Your bike is all tuned up. You’ve been training (a lot?) during the winter months. The problem is that not all bike paths are ready for you yet. Luckily, there are a few places better prepared than others to get your cycling season started in the Eastern Townships. Here are six of them.
- The portion of the Estriade in the Canton de Shefford, and the portion of the Route Verte # 4 that leads to Bromont (La Villageoise) are usually accessible quite early in the season. The Bromont and Canton de Shefford areas offer a mostly paved and relatively even trail to slowly warm up your pedalling muscles. You’ll be able to cover about twenty kilometres to smoothly start out the season; or, you might want to stop at Edgar Hyperlodge to savour one of their delicious West Shefford microbrewery beers.
- The Heritage Circuit, a loop covering about fifty kilometres (easy and intermediate levels), will immerse you in the Anglo-Saxon history of the region. you’ll ride by buildings and churches with typical architectural styles and Mystic’s Wallbridge twelve-sided barn, built in 1882. From Bedford, you’ll pass through Saint-Armand and Pigeon Hill where you’ll probably stop in the area vineyards. Check out our trip idea about this circuit.
- If all goes well (and no snow falls on our heads in May!), the Grandes Fourches Circuit, in Sherbrooke, will open on May 1. Just by staying within the city limits, you’ll cover 16 kilometres of trails, mostly taking you along the Saint-François River and one that will lead you around the Lac-des-Nations. In all, the Grandes-Fourches Circuit covers 51 kilometres all the way to North Hatley. However, you should, check if this part of the path has been cleared in May.
- The Magog-Orford circuit offer thirty-seven kilometres on an intermediate level trail where you’ll find your inspiration to continue on with all the surrounding landscapes (Mount-Orford, Lake Memphremagog…). You’ll also want to stop and taste some of the tempting gourmet treats on the way—Vignoble d’Orford, Vanden Eynsen chocolate shop, Ducs de Montrichard’s duck products, etc.
- You’re among those who never turn down a challenge? Even this early in the season? You’ll find what you’re looking for by taking the Vallée de la Coaticook Circuit. There are more than a hundred kilometres of routes (with elevations of up to 1,200 metres), for experienced level cyclists to take on in part or completely! Spectacular farmland views, ideal country routes and many gourmet stops at local producers, such as La Station Cheese Factory and the Laiterie Coaticook.
- The Grand Tour du Lac Mégantic is also reserved for pedalling professionals! From Lac-Mégantic, Marston, the Cœur villageois Piopolis … up to the top of Mount Mégantic, this is one of the most important uphill routes of Quebec with an average 9% slope! If you take on the challenge in May, imagine the summits you’ll reach by September!