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.
“…spoiled us senseless, preparing the most awesome picnics with all the food I love, cheese from the abbey, wonderful bread, fruits, spreads, and veggies.” – Ilse B
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.
- DAY 1: ~74km
- DAY 2: ~73km
- DAY 3: ~79km
- DAY 4: ~80km
- DAY 5: ~63km or ~81km
- DAY 6: ~65km
Start: Montreal, Hotel St. Paul, ~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, perhaps stopping at the new velodrome in Bromont. LD (Meal inclusions provided for guided trips. Self-guided trips include breakfast only)
Auberge Spa West Brome, West Brome
West Brome Loop ~73km
Ride along the Vineland Route through Dunham to Sutton and back to West Brome. The rolling landscape becomes progressively hillier as you pass through several quiet towns, cross a covered bridge and enjoy the beautiful tree-lined roads around Pigeon Hill on your 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. As you approach West Brome, with just 5km left to ride, you might stop for a tasting at Domaine Breese – a pretty vineyard near Sutton Junction. BLD
West Brome to Sutton ~79km
A long hilly ride through beautiful vineyards and several quiet towns will take you around La Montêe de Fer – the Iron Mountain. Pedal 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 first and final 10km of the ride include gravel roads that are typically smooth surfaced. Finish at Sutton for independent evening meals. B
Le Pleasant Hotel, Sutton
Sutton to Magog ~80km
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 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
Magog to Ayer’s Cliff or North Hatley ~63km or ~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. BLD
Ayer’s Cliff/North Hatley Loop ~65km
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. BD
Transfer and farewells
After breakfast, a 90-minute transfer returns you back to Montreal before noon. B
All details and pricing are subject to change without notice.
2024 Guided dates:
- Jun 14-20
- Jul 12-18
- 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 4695 (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, hybrid bicycle rental, 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 4195 (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, hybrid bicycle rental, 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.
Upgrade to Road: 150
Drop bars. Trek Domane AL5, or similar, with rear rack/trunk bag.
Upgrade tp E-bike: 300
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 best time to enjoy this tour is mid-June to mid-October.
Spring daytimes warm up to 10 to 20 °C (50 to 70 °F) by mid-June. Note that seasonal businesses may still be closed, or on off-season hours, until late June.
Summer, mid June to mid September, is normally 20 to 25 °C (70 to 80 °F). Freshwater and saltwater swimming is encouraged.
Autumn, mid September to mid October, daytimes 10 to 20 °C range (50 to 70 °F). Nights can be chilly, but rarely down to freezing. Mid-October is the best time to see spectacularly colorful fall foliage.
GET TO THE START
We suggest you plan to spend one or two nights in Montreal before or Ottawa after your Freewheeling Adventure.
If you are arriving by air, we recommend you fly in to Montreal Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport YUL . We can arrange to pick you up at most Montreal hotels. The standard meeting place is Hotel St Paul .
This elegant hotel is just a block from the Saint Lawrence River in Old Montreal. This neighborhood offer European charm and proximity to shops, galleries and excellent dining. 355 McGill St.
If you drive:
Meet either in Montreal, where your inn can help arrange parking for the week, or in Granby, where we begin cycling. We can help you find appropriate parking. You can arrive at your convenience, and your room will be waiting. Your guides will meet you the morning of day two. It is 800km from New York, and 800km from Toronto. You can arrange parking at the inn for the week.
We will return you to your car in Granby (via a 12 minute taxi ride from Highway 10) or to the airport or any hotel you choose in Montreal, on the morning of day seven.
BEFORE AND AFTER
If you have one day: Visit Montréal
Montréal is a city of contrasts, yet a well- tempered personality. Its Old-World charm and New World effervescence are unquestionably woven into the fibre of the metropolis, but it’s the wondrous amalgam of cultures that gives Montréal its unique cachet. The largest bilingual city in North America, and the second largest city in Canada (after Toronto), Montréal draws upon the combined strengths of its French and British roots to attract newcomers from around the world. Enjoy the many facets of the city ranging from the cobblestone streets of Old Montréal to the sleek glass towers of the business district. Click here for more information about Montreal.
Definitely try a Smoked Meat Sandwich in Montreal.
Don’t call it pastrami. Montreal’s sandwich of choice bears some similarities to the New York deli specialty, but there are key differences, too, in the process and spices used to cure the beef brisket and in the resulting flavour. Montrealers also swear by their bagels, which are smaller and denser than their famous New York cousins. The Montreal-style bagel is wood-fired, and many of the city’s bagel joints do their baking within view of the seating area.
If you have several days:
Extend your trip without leaving Quebec. You can link this tour with other tours we operate in Quebec.
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.
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.