Cycling in Quebec – Montreal, Mont Tremblant and the P’tit du Nord

The wife and I just got back from an amazing vacation in Quebec, where I was lucky enough to get in some great riding.

We started our vacation in Montreal, which is an amazingly-bike-friendly city. We were shocked at how many people commuted by bike in the city center. Montreal is actually an island and has an amazing network of bike paths that are suitable for commuting/transportation and recreational riding.

Using the new Elastic Card from Think Finance to get a bike for the day

The “cyclebility” of the city is enhanced by its Blix bike share program. There are literally thousands of bikes around the city for rent through the kiosk system above. We were able to rent a bike for the day (which you can return to any location and take a new one out during a 24 hour period) for just $5.  We took a couple of bikes and spent 3 hours cruising all over Montreal.

My cycling buddy in Quebec

I’m used to spending 3+ hours in the saddle, but my wife is not. However, she managed to hang in there and, as you can see above, looked good doing it.

After Monreal we headed north to Mont Tremblant in the Laurentian Mountains for a week. This area is home to one of the most impressive bike paths in the world, Le P’tit du Nord. 

This is a 200 km (120 mile) trail that runs from Saint Jerome to Mont Laurier. Most of the trail is paved, but some sections are finely-packed crushed stone (still easily rideable on a road bike).

The Rouge River along Le P'tit du Nord

I took my Ritchey Break-Away bike on the trip and got in a couple 90 mile rides. From our hotel in Mont Tremblant there was a bike path all the way to a trailhead for the trail. The area of the trail around Mont Tremblant isn’t paved, but it was smooth and perfectly rideable on my Break-Away with 23c tires. The trail is an old rail line, so there is very little elevation change, but every 8 miles or so you roll through a quaint village where you could easily jump off the trail for a cafe’, ice cream, etc.

Stop along Le P'tit du Nord in Labelle

About 10 miles north of Mont Tremblant the trail passes through the village of Labelle. From this point on the trail is paved all the way to Mont Laurier.  The Labelle stop is a great place to refuel and soak in some Laurentian-hospitality.

This was my first, but won’t be my last, time cycling in Quebec.

3 responses to “Cycling in Quebec – Montreal, Mont Tremblant and the P’tit du Nord

  1. great to read nice comments about montreal ! next time you should try the Mont-Royal and also canal lachine all the way to St-Anne-de-bellevue, you’ll meet plenty of cyclist and maybe myself 🙂

    cheers !

  2. MarcL (Montreal)

    Great to hear you had a wonderful time in Montreal!
    For your next trip, consider the following ideas:
    1. The “chemin Nordet” road connecting St-Donat and Lac Superieur (just SE of Mt Tremblant). This is a 90k out-and-bike ride on great mountain roads with a large shoulder.
    2. The Mt St-Sauveur area between Montreal and Mt Tremblant is a good place to visit for shopping and food. There is good road riding south and west of this town (in the area encompassing Morin Heights, Weir, etc).
    3. The Lachine canal bike path starts in downtown Montreal and goes west from there. At its western end it leads to Lakeshore drive. You can cycle along the waterfront all the way to the western tip of the island. From downtown it is about 90k out-and-back and scenic all the way (this is my bike to work commute).
    4. Montreal is hosting a world cup men’s race later this year (Sept 12). The course includes the famous climb of Mt Royal. This is a 1.5k 7-8% climb just outside the downtown area.
    5. For cycling related daytrips outside Montreal you can consider (1) Ottawa, where you can ride the park loop in Gatineau NP; (2) Stowe, Vermont, where you can ride highly terrain with some serious climbs; (3) Lake Placid, NY, where you can ride the course of the Ironman triathlon and also climb the access road to Mt Whiteface. all of these sidetrips are about 2 hours drive from Montreal.

  3. Hi there,
    I am planning a trip in 2 wks to Mont Tremblant, old Quebec City and then the Charlevoix area. We are road biking with a baby trailer. Any suggestions for “safe” rides? We are not looking for long rides… only a few hrs worth of scenic riding. Any suggestions would be great!

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