Category Archives: Montreal

Cycle Montreal

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Tour la Nuit
Tour la Nuit

For a true cycling vacation, cyclists should consider La Belle Province. No other Canadian province does as much to promote cycling as Quebec. The best place to start your bike trip planning is at Velo Quebec, a non-profit organization that has managed cycling activities in Quebec for 40 years. They act as a cycling tour company, a publishing center and a lobby group for cyclists throughout Quebec. Velo Quebec organizes the internationally known Montreal Bike Fest that includes the 30 mile,Tour d’Ile de Montreal with a different route every year.

Cycling Tours with Velo Quebec:

Velo Quebec offers tours throughout Quebec, North America, Europe, Morocco and the Caribbean. The organization responsible for the 3500 mile award – winning Route Verte linking Quebec from end to end, runs tours on parts of this route. The ever-expanding 2000 mile “Route Verte” represents a concerted effort to connect the various regions of the Quebec and neighboring USA with a safe cycling route. Most Quebec highways whether or not they are part of the Green Route have wide shoulders to accommodate cyclists.

The “Summer Challenges”, a series of 50 to 90 mile long bike tours, range from moderate to challenging and include accommodations and gear transport. The annual “Grand Tour” and “Petite Adventure” complete the Quebec offerings.

Lobbying for Cyclists:

Thanks to Velo Quebec, Montreal is a safer and more enjoyable place for pleasure and commuter cycling. Montreal bike lanes, designed by Velo Quebec, are often separated from vehicular traffic by curbs. Research and lobbying by Velo Quebec will see another 60 miles of bike lanes added to Montreal streets. The “On the Move to School” program encourages elementary school children and their parents to adopt cycling as a daily activity and alternative mode of transport.

Cycling Books, Maps and Itineraries:

La Route Verte
La Route Verte

The independent cyclist, planning a cycling trip anywhere in the world should visit the bike bookstore at the Maison des Cyclists (Cyclists House) across from Parc Fontaine on the Route Verte in Montreal. Detailed maps, suggested itineraries and cycling magazines including Velo Quebec publications are all to be found here. The Cyclist House also functions as a good coffee and lunch stop that serves high energy, healthy foods such as the daily home-made soup and quinoa salad special.

Cyclist Friendly Accommodations:

In general, Quebec accommodations are cyclist friendly. Independent cyclists and those joining pre – arranged trips should consider these “bike friendly” accommodations in Montreal.

  • Boulanger Bassin Bed and Breakfast
  • Azul Bed and Breakfast

Bike transport from Toronto  can be arranged on Via Rail and Biketrain.ca

Vélo Québec

1251, rue Rachel Est
Montréal (Québec)
Canada H2J 2J9
1.800.567.8356

Go Bike Montreal
May 25- June 1, 2014
Tour la Nuit May 3o, 2014
Tour de l”Ile  June 1, 2014

 

Montreal, Canada’s Party Town

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Montreal, Canada’s party town, is an hour’s drive north of the New York/ Vermont border, five hours east of Toronto. While Toronto is all business, Montreal exists for pure pleasure. You can get anything here cheap: sex, booze, drugs, great music, food and accommodations.

Prices reflect the nervous economy. Every time The Province of Quebec threatens to leave The Rest of Canada over historical language/cultural indignities, investors get nervous and the money heads to Toronto. Less than a percentage point divided the “Should we stay?” or “Should we go?” camps on the last vote. Get here before the army does – again.

What does all this numb nuttery mean for visitors? Nada. Almost everyone speaks the unofficial language with a cute ‘n sexy accent. If you can’t say, “Une biere s’il vous plait,” order in English. In the rare event you’re treated to a cold stare say, “Sorry, I’m from 1) New York 2) Boston 3) Any large US city.” Under no circumstances do you want to be mistaken for Toronto pond scum.

Getting here:  Hate Flying? There’s a cheap and scenic train service from New York’s Penn station while MegaBus and Greyhound run several times daily from major points.

Getting around: Everything you want is centrally located on the Plateau, Mile End, Latin Quartier, Gay Village or Downtown. Walk, cycle or take the metro.

Commonly heard:

  1. “ ’ashish”, stage whispered along Ste. Catharine and St Laurent streets
  2.  “tabernac” – sometimes softened to “tabernouche” – good example of French Canadian curses employing Catholic icons.

Famous for: William Shatner, Leonard Cohen, Celine Dion, Arcade Fire, A Simple Plan,  setting of C.R.A.Z.Y, best movie use of classic and glam rock that can’t be seen south of the border unless someone pays David Bowie and Mick Jagger for US music rights.

Music scene: Forget Flock of Seagulls mutants Arcade Fire or poppy teen girl fav, Simple Plan whose lead singer sounds like Randy Travis on helium. Check out seriously fucked up sounds like Launie Anderssohn rapping on barnyard sex at Barfly on St. Laurent. Further north at La Sala Rossa catch industrial/lounge /rock /bluegrass/R&B and hip hop fusion acts that never sound the same twice. Across the street, Casa Del Popolo’s offerings vary widely. The worst you’ll get is spoken word or a girl on guitar who can’t sing – popular with the neo-hippie set. For artier stuff, try and find Friendship Cove – used to be Electric Tracter – home of Chewy, the senile half-husky who’d defecate on stage. Venue keeps changing…

Other Venues: Bars, especially on the French side of town, roughly St Laurent and points east are designed for human interaction. The asshole factor is lower in this population too. Happy hour goes all day until 8 or 9 when beer and shots can be had for $3. If you don’t see a sign, ask. Quebec laws prohibit certain establishments from advertising specials. For an extra kick, try local strong beers Fin du Monde or Maudit. If it’s before 11 and you haven’t got the $5-$15 cover plead poverty to the door person. Failing this, try standing at the bar.

On St Laurent: Check out Le Divan Orange, Swimming, El Salon, Lounge 11 and Green Room.

St. Denis: L’Hémisphère Gauche, l’Escogriffe, Quai Des Brumes, Bistro à Jojo, Medley and Cafe Chaos.

Others: Any cramped space with worn wooden floors, tin ceilings and a variety of ages: Missy Bar, Baloos, Bar Cherrier, L’assommier, and Bar Ste. Elizabeth across from the trashy cowboy karaoke at Bar Sherbrooke on Ste Catharine East near Fou Founes Electriques.

Scoring: Talk to the guy with the long gray hair – the pot cafe owner gone bust at Weedstock, across from Cafe Chaos. See if you can find out where he’s opening next.