Big Rides Leave From Tremblant’s P’tit Train
Plenty of ink has been spilt celebrating the remarkable P’tit Train du Nord, a rails-to-trails linear route that connects Montreal to the Laurentian Mountains to the north. If you like Quebec cuisine, then consider the P’tit Train your appetizer.
“So many people asked why we would move from Victoria, B.C., to the Laurentians,” says Jeff Ain, the Nextgen national mountain bike coach. “You don’t get those hour-long climbs here, but the Laurentians certainly have their own special magic.”
Ain moved to the region at the start of summer 2018, and quickly began exploring the roads of the area on his road bike, using 25-mmwide tires. The broken pavement and gravel of the area led Ain to pick up a 650b gravel bike with 47-mm-wide tubeless tires.
“Tubeless has been key,” Ain says. “I’ve been exploring everywhere and, knock on wood, no flats. This bike has changed how and what I can ride.”
Pretty quickly, Ain found that using the P’tit Train as a jumpingoff point was a great strategy. He’s keen on looking for minor roads between all the lakes that feature in the region. Snaking up and over hills and down to the next lake has opened up numerous opportunities to choose any adventure. Off the main highways, there are a few cottages and fewer cars, making two-to-threehour loops easy and fun.
Ain recommends heading north toward Labelle from Mont-tremblant and checking out La Gare, a great café with excellent sandwiches. He suggests creating a l oop around the southwest, tying in Lac Labelle, Lac Cameron and Lac des Trois Montagnes. When returning to Tremblant, Ain typically gets food and coffee at either La Sandwicherie or Au Café, both in the old Tremblant Village just a few metres from the P’tit Train du Nord. Au Café sits inside Cybercycle, making it an ideal preride meeting point in case anyone needs any last-minute supplies.
Ain also recommends finding your way into the 4x4 trails in Tremblant National Park. You’ll be rewarded with riverside routes that may be rough in places, but easily navigated on a gravel bike.
SNAKING UP AND OVER HILLS AND DOWN TO THE NEXT LAKE HAS OPENED UP NUMEROUS WAYS TO CHOOSE ANY ADVENTURE.