The province of Québec has some of Canada’s best cycling routes. Whether for recreational outings or long road rides, there are options for the full range of riders. During your visit to the province, it’s worth exploring a destination full of other fun activities on top of its excellent cycling options. Here are eight municipalities in Québec you can choose from for the perfect cycling holiday.
You will be charmed by Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean after a day of riding on the picturesque Véloroute des Bleuets. Roll into Alma and stay for a night or better yet, a couple of days so you can immerse yourself fully in the hub of the beautiful region. If you’re here with the family, base yourself at the Dam-en-terre resort with its beaches, camping, summer theatre and lake cruises. Plan your visit for July during the Festival des bières to savour an assortment of regional refreshments. To plan your cycling, check out Équinox Aventure, which can help you get all set up for a recreational adventure with your friends or family. The company organizes one- to seven-day cycling trips and has equipment-rental services so you can have an enjoyable and worry-free experience. After all the riding, have a bite at Café du Clocher, where you will savour the homemade pastries and cakes.
Mont-Tremblant – The Laurentians
As you pedal through the Laurentians in the summer, you will marvel at the beautiful green mountains in the Mont-Tremblant region, including the eponymous mountain, one of Québec’s most popular ski hills. When the snow melts and the weather warms up, it becomes a vibrant summer destination. Discover varied riding opportunities for recreational and advanced cyclists including Le P’tit Train du Nord linear park, which you can easily ride on with the whole family. There’s also the Villageoise that brings you from the village of Mont-Tremblant to the resort. Get out on the scenic roads of the Gran Fondo Mont-Tremblant for longer more challenging rides. The Ironman bike course also is a good test for your legs. In nearby Lac Tremblant, go for a dip. Or, if you have more energy, take part in water-skiing, tubing or wakeboarding out on the lake. If the legs are up for it, there is hiking on the mountain. You’ll be able to spend hours wandering through Mont-Tremblant village with its restaurants and shops. For a change of pace, pull out the clubs and go for a couple of rounds of golf at Golf Le Diable or Golf Le Geant. Mark off a day for backcountry adventures in Mont-Tremblant national park. Tremblant is a year-round sports destination witth all sorts of activities. The colourful town centre is perfect to enjoy with friends and family.
Rimouski – Bas-Saint-Laurent
After a beautiful day riding the southern shore of the St. Lawrence River, head back to Rimouski, which is the perfect city to be based in for exploring Bas-Saint-Laurent. The Promenade de la mer makes a great spot for evening strolls or a coffee and a snack. You can ride le grand circuit maritime from the urban area of Rimouski or stay in town and enjoy the city’s many activities. If you ride toward the west, you’ll reach the beautiful Parc national du Bic. Many seals make this protected coastal area their home. The low-lying marshes and rocky outcrops are stunning. You can ride through the park, but if you aren’t too tired from cycling, make sure to do some hiking, kayaking and bird watching. The perfect way to unwind after a long day in Bas-Saint-Laurent is with a walk along the beautiful 2.5-km-long beach at Village of Sainte-Luce. For a cultural experience, stop at the Site Historique Maritime de la Pointe-au-Père, which has a beautiful lighthouse and a submarine.
Magog – Eastern Townships
The views of Lake Memphremagog from the bike are amazing. After riding the rolling hills around the lake, stop in Magog for a couple of nights. Walk through the Eastern Townships town where you’ll find it has all the attractions that make it a perfect for exploring the region. When you get back on your bike, ride the network of bike routes along the lake. You will pass a couple of beaches which make for refreshing post-ride swim spots. If you choose a big day in the saddle, ride the waterfront-focused Memphremagog to Massawippi route, which runs to the south of Magog, with beautiful rolling terrain and views of the gorgeous landscape. Unwind and refuel after your ride on the Grand Cru gourmet boat cruise and enjoy some delicious food and time on the water. If you have a sweet tooth, don’t miss Chocolats Vanden Eynden to stock up on premium chocolates. Mont-Orford National Park has cabins for accommodations and hiking trails that lead you to fine vantage points overlooking the region.
Drummondville – Centre-du-Québec
Enjoy the views of the Saint-François River as you ride through the quiet countryside of Centre-du-Québec, then stop in Drummondville to continue your visit. During your ride, you pass through the Forêt Drummond where you can return for zip-lining, canoeing, and nature walks to observe the local flora and fauna. The Drummondville area has more than 200 km of bike routes for you to choose from and all the amenities for a pleasant stay. Bring the family to Village Québécois d’Antan to experience the region’s cultural history or the Arbre en Arbre Drummondville, which has 90 treetop adventures. For a Québec culinary staple, plan your visit around the Festival of Poutine in late August. For very comfortable four-star accommodations, base yourself at Hôtel & Suites Le Dauphin Drummondville, near all the city’s main attractions.
Salaberry-de-Valleyfield – Montérégie
Salaberry-de-Valleyfield offers 170 km of bike routes. To take advantage of all these riding options in Montérégie, base yourself in the city’s lakeside town centre on Lake Saint-Francois. There is no shortage of trips for you to choose from and lots to discover in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield. From the city, you can ride over to Parc régional de Beauharnois-Salaberry, which has 70 km of mixed-use trails for you to explore. With your spare energy after your rides, go to the Saint-Charles River to paddle its artificial whitewater kayaking course. Plan your visit for mid-July to take in the Régates de Valleyfield, with hydroplanes competing in three events and five nights of festivities. For a unique spot to spend the night, stay at Flotel, a floating hotel on Lake Saint-François.
Gatineau – Outaouais
Riding in Gatineau you will have views of the nation’s capital across the river. In Gatineau Park, start your day where quiet recreational trails and beautiful roads provide kilometres of gorgeous riding opportunities. The surrounding urban areas have excellent cycling infrastructure, so you can pedal to the sights of Outaouais and experience the town on two wheels with the whole family. Riding the paths of Gatineau, you can easily stop at the Canadian Museum of History, go climbing at Altitude Gym in a converted church and then have a bite to eat at Saint-Éloi Café Bistro overlooking Leamy Lake, where there is also a beach for a nice swim. If you are feeling more adventurous, your riding might take you from Plaisance national park to the east of Gatineau to Montebello, where there are many activities to do and accommodations from the chic Chateau Montebello to the Parc Omega, where you can rent rustic cabins for the whole family.
During a day of riding in Montréal, you will discover why it’s one of North America’s most cycling friendly cities. You can enjoy the history, culture and food of the city by your bike or via Bixi, the city’s for-hire bike share. If you are a climber, head up Mont Royal by Voie Camillien Houde, which is used in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. The more leisurely way up the mountain is by the crushed gravel Chemin Olmstead. Make it to the lookout at the top to enjoy a gorgeous view of the city. Using the staggering 645 km of bike routes, you can visit the city’s markets, Old Montréal and parks with the family on two wheels. If you are up for a cultural excursion, visit the Pointe-à-Callière archaeology museum, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal or Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal. Don’t miss a fresh bagel from Saint Viateur or Fairmount. There is no shortage of spots to refuel in Montréal with world-class restaurants, smoked meat and more.
This article was originally published by Canadian Cycling Magazine
Canadian Cycling Magazine is a national cycling publication from Gripped Publishing.