vendredi 17 mars 2017


An English message follows.

Aujourd'hui, je m'adresse aux Gravel Grinders (amateurs de vélo sur route de gravelle) anglophones à qui j'offre un encadrement durant cette saison 2017, particulièrement dans les Appalaches québécoises. Vous pouvez jeter un coup d'oeil sur la page Facebook Quebec Gravel Grinders.

Hi fellow Grinders,

My name is Paul Trepanier. Please allow me to introduce myself. I was born and raised in Quebec City, Canada. I became an avid cyclist forty years ago and back in 1989, I started actively exploring the Appalachian Mountains south of Quebec City. Especially the region between Quebec City, Saint-Pamphile near the american border and the region of Disraeli. I added to that less frequent forays in the areas around that.

In 1992, after many miles of asphalt roads, I was irresistibly drawn to the huge network of gravel roads that are all over the place in between the busier asphalt highways that cars use going from one place to another. There I discovered the same thing I hope you have found in your neck of the woods: peace, quiet, beauty, silence, and the occasional smile.

You'd be smiling, too.

Here is a brief look at some of the things I have done beside pushing those pedals:
  • Bike shop owner for 25 years (Bicycles Falardeau enr., until March 1st 2017)
  • Founder of the Falardeau bicycle brand. I designed most of the frames and all of the bikes
  • Tv producer of a weekly show about bikes on a local station (2016)
  • Part time guide for tourists who rent bicycles (2016)
  • Blogger (about bikes and cycling, since 2009)
I have the habit of taking friends with me on my Sunday rides. Just like me, they're in awe of that big region. And they agree with me that this well-kept secret should be shared, including with people from other countries. So now that I enjoy a bit more freedom from the bike shop, please let me help you enjoy it, too.

Yep, that's me, Paul.

I will be available starting in June 2017 to accompany you on these roads. I want to help you choose rides that fit your level and your intentions. For accomodations, I have chosen a town that is in the thick of things, but also close to the flatter Plaine du Saint-Laurent, in case you don't feel like climbing in general, or on any given day. And if you do feel like climbing, have I got something for you! It's not that the heights are hymalayan, it's just that you'll be going up and down relentlessly. The highest peaks in the region are around 2700 ft high, and the rides that me and my friends enjoy take us to heights of up to 1800 ft. approximately. All the pictures on this blog post are from my archives.

So it's pretty open to all sorts of people. You could even consider the local bike path, although that is more family-oriented and will not satisfy those with confirmed athletic abilities.

Quebec City is nearby, about 30 miles, so if you want a rest day or two, there is plenty to see and do over there. It is an internationally recognized tourist destination, founded in 1608, one of the first cities the French established when they colonized North America. The Old Quebec is full of old buildings and has more than its fair share of museums, restaurants and shops. Not to mention the Festival d'Été de Québec and other cultural events. It is more homogenous and francophone than Montreal and Old Quebec can be walked for those who wish to do so.

Foggy day over the Port of Quebec.

In June and July, I suggest coming for a week, although I can also help those who wish to stay longer (or shorter) during that period. But my various activities will prevent me from being with you seven days a week for more than a week during those two months.

One of the available rooms, complete with one of those feel-good bathtubs.

Not having a travel agent license, I cannot sell you a hotel/bed and breakfast stay, or a plane ticket. But I can help you choose a place to stay, and if you need help, say, for going from the Quebec City international airport to your hotel, just let me know. I recently visited the various local accomodations, and will be more than happy to reply to any question you have in order to choose the place where you will stay. All available accomodations are reasonably priced, and keep in mind that the Canadian dollar exchange rate is very advantageous for American visitors. Another thing I can help you with is a bike rental. You may want to avoid transporting your own bike from home, and I can get you a reasonable price on a bike that is lignt and nimble. Light enough to handle climbing on gravel all day long.

The town I chose is located ideally so that you can spend the whole week in the same room night after night, and enjoy a different and interesting one-day ride day after day. No need to pack your luggage until the last morning, just enjoy your breakfast and hop on the bike. The territory simply is a grid of gravel roads interspersed with a number of asphalt highways you can stay away from all or almost all the time.

One of my favorite places. It rarely is foggy like this.

Food is part of the culture, here. There is a number of restaurants close by, you can even go there on your bike. Major grocery stores are also nearby, and if you want even more variety, you can always drive in the vicinity to other restaurants. We will be at a 20 minute drive from the bridge to Quebec City, so there is no shortage of options.

As for my tariff, I will charge 150$US per week per person. I will be there every day to help you choose the day's itinerary, and will accompany you on the road, either on my bike or with my car. I am not as fast as I was, say, 20 years ago, but I can do a 4-hour hilly ride and if my customers prefer that, I will drive instead.

I will also be there to help you with the language. French is the norm here, and you will encounter people who simply don't speak English. Yes, no, that's about it. But many residents have some degree of English and the attitudes are great. Don't be surprised, if you stop by the roadside on a gravel road, if a driver stops to ask if you are ok.

Vieille Route means Old Road.

I am an experienced bike mechanic. I will be able to perform minor mechanical adjustments for you, but for more in-depth interventions, I will help you get professional help.

Maximum group size will be 14 participants, and minimum will be 7. The tariff is payable by Paypal or with an international postal money order. Let me know if you need an alternative form of payment.

One of the many villages around. There is always a convenience store (or better) where you can buy food in each village. Although I tend to carry my own so I can stop to eat anywhere along the way.

I suggest a first group starting Sunday June 11th until the following Saturday, June 17th. If you need any alternative date, let me know, I will tell you if that is available. Please keep in mind that the various accomodations are very busy in the second half of July, so book in advance if that is the period you want to come.

October near Saint-Malachie.

As for August and beyond, I will be available for longer periods, and for those who want it, I can offer even more varied programs that include places like the Quebec Eastern Townships.

So, don't hesitate to contact me for any question or request. I will come back for more information as time goes by. You can reach me using the following coordinates:

  • 418 647 1176
  • the Quebec Gravel Grinders messenger on Facebook

Finally, let me mention that I am actively collaborating with a travel agency in planning a one-month cycling trip for next October in Vietnam. We will enjoy a favorable season in the mountainous northern part of the country to explore back country roads while avoiding the more tedious job of going from city to city on the bike.A bus will be at our disposal for that.

Asia at its most genuine, terrace cultivation, fascinating mountains, friendly population, one trip you will never forget. It will be my fifth time to Vietnam. I will tell you more as details emerge. I already have a route planned for the whole month.

In the tradition of this blog, let me suggest watching the following video. An iconic Canadian musician, this was shot when Robbie Robertson was promoting his excellent album How to Become Clairvoyant.

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