The weather was somewhat drab that morning. However, for Lyne Bessette, ex-professional cyclist, ex-Olympian and gold medallist at the London 2012 para-Olympic games, acting as a pilot for a blind athlete, there was no excuse good enough for staying indoors. To play outside, to explore our environment, to meet and talk with other passionate people, that’s how her sport defines itself, or at least, that’s how she envisions it today.
I discovered a radiant, energetic and inspiring woman, when I met Lyne. She’s very involved and committed to health issues and lends her name to many sports and philanthropic initiatives. Her goal is to raise awareness with the community about the importance of integrating sports in our lifestyles. As we’re comfortably relaxing in a hot tub, she tells me about her participation in BALNEA’s project that encourages people to use their bikes to go to the reserve.
How did your expertise contribute to developing this idea?
I live in the Eastern Townships and I know my region very well, so I developed a few options on Strava. Four routes in the area surrounding the thermal reserve will easily take cyclists to the BALNEA site. I designed the course choosing mainly dirt roads because I think they’re well worth knowing; there are very few cars here, so it’s safer for cyclists; plus, the scenery here is simply amazing! These circuits are accessible to everyone, all you need is a good set of tires, a little wider, and you’re ready to head out!
Why did you choose to settle in the Eastern Townships?
I’ve always lived in the Eastern Townships. My husband is an American, so I lived in Massachusetts for a few years, I also travel a lot throughout the world. But I always come back here. The weather alone is worth it; we’re very lucky to live in Quebec. There are so many amazing landscapes and mountains in the area! I love cycling in this region!
So, when we arrive at the reserve, what happens, how does it work?
It’s really very simple. At the reception desk, you just mention that you have a bicycle and someone will open the shed where all the bikes are stored and safely locked away. Once there and secured, we can take advantage of the installations without any worries.
Do you have your own little routine when you come here?
I love having a bowl of soup at LUMAMI and their bread is excellent! I always have a healthy meal, for me, it’s very important to eat well. So here, I’m totally satisfied. I also love getting a massage! As an athlete, I’ve had many throughout my career and when I’m at the reserve, I always take the time to get one. The cares at BALNEA are truly exceptional.
Is it hard to leave the reserve after such a relaxing day?
You know, it’s funny. I was just here this week, with my husband. We had a massage and he was afraid not to have the energy to return on his bike. We had a glass of Kombucha and some nuts, then we headed back out on the road at an easy pace. The light was amazing, everything was calm, it was a truly peaceful ride home.
Discovering our routes!
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