Balnea, a cyclist’s best friend

Cyclotourism is at the heart of our lifestyle in the Eastern Townships. BALNEA is proud to announce that we have now made it possible for all our guests to cycle their way to the reserve. Discover what we have added to the spa experience, in time for you to admire breathtaking panoramas.

Cycling ambassador

We invited Lyne Bessette, ex-Olympian and a longtime client, to share her vision concerning the art of cycling in the country and how to take care of ourselves. The story of a passionate cyclist committed to her sport.


1- Can you tell us which is your most beautiful cycling route in the Townships and why?

Hmm, good question! There are so many to choose from! Apart from the circuits I’ve created for STRAVA, I’ll tell you which sections I consider a Must!

  • Mount-Echo Road, with its ups and downs, magnificent farmlands and prairies.
  • Chemin Elie (between Mount-Echo and Sutton), with its tree-top canopy of branches joining each other over the road forming an archway.
  • Chemin de la Montagne linking the town of West Bolton to St-Etienne. The view you’ll find at the top of this demanding climb is magnificent!
  • The road leading to Mount Glen becoming Baker Pond road; you’ll pass a heart-shaped lake just in time to say “I love you” and then the road winding down towards East Bolton is just superb.
  • King and Iron Hill roads are also among my favorites!

2 – What is it you like so much about our Eastern Township roads (and more specifically Brome-Missisquoi) and what distinguishes them from any other biking routes in Quebec or for that matter anywhere else in the world?

The number of roads, their diversity and the views! If we make the effort to explore our dirt roads, there is no end to the number of routes we can discover!

3 – Can you demystify for us the difference between biking on dirt roads as compared to paved roads?

The main difference is the cycling surface:

  1. Dirt roads: have a hard surface, are often in better shape than paved roads, sometimes grated and loose-packed, especially during the spring. Riding is slower because there is more friction due to the dirt surface.
  2. Paved roads: have a hard surface and are “much faster,” there are fewer quieter routes because we share these roads with more vehicles. You might be surprised to learn that these roads don’t always have smooth surfaces in the spring as well as in the summer!

There are many possible options if we are ready to combine dirt and paved roads!

4 – What can we do to better appreciate cycling on dirt roads?

It’s all a matter of equipment. Here are a few changes that you should consider:

  1. Get bigger tires for your bike! 23 mm isn’t enough anymore! You need 25 mm or even 28 mm if your frame allows.
  2. Choose sturdy tires, think durability not weight. Dirt roads sometimes offer surprises; this way you’ll lessen your chances of getting a flat!
  3. Don’t pump up your tires to 120! The surface is irregular; your tires will need to absorb the shock of rocks and bumps so you won’t get “trashed about” too much!
  4. Always have an extra inner tube, you never know!
  5. Convenience stores become scarcer as you head out on dirt roads. Make sure you have more water and snacks than you would normally have.
  6. It’s also harder to ride on dirt roads and hills are often much steeper! It’s a good idea to start with shorter routes.

5 – Is it a good idea to ride to the spa? What do you expect to receive as far as services are concerned when you arrive at the reserve?

Biking, swimming, relaxing … what a great idea! Especially if I can park my bike in a safe place and I’m offered a pair of sandals (which we tend to forget).

6 – What are some of your sports preparation/recuperation strategies (for biking or running; anything really for instance: movements, nutrition, relaxation, inspirations, visualizations)?

Every day:

I usually get up at around 7 a.m., I eat breakfast and then I run for at least an hour. When I return, I work through the afternoon. At around 4 p.m., I relax with a glass of wine :). Running is my personal moment, my active meditation, I don’t think about anything. I simply admire the flowers along the trail, turtles bask under the warm sun and rabbits as they run ahead of me!

Every week:

I run between 80 and 120 k per week, much more than I used to. I still cycle but I like to go for at least a four-hour ride, so I’m limited to one outing per week.

On a monthly basis:

With all the events I must attend, my husband who travels a lot, work, our two homes, two dogs and all the rest, I must admit, most often the stretching/relaxation segments of my routine are at the bottom of my “to do” list. That’s why I go to BALNEA at least once a month to breathe, get a massage, take advantage of the water and nap!

On a seasonal basis:

In the summer: I run and I ride! This is usually a busy time for my husband and myself. We each participate in several of our own events, but we try to reserve some time to relax together at home in the Townships.

In autumn: This is my favourite season! I cook, I do a lot of trail-running, mountain biking is at its peak, Adventure races take up most of our time and most important and, it’s Les 100 À B7 season! J

In winter: “SKIMO” (for skiing and mountain)! I live near the mountain and I spend several hours every day racing down the slopes at top speed with my racing skies! I also organize events with my SKIMO EAST team.

Last winter, I kayaked in my basement! Yes, it’s true, an ergonomic machine for kayaking! I wanted to improve my skills!

In the spring: I slowly start running again. I usually begin the season feeling a bit down and my motivation is low at first, but it doesn’t last very long. I take advantage of this time to prepare for the upcoming year and to spend some time relaxing in the spa saunas.

7 – When you consider your own experience and way of life, what role would you say massages and the thermal experience play or what are the benefits they give?

I had the privilege of visiting a spa in Switzerland in 2001 while I was training for a Cyclocross event. I totally fell in love with it! Of course, I was able to find the answer to all my needs right here in Bromont, at BALNEA spa! I love to come here for a few hours, complete a couple of circuits of the thermal experience,: sauna + cold bath (my favourite is the natural spring with its frogs!), + a time for a well-deserved rest near Lake Gale or on the terrace with its breathtaking views.

My other little secret: the Cinespa room, where we can view informative films about so many beautiful aspects of our planet! I find this as fascinating as it is relaxing.

When I leave the spa at the end of the day, I appreciate this feeling of lightheartedness and well-being. Being used to the rigorous discipline associated with the lifestyle of a professional athlete, I couldn’t ask for anything better than this.

8 – What is your favourite type of massage?

Because of my athletic career, I have received many massages throughout my life. The type of massage I prefer always depends on my state of mind and body. Each day is different. Funny but true, in fact, once I was given a facial massage and I adored it!

The bike shed

Cycling to the reserve has become a charm, especially since it’s now possible to secure your bicycles in our locked shelter.


Strava X Balnea

Presentation of 4 must-ride circuits surrounding the thermal reserve. Designed by Lyne Bessette, they will have you rave about our country roads !


36 Km route

46 Km route

68 Km route

80 Km route

Cycling + spa = happiness

Consult our packages to care for your aching muscles after this amazing physical effort.

Biking map 2017-2019

Discover the top 6 biking circuits according to Eastern Townships Tourism.

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