February 1, 2010
Vélo Québec's La Route Verte ("The Green Route") has been described as "The best bicycle route in the world." A bold claim, indeed.
"Made up of over 4,000 km of bikeways criss-crossing the most beautiful regions of Québec," goes the narrative on the trail's website, "the Route Verte puts you on the right track for the vacation of your dreams. No matter which bikeway you cycle on -- the Parcours des Anses in Lévis, the Véloroute des Bleuets encircling Lac Saint-Jean, the Berri Street bike path in Montreal, or the Estriade in the Eastern Townships -- you're riding on the Route Verte."
According to the "Progress Report" section of the site, La Route Verte encompasses 4,112 kilometers of existing route, 1,529 of which follow off-road bike paths, with the remaining 2,583 kilometers along quiet roads and/or paved road shoulders. Only 265 kilometers are yet to be developed, so it's nearly a done deal.
Another page at the site shows an expanded overview map of the route. Once there, you can point your cursor and click on a particular region to bring up detailed information, in both words and pictures, of that portion of the route. Click on "Accommodations Bienvenue Cyclistes!" to the side, and you'll see where various campgrounds and indoor lodgings are located along the way. (Click on the red Monopoly-style hotel icons to bring up further information, including websites in many instances, for each overnight option.)
"My favorite feature of La Route Verte was the variety of riding opportunities and the way it connects city to suburb to countryside," said Adventure Cycling's executive director Jim Sayer, who had the opportunity to ride some segments of the route a few years ago.
I've written here in the past about a destinational dilemma of mine, when I was struggling with whether to take my next tour in Nova Scotia or Michigan. Now I'm thinking I might split the difference, geographically speaking, and head for Quebec. Soon, perhaps, I'll be able to tell you firsthand if I agree with Vélo Québec's assessment that La Route Verte is the best bike route on Earth.
Have you ridden any of the route yourself? If so, what can you tell us about the experience?
Photo by Michael McCoy
BIKING WITHOUT BORDERS was posted by Michael McCoy, Adventure Cycling’s field editor, highlighting a little bit of this or a little bit of that — just about anything, as long as it related to traveling by bicycle. Mac also compiles the organization's twice-monthly e-newsletter Bike Bits, which goes free-of-charge to over 45,000 readers worldwide.
Thanks Mac for a great post. I wanted to add that due to this route and the fabulous partnership Velo Quebec formed with the Department of Transport, bicycling is a major part of Quebec's transportation policy. In fact, the Bicycle Policy, released in May 2008, states a target goal of reaching a 50% increase in modal share of bicycles for Quebec as a whole! a 10% increase in the population using a bicycle on a regular basis (to 36% in 2020); and a 10% increase in the share of utilitarian bicycle trips (to 19% by 2020). Along with these goals, they plan to improve their transportation system for cyclists by making a 30% increase in the total number of kilometers of bikeways in Quebec (6,789 in 2005 to 8,826 in 2020)
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Quebec is fantastic for cycling. The Route Verte does indeed take you through some lovely spots. Sometimes it's not marked as well as it could be though, so come with a decent local map. I recommend cycling up the north coast of the St. Lawrence river, starting from Montreal or Quebec City and going as far north as you have time for. And when you're done, the train is a very easy way to get back home.