I wish I'd put "bike to Rigaud" on my list. Because last Sunday, on a sunny, peaceful and triumphant afternoon that's exactly what I did! I took my tired, nostalgic and bored almost 30-year-old self and made the most of some spectacular weather and followed the Lakeshore and some well-placed bike paths to the old town of Rigaud.
To the people who don't live in Montreal, Rigaud is a small French city about 40 miles from Montreal, close to the Ontario border, and about 25 miles from my house.
I woke on the Sunday morning of Thanksgiving week-end feeling sluggish and uninspired from the night before from Thanksgiving dinner number one. I made some tea and sat outside in the sun for a few moments and decided what I would do with my time until I had to be in Rigaud for Thanksgiving dinner number two that evening. The weather was warm and sunny, and I needed exercise. I felt like I should make the 30 plus kilometre bike ride there.
And I did. I did a fast Google maps search and scanned a possible bike route. Then I filled up my waterbottle, hopped on my bike and left. That's pretty much how I do things; fast and no thinking.
Rigaud is off the island of Montreal and I had to cross two bridges to get there, luckily both had bike paths! Other than a ten minute detour in Dorion, when I had no idea where I was, I didn't get lost.
The first leg was my house to Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue. I stopped at a coffee shop for some water and a snack, then walked into a co-op grocery store for some cranberries. Families were out walking hand in hand and enjoying the beautiful weather, kids were skipping along the waterfront; everything was picture perfect. I even ran into one of my old film teachers. As I was unlocking my bike I heard a voice call out "Welcome to the fabled town of Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue".
And my greatest discovery? Red Velvet Fudge. Yes, this exists. I bought some at the coffee shop and saved it for a break after I entered Hudson. I stopped and sat down on the curb overlooking the water and paused, letting the cool afternoon sun give me energy for the next 15 kilometres.
I wish I'd planned it more, and taken more pictures. But my little bike trip turned out to be pretty representative of my travel philosophy (or at least the way I end up doing it).
1. Don't think much about the journey ahead
2. When it feels right, just go
3. Don't look at too many maps
4. Don't waste your time taking too many photos
5. Stop in cute cafes along the way
6. Take a breathe once in a while and soak it all in
Bikes and book writing. I'm filled with hope again.