Author Topic: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?  (Read 3306 times)

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Offline 20kph

Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« on: June 12, 2010, 11:03:09 pm »
My wife and I will fly to Quebec in August and plan to cycle from there northeast up the St Lawrence to Tadoussac, then northwest to Saguenay, around Lac-St-Jean, then take the train to Montreal and finally cycle back to Quebec.  We will camp most of the time.  Most of this is part of "Le Route Verte" and I have a guide about it and it looks very bicycle friendly.  But the guide book is a little hard to understand, and I don't know anyone that has actually been there.  I'd love to hear from someone that has any experience in this region and my main question is about the section from Tadoussac to Saguenay, it seems that this is incomplete and perhaps even dangerous.  Anyone ever ridden any of this?  Thanks! 

Offline geegee

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2010, 05:27:22 pm »
I rode this route several years back. Quebec City to Tadoussac on the north shore of the St Lawrence is very hilly. There is a good reason why the Route verte takes the south shore. Unless you are a glutton for punishment, I would avoid highway 362, it is a virtual roller coaster and has no shoulders. I remember trying to attempt an 18% grade over 3 kilometres and walked up most of it. Although cycling around Île-aux-Coudres is very popular, getting there by bike is quite the ordeal.

The section from Tadoussac to Saguenay is not bad. There still might be some stretches with no shoulders but the traffic is relatively light.

Cycling around Lac St Jean is quite pleasant. I also took the train back to Montreal from Chambord, which is neat as it goes mostly through wilderness.

One alternative route you could consider is to cycle from Quebec City to Rivière-à-Pierre on the rail trail and catch the train up to Lac-St-Jean from there, cycle around the lake clockwise and head to Tadoussac, then catch the ferry to Riviere-du-Loup. Cycle to Montreal, then take the train back to Quebec City

Offline 20kph

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2010, 01:40:45 pm »
Thanks so much for the response.  I just found another thread on this site containing your comments about the north side of the Saint-Lawrence.  We will definitely avoid that.  I love a good climb, but those kind of grades and endless up and down are no fun when carrying lots of gear.  I like your suggested route as well.  We probably will keep all our options open until after we have spent a couple days in Quebec, buy more maps, measure some distances, evaluate our time, etc.  I also read on that other thread about the wind blowing west to east, so that might be a factor in which way we start out. 

I looked closer at my route verte guide and at first glance it seemed the road to Saguenay was incomplete and ended at Sainte Rose-du-Norde, but now I see they just mean the Route Verte is undeveloped after that.  So just to be clear, you can confirm that 172 is paved and rideable between Tadoussac and Saqueney, right? 

Do you have any other advice in any regard to the region itself, or what we should be sure to see or do?  We have toured western Canada on three occasions and love the wilderness aspect of it and the breathtaking national parks.  I’m expecting this to be quite different in both scenery and culture.  I took French in high school, but we’re going into this with almost no knowledge about this region at all.  I have just started reading about the early trade routes and settlements and I expect Quebec and the towns we go through to have a European flavor, which sounds great.  Will we encounter much of a language barrier?   

Oh, and we need to pick a motel to start and end our trip in Quebec that will be willing to allow us to ship our bikes there and store the crates while we are riding.   I was going to just use the Internet and start making some phone calls, but if you have any advice, we’d love to hear it. 
Thanks again!



Offline cokeefe8734

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #3 on: June 20, 2010, 02:59:34 pm »
Hi:

My wife and I rode the Veloroute d' Bluets around Lac-St-Jean last summer.  I speak some French and most people there speak some English (generally better than my French), so it worked out well.  Some people said they welcomed the opportunity to practice their English.  The route itself is nice, easy to follow, with either a dedicated cycling path/lane or a wide shoulder.

One highlight of the trip was the Val-Jalbert Ghost town.  This is a former lumber town that was deserted in the 1930s.  It looks pretty much like when the people moved out.  The waterfall that powered their mill is amazing.

Also, we drove to Tadoussac after our tour and took a whale watch in a 20 person Zodiac.  That was pretty incredible as thewhales would surface 30 ft from the boat. 

You should have a great trip.


Offline 20kph

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #4 on: June 22, 2010, 09:36:20 am »
Merci!  I apprecaite the tips, it's nice to hear from people who have been there.  We are getting excited. 

Offline geegee

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #5 on: June 26, 2010, 10:43:39 pm »
Highway 172 is most definitely paved, what is labelled "incomplete" refers to the implementation of shoulders. BTW, Quebec's highways employ a similar numbering system as in the US, all the even numbered routes go roughly east-west, the odd north-south. They sometimes have a funny concept of "east-west" - it usually means parallel to the St-Lawrence.

The Saguenay-Lac St Jean region has a special flavour within the Quebecois culture. There are foods that are special to this area, be sure to try Soupe aux gourganes and Tourtière du Lac-Saint-Jean. Although it is most likely there will be someone around who can understand and speak english, there is a large percentage who speak only french, and with an accent specific to that region that would throw your standard high school french out the window. The people are very accommodating, though, and any difficulty in communication will be wrapped up in humour rather than indifference.

The Jardins de Normandin worth a visit, and the Odyssee des batisseurs park gives a good overview of the history of the area.

Best of luck on your trip!

Offline 20kph

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2010, 06:24:08 pm »
Great stuff Geeg, I think it promises to be an interesting region.  I really appreciate your help and your recommendations. 

Offline mlegault

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2010, 10:19:55 pm »
I live in northern Vermont on the Canadian border - near the Canton De L'Est - or Eastern Townships area.  It's absolutely beautiful in this part of Quebec.  My husband and I were actually riding in the region in Sutton, QC today for the afternoon.  I have many route suggestions that are spectacular - particularly back, dirt roads with pastoral views and quiet, peaceful roads.  I have only cycled La Route Verte once but I'm not a fan of bike paths.  It was nice but just not the type of cycling I like.  I have friends who cycle the Route often who could offer recommendations - and are Adventure Cyclists as well.  Should you want more information - contact me by email at webleg@comcast.net.  Have fun planning your trip!  Michelle

My wife and I will fly to Quebec in August and plan to cycle from there northeast up the St Lawrence to Tadoussac, then northwest to Saguenay, around Lac-St-Jean, then take the train to Montreal and finally cycle back to Quebec.  We will camp most of the time.  Most of this is part of "Le Route Verte" and I have a guide about it and it looks very bicycle friendly.  But the guide book is a little hard to understand, and I don't know anyone that has actually been there.  I'd love to hear from someone that has any experience in this region and my main question is about the section from Tadoussac to Saguenay, it seems that this is incomplete and perhaps even dangerous.  Anyone ever ridden any of this?  Thanks! 
Michelle

Offline gordonharris912

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2011, 08:48:18 pm »
I did this tour several years ago and posted the ride with cue sheets and maps at  http://bikenewengland.com/saguenay.html

Offline bethdayton

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2011, 12:08:22 am »
We are planning a one week tour mostly along the St Lawrence, west of Quebec City, this August.  Does anyone have an idea how crowded lodging is likely to be, and if we should reserve hotels in advance vs just find things as we go?  We are a group of 6 riders and prefer 2 star hotels, B&Bs, small inns.

Offline 20kph

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #10 on: April 19, 2011, 06:13:30 pm »
My wife and I did not have any trouble finding accomodations in this section last year, but we were only two and were there the first week of September.  We relied on the Route Verte "Bienvenue cyclistes" to help choose.  My gut feeling is that you will not have to book in advance, but I could be wrong. 

http://www.routeverte.com/rv/index2010_e.php?page=bienvenuecycliste_e


Offline geegee

Re: Any advice on cycle touring Quebec?
« Reply #11 on: April 19, 2011, 10:30:00 pm »
The peak time for tourism in Quebec is during the end of July to early August, otherwise known as Construction Holiday or, les vacances de la construction.  For 2011, this falls on July 24 to August 6. Although it is generally busy, many Quebecois escape to private cottages.