The Lachine Canal. Photo by JasonParis via Flickr
Many of us use the bike path along the Lachine Canal for after-work exercise, to transport our $80 basket of free-range blueberries back from the Atwater market or to walk our dogs. One thing is for sure – the path is shared: by families, weirdos, rabid squirrels, cyclists, rollerbladers, skateboarders and, yes, even civic tourists from the city’s, er, more northern districts looking for a taste of southwest realness (I’m looking at you, Mile End).
Here are four groups you’ll likely encounter on that hallowed path:
Ultra-serious cyclists: Fancy bike? Check. Sponsorship-emblazoned, moisture-wicking riding jersey? Check. Clear, wrap-around speed glasses? Check. Ultra-tight unitard with clear outline of their junk? Check. Sense of entitlement for ownership of pathway? Definitely check.
Hipsters on fixies: Okay, so maybe I’m jealous — jealous because, unlike them, I look ridiculous in tight, cutoff jean shorts, a vintage burgundy cardigan and a foulard. Jealous because I need more than one gear and brakes on my bike to make it around without dying. Jealous because I have to work instead of going to a picnic on a Tuesday to indulge in the dep’s best Chardonnay while trying to determine the source of the odd smells emanating from the canal water.
Seniors on scooters: In a word, awesome. These gangs of old peeps roam the path in large groups on electric scooters, blasting Katy Perry (no joke) from their on-board radios, likely to complete their tough-ass image. On the one hand, I’m not sure they’re legally allowed on the path. But on the other, they’re old, so they basically can do whatever they want.
Weirdos: You can find all sorts of weirdos on your daily jaunt on the path: open-air masturbators, dudes who yell at the gods with a vengeance, self-styled police officers who tell you not to do stuff, guys who fish in the canal for I don’t wanna know what and boozers stumbling out of the St-Ambroise terrasse. And then there are the more unusual sorts, like the people who ACTUALLY SWIM in the canal. One guy told me he and his friends all do it, and that he actually puts his head under without hesitation. ■