28 August 2009

reason #2 why you don’t want to travel with me: long bike rides

bikequebec01a continuation about my time in québec, as well as reason #2 why you don’t want to travel with me… i like long bike rides with lots of annoying stops to take photos.

and lucky me, my host m’s boyfriend lent me his bike for a day. m even printed me a map so i wouldn’t get lost.

i’m in love with cities/countries that are bike friendly. taiwan. chicago. austin (debatable). france. and now, canada! la route verte is amazing. its a 4300km bicycle path in quebec that combines paved bike routes surrounded by lush landscaping with roads that have little car traffic, as well as little lights and stop signs just for cyclists. no fear of being run over here!

bikequebec02i biked a very pleasant and flat route to montmorency falls. i thought it was funny because the guidebook i had mentioned that every Québécois will be sure to tell that montmorency falls is higher than niagara falls. and indeed, i did get told numerous times about how much taller montmorency falls was. (of course they don’t mention how niagara falls is wider.)

i parked my bike and had 2 options. pay for the cable car that would lift me up to the top… or walk up for free. what do you think I chose?

bikequebec03after the walk (beautiful and well worth it), with the money I saved from the lazy way, I decided to treat myself to a nice lunch. a nice long lunch. with a burger d'agneau au fondant de chèvre des neiges garni de purée d'avocats, tomate fraîche, oignon rouge, et pousses de luzerne.

uhm. talk about perfect blend of america and canada. a burger. with lamb. avocado… puréed. goat cheese. it was delish.

bikequebec04there is something nice about making it to the top and taking no shortcuts.

bikequebec05and i liked this: in addition to the usual junk food sold in these machines, i found some that sold cashews, almonds, and a (healthy) trail mix.

bikequebec06and right across from montmorency falls is île d’orléanswhere I found the prettiest house ever in my entire life.

and by right across i mean if you’re in a car.

if you’re on a bike, it’s a bit more than just right across.

bikequebec07it’s more like dear higher being out there please don’t let a car hit me please don’t let a car hit me and please also give me the energy to make it up this hill i’m really tired so please don’t let me get hit thank you so much have a nice day!

you have to first make it across a large bridge. with a very narrow sidewalk. and lots of fast cars. so not only can you feel the vibrations of the bridge moving up and down from all the cars on it, you are separated by mere inches from the cars whizzing past you. and when the gusts of wind come through, you also hope you aren’t blown off the sidewalk.

then you get off the bridge. and you see a giant hill. you have to make it up that hill before you can really get to the real part of the island. and even though you aren’t on a bridge, your already tiny lane is cut into thirds! and on your right is a deep valley. now you really start hoping that cars don’t hit you.

but once you’re on the main part of the island – the lane comes back and you finally have a place to swerve to on the right if something should come up. but sadly, the hills are definitely still there.

bikequebec08this island is full of goodies. like fruit farms, wineries, cheesemakers, a chocolate shop, a duck farm (for foie gras), and so much more. unfortunately i only had time (and energy) to cover a little bit.

i picked blueberries for the first time in my life. in fact, i picked fruit for the first time in my life. and it was wonderful. it felt good to sit there to fill up my basket (and my tummy) with large, ripe, juicy, and beautiful blue blueberries.

bikequebec09then the chocolaterie de l’île d’orléans. but what to pick? candied kiwis dipped in chocolate? a chocolate and syrup jam? bleuets (blueberries) dipped in chocolate?

bikequebec10a pain au chocolat? a lollipop? a flan made with sirop d’erable (maple syrup)? an actual piece of chocolate?

bikequebec11it was a hot summer day. so i settled for vanilla soft-serve dipped in dark chocolate and one pistachio macaron. except I crushed it within 3 minutes of purchasing it. this is why i don’t own a regular sized ipod or wear jewelry – i tend to destroy delicate things that are close to the body.

bikequebec12i definitely did not feel as if i were near a city here. i think i could’ve easily circled this entire island – if it were flat. but it’s really hilly. at the end, it was to the point where i rode the bike if it was downhill, and walk the bike if it was uphill. so i took the first shortcut to the bridge to leave this pretty little island.

bikequebec13and then i biked back to M’s place, where she made delicious tacos with the salsa I brought, as well as strawberries, blueberries (that I picked) with a yummy whipped cream she made.

a perfect way to end a perfect bike ride.


Jennie said...

Ooh thanks for giving me ideas on what to do in Quebec when David & I go there next June!

Fahrenheit 350° said...

That is incredible! That is my idea of a perfect day! And don't forget Portland, Oregon, affectionately known as the most friendly bike city of all the 50 states!

x said...

oh wow, if i didn't also enjoy traveling alone, i would say we should travel together b/c i love long bike rides too! and food, of course =) your pictures are gorgeous, i'm quite jealous of your trip right now =) thanks for letting me live vicariously through your post!

Jennifer said...

Ohhhh just how gorgeous!!! This brings such great memories of home to me! I would ride for days with you to see all day! My dad and I used to pack up on overnight cycling trips through the mountains in northern NB (near Quebec border), camping along the way, eating at local diners, fishing. Such beauty one can see as they slowly venture along on a bike! :)