Do you think it's essential to have a car to drive in the Laurentian Mountains? Error! Thanks to the bus services with bike racks, it is possible to get there without a car. Story of this summer’s experiences.
Back from my trip to Switzerland where I ran and walked a lot, but not pedaled at all, I was anxious to ride my bike again. The first weekend of August, I took advantage of an invitation to a friend’s cottage in Kiamika (a few kilometers from Mont-Laurier) to ride my bike from Montreal. Small problem: having had a dental operation four days earlier, the dentist had warned me not to make sustained efforts for a few days. Since I absolutely wanted to do this ride (as a facilitating element, I had the opportunity to come back by car with my wife), I agreed that I had to do a bus ride. Knowing the route well, I chose to skip the distance between Saint-Jérôme and Val-Morin (39 km by the P’tit Train Du Nord bike path). This is a stretch where the altitude difference is quite significant. So, it was better to take the bus.
Convenient bus service
Thanks to the Inter Laurentians bus service, that is possible. Each vehicle is equipped with a bicycle rack at the front that can take three bikes. The free service operates on a first-come, first-served basis and is available from April 15 to November 15. The bus ticket is very affordable. It costs only $6 to travel from Saint-Jérôme to Tremblant and no matter where the user ends his journey, the price remains the same. This is even cheaper by buying the card ($40 for 10 fares, or $4 per fare!). This 56-minute bus ride allowed me to keep my energy for the rest of the course. I still had 166 km to go on a total ride of 218 km. What beautiful landscapes seen on the P’tit Train Du Nord and the few roads taken.
Another bus-bike ride
On August 29th, I did it again by making even more intensive use of buses. This time, my plan was to go from Laval to Saint-Faustin by bus and return by bike to Montreal via Tremblant. To do this, I took the 9 express bus from Laval to Saint-Jérôme and then I took the L'Inter bus to Saint-Faustin. The 9 bus from Saint-Jérôme has two places on the front rack and it also works on a first-come, first-served basis. The express service has the advantage of being fast (only two stops on the route). However, bikes are allowed on all buses, express or not. The service is offered free of charge from April 15th to October 31st and the hours vary according to the sunshine. Bus fare is $4.75.
Although the bus journey is longer than by car (2h10 from Saint-Jérôme to Saint-Faustin), it allows for a linear journey rather than a loop or a round trip if you use the car. It's also a good way to reduce one’s ecological footprint in the Greta Thunberg way. If the young Swede has crossed the Atlantic by sailing (rather than flying), I can do my little share by using the bus for my leisure!
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If you are like me, an amateur biker behind the wheel and do not know about mechanics or maintenance, follow these 4 steps to clean your bicycle chain like a pro !