The plan had been to cycle along the Lachine Canal south of the city, but when we were getting fitted for our bikes, the hire place guy suggested a ride over the bridge to the two islands and then back along the Estacade, a picturesque cycleway along the eastern side of the river. We'd brought our picnic lunch so we liked the idea of exploring the cycleways of the islands as they were meant to be good.
So off we set. Austin rode on a 'giraffe' on the back of Michael's bike and at first we thought he might be a bit wobbly, but the bike hire guy reassured us that the bike couldn't tip over, we would feel a slight swaying motion with Austin on the back. I had a ride after lunch with Austin on the back, and I can tell you now that it was really hard to stay straight. After only two minutes and lots of semi-trailer-jack-knifing movements I handed it back to Michael.
We rode on through the cycleways to the other island, passed the La Ronde fun park and found ourselves a picturesque grove to have our lunch in. We were enjoying the rest immensely until a wasp decided it liked our sandwiches, at which point (flashbacks to France here for me!) we got back on our bikes and started heading the long way home.
Most of the cycleways we took were outside of the city itself, across the river on the two islands of St Helene's Island and Notre Dame Island but on our way back to the bike hire shop we cycled through some city roads. The separated cycleways were great and relaxing to ride on (flashbacks to when we lived in Holland and experienced firsthand the way cyclists can rule the roads!) and even when the unique cycleways ended and we had to share the road with cars and trucks, it was a relief to feel that we were respected by motorists and not going to be yelled at if we did something silly or not!
It was good to experience cycling in Montreal considering its reputation and I wouldn't feel at all scared to cycle to work or around Montreal with the way it's set up for cyclists. It really is a great place to cycle!
How to get there
For information on where to cycle in and around Montreal, visit the Go Biking website.