Saturday, 11 August 2012

Cycling around Montreal, Canada...a long way from Westerham

Yours truly with his Bixi bike in downtown Montreal
 on 11 August 2012
Nothwithstanding a walk around town early this morning, punctuated as it was by a pleasant breakfast in the aforementioned Presse Café, I resolved to take on a Bixi bike and cycle around Montreal. Now for all of you out there thinking it's dangerous, remember you're basing your assumptions on London and how rubbish it is; this, on the other hand, is totally different. Yes, there's traffic, but nowhere near as much as in London or, in fact, in the UK as a whole.

My Bixi bike down by the harbour. Well worth a ride.
I picked up my Bixi across the road from the hotel and then, after the usual faffing about with getting the bike out of its dock, off I went. I hasten to add that my pal Ken from the office was with me; he, in fact, used his credit card to get the bikes on the road and I later paid for lunch.

We headed off along Sherbrooke and then hung a right into the quieter, more leafier streets, riding for a good mile before turning left and heading west in parallel with Sherbrooke but some way further down. It was very pleasant and very European too. Remember that everybody here speaks French and that there are some language barriers; even those who can speak English find themselves requesting that we slow down so they can understand us. It's really odd being in Canada and finding that everybody speaks French.

The streets were quiet and leafy and there were apartments, nice apartments, lots of them with bikes padlocked to wrought iron balustrades running up steep steps towards front doorways. All very quaint and with a pleasant aroma of Southern European cooking – think garlic and seafood.

Down by the river.
While being bang in the centre of Montreal and just a mile or so from Sherbrooke, we could have been in a peaceful suburb miles from anywhere, it was that serene. Montreal certainly offers an appealing lifestyle that I could certainly get used to.

The scenery varied: one minute quiet apartments, the next rows of shops. One minute it was quaint, the next it was slightly downmarket and then we found ourselves in the Latin quarter and decided to stop for a beer, followed by a short ride to Les 3 Brasseurs on Rue Saint Denis for lunch.

Lunch over we headed for the St Lawrence River and then it was simply a case of retracing our steps back to our respective hotels. I had a steep climb up towards Sherbrooke but when I reached it I turned left and headed down towards the Holiday Inn. I wanted to stay out all day so I turned right up University and then right again, coming round, down Hutchison, or it might have been the next road along and back to the Bixi station from where we had hired the bikes.

It had rained earlier on this morning, but had stopped before I hit the streets around 0810hrs and while rain was promised, there was nothing but heat, albeit greyish skies. Looking out of my hotel window, it's still very pleasant out there: warm with a few clouds and no blue skies to speak of, but nice all the same.

I wont say I'm not tired, because I am and there's a temptation to take a nap, but I won't. Instead I'm here writing the blog and considering another walkabout before calling Ken to decide where to go tonight.
The Saint Lawrence River, Montreal, Canada, Saturday August 11th 2012.

Tomorrow I'm flying to Atlanta in Georgia, USA, as I've got an interview there on Monday and then I'm flying home to the UK on Tuesday evening, arriving Wednesday morning.

I'm so glad that I've recorded a bike ride overseas. Whether the same opportunity will present itself in Atlanta, I dont know, but hopefully it will.


  1. Glad you enjoyed it, Simon. I'm back home now...and knackered!