Previously, on Part 1 of Unicorns on a unicycle at UNICON 17…
I arrived in Montreal, went to a naked bike ride, attended some UNICON events, made some friends.
What’s the point of bringing two unicycles into Montreal and not doing a ride, right? A long distance ride was in the cards, because I wrote “Long Distance Ride” on them.
I wanted to go to Habitat 67, because the last time I was in Montreal I got lost and did not make it there. Habitat 67 was my first introduction to Moshe Safdie and his works, and subsequent introduction to brutalism and architecture movements. The best I got previously was a blurry view of the site from a distance in the evening, because the island Habitat was situated on is incredibly confusing.
Anyway, I set off from my friend’s place, with whom I was staying, and realised it was a pretty straightforward ride. However, what was not so straightforward was riding on the roads. Because:
Montreal roads are utter shit.
Seriously, did they pave them out of sugar? Potholes, cracks, and dragons waiting to snare the unsuspecting (uni)cyclist to break their mothers’ backs. I must have broken mine many times, because I fell many times. According to my local friend Mike, this is a local wisdom:
This is how I unicycle in Montreal:
I dropped an iced coffee while riding Montreal’s treacherous roads. It was half-full too! (Is it optimism if I drop a half-full cup of coffee or half-empty cup of coffee?) I bemoaned loudly my dismay (in French of course, because we’re in Montreal. Come on.) at the city’s lamentable roads.
Lost coffee aside, I did manage to eke out a 51 kilometre ride. Here’s the map of the route, click image for larger picture.
Somewhere early in the ride, I hit a hidden pothole when I was going downhill and I flew forward really hard. I was really worried I was going to land on my bare knees and had to roll on the roads, but luckily I managed run out the momentum. I must have been going at 22km/h. While I was alright, my unicycle apparently bumped around and into the rear of a car, whose family was standing around. Then I had to worry if I damaged his car, but luckily there was no damage. After ascertaining that his car was fine, then he asked if I was OK which I said I was and sped off, albeit more cautiously this time.
All that talk about getting to Habitat 67, I finally got there and took pictures like an architecture nerd. Sated, I cycled onto the islands of Parc Jean-Drapeau. I had fun riding around the F1 track and going “broom broom.”
I thought I would be able to get out the other side and then find my way out by going north, but then I ran into this:
A raising bridge was raised so some private yachts can pass through. Meanwhile, us non-1%-ers twiddled our bicycles (and unicycle) while we waited for the bridge to come back down. I didn’t wait long enough for it to come down, because 15 minutes later the bridge was still up. So I backtracked all the way I came — something I really hate to do — and made it back onto the mainland of Montreal.
I had lunch at Beaudry, which was the gay district of Montreal. It was very pretty and gay. I had lunch at an A&W, something I hadn’t seen in years! It also had free wifi, which was great.
I cycled back to the college, and then to the apartment where the other Singaporeans were staying, and then back to Mike’s. Here are the final stats of the trip.
Total elapsed time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total moving time: 3 hours 16 minutes
Total stopped time: 1 hour 14 minutes
Maximum speed: 27.9 km/h
Total UPD’s: Frickin’ SEVEN. 4 times alone on that accursed Rue Sherbrooke. 1 time speeding downhill and unicycle bumped into a car.
Number of potholes dodged: Infinity
Number of iced coffee spilled: 1
Steps counted by the 3DS: About 21,000
Breaks taken: 4