Quebec shows what rail trail can be

To provide a glimpse of what a bike-able trail can be, look to P’tit Train du Nord in the province of Quebec, a trail our friendly neighbors to the north have turned into a great draw for cyclists from all over.

My wife and I, along with thirteen friends, rode this route through the low-lying hills of the Laurentians north of Montreal in early August. This is something that anyone who enjoys the wilderness experience from the vantage of a bike saddle should not miss.

The rails are completely gone. The traffic is mostly bikes, with some walkers and the occasional mom on in-line skates ripping along the paved section near Mont Tremblant, race-style pram in front. Many of the old stations have been turned into restaurants, museums, and tourist-friendly shops. Great little inns and restaurants abound. This being French Canada, the food and accommodations are exquisite.

It provides four days of beautiful, relaxing, car-free cycling along the two hundred-kilometer (124-mile) route. And cycling in Quebec is an economic engine: close to one hundred million Canadian dollars a year, as of fourteen years ago. Does anyone else see how a ninety-mile version of this trail through the much-more impressive wilderness of the Adirondacks can be?

Bill Lindenfelser, Rochester

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