Beautiful Laurentian bike ride through history on Ptit Train du Nord


If you’re headed up north with bikes for the day, weekend or vacation you must already have heard of the Ptit Train du Nord recreation path that runs more than 200 kms from St. Jerome to Mont Laurier. Indeed, it is part of the Trans Canada Trail that spans the entire country. Our family has enjoyed the trail for years, choosing different segments most weekends. We used to pull the kids in a bike trailer till they finally managed two-wheelers on their own. What a fun family outing, sometimes lugging picnic lunches, other times stopping at the ice cream or sandwich shops along the way.

I had read about a newly paved section and decided to make that our Labour Day outing so we packed up the bikes and headed up the 117 to St. Faustin-Lac Carré.

The St. Faustin train station was built in 1893

The old train stations at each town are a delight to explore. Well preserved and exhibiting old photos of yesteryear, I can just imagine what it was like to take the voyage by train from Montreal, way up into the Laurentian Mountains. On today’s journey, I imagined my dad’s train ride to St. Faustin station in 1940. He vacationed in Lac Carré at Cantor’s Square Lake Inn, for just $15 a week!

Cantor’s Square Lake Inn, St. Faustin, Qc. Samuel Cantor, his wife Rachel, and brother Myer Cantor bought the Inn in 1935 and owned it together until the death of Myer in 1945. When Rachel died in 1961 the Inn was sold. It burned to the ground one year later, never to be rebuilt.

The St. Faustin-Lac Carré station is a meeting point in the town. The grounds are well groomed with outdoor artistic pieces, playground, a petoncle court and even a metal tree with heart shaped red locks with the names of lovers and their important dates (haven’t seen that since Paris). There is a lovely café and a couple of ice cream shops to suit your taste.

We decided to ride from St. Faustin to St. Jovite, aka Centre-Ville Mont Tremblant, a distance of 12.5 km. The asphalt was smooth as can be and most of the northbound ride was slightly sloped downhill so I enjoyed the breeze and sights without pondering the return uphill trip. In 30 just minutes we arrived at our destination. Along the way we saw beautiful views of the Riviere du Nord which hugs the trail much of its length.

There’s wildlife, farms, lovely old homes and places to stop and relax along the way. We saw butterflies and ducks on this trip. Previously we’ve seen deer.

I decided to explore and take pictures on the slower southbound climb. I hope you’ll enjoy my shots and come and see for yourself.

Many thanks to the good folks who maintain the Ptit Train du Nord and to their sponsors who provide the funding for this magnificent, free recreational gem.

Happy Cycling!

Lovely old Quebec homesteads to see along the Ptit Train du Nord
Riviere du nord, as scene from the Ptit Train du Nord, St. Faustin – Lac Carré
Beautiful colours and gorgeous homes along the bike trail
The views while cycling along the Ptit Train du Nord
Judy and Barry enjoying the warm breeze on the trail
Lovers locks in St. Faustin – Lac Carré
The Millette farm, passed down through the generations
Famille Millette farm equipment preserved for younger generations to explore
Old dam wheel to control water levels along the Riviere du Nord
Plenty of distraction for the little ones along the trail
Barry studying all the trail options in the Tremblant area
Step down into Lac Carré

Cyclists join high-vis POLITE force to be seen by motorists

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POLITE bike vest London Evening Standard



Published: 11 April 2013

Cyclists in London are buying high-visibility clothing that looks similar to a police uniform to get motorists to give them more space and time.

The luminous yellow bibs have a blue-and-white reflective “hatched” border and are embossed with a message “POLITE notice THINK BIKE”.

But the makers admit that the word “POLITE” looks similar to “POLICE”.

Nicky Fletcher, managing director of Equisafety, said: “People who buy them are not stupid. They do look very similar. That is why they are buying them. The cyclist is not breaking the law. He is not trying to impersonate a police officer. It’s a trick of the eye but it slows the driver down.”

Ms Fletcher came across the design by accident as she created safety jackets for horse riders.

She is dyslexic and wrote “polite slow down” rather than “please slow down” as she jotted down ideas on a notepad.

Now her firm, based in Wirral, Merseyside, has won a contract to supply bike firm Raleigh with its POLITE range this winter. It sells the bibs online.

Word spread among cyclists after reviews in cycling magazines and blogs, including London Cyclist.

Equisafety pressed ahead with the design after being assured by Met commander Bob Broadhurst that it was not illegal.

Ms Fletcher said: “It’s definitely not designed to look like a police jacket. It doesn’t look like any uniform I have seen. We have trademarked it. One cyclist told us it was like a ‘force field’ around him.”


Interesting idea.  Should we try this here? Post your comment.

CSL strengthens pioneering helmet bylaws


Bike helmets are a must for all ages

Bike helmets are a must for all ages

One of my primary objectives when I first stood for election was to ensure that the City of Cote Saint-Luc became a pioneer in the field of making bike helmets mandatory for all cyclists with its first helmet by-law in 1992.

Cote Saint-Luc became the first city in Canada to adopt such a by-law in 1992.  Since then, half the provinces require helmets to be worn for cycling.  Unfortunately, Quebec is not one of them.

Since the 90s, a number of other wheeled devices have appeared in the market and our by-law is due for an update, to include kick scooters, skateboards, electric bicycles, etc.

In order to comply with Canadian standards, CSA approved helmets are the standard one should look for when purchasing a helmet.  The bylaw permits helmets that have the CSA label, as well as those that meet the American ANSI or the Snell Foundation standards.

The updated bylaw now covers electric bicycles, which are not governed by the Highway Safety Code (amongst other things, they do not require a license plate, a special driver’s license classification or the provincial requirement to wear a helmet as a motorcycle or gas-powered scooter would). Also included are in-line skates, skateboards and any self-propelled device used on the street or sidewalk.

Make bike helmets a family affair

Make bike helmets a family affair

The fine for non-compliance is now $25 (plus applicable court fees).  While the amount is relatively low it is meant to serve as a deterrent to non-compliance with the by-law. Ultimately, the city has taken the approach of education and awareness to gain compliance with the 21 year old bylaw.

If you cycle, scoot, skate or blade, wear a helmet! You might just save your head from avoidable trauma.

Cyclist safety campaign underway across Montreal

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The cyclist safety campaign is underway.  From June 4 to August 26, 2012, Montreal police officers will pay special attention to enforcing the highway safety code provisions for cyclists and drivers. Cyclists and drivers both engage in risky behaviour – it’s a two-way street!  In fact, 50% of the cyclist accidents leading to death or injury are the driver’s fault, and the 50% are the fault of the cyclist.

Read more via Cyclist safety.

And remember to always wear a bicycle helmet.  It’s the law in Cote Saint-Luc.

There are excellent promotional materials available online from the Quebec government’s automobile insurance board (SAAQ) on cycle safety such as this flyer.

SPVM warns cyclists to use their head… and wear their helmet

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SPVM warns cyclists to use their head… and wear their helmet

P.A. Sévigny, The Suburban

May 23, 2012

Constable Nathalie Valois. “It’s the only one you’ve got and you should do whatever you can to protect it.” As a long-time veteran of the SPVM’s bicycle squad, Valois told The Suburban she has seen more than her share of serious bicycle accidents, and, while experience demonstrates that most of them could have been avoided if either one of the parties involved had used a bit of common sense, Valois believes most of the cyclists could have avoided serious head injuries (or worse) if they had bothered to wear a helmet.

In order to make their point, several members of Quebec’s AQTC (Association Québecoise des Traumatisés Crâniens) were more than friendly and willing to talk to anybody about what it takes to recover from any kind of serious head injury. While it’s never a good day when you finally wake up after spending weeks in a coma, it’s even worse when you discover that you’re partially blind, you have no sense of balance, the headaches and the dizziness won’t ever go away and if you’re a man, chances are you will probably never have regular sex again.

As one of the MUHC‘s Injury Prevention coordinators, Tara Grenier used a plastic model to demonstrate what happens to the brain after it’s been affected by any kind of a serious blow to the head. As both the head and the brain are richly endowed with a complex web full of arteries and veins, any kind of trauma to the head can break blood vessels after which the blood has nowhere to go.

As the blood begins to form a clot between the victim’s brain and his skull, cells begin to die and it’s only a question of time and effective emergency treatment before the line is crossed between what is already a serious injury and the victim’s inevitable death.

“Over 70 percent of the cyclists treated at the Montreal General Hospital trauma department weren’t wearing a helmet at the time when the incident occurred,” said Grenier.

Further statistics indicate 58 percent of those who are admitted to the MUHC’s General Hospital will be treated for a serious head injury after which the same type of injury is also considered to be the leading cause of death or serious injury to both cyclists and skateboarders.

“So what’s more important,” asked Valois. “Your ‘look’ or your head.”

As there were more than 20 people stopping cyclists along the bike path, Valois and the others were getting a lot of attention. Instead of handing out nothing more than a pamphlet and a lecture, Valois and her partner, SPVM Constable Julie Boivert were handing out new bike helmets along with a T-shirt and lots of reasons why cyclists should wear their helmets.

While both Valois and Boivert were happy to stop and have a chance to talk with the city’s cyclists, she also mentioned that statistics indicate up to one in two of the city’s cyclists don’t wear a helmet while using their bikes. While she understands how the issue could easily become a question of personal choice, Valois believes it’s only a matter of time before people start wearing their helmets while riding their bikes through the streets of Montreal.

“Let’s face it, she said. “It’s hard to argue against the fact that wearing a helmet can reduce the risk and severity of a serious head injury by anywhere from 60 to 85 percent.”

Helmet safety


CBC News reports surprising findings on helmet safety: Player.

Bottom line?  Ensure you and your kids wear a helmet for tobogganing, skating and skiing.

As we mark 20 years since I proposed helmet legislation in Cote Saint-Luc leading to the first municipal bylaw in Canada, once again, I call upon the Quebec government to require helmets for all cyclists and skiers.

Our dynamic and engaged MNA, Lawrence Bergman, could be a key advocate to influence the government to take action.

Post your comments here.

Did you cycle the CSL route?

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In the last few years I proposed the creation of a Cote Saint-Luc bicycle route initiative which I called “CSL Cycles”.  After two years of planning, in June 2011, the City launched the bicycle route along a 10-kilometer stretch in its northern half as part of an initiative to encourage residents to stay active.

Now that the summer is over, we’d like your feedback. Please complete the following satisfaction survey so that we can improve the route next year.

My plan, which is approved by the city, is to continue this route by connecting to the NDG bike route which leads to the routes headed downtown and to the Lachine Canal.

Please click this link to complete the survey and offer any suggestions.  The survey will only take a couple of minutes:

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