Canada, Québec: Eastern Townships Bike Tour
Six nights; six days of cycling through L’Estrie – Quebec’s lovely south, with nice lodging, outstanding cuisine, and pretty towns, farms, and forests.
“Great job. Freewheeling pays close attention to all the details. This was our first fully guided trip and given the very short time frame we had to arrange the holiday it was nice not having to research everything” – Miriam B. & Peter F.
WHY THIS TRIP?
- Hilly cycling, easily accessible from Montreal, on bike paths and paved roads.
- Haskell Opera House straddles the Canada-USA border.
- Québécois tradition with Anglophone culture.
- Vineyard region near Dunham.
- Pedal on an aerial bikeway through the trees near Sutton.
- Cider and cheesemaking at L’Abbaye Saint-Benoît-du-Lac.
- Excellent cuisine, including sweet maple syrup, delicious ice wine, great beer, fantastic cheese, aromatic bakeries, and generally wholesome meals.
A challenging ride with many hilly sections. A combination of paved roads, most with light traffic and spacious shoulders, short sections of unpaved roads, usually quite smooth with hardly any traffic, and some easier, traffic-free bike path sections, either paved or with loose stone surfaces. Relaxed riders may require van support over some of the hilly sections, or are advised to rent e-bikes. Advanced riders will enjoy these long rides and the opportunity to spin. The route is best for hybrid or gravel bikes. Road racers can take alternative paved routes instead of bike paths, but will be riding with traffic.
- DAY 1: ~75 km
- DAY 2: ~60km
- DAY 3: Up to ~90km
- DAY 4: ~70 km
- DAY 5: ~80 km
- DAY 6: ~ 50 km
(Click image to enlarge)
Start: Montreal, Auberge Du Vieux Port, 09:00, day one.
Finish: Montreal, ~11:00, day seven.
Please contact us to arrange alternate plans, if necessary.
Artria Cultural Ride 74km
Start with a one-hour transfer to Granby, unless you are driving there yourself. You will be cycling today, so please be ready to ride when we pick you up for the transfer. Today’s ride includes most of the traffic-free Artria route, also partly known as L’Estriade. It is an attractive ride with optional extras, boasting a series of permanent art installations, the beautiful Yamaska Park, and the charming towns of Granby and Waterloo, from where you’ll follow the country roads to your inn at West Brome. LD (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Auberge Spa West Brome, West Brome
West Brome to Sutton – The Vineland Route, 62km
Ride along the Vineland Route through Dunham to Sutton, passing five vineyards in the morning. The rolling landscape becomes progressively hillier as you pass through several quiet towns, cross a covered bridge, and enjoy beautiful tree-lined roads around Pigeon Hill on the way to Frelighsburg for a picnic and a visit to the bakery. After that, ride the scenic route along the Canada-US border to Abercorn and Sutton. With just 5km left to ride today, you might like to stop at Domaine Breese – a pretty vineyard in Sutton Junction. BLD
Le Pleasant Hotel; or, Auberge Sutton Brouërie, Sutton
Loop ride through wine country from Sutton, 83km
A long, hilly ride through beautiful vineyards and several quiet towns, this will take you around La Montêe de Fer – the Iron Mountain. Your scenic loop ride will bring you through several small hamlets and villages including Brome-Centre, Fulford, and Knowlton. Keep your swimsuit nearby for an afternoon swim at Douglass Beach near Knowlton. To avoid busier roads, the final 10km follows quiet unpaved roads that are typically very smooth surfaced. Return to Sutton for independent evening meals. B
Sutton to Magog via the abbey, 70km
Touch the US border again, as you ride through beautiful Glen Sutton, where you can stop to ride aerial bikes along a tramway through the trees – and along the Missisquoi River. In Bolton Centre you can cool your feet in a pleasant river before continuing to the Abbey of St-Benoît-du-Lac (www.st-benoit-du-lac.com) where for lunch you can sample and buy cider and cheese made by the monks. Continue riding north around Lake Memphremagog, perhaps stopping at the labyrinth in Magog before finding your comfortable inn. BLD
Manoir de la Rue Merry; or La Belle Victorienne Auberge & Spa; or Hotel Verso; Magog
Magog To Ayer’s Cliff or North Hatley 81km
Ride through Georgeville and Fitch Bay enroute to Beebe Plain and Stanstead. Visit the Haskell Opera House and the Colby Curtis Museum, then ride toward the treasure trove of Ayer’s Cliff, where you can coast down a long hill to the top of Lac Massawippi in North Hatley – Quebec’s most beautiful village. The Pilsen Pub serves its own excellent draught (www.pilsen.ca). This afternoon, you have the choice of riding hilly paved roads or the gentle, unpaved Tomifobia forest trail. BD
Ripplecove Hotel & Spa, Ayer’s Cliff; or Manoir Hovey, North Hatley
Ayer's Cliff/North Hatley Loop, 46 or 58km
Ride the unpaved bike path past Mont Hatley toward the village of Compton, stopping for the Capelton copper mine tour if you like, and explore the Louis St. National Historic Site to learn about Canada’s 17th Prime Minister, Louis Stephen St. Laurent. Follow quiet back roads to Ayer’s Cliff, and return to the comfort of your lake front lodge either by road or by “Le Wippi” – a cyclist and pedestrian-only ferry. BLD
Transfer and farewells
Morning transfer 90 minutes back to Montreal. B
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2023 Guided dates:
- Jul 14-20
- Jul 28-Aug 3
- Aug 18-24
- Sep 1-7
- Sep 29-Oct 5
2024 Guided dates:
- Jun 14-20
- Jul 12-18
- Jul 26-Aug 1
- Aug 16-22
- Aug 30-Sep 5
- Sep 27-Oct 3
Self-Guided available any dates, except for those listed above. New dates are also welcomed for guided or private departures.
Guided: C 4395 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 3 lunches, 5 dinners, luggage handling, maps, route instructions, van and full-time guide support, sales taxes
Small groups or private tours, fully supported with drivers/guides and vehicles, all lodging and most meals included. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Self-Guided: C 3895 (per person, double occupancy)
Includes 7 days, 6 nights, 6 breakfasts, 1 dinner (Day 1), inn to inn luggage transfers, maps, route instructions, essential transfers, on-call emergency support, sales taxes
Semi-supported, independent tours including welcome briefing, lodging, luggage transfers and necessary vehicle transfers. Choose from existing dates or request new departures. Read more on our “What to Expect” page.
Single Occupancy: 1095
Flat bars. Trek FX3 or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag. Lowstep frames available by request.
Drop bars. Trek Domane AL5, or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag.
Flat bars. Trek Verve+ 2 or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag. Lowstep frames available by request.
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
Please see above for accurate pricing and inclusions, unless we have proposed a customized trip for you and those details are provided in your custom proposal.
1. Choose an advertised date to join a small group, or see our Join a Group page to see where groups are already forming.
2. Pick your own dates. We will confirm quickly, and are happy to talk with you as you make your choice. If you would like a private guided date, this usually comes at a surcharge depending on the details, please get in touch for more information. If you prefer self-guided, we usually only require two participants to initiate a new date at the advertised price, and can sometimes reduce prices for you if you have four or more.
The Eastern Townships of Québec combine the convenience of access from Montréal with the true pleasures of Québecois tradition and culture, and a largely anglophone culture. Outstanding cuisine is being discovered, and the quiet roads, charming towns and green pastures are a perfect canvas for this exquisite holiday. The flavours and luxuries will pervade your senses and lead you to a deep appreciation for the townships, known locally as L’Estrie. You will tour through the vineyard region near Dunham, and bicycle through forests and villages past stone churches toward Sutton, stopping for great bowls of café-au-lait and rich croissants at fabulous bakeries along the way. At L’Abbaye St-Benoît-du-Lac, you can try the cider and cheese made by monks in their picturesque lakeshore monastery. Circumnavigating Lac Memphremagog, you will enjoy splendid views on your way to a particularly luxurious final two nights, where the dining is among the most highly rated in Canada. Be careful! Not only will this adventure treat your palate, but the local joie-de-vivre will easily rubs off on visitors, and is likely to send you to new heights of lively appreciation for all the Townships have to offer.
Trip history Freewheeling directors Cathy and Philip are involved with a bicycle advocacy board, whose mission leads it to follow the excellent example made by Quebec’s bicycle network – la Route Verte. Studying la Route Verte led to the discovery of some wonderful routes, perfectly suited to Freewheeling’s week-long holidays. Some of our past guides came from Quebec and helped us discover the little things that make a trip outstanding. We now frequently travel to Quebec for biking and skiing and having become familiar with some fine inns and cuisine in rural Quebec, have developed five unique itineraries in superbly scenic and fascinating regions.