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My first ride anywhere near the South Shore was made in 1974, when I used to sit out on the end of the Mackay Pier. I do not believe I ever rode across the Concorde Bridge to Ile Ste. Helene. (Indeed, this may not have been permitted at the time.)
When, then, was my first true bike ride to the South Shore? I have vague recollections of an early ride across on the sidewalk of the Jacques Cartier Bridge. I had always thought this was sometime in the early 1980s, before I moved west from St. Urbain Street. How I would have returned in this memory is not clear.
My records from 1992 indicate that this might have been the time I was thinking about:
Clearly, then, it sounds like I made a late Spring ride west from the Old Port, and then crossed over the Jacques Cartier bridge as far as Ste. Helene's Island. I would have explored the island and found my way over to Ile Notre Dame and out to the St. Lambert Locks. There I 'discover[ed] [the] South Shore connection', but did not take it. Rather, I retraced my route and crossed over the Concorde Bridge to Citť du Havre and found my way to the Lachine Canal. Perhaps it was at this time that I re-disovered the 'Boat Park' at the end of the Mackay Pier. One thing is clear. If I only 'discovered' the St. Lambert crossing at this time, I could not have taken it earlier. If I crossed the Jacques Cartier Bridge in the 1980s, I must have returned the same way.
The 1992 cycling season would greatly increase my knowledge of the bicycle routes of the South Shore. Already in May, I had ridden over the Jacques Cartier Bridge and had explored Ile Ste. Helene and discovered the St. Lambert Crossing and the Concorde Bridge approach to Ile Notre Dame
May 92: Jacques Cartier Bridge Ride (See Above)
The Phantom Ride along the Seaway Causeway (See Below)
Saturday, June 6, 1992: First Time to Nun's Island (See Below)
On June 7, 1992, a Sunday, I made my first ride along the Seaway Causeway to the Ste. Catherine Locks, for a total ride of 33km. I wrote in 1992:
Lachine bikeway at Cote St. Paul. East to Cite du Havre, over bridge to Ile Notre Dame. West along Seaway bikepath, gravel, as far as Champlain bridge, where pick up paved path. This is second time I've been on this gravel section. Pass by the "bird area", where the an island can be seen just white with gulls. Paved path has distance of 11km each way, have never been on it before. (Had been to St. Catherine the night before, with car). Get to St. Catherine by 3:00, having to head back by 4:00 to make it in time to pick up kids. Explore now-closed provincial park at St Catherines. Have some french fries and hot dog by waterfall, then start heading home. Big black cloud behind me. I ride fast, a few drops so far. As I race across the Ice bridge, I can see the storm approaching. It catches me on Nun's Island and I am soaked, even though I have the poncho. I have to negociate the muddy ways of the Nun's Island connection, a veritable river. By the time I make the Lachine bikeway, it is beginning to dry out. The sun returns. I am nearly dry by the time I get home. (Bike92)
Intriguing is the mention, 'This is second time I've been on this gravel section.' When would the first time have been? Especially since I only 'discovered' the St. Lambert Crossing in May!
The day before this, Saturday, June 6, 1992, I had made a ride along the River and ...
I remember this first, tentative step. At that time, there was no official bike path towards Nun's Island. Yet from the end of the Riverfront Bikeway, at the High School and across from the Canadian Tire store, a well-beaten eastward was visible. The dirt track, the width of a bicycle tire, led up alongside the roadway of the highway access ramp, at the top of the grassy embankment, towards the first highway bridge. It was a tricky ride, as just below was massive construction for the Island-wide sewer connectors, and one false move would have sent one tumbling. At the bridge was a narrow sidewalk, upon which one could ride. Then there was another narrow dirt track on the Nun's Island side. How far did I go? I cannot recall. I doubt that I crossed the bridge, however, for I think I would have mentioned that.
June 24, 1992: I made my ride to Mont St. Bruno: My first foray across the St. Lambert Locks Bridge and out onto the South Shore.
July 1-3, 1993: 3-day Ride to Plattsburgh & Burlington
This would be only the second and third time (The first being the Summer before) that I would cross the Mercier Bridge, and it would be my first crossing southbound. I would be my first bike ride eastward along Rte 132 to Delson, and my first ride southwards from there.
The original write up, made in 1993, can be found in [93_Burlington.txt]
Bicycle recollections from the mid-Nineties are sketchy, as I was not writing things down and my bookkeeping system did not track personal cash purchases.
The first time I encountered the new bike path to Nun's Island I was alone. I must have ridden out there prior to the ride described below. Most probably I crossed the Ice Bridge and I may have ridden to Ste. Catherines.
Somewhere in early days when Shery was here, we drove to the parking lot at the Lachine Rapids and rode down along the River to the end of the Bikeway and then over to Nun's Island. I imagine the new bike trail must have been completed by then, as I doubt Sheryl would have ridden along the side of the freeway, as I had done earlier. We made out way across Nun's Island and across the Champlain Ice Bridge, but when we turned to head west on the other side, the shad flies stopped us cold. (This would have been in the May-June period) Sheryl refused to contine and so we re-traced out route. ( Sheryl had yet to make this ride, though we did bring the cycles by car once to the Recreoparc, and we rode a mile east along the causeway from the other end.) (This ride may have been one in the same as the 1997 ride described below.)
I took Sheryl on the Notre Dame Island Loop, bringing her along the Seaway Causeway and back across the Ice Bridge to Nun's Island. I believe this was after our aborting ride to Ste. Catherines.
There was a ride to the South Shore, across the Ice Bridge, in 1997:
[Crossing Nun's Island] When I had been this way the year before, this last section of path had been all torn up by construction. I saw now the result of this construction, a brand new fire station, right by the shoreline.
In previous years, one had to follow the path a good distance into the residential section of Nunís Island before one could cross the road and catch another bikepath leading across the Island. Just west [of the bridge approach and the industrual park] is the islands only shopping centre, ... stretching three blocks. The shopping centre has this cozy, small-town look and feel to it. Behind the shopping centre, to the west still further, curves the islandís main road. It was along here that one traditionally rode along the groomed bike path. West of the main road, the rest of the island is composed of a spaghetti bowl of small streets lined with condos.
These rides are each described in detail herein.
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