It's an easy ride on clearly marked bike paths to Iles Saint Helene and Notre Dame, the site of Expo 67. Ile Notre Dame is nicer, with well maintained formal gardens and small canals occasionally cutting through. The island hosts the Montreal Grand Prix, so you'll have a chance to bike along a Formula One race course. If you're feeling lucky, have someone stay with the bikes while you run in to take a chance or two in the Montrreal Casino. Then bike over to Ile Sainte Helene... it's a bit more rustic in places, hillier, with remnants from Expo 67 including what's left of the US pavillion.
You can easily bike around the islands and back in under two hours without much stress. For more adventurous or energetic folks, don't go directly back to Old Port. Make a bigger loop: follow the bike paths to the south bank of the Saint Lawrence and take the bike-only bridge across to Verdun's Ile des Soeurs. From here it gets a bit more congested and confusing. Take a map and watch out for cars!
If your legs can do it, another good trip is to fight through city traffic to make your way up to Mont Royal Park. Fortunately, drivers here are used to sharing the road with bikes. Once in the park, gravel roads for bikers and walkers wind through the woods. Keep going up to the chalet with its spectacular view of the city. Once you've rested, turn the bike around and just scream down those park roads on your way back to Old Port... gravity is your friend!
Two hour weekday rental, $12CDN. Ride to islands: beginner; Return via Verdun: intermediate; Mont Royal Summit: hard-working intermediate.
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by Foxboro Marmot
October 26, 2002
From journal Back to Montreal
San Francisco, California
June 8, 2011