Sunday, 19 June 2011

On the racetrack, speeding

The Gilles Villeneuve Formula 1 racetrack is a "road course". This is more than a little ridiculous as it has nothing to do with the actual road network of the Greater Montreal area. Cars are allowed to drive on it, but they don't really go anywhere. As well, the speed limit is only 30 km/h.

Cyclists, rollerbladers and pedestrians are also allowed access (assuming there isn't a race on) as it is part of both the Route Verte and the Trans-Canada Trail. The latter bit is particularly weird when you think about it. As the track is carefully resurfaced every year or so, on account of the F1 races, cyclists, especially road racer types, use it as it is relatively free from traffic, the surface is superb and there is relatively little in the way of hills. You get all kinds from kids learning to ride to serious spandex types, with a relative bias towards the spandex crowd trying to get their cadences up. (Guilty.) Evidently there had been a bit of trouble at one point regarding them, as Vélo-Québec reported that they had negotiated with the authorities to have them stop applying the speed limit (30 km/h) to bikers.

Anyway, I took Leonardo out for a jaunt today that took to in the Gilles Villeneuve. In order to get a good workout in, I pedalled rapidly around the circuit for more than half an hour, breaking the speed limit fairly often. As it was a very nice day, it wasn't that hard. Much nicer than it was the previous Sunday when they were holding the F1 race!

On the circuit, bikes are directed down pit lane, at the end of which were three middle-aged women with digital SLRs taking pictures of the passing cyclists. On my last circuit, I stopped to ask them why they were doing so. Apparently, they were practicing their camera skills. Rather disappointing really! I had thought of much more interesting and flattering theories.

After zooming around the Gilles Villeneuve and seeing nary a sign of its well-known rodent, the legendary, if often short-lived, Marmota monax urbinova suicidius or kamikaze woodchuck, I went along the strip of land that divides the St-Lawrence Seaway from the river itself. I did this a while back, only today the weather was nicer if buggier.

I came back via the shoreline bike path, only to be halted at the St-Lambert locks as they were in use. There was an electronic sign which said that it would be 40 minutes or so before the bridge would be lowered. However, there was someone there who said that as it was opening for pleasure traffic, it would only be 20 minutes or so. When asked how he knew this, he replied that as he had to use this route to get to work, he made a point of checking out the Seaway website to see when large ships were due through the locks!

As I had come over via the Pont de la Concorde, I went back over the ice breaker bridge. (On the way over the Pont de la Concorde, I had the idea that maybe a partial remedy to Montreal's bridge problem would be to extend the Pont de la Concorde over the Seaway via a drawbridge.) As I rode over the ice breaker bridge, I chatted with the guy who knew the schedule of large ships for a bit.

All in all, it has been a pretty good day.

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