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Friday, 31 January 2014

First Family Tour

By Pico Triano
Photos: Pico Triano, Francine Bolduc, Yvonne Tetreault

We took this home built trailer on a significant tour. This plan was an ambitious one. We planned to ride as a family from St. Pie-de-Bagot, Quebec, south to Farnham, back up to Granby, then all the way to Magog and then home

We failed to reach our ultimate objective for the tour, but we made a lot of memories along the way.

The first day of this first family tour rolled well. We stopped in Ange Gardien, Quebec which was about halfway to our first destination for refreshments. If you can read french, I know what you're thinking. They did not just sell beer and wine. We tanked up on water and fruit juice. Hey, we made it to Farnham so you know I'm telling the truth.

We took our time and had a memorable picnic in an apple orchard. Both of those pictures in retrospect hold a lot of meaning for my wife and I.

We slept two nights in the backyard of my in-laws. During the day we took a short day trip for a picnic along the Yamaska River and then returned. The idea was to rest a little bit before we got more ambitious. That was a pleasant ride. With the camping gear off the load if was easier on me.

Our third day on the road was a great deal more challenging. We followed the back roads from Farnham to Granby, Quebec. The riding was flat but it seemed like an awful long way.

In Granby I managed to get a flat tire on the trailer right near the beginning of the paved recreation trail that runs from Granby to Waterloo, Quebec. I used the bike stands at the bike shop as a makeshift jack stand to hold everything while I affected the repair.

It was getting late as we started down the bike path and it started to drizzle. A short while before it got dark, we happened across a small picnic area. Perfect spot for us. There was a flat clear place for the tent, bike racks, a picnic table and no sign saying we couldn't camp there. I don't remember if there was an outhouse there or not. Never stopped us anyway.

Our fourth day on the road we were churning toward Waterloo minding our own business, when some middle age guy rode up from behind and told us we were taking up too much room. He was talking French and not very clearly. My wife did her best to translate and told me that he wanted us to pull over. I'm not that easily bullied. And I asked not very nicely who he was.

I think he was getting frustrated that we were not cooperating, so he passed and then stopped in my path blocking my way. That was near suicide. I weigh over two hundred pounds and my equipment easily surpassed another two hundred and fifty. That isn't that easy to stop. Even if I'm not going that fast.

I managed to avoid flattening him. Again I asked who he was. Finally he grabs his little clear plastic sign with black letters that said, "patrol". He's wearing black cycling tight shorts. How am I supposed to be able to see that?

He went on how our trailer was in violation of regulations. I asked him what regulations. There was nothing posted on the trail about trailer size restrictions. His response was some general line that our trailer needed to be just like the store bought trailers because of traffic regulations for the road. He acted like this had to be the most obvious thing in the world. He told us that the big boss on the Waterloo end of the path would serve us a traffic ticket if we didn't get off the path.

Quebec does sometimes have some strange rules so we took him at his word and left the path. We did not succeed in finding a route through the hills on the regular road that we could safely traverse. The recreation path was ideal. It was built on an old railway bed and was as close to completely flat as could be. That was why we chose that route in the first place.

We ended up turning around. Spent our last night on the road in a small campground and then rode back to St. Pie the next day.

When we got back my wife called the Quebec police to ask about regulations for bicycle trailers. Guess what? There were none. Buddy all full of himself was blowing smoke.

In spite of that roadblock, I think the trip was a success. It provided some great memories. This incident did leave a bad taste in our mouths and we didn't do another family tour of this kind for another seven years.

More Family Cycling (Click photos or titles for full articles)

Touring With Small Children

It can be done. We did it. It is far from easy but it was well worth the effort. Great memories for the entire family

A Key to Riding as a Family

It isn't just about riding the bicycle. You need to be going somewhere and doing things along the way. Fill your tours with enjoyment and memories and your children will love it.

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