by Shaun McLaughlan

This July, Amélia and I journeyed through Quebec to New Brunswick with our Almonte friends Mike Caughey and Sue Hamilton in their RV. Gazing at the passing landscape, I was struck by Quebec’s extensive network of scenic cycling trails.

Photo courtesy of Tourism Quebec

Along the south shore of the St. Lawrence River, a 300-kilometre bike trail runs from Québec City east to the Gaspé Peninsula along old rail trails and paved highway shoulders. From Riviére-du-Loup, a trail follows the Madawaska River to Edmunston. NB. From Rimouski’s long waterfront bike path, you can follow rail lines and bike lanes along the scenic Matapedia River almost to Campbellton, NB.

While Mississippi Mills claims it is cycle-friendly, we do not have a single metre of dedicated cycle lanes or trails. With the CP rail line now becoming a historical footnote, we have the opportunity to create the backbone of a cycle trail.

Cycle tourism is a growing industry. I attended a cycling tourism workshop at the OGRA/ROMA conference in Toronto in February 2012. Speakers from Norfolk County, which has a network of rail trails, and the Town of Blue Mountain described how their communities have benefitted financially and socially from their investment in a cycling infrastructure.

The organizers of Mississippi Mills Bicycle Month have proven that people from afar will come here to cycle. Let’s make it more that a June occurrence.