The province of Québec has lengthy been considered one of Canada’s most vibrant areas for biking. From 1954 to 1965 there was an beginner stage race, the Tour de Saint-Laurent Cycliste, modelled on the Tour de France and starting from 2 to eight days and 550-1600 kms, and in later years included many European contributors. Knowledgeable race, the Tour de la Nouvelle-France, happened 1971-72, and the World Championships have been held in Montréal in 1974. The one UCI World Tour occasions in North America are the Grand-Prix races in Québec and Montréal, which started in 2010. Montréal’s enormous Tour de l’Ile, restarted in 2021 after cancellation as a result of pandemic, attracted 19,000 contributors in 2022.
After an absence of 4 years, the Gatineau Salon du Velo (in English: the Gatineau-Ottawa Bicycle Present) returned to town, immediately throughout the Ottawa River from Ottawa, on March 11-13 this 12 months. Operated by the identical group that does the same occasion every year in Montréal, the present is the most important client present within the Nationwide Capital Area dedicated to biking and biking tourism. In 2023 greater than 100 exhibitors and types could be available, with some 6,000 guests anticipated over the three day run of the present.
Exhibitors ranged from native bike outlets presenting among the newest fashions from well-known manufacturers similar to Trek, Felt, Dice, Orbea and Louis Garneau, but additionally smaller corporations, similar to Daigle Cycles from Montreal, which started designing its carbon bicycles in 2017. Guests to the present had the possibility to purchase a variety of vitamin merchandise and clothes. The Ottawa Bicycle Membership, based initially in 1882 and reformed in 1971, is among the largest golf equipment in Canada and was current to advertise its most essential occasion, the annual Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour from Ottawa to Kingston and return in June.
Contrasting to the present in Montréal we attended just a few years in the past, the emphasis on the Gatineau Salon du Velo confirmed a development away from conventional highway/racing bicycles in the direction of bikes with extra flexibility, together with gravel bikes, fats bikes and, overwhelmingly, e-bikes. There have been plenty of e-bikes on show and the present additionally supplied the chance to strive one out on an indoor monitor.
The “Biking Theatre” supplied lectures all through the present. Matters together with selecting and sustaining e-bikes, biking holidays in Europe and Québec, and Jonathon Roy’s tales from biking 40,000 kms all over the world. Additionally current and talking was the Supervisor of Customer Companies for Gatineau Park. It is a nationwide park measuring 361 sq. kilometres administered by the Nationwide Capital Fee that gives among the greatest biking routes, each highway and path, within the space.
The opposite component of the present that’s enticing is that dedicated to tourism. There have been corporations providing organized excursions in such unique locales as Morocco, representatives from Gatineau Park, and regional tourism folks for the Outaouais, Cantons de l’Est, Centre-du-Québec, Montérégie and Laurentides areas of Québec and Cornwall in Ontario. It’s clear that these areas have been making a critical effort to draw cyclists. Mont Tremblant, the place considered one of Canada’s Ironman triathlon occasions is held, has been within the forefront and has signposted routes within the area for would-be contributors. All the exhibitors had, for the asking, helpful maps and data, and particular itineraries, similar to a gastronomic route or, our favorite, the Circuit Microbrasseries, masking among the 20 craft brewers within the Jap Townships. You’ll be able to test that one out right here at: www.easterntownships.org
With winter’s rains and ruins nonetheless upon us at the moment of 12 months, it’s was a pleasure to enter the intense and noisy Palais de Congrès du Gatineau and take into consideration the sunny days and two-wheeled adventures forward.