write-up
crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: Exploring Quebec's le P'tit Train du Nord, by Brian Youngberg
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Old 01-29-15, 11:19 AM
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I did it last fall, here is the link to the only shuttle service:
Transportation bicycle linear park Laurentian - Autobus Le Petit Train du Nord

This family run operation does in fact provide service to carry your baggage from accommodation to accommodation if you want, and also are very familiar with the various b+b's etc. In any case, it's easy to get good info for hotels etc.

I biked from the top to the bottom, so Mont Laurier back to St Gerome, where I left my car in the large parking lot where the bus leaves from.
Cost was 70 dollars for the full distance, see site for prices if you go not as far up. The shuttle bus holds about 25 to 30 people
All in all a pretty area, the first 90km are paved but with frost and root heaves here and there you must keep an eye out for, always marked with orange spray paint.
The crushed stone part is perfectly fine on just about any bike, I used 28mm slicks and only if you are very unlucky and get all day torrential rain will it be a problem.
The fellow earlier who wrote the trip report does a good job of describing it.

I can put up some photos another time or answer any specific questions.
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Last edited by djb; 01-29-15 at 11:32 AM.
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Old 01-29-15, 01:09 PM
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We rode it on a tandem from Mt. Laurier back to St. Jerome. Parked the car in the lot, took the bus/van and stayed in small hotels. Did it over 4 very nice days (one of rain) We used 32mm cyclo cross tires, which worked out very nicely. I could have used 28's on a single bike and not had much of anything to worry about. The paved section did have its share of bumps, but the stone dust half was in great shape. It's a remarkably beautiful ride and I highly recommend it. Oh, and DO make reservations for everything ahead of time.
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Old 01-29-15, 01:42 PM
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Depending on your speed fitness and all that stuff, you could do it in two days of90k per day, 3 at 70k or whatever. The 50k per day is nice for folks who dont ride as much and or allowing you to spend more time stopping and seeing the small towns or even places like the Mont Tremblant resort or whatever--nice if you are from afar.
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Old 01-29-15, 03:23 PM
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We did it from north to south, using the shuttle. We did it over three days, with 28mm tires. We planned to camp, but a storm hit the second day. Luckily there was a B&B right on the trail when the lightening started, and we had no problem getting rooms. If you find the web site, there is a brochure that you can order that lists accommodations around the trail.
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Old 01-29-15, 04:17 PM
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With September here, it can be real hit and miss for the weather, but only can tell close to the date.
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Old 01-29-15, 04:42 PM
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If you want to ride with the leaf watchers you will need to make reservations early b/c the hotels and motels are packed. I've done it a few times camping out with a bivy sack.

A great ride is Ottawa to Maniwaki, Maniwaki to Mt. Laurier, Mt. Laurier to Montreal, Montreal to Ottawa. Close to 600 km with probably 70% on rail to trail.
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Old 01-29-15, 04:54 PM
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Thanks all, and I'll start plotting. This would be a follow-on from last year's adventure on the GAP (a route I highly recommend), so we need to get the schedules for four different people lined up, which is a bit like herding cats.

If any of you have any favorite hotels/bnbs I'll take those recommendations too, either in this chain or by private message if you prefer.
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Old 01-29-15, 07:13 PM
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I see a book "Cycling in Quebec" may be available. I looked on Amazon but it is only available in French.
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Old 01-29-15, 09:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Tandem Tom View Post
I see a book "Cycling in Quebec" may be available. I looked on Amazon but it is only available in French.
All of the info is on the Petit Train du Nord website. Velo Quebec sell an excellent guide in English.
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Old 01-29-15, 10:10 PM
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sorry but no recommendations for hotels etc, I camped one night out at side of trail as I was on my own and didnt mind doing that, but do some searching on the Velo Quebec website, or call them, they mostly likely have some good info. Also, its fairly easy to find the maps online that show diff sections of the trail, and the various pts of interest, where towns are, old train stations etc and it should be pretty straightforward to find lists of accommodations. There probably are a few more trip accounts you can find that would have specifics on bnbs etc and how they are.

Here are a couple of shots just to show you the paved section, and then also a shot at the 100km point with the gravel trail beside it. Rode perfectly fine on it with 28s and the amount of stuff you see on the bike, maybe 25lbs top---I don't think I mentioned but my second day ended up being a horribly rainy day, it just came down in buckets all afternoon and was pretty darn cold, about 6 or 7c---easily the worst days riding I've ever had.....but the next two weekends were nice and fairly warm, and two years ago I did some day rides on it in late sept early oct and it was 20-25c....so go figure?
Oh, have added some shots from the day rides from 2013 when it was unusually warm.
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Old 01-29-15, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jimblairo View Post
A great ride is Ottawa to Maniwaki, Maniwaki to Mt. Laurier, Mt. Laurier to Montreal, Montreal to Ottawa. Close to 600 km with probably 70% on rail to trail.
Jim, that sounds intriguing. Have you done it?
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Old 01-29-15, 10:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Boudicca View Post
If any of you have any favorite hotels/bnbs I'll take those recommendations too, either in this chain or by private message if you prefer.
Auberge le Voyageur in Mont Tremblant Center is a great B&B, which is right on the trail.
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Old 01-30-15, 08:41 AM
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Yes, I did it with a friend on road bikes in 6 days. The Ottawa - Montreal section is mostly on highways but if I did it again, I would drop down south and catch a really good west-east rail to trail. Also, the Gatineau section is hilly and Gatineau is cottage country. Monday to Thursday, very little traffic on road but weekends it is crazy on the roads and best stick to the rail to trail which is gravel. Lots of bears.
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Old 01-30-15, 08:44 AM
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Here is a trip report. I haven't read it .

Ottawa-Montreal-Ottawa via Gatineau River Valley, P'tit Train du Nord, Ottawa River Valley
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Old 01-30-15, 10:38 AM
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Haven't ridden it, but I've added the Petit Train du Nord to my bucket list. Looks stunning.
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Old 01-30-15, 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by jimblairo View Post
Yes, I did it with a friend on road bikes in 6 days. The Ottawa - Montreal section is mostly on highways but if I did it again, I would drop down south and catch a really good west-east rail to trail. Also, the Gatineau section is hilly and Gatineau is cottage country. Monday to Thursday, very little traffic on road but weekends it is crazy on the roads and best stick to the rail to trail which is gravel. Lots of bears.
thanks. Yup, going up through the Gatineau park area is hilly isnt it, grew up in Ottawa so have been up that way a lot throughout my life in cars.
Lots of bears and blood sucking insects, I wouldnt want to do it during black fly season thats for sure!

and thanks for the link of the trip report, took a look at it, it is from ten years ago so I figure some of the signage issues that existed are better. I did find a web page with the trail that runs up past the Gatineau park etc, can't recall the name but found it fairly quickly with the pdf of a map of it.
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Old 01-30-15, 04:52 PM
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I'm not sure how much time we'll have, but the loop idea sounds even better. More research needed.

There's something wonderful about researching bike trips in January/February. Makes you think that winter will end one day.
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Old 01-30-15, 05:02 PM
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Ottawa shuts down the Parkways on Sundays and they are for cyclists only. I think they call it Alcatal Sundays.

The bike show will be at the Palais Congress in February and the maps given out by different tourist organizations are more than worth the cost of admission.
Lots of Ontario info.
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Old 01-30-15, 09:12 PM
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I did it in 2011: https://www.bikeforums.net/clydesdale...on-quebec.html
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Old 02-01-15, 11:17 AM
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We did it a few years ago, first rode from Ottawa along the river to St Jerome, then took a shuttle to Mont Laurier and rode down. Very nice route overall, the paved half was very nice, the unpaved a bit difficult on a loaded Bike Friday. Finely crushed gravel surface, but very dry and loose, lots of dust on and in everything, including eyes, mouth etc. I think there were plans for paving the rest of the trail, I will go back then for sure.
We camped, so don't have suggestions for hotels, sorry.
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Old 02-01-15, 11:19 AM
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Also, if you want to ride in Quebec, Veloroute de Bleuets is fantastic!
Circuit cyclisme Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean - Home
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Old 02-01-15, 11:41 AM
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A question that is a bit OT. My wife and I are planning a 6-8 week trip in Quebec and the Maritimes this Summer. We have some friends a bit NW of Montreal where we might be leaving a vehicle and then riding. I have heard tha between Montreal and Quebec City it is not very interesting or some of that sort. So my question is can we use a train between the 2 with our touring bikes?
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