Tuesday, July 5, 2005

Here's Pirate Tony outside the Geodome:

Maison des Cyclists:

Blogger is giving me trouble with postings, so I'll put the pictures for this Dear Diary entry in a couple of different posts.

Dear Diary, Thursday June 16
©Today we got to ride our bikes. We rode around Ile Notre Dame and saw the biosphere, and then we rode over to my company's local office to have lunch with a fellow employee. Now we can expense the meals for the day. International Per Diems, baby, oh yeah!

©When we arrived at the office we were allowed to sneak our bikes up the freight elevator and hide them in the coat closet while we went to eat. The security guard told us he would be stabbed if his manager caught us with bikes in the bldg…

©I won’t mention that we had 4 flat tires among 6 bikes. Did I say anything about flat tires? No, of course not.

(GIG) we really had 3.1415926 flats today. T made a pre-emptive strike against a bubble on his tire before we started.

©After lunch we rode up Mt Royal. It’s not a mountain but it is the cone of a long-extinct volcano. I won’t mention another flat tire at the bottom. Nope, you didn’t hear about that!

©We wrapped up the afternoon with a short bike ride accompanied by another fellow employee. And for dinner we had Montreal style smoked meat in the basement of the hotel. This was also our first Poutine. It would not be the last…

(E) Today it didn’t rain, wow. We started riding around 10. We would have made lunch on time, but we had two flats in the park across the river. Right in front of the geo dome. Once we got back to downtown we rode through gridlocked traffic to the southern side of Mont Royal, on Rue Sherbrook. The building guard was real nice, he bent some rules and allowed us to bring our bikes in. He even gave us the express elevator. I think he wanted us out of view as quickly as possible. After lunch we went down Sherbrook to Fontaine something or other park. Past Maison du cyclists, cycle pop, and Ty Brieze (creperie) and onward to Mont Royal. Stanton and I cruised to the top at 14 mph. On the way up I missed a bunny hop, popped a spoke out, and received an unrealized pinch flat. I reattached my spoke at the top. Somehow we missed everyone when the got to the top. So we headed back down. No one was at the bottom, well, no one we knew. I called Cat on my soon to be dead cell phone. It’s continually almost dead. They were still at the top. So we headed back up and met them on the way. At the bottom, after a crazy descent (Cat’s a crazy for fast descents) I realized my tire was soon to be flat. That’s too many flats in one day. And Tony only got half a flat. That must have made the gods mad, hence all the other flats to make up for it. His would’ve been a spectacular explosion if he hadn’t caught it.

(E)I headed for cycle pop while everyone else went to Maison des Cyclists for Coffee and to meet our friend. Cycle Pop said I needed to go to ABC on Parc avenue for the spoke wrench, Darn Mavic spoke wrenches. I sprinted over there but no shop. I asked directions, No one was sure, one even sent me back to Cycle Pop. I stopped at another shop on Rue Rachel: No wrench, same suggestion and directions. I told him I had been there, no shop. He said “I’ve never been there or seen it, But I’ve heard about it.” I headed back to meet everyone. All I can figure with ABC on Parc avenue is that I failed to see the grail over the shop, I guess they forgot to turn the grail light on.

(E) As we headed through town I spotted another shop. A really nice shop. No only did Bruno fix my spoke, he trued my wheel, and tensioned and stressed the wheel as best he could for a quick job. No charge. What a nice guy. I headed back to the hotel through traffic since I was alone again. It feels safer in traffic than it does on those ‘Piste cyclable’ Street lanes. It felt good to sprint with the traffic.

(J) Nothin’ like being taken by the scenery, so much so that you drive directly into a grate and pop a tire (not to mention popping my left breast and my pride). Also, goddess of Magnesia, pray for us!

(T) The deli where we bought the famous Montreal smoked meat was a landmark.
Stainless steel everywhere and a long lunch counter. The famous smoked meat is just like pastrami without the pepper. It’s good, but nothing to write home about, even though I just did. There’s another local delicacy that was pretty special- it’s called poutine. Think loaded fries, Quebec style… fries with cheese and gravy and debris from slicing the smoked meat. Très magnifique! From the grocery, we added wine and more yeasty dark Canadian beer.


(GIG) the smoked meat place is soo famous that the 2 CDN coin was launched there in the mid-90s. What’s not to love about fun currency facts? It’s affectionately called the two-nie by the folks we affectionately call the locals. Parking the van is fun, even for a rental.

© explanation—Canadians call their $1 piece a Loonie because there’s a picture of a Loon on one side of it (Is that the head or the tail? I’m not sure) so the $2 piece is a Two-nie. Isn’t that just cute? As a bug? So cute.

(SRT) It was cold and raining and MY Momma didn’t raise no fools, so I armed myself with metro tickets and a poncho and headed to town. I toured the Anglican Cathedral, aptly situated in the heart of the sex shop district. An endless supply of souls to save. The cathedral is very old and ornate and right across the back courtyard was a many storied, ultra modern, glass-fronted skyscraper that housed the Diocese’s administrative offices. Everywhere you go, you see this juxtaposition of ancient and modern.

(SRT)After a quick lunch in the underground, I walked around McGill U. and toured the McCord Museum. The McCord is a museum of the history of Montreal. Very interesting.

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