I made two rides along the Oka Trail in 1995. I cannot remember, thought, the exact dates of either of them. The first ride probably represents the last time I used the Lakeshore/Sources/Ile Bizard access to Two Mountains and the first time I rode along Bord de l'Eau.
It would have to have been late May or early June when I made my first ride to Oka. Sheryl had a job interview at Cegep Montmorency, in Laval. This, therefore, would have had to have been before she was hired at Collège DeMaisonneuve, and by the time we went to Calico in late June, her job at DeMaisonneuve was a done deal.
I set out early in the morning, and the plan was for me to end up at the Cegep in Laval near the time of the end of Sheryl's interview.
I set out from the Rosedale address.
I took the route to Oka as described in Bike 93 (which may indeed have been written, or at least finalized, in September of 1995):
Montreal to Oka Park Beach & Campground: 4 hrs (approx.) by bicycle
1. [Early section of this route are along wide, treeless streets which are best done in the cool of the early morning. I suggest leaving at 8:00, no later.]
2a. Access from Montreal West (and points south).
i. Take the Lachine Bicycle Path west to its end at the Dorval line.
ii. Lakeshore Blvd. west through Dorval.
iii. Just after coming into Pointe-Claire, as you're going around the large cove made by Valois Bay, look for Sources Blvd. north. Take Sources Blvd itself, not the route suggested for cars (which is another street.)
iv. Take the pedestrian overpass at Sources and the Hwy 20. v. Follow Sources Blvd. north past the airport, past the Hwy 40 interchange, past the shopping centres, through D.D.O., and on into Pierrefonds. [About 5km altogether, of wide, busy boulevard.]
vi. Pierrefonds Blvd starts at Sources, heading west. It has a bicycle lane on the north side. Follow Pierrefonds Blvd west several miles, [or continue north to Gouin Blvd.] past St. Jean road, until you come to Boul. Jacques Bizard, which leads to the Ile Bizard Bridge. Turn Right.
2b. Access from Montreal, points north of the Mountain:
i. Follow any road north to Gouin Blvd. Take Gouin Blvd. west. Pass the Lachapelle Bridge at Cartierville. Go through Pierrefonds. Touch Roxboro. Back into Pierrefonds. Then into Ste. Genevieve. Reach Boul. Jacques Bizard and the Ile Bizard Bridge. Turn Right.
Gouin Boulevard is narrow, but has many shady sections.
3. The first street after you cross the bridge is Chemin Cherrier. Turn right to head back east. Follow Chemin Cherrier along the river as it circle the island. At a certain point the main road will curve north and become Chemin de la tour. Follow it.
4. You will reach the Ile Bizard - Laval ferry. It runs continuously and costs but a dollar.
5. Depositing you on the north shore, you are in Laval-sur-le-lac. Take the road (Rue des erables) west about half a block, to rue des peupliers. Turn right and follow rue des peupliers along the railroad track. [An alternative, slightly longer excursion is to follow Rue des erables all the way around, and look at the fancy houses. It meets up with Rue des peupliers again on the north side.
It is about a mile across the island at this point.
6. At the end of Rue des peupliers, turn right and cross the tracks. You come immediately to a dam. Bikes and pedestrians are allowed across the dam.
[If ever the dam is closed, continue east and you'll come to the main St. Eustache bridge, about two miles further east, then you'll have to backtrack on the other side.]
7. Crossing the dam, you'll find yourself in the town of Two Mountains, at the foot of 8th avenue. Follow 8th avenue north, past the main highway (Chemin d'Oka). Follow it as far as Guy Street.
8. Turn left on Guy St. You should soon be going past a large polyvalent high school. At the railroad tracks, Guy St. will end. Here begins the St.-Eustache to Oka bicycle trail, leading off to the right. It crosses the tracks and you head off into the woods.
9. It is 15 km to the other end of this excellent path. After crossing a few busy streets in Two Mountains, it heads along an old railway right-of-way all the way to Oka park. At the point where it crosses Chemin d'Oka is an ice cream stand catering mainly to cyclists.
10. At the Oka Park end, there is a moderate climb. It is not nearly as steep, though, as the main road. At the top of the climb you reach the visitor's centre, at which you can get a map of the park. After the visitor's centre, you get to coast back down the hill, but watch carefully for where the bike path turns right off the road and into the woods.
11. Wear a helmet through the wooded section, as they warn of attacks by eagles nesting in the rocky cliffs above.
12. The path ends at the beach. There are racks to park the bikes. The beach is nice and the water swimable (as far as tests are concerned. I would not swallow any of it!). There are hundreds of campsights if one wants to camp overnight.
I got to Oka Park around lunchtime. For the first time, I rode west of the small cabin at the end of the road. I found that I could ride along the gravel path just inland from the beach. Not too far along, I came upon the building holding the casse-croute and washrooms. I may have ordered lunch, probably fries. I think I called Sheryl at home, reaching her before she left for the interview.
After maybe half an hour at Oka Beach, I returned along the same path. This time, when I reached the ferry wharf at Ste. Dorothy, I continued on along Bord de l'Eau. I believe this was the first time I rode along that way (indeed, I had not even travelled that road by car since the mid-70s!).
Passing through Cartierville and the Cartierville Bridge, I began keeping a sharp lookout for the street along which I would have to cut north, away from the river. It was just past the Hwy 15 bridge, and I remember getting a bit turned around. Still, I arrived just about the time expected.
I found our car in the parking lot and loaded my bike onto the bike rack. Then I awaited Sheryl, who soon came out. We drove home together. This may have been the first of these bike rendez-vous, and it worked out quite well!
I was later in the Summer, when I returned to Two Mountains, this time with Sheryl. It was such a delightful trail, and I wanted to share it with her.
We drove up Hwy 13 and Hwy 640 to the 'Promenades' shopping centre in Two Mountains. There we parked the car and unloaded our bikes, catching the trail where it passed nearby. Our ride out and back was pleasant and uneventful. Once we got to Oka Beach, we did not spend much time.
After the ride was completed, I drove Sheryl down to the 'Grand Moulin' dam, to show it to her. We had a short walkabout along the dam before returning home.Top