An epic loop through Québec Eastern Townships, its rolling hills, wide farming landscapes, sweet gravel roads and, especially, its 20+ microbreweries.
Jérémie Bourdages-Duclot, of Le Collectif de vélo d’aventure des Cantons.
A gravel bike is the perfect tool for this, but have a gear ratio that fits climbing. Some hills are very steep.The only technical sections don’t last very long and can be done on 37c tires. More than 2 inches would be overkill for most of the ride.
The Boucle Brassicole can be split in two big “half-loops”, two main sections : the East one and the West one.
The East part is a bit more rugged, with less civilization on a few stretches. It rides through the singletracks of the Hereford forest (we saw a variety of wild animals in that area) and the chemin de la Pointe, a rough doubletrack, which is quite isolated. The views and the ride quality is also, in our opinion, the best in the East part.
The West part is more populated, with a higher microbrewery/km ratio ! The gravel roads are very nice and you get access to the “cachet” of the many local growers and makers, the vineyards, the sheep cheese factories, the vestiges of the Loyalist era in the old towns. There is also more pavement in that part.
The big flaw of our Townships playground is that there’s not much public land to camp on. The land is very, very private.
There are private campgrounds a bit everywhere, but we indicate the best options in our RWGPS route. The two SEPAQ campgrounds (Yamaska and Orford) are “Bienvenue Cyclistes”, which means you don’t have to reserve if you’re a bike tourer; they will find you a spot. Most private campgrounds also have that kind of approach, but not officially.
Don't hesitate to ask a farmer, a microbrewery owner or any local with a piece of land to let you camp in their backyard; some of them will be happy to receive you!
There is access to grocery stores and restaurants almost all of the way, but there isn’t much between Coaticook and Cookshire-Eaton.
Have a way to treat water in that section, because there is no clean water available even at Hereford campground.
The Boucle Brassicole is a technically easy route, with the exception of short sections throughout. The climbing can be tough but it’s not the Rockies. There is a lot of access to food, water, and services along the way, but the time needed to organize the logistics of a 640km trip convinces us the perfect grade is 4.