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Aug 09

La Culture du Velo

by in Quebec

Distance: 152km
Time: 5:37:16

Parce que je suis dans Quebec, j’ai devrait ecrit ma blog en francais ou les policiers de langue me remttre en prison. Mais apres parler a lui, et lui ecoute ma francais terrible, je suis excuse par ce regle. Chaque foic j’ai entrer un magasin et dit “Bonjour” le response et tout le temps en Anglais. Donc, ce paragraphe est le seule qui devrait en francais.

After having Laura by my side for five days, it was hard getting started alone again. Team Planet Energy is now defunct. Luckily, I got started today with a wonderful breakfast with my great-Uncle Bill. I also want to add that yesterday was not a real rest day because we rode Mount Royal, a frickin steep climb at a solid 8 or 9 percent grade. The legs were feeling it by the top, and that was without anything strapped to the back of the bike. Laura and I did that while Adrian slept. Good choice Adrian!

Quebec is a remarkable place to bike. The entire province understands the culture of biking, encourages it and puts its money where its mouth is. Today’s ride, once I got out of the city (not that Montreal’s a bad place to ride, it just wasn’t as pristine as the rest of the route) the roads/paths were paved in gold. I stayed off the highway, because I could, and followed mostly “La Route Verte”.

La route Verte is dedicated space for cyclists. It was often nice, wide shoulders along the road but often jutted into bike specific paths that wound you out of the traffic and popped you back when the traffic was lighter. The signage for all vehicles was clear, cyclists are welcome. The number of cyclists out and about, with a wide range of seriousness, was a revelation. It’s true what they say, “If you build it, they will come.”

The big sign saying, "Respect the folks pedaling." The small green sign saying, "Cyclists we made this for you." Brilliant!

The big sign saying, “Respect the folks pedaling.” The small green sign saying, “Cyclists we made this for you.” Brilliant!

The riding was peaceful. Not having to worry about the roads, traffic, even distance allowed me to float along the kilometers. The only thing I had to worry about was where can I camp when I get to Trois-Rivieres? I would find it when I got there, that was my plan.

When I rolled into the city, my first idea was to go to visitor’s information. Not knowing where that was I rolled up to this nice lady eating an ice cream cone, “Est-ce que tu parle anglais?” I asked. “Un petit peu,” she humbly replied. I asked her about camping, then asked her about visitor’s information. She answered and I was on my way. Not 200 metres later she pulled her car up beside me and offered me to stay at her place. Being cautious, I hesitated. She explained that she belongs to a “couch surfing” organization on the Internet and was willing if I wanted to.

I ended up saying yes and that is how I come to write this blog in a warm comfortable bed. Agathe is a doctor who believes in offering her place to strangers and has couch surfed herself. She has had people from all over the world stay with her. We had a great evening eating, having a campfire and talking about our lives. It is something totally out of my comfort zone accepting this offer for kindness, yet another example of my basic premise in life, people are good. They have an innate desire to do good to others. Agathe is a shining example.

Agathe et moi, on commence des etrangers.

Agathe et moi, on commence des etrangers.

Tomorrow a big ride past Quebec City, after a good night sleep 200km will be no big deal.

Ride on.

3 Responses to “La Culture du Velo”

  1. From Dan:

    While I appreciate all the posts you have written, this one struck me more than others. Such a simple story of human kindness and the personification of your personal philosophy really touched me. It brings to mind the phrase “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Keep well my friend!

    Posted on August 11, 2013 at 2:42 am #
  2. From Sabs:

    I love this – I feel like he people you meet along the way make the adventure so much richer. Love reading the stories.

    Posted on August 21, 2013 at 2:29 am #
  3. From Erin:

    Great post Scott, I’m glad you’ve been lucky enough to be at the receiving end of this goodwill and kindness! You give a lot of it every day, karma is rewarding you 🙂

    Posted on August 21, 2013 at 7:04 pm #
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