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Why Quebec endlessly beckons those on a bicycle

Updated : 2019-05-22 12:12:01

In Montreal each spring, an epic bicycle festival demonstrates how 25,000 people can let the good times roll without bumping into each other too much. In Quebec City and its hinterlands, cyclists plunge into a history shaped by French explorers, the Roman Catholic Church, aboriginal culture and British conquest — plus a quite unexpected taste of Teddy Roosevelt on a trail into the wilderness.

Cyclists get underway in Tour la Nuit, the annual Montreal bicycle festival's night ride, June 3, 2016. This year, on May 31, the crowd of some 10,000 will bicycle into and around Montreal's Olympic Stadium as part of the night tour. Montreal is a hotbed of cycling, with plentiful urban paths and access to long-distance touring routes and one of Canada's longest rail trails outside the city. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Cyclists get underway in Tour la Nuit, the annual Montreal bicycle festival's night ride, June 3, 2016. This year, on May 31, the crowd of some 10,000 will bicycle into and around Montreal's Olympic Stadium as part of the night tour. Montreal is a hotbed of cycling, with plentiful urban paths and access to long-distance touring routes and one of Canada's longest rail trails outside the city. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
A cyclist pedals on P'tit Train du Nord, a rail trail running through Quebec's Laurentian region outside Montreal.  (AP Photo/R.M. Green)
A cyclist pedals on P'tit Train du Nord, a rail trail running through Quebec's Laurentian region outside Montreal.  (AP Photo/R.M. Green)
A bear takes a dip with a toy at Zoo Sauvage in Saint-Felicien. The zoo, notable for the wide open spaces turned over to its animals, is a favourite stop for cyclists circling Lac-Saint-Jean on Veloroute des Bleuets, the Blueberry Trail.  (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
A bear takes a dip with a toy at Zoo Sauvage in Saint-Felicien. The zoo, notable for the wide open spaces turned over to its animals, is a favourite stop for cyclists circling Lac-Saint-Jean on Veloroute des Bleuets, the Blueberry Trail.  (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Visitors to Val-Jalbert, a re-created paper mill town from the 1920s along Lac-Saint-Jean, are dwarfed by the roaring Ouiatchouan waterfall, which once powered the mill. The spectacle dominates the town, both by day when visitors can stroll the streets, and by night when the waterfall is dramatically bathed in lights of changing colors and the town is reserved for guests who stay there. It's a popular stop for cyclists on the Blueberry Trail around Quebec's Lac-Saint-Jean. (AP Photo/R.M. Green)
Visitors to Val-Jalbert, a re-created paper mill town from the 1920s along Lac-Saint-Jean, are dwarfed by the roaring Ouiatchouan waterfall, which once powered the mill. The spectacle dominates the town, both by day when visitors can stroll the streets, and by night when the waterfall is dramatically bathed in lights of changing colors and the town is reserved for guests who stay there. It's a popular stop for cyclists on the Blueberry Trail around Quebec's Lac-Saint-Jean. (AP Photo/R.M. Green)
Quebec City's iconic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac dominates the city skyline from the ferry crossing the St. Lawrence River. Riverfront bicycle trails on both sides offer easy cycling and striking views, while the Jacques-Cartier trail outside the city runs more than 80 kilometres or 50 miles through forest and meadows with several towns along the way. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Quebec City's iconic Fairmont Le Chateau Frontenac dominates the city skyline from the ferry crossing the St. Lawrence River. Riverfront bicycle trails on both sides offer easy cycling and striking views, while the Jacques-Cartier trail outside the city runs more than 80 kilometres or 50 miles through forest and meadows with several towns along the way. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Tents await the cyclists on Velo Quebec's Grand Tour in Granby, Quebec. The tour is a logistical marvel, as transport trucks outfitted with showers move to each night's destination, support staff set up and break down the tents and Velo Quebec feeds the crowd, with massage available. (AP Photo, Cal Woodward)
Tents await the cyclists on Velo Quebec's Grand Tour in Granby, Quebec. The tour is a logistical marvel, as transport trucks outfitted with showers move to each night's destination, support staff set up and break down the tents and Velo Quebec feeds the crowd, with massage available. (AP Photo, Cal Woodward)
Cyclists on Velo Quebec's Grand Tour sweep along a trail in the Eastern Townships. More than 1,200 cyclists took part in the ride, which dipped into Vermont. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Cyclists on Velo Quebec's Grand Tour sweep along a trail in the Eastern Townships. More than 1,200 cyclists took part in the ride, which dipped into Vermont. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Quebec and Canadian flags greet visitors at a shop on Isle-aux-Coudres, where a road circling the island shore provides a perfect loop for lovers of quiet roads, gentle hills, flats along with the water and eye-candy vistas of mountains you don't have to climb. A free, 15-minute car ferry gets you to the island from Quebec's Charlevoix mainland. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Quebec and Canadian flags greet visitors at a shop on Isle-aux-Coudres, where a road circling the island shore provides a perfect loop for lovers of quiet roads, gentle hills, flats along with the water and eye-candy vistas of mountains you don't have to climb. A free, 15-minute car ferry gets you to the island from Quebec's Charlevoix mainland. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
A quiet road circling the island looks out on the mountains of Quebec's Charlevoix region and the broad St. Lawrence River and can be accessed by a free car ferry. (AP Photo, R.M. Green)
A quiet road circling the island looks out on the mountains of Quebec's Charlevoix region and the broad St. Lawrence River and can be accessed by a free car ferry. (AP Photo, R.M. Green)
A view of the grounds at Manoir Hovey, outside North Hatley, Quebec, in the Eastern Townships. Bill and Hillary Clinton vacationed with the Canadian mystery novelist Louise Penny at the inn along Lac Massawippi that summer. The Eastern Townships are laced with bicycle routes that make it a prime destination for cyclists sampling the Route Verte network of trails and byways. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
A view of the grounds at Manoir Hovey, outside North Hatley, Quebec, in the Eastern Townships. Bill and Hillary Clinton vacationed with the Canadian mystery novelist Louise Penny at the inn along Lac Massawippi that summer. The Eastern Townships are laced with bicycle routes that make it a prime destination for cyclists sampling the Route Verte network of trails and byways. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
A cyclist takes in the St. Lawrence vista at Notre-Dame-du-Portage, Quebec. Along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in this area of around Kamouraska, the panorama of river, sky, flowers and gardens defines the magic of bicycling the Route Verte network in Quebec. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
A cyclist takes in the St. Lawrence vista at Notre-Dame-du-Portage, Quebec. Along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River in this area of around Kamouraska, the panorama of river, sky, flowers and gardens defines the magic of bicycling the Route Verte network in Quebec. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Towering equine topiaries dominate a carpet of flowers at the Montreal Botanical Garden. Montreal is a hotbed of bicycling, offering a bike festival that draws some 25,000 cyclists on a June 2 ride along with access to long-distance touring routes and the nearby rail trail, P'tit Train du Nord. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Towering equine topiaries dominate a carpet of flowers at the Montreal Botanical Garden. Montreal is a hotbed of bicycling, offering a bike festival that draws some 25,000 cyclists on a June 2 ride along with access to long-distance touring routes and the nearby rail trail, P'tit Train du Nord. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Cyclists chat beside a historical fresco in Old Quebec. Nearby, the Promenade Samuel de Champlain path takes cyclists along the St. Lawrence River, past outdoor works of art and the lively waterfront, connecting them with a path across the river via the ferry or bridge. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Cyclists chat beside a historical fresco in Old Quebec. Nearby, the Promenade Samuel de Champlain path takes cyclists along the St. Lawrence River, past outdoor works of art and the lively waterfront, connecting them with a path across the river via the ferry or bridge. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Paule Bergeron takes in the scene in Place-Royale in Old Quebec. Quebec City offers compelling urban bike routes along the river, out to Montmorency Falls and through intriguing neighbourhoods, as well as access to the Jacques-Cartier rail trail running through forest, farmland and meadows. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
Paule Bergeron takes in the scene in Place-Royale in Old Quebec. Quebec City offers compelling urban bike routes along the river, out to Montmorency Falls and through intriguing neighbourhoods, as well as access to the Jacques-Cartier rail trail running through forest, farmland and meadows. (AP Photo/Cal Woodward)
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