Day 107 Montreal, Quebec: Cycling Revolution - Grampies on the Go - CycleBlaze

August 15, 2011

Day 107 Montreal, Quebec: Cycling Revolution

When cycling I am used to following Dodie's trailer. Now I am used to following Amelia's buggy!
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Lafontaine Park lies between us and many destinations in the city, so we have found ourselves passing through quite often. Like on Mount Royal, the park has a large population of squirrels. Lots of people love them and feed them despite some signs advising otherwise. We have confined ourselves to the hunt for the fabled white squirrel.

In the search for the mythical white squirrel of Lafontaine Park, I think I have got here a closer relative than the last time. Still, I am told this is not the
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Us, in Lafontaine park, taking a break from squirrel hunting
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...and continued checking out of neat houses we wish we could buy

We liked this house
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However the main quest in Montreal is for even better bakeries. Despite the fact that I am still claiming Premiere Moisson as Number One, have a look at this:

Premiere Moisson does not have a lock on freaky quality baking
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Baguettes
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Actually these were not quite as good as Premiere Moisson or Au Pain Dore.
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Real breads!
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As we move around the Plateau district of the city, the extent to which the bicyle has penetrated the core becomes more and more clear.

Look at this lane set up. Two way cycle path, then car parking, then a single car lane, then car parking. It seems pretty fair, except maybe there should be a bicycle parking lane, with a Bixi bike station!
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Bike path road markings
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Our walking target was the "bike cafe", or formally the "Maison Bicycliste". This is a combination cafe, cycling info centre, small gear shop, and bicycle travel agency. We picked up some good maps for the jump to Quebec City there, met a man from Munich who has cycled all over North America and Europe, and picked up some salads and coffee. So I guess we were pretty complete customers. What we mainly took away, though, was a whole lot of encouragement from the centre stage role that cycling gets here, and in the city generally. It is draining to feel in a minority with all the motorists out on the highway, and a big recharge to be here. We are not the first to note this, of course. Have a look at Nancy Rice's first photo in her Montreal to Quebec City blog: http://www.crazyguyonabike.com/doc/page/?page_id=86379

One view of the Cycling Cafe.
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Bikes outside the cyclists cafe. I don't know where all the riders actually were.
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The bike parking includes encouraging signs and the designation "bike parking".
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The bike cafe
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Light fixtures featuring bike path route maps!
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Stylish shirts for sale
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All these bike paths, parking, rental bikes, and pedestrian ways don't just happen. Here is some of the underlying thinking and planning.
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The cafe had lots of cycling books
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And bike path books from Europe
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and even Scotland
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including France
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Here is a book specially for Dodie!
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There is a political/activist background to some of this
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Lots of free pamphlets
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French is the second language of Lebanon. Consequently a lot of Lebanese have come to francophone Quebec. One benefit of this is in the number of Lebanese restaurants. We had the chance to go out to one, with my brother Harold and his wife Francine plus Josh and Sabrina (and Amelia). We did one of those slightly crazy things where in effect the waiter had license to bring us anything and everything on the menu. As he did so, he explained what each thing was, and even went into the detail of how the Lebanese version of things differed from the Moroccan version. It was great, and looked in part like this:

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They liked it!
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Back home, it's bedtime!

Francine and Amelia
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Bedtime,and world premiere - Amelia turns the pages for herself!
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