eBent Recumbent Cycling

A Bent Look at Self Contained Touring

Planning your own Bicycle Tour – Part 2 – Trip Concept

with 2 comments

Burlington to MontrealLake Champlain to Montreal

I am going to use my own planning for this summer as an example. Since I haven’t work out all the details yet, I am not quite sure where this will take me but I expect it to be fun and a clarifying process.

Lets start by determining what we want from this bike tour:

If this is your first tour start with all points on tour within a 1/2 day drive of support.

I want on my tour:

1. Quiet roads

2. To explore somewhere interesting

3. Challenging days at about 60 miles per day and no day more than 80 miles

4. Great views and good climbs, some good descents – I prefer a few long climbs over many short climbs

5. Clean inexpensive campgrounds without RVs running all night or folks partying. This use to be a big deal for me but now I bring along ear plugs and an iPod with sound isolating ear buds.

6. A six to seven day loop that will start and end at my home or some place I can safely leave my car.

My wife wants:

1. A route with cute shops and nice places for breakfast, lunch, and dinner

2. A flat route with no climbs

3. Short riding days of 30 to 40 miles

4. A nice B&B or cute cabin for the night, tenting is acceptable if it is not going to rain

So what is a compromise solution? Well if you have been married long you know the answer, “Do it her way”, remember “If she’s not happy, your not happy”.

I think I have solution:

There are a series of bicycle routes that run from Lake Champlain to Montreal. The route follows the barge paths and roads along the River Richelieu to Chambly and then to Montreal. It is flat and they have bicycling motels along the way plus in Quebec finding good food should not be a problem. My wife should love exploring the towns along the way and I already know she likes Chambly and Montreal. Unibrew, one of the best beer brewers in North America, has a fun restaurant in Chanbly plus that is Moules and Frits country, one of my wife’s favorites. Montreal is just a great bicycling city, we both love it. So that will be a great place for a mid tour break. I don’t usually advise mid-tour breaks for me they destroy the rhythm of the tour but my wife will want one.

It is about 160 miles from Lake Champlain to Montreal so a round trip is about 320 miles or about 8 wife bicycling days with a day in Montreal and a spare day for rain that is 10 days. She can only take 7 days so we have a problem.

I like this trip concept because it takes me to a place I have never been that sounds interesting and meets my wife’s expectations except for distance. Distance is usually a solvable problem so I am going to proceed with this trip concept and start gathering Trip Information in Part 3 of this series.


Written by Roland

February 11, 2008 at 11:35 am

2 Responses

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  1. Roland,
    Your “compromise” has served me well. I have been happily married for 27 years because my wife has been happily married for 27 years
    I just orderd my slipstream. It is due to arrive in two weeks. I would love to do the trip you are planning.

    What kind of problems do you incur crossing the border on a bike? Also, are the trails in Vermont for bikes only?

    One more question. I orderd the green mountain loop map from adventure cycling. I had planned on riding it last summer. However, due to healt problems I wasn’t able to. Are you familar with this route? If so, I would like to hear your opinion.

    Thanks for the great site.


    February 16, 2008 at 7:46 am

  2. Vince you sound like a man who also lives by the Golden Rule, “If she’s not happy, your not happy.”

    I have crossed the border quite a few times on a bicycle and it is generally easier than in a car. However, you are expected to have the same documents as anyone else crossing the border back into the US, proof of citizenship. The Canadian crossing so far has just required answering a few questions.

    I am not sure exactly what the requirements will be this Spring and Summer. The Senators in New England are appealing the Passport Requirement. However, I am planing on having a Passport with me for all crossing from now on.

    Avoid crossing the border at peak times and on the weekends and you won’t find it much of an inconvenience.

    In New England riding on the roads is usually far superior to riding on the trails if you are a Bicycle Tourist. Just stay off the busy roads and you will enjoy your ride and see all of the cute little towns.

    In Quebec the trail to Montreal via Chambly from the US Border is about 70% on the road. Their goal is to have it 100% trail but that is still sometime away.

    I am not familiar with the Green Mountain Loop Map from Adventure Cycling. I’ll have to look that one up. I have a lot of their Maps and I applaud them for creating them.

    However, based on my experiences with their North – South Routes in New England, I find them very difficult to follow in New England. If they have the GPS data for the Route I highly recommend using it.

    In the Northwest, I was also not impressed by their route selection, I often felt like back in the Adventure Cycling Offices they were rolling on the floor laughing at the people following their routes as they took them out of the way to get a few more viewless, steep climbs that could easily have been avoided onto the Route.

    In general they will spend a lot more energy to avoid a little traffic than I would. However, having said that Adventure Cycling Maps are a great resource for all riders.

    Vince, thanks for the good words .. Roland


    February 17, 2008 at 6:05 pm

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