Big Rides Leave From Trem­blant’s P’tit Train

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - FEATURE -

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.

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