My Rocinante, a vintage Rocky Mountain Hammer Mountain Bike, trusty steed of a dozen years or more, used to take me places I’d never seen before. Walking only takes you so far. Driving takes you too far. The mountain bike has flair for middle distances.
From Villeray zoom down Clark to St. Urbain. Arrive downtown with breathtaking speed. I tested limits a few times, really let myself go, cranked it into top gear and pedaled like mad going down past the Hotel Dieu. That’s just the start. Hang a right at René Levesque and power on down to Atwater, left, down another hill, but watch out! Even with good brakes you might not be able to stop quickly enough once you’ve cleared the underpass.
The Atwater market is straight ahead. Kill some time here, grab a snack, but don’t load up too much yet, there’s the long Lachine canal ride ahead. Now you can take it easy on long flat stretches, some winding, others straight. Remember,walking, you’d only maybe be in Petite Italie; driving, you’d be on the south shore by now.
Keep going, you’ve got all day, and the sun is shining.
Or, go down to Old Port and ride along the boardwalks. Places here a road bike won’t do. Jumping curbs and crossing weedy lots to explore the really old ungentrified spots where nobody goes.
Finding out of the way dirt trails and shortcuts is really fun on a mountain bike, because sometimes you get up speed, and speed feels fun when you’re cranking it out, powered by bagels, water, granola and sun. After a good ride you feel it in the pit of your stomach.
Riding along the Lachine canal, thinking all these things, getting hungry, it’s time to turn around. Like most good rides, the way back is longer, because you’re hungrier, and because now you want to get back. Luckily the Atwater market is right there.
Load up on fresh fruits and vegetables, bread and cheese, chocolate and delicious beverages, for some insane feast when you get home. Invite all your friends over.
(Image Source: Wikipedia)