It’s no surprise that cycling is a great form of cardiovascular exercise. Aside from being one of the simplest ways to exercise, (from multiple outdoor bike paths to the stationary bikes at a gym) cycling is easy on the joints, eats away at calories, and increases muscular and cardiovascular strength. Cycling builds strength and muscle tone; it builds strength in a holistic manner since every single part of the body is involved. It also increases muscle tone, which improves general muscle function gradually, with little risk of over exercise or strain. You will slowly begin to see an improvement in the muscle tone of your legs, thighs, rear end and hips.

Bicycling outside has the dual benefit of not only allowing you to get in some regular fitness, but also giving you the chance to explore Laval and North Shore in a fun and healthy way.

Laval is teeming with outdoor bike paths both within the city and connecting to neighboring cities. Between Deux-Montagnes and Laval-sur-le-Lac, a bike path has been built on the Grand Moulin Dam, which overlooks the Rivière des Mille-Îles and is perfect for setting the bikes aside for some light fishing and people watching. Just slightly north at the Arthur-Sauvé Bridge, which connects Laval-Ouest and Saint-Eustache, the sidewalk has been opened to bicycles.

Consider taking a day trip around the Rivière des Mille-Îles, crossing into Deux-Montages and coming back into Laval from Saint-Eustache, traveling close to the water for a scenic view, stopping along Rue Riviera for a well-deserved picnic. If bikers continue on to the extreme western point of the city, they can spend a lazy afternoon on Lac des Deux Montagnes, enjoying the breeze or canoeing across the lake.

If you don’t feel like leaving the city limits, you can easily travel around the Laval coast, picking any park or lookout point, such as the expansive Parc de la Rivière des Mille-Îles on the north side of Laval, which offers opportunities for camping, swimming, fishing, or hiking; or the Berge des Eudistes on the south shore of the city, which features picnic tables and a view of the Montreal skyline.

While multiple parks and river banks become rarer on the eastern-most point of the city, there still exists a beautiful bike path the follows the entire eastern edge of the city, following Boulevard Lévesque Est eastward until it ends at the Berge Olivier-Charbonneau, which features a dock feeding into the Rivière des Prairies. The route then changes course, heading northwest along Boulevard des Mille-Îles, which stays just out of reach of Laval’s bustling urban centers in a sparse residential district, making it perfect for a relaxing solo trip after a long work week.

Within the city multiple minor routes exists, ideal for travel to and from work or for getting in a good workout during the week. When it comes to biking from the north to the south of the city, or taking shortcuts across the northern half of Laval, the ideal path is the Route Verte, which extends over 32 kilometres, primarily following segregated rail trails and running through many of Laval’s parks, including the Centre de la nature and the Bois Chomedey.

The southern most point of the route begins at the Berge du Parc Gagné, on the corner of Boulevard des Prairies and Avenue du Crochet. Cyclists can safely take the Perry footbridge into Montreal, or take the trail northwards through the center of the city, crossing Autoroute Laval and continuing on until hitting a fork between the rail tracks and Boulevard Sainte Rose Est, where you can either take the western track that will follow along the northeastern shore, giving you access to multiple parks and river banks. Continuing along the rail tracks will lead to a short route to the Athanase-David Bridge, which leads into Bois-Des-Filion.

Laval has no shortage of beautiful parks and lookout points, and the city’s expansive bike paths make it easy for anyone, novice or expert, to experience all the beauty the city has to offer. For newer bikers, the safest routes are those routes separate entirely from the road or those with designated bike lanes. While the majority of Laval’s bicycle paths fall into the latter category, nervous first-time cyclists can take advantage of groups such as Vélo détente Laval, a non-profit which runs from May to September, offering group outings focused on traveling safely.

Whether riding alone or in groups, safety is a key component of an enjoyable outing. Helmets should always be worn, and having access to water and food is important for keeping up your stamina and making sure you get the most out of your workout. Pack a water bottle and a sandwich, grab a helmet and a friend, and take off down one of Laval’s many scenic bike paths.