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Au Diable Vert – the Velovolant (flying bicycles)

March 13, 2018 | Karen Pearson

Imagine you are sitting in something that looks somewhat like the seat and roll cage from a race car, without the race car around it. Imagine you are hanging from a cable 15 feet above the ground. Imagine you begin to pedal, which propels you slowly through the trees, the ground falling away until you are 60 feet or more above the ground. Imagine that it is peaceful, the only sounds made by the breeze rustling the trees, some birds chirping, and the occasional squirrel squeaking. Imagine that all you can see are the treetops surrounding you and perhaps the next rider, depending on your location along the one-kilometre trail. Imagine that the only sensation is the gentle swaying of your pod and the occasional bump as it runs over a connection in the cable.

Now imagine you have vertigo or are scared of heights. That was me exactly.

I had talked myself into doing this, because how often does a person get to do something so unique? How bad could it really be? Once I decided I was going to do it, the operator assured me that I would be fine, but if necessary, I could simply blow the panic whistle attached to the frame of the ‘bicycle’ and staff would come and rescue me.

I don’t have a mental fear of heights; it’s a physical reaction where I feel unbalanced as if I’m about to fall, and my body refuses to move. So when I

looked down at one point and the ground seemed particularly far away, I nearly blew that panic whistle. I managed to make myself relax and finished the course. I was sincerely glad that I managed to finish. When I spoke to the operator upon finishing, that’s when he chose to explain that rescue involves pulling the chair to the beginning of the course, in reverse. Keep in mind that new riders set out every few minutes, so anyone who had started after me would also have to be dragged back to the beginning. That would have been thoroughly embarrassing!

Once I got past my initial panic and got moving again, everything was fine and I truly enjoyed the ride. The park also features extensive hiking trails through the thick Quebec forest, camping, treehouses for overnight stays, kayaking, tubing, stand-up paddle boarding, and fishing. They also have many winter activities in season, such as snowshoeing and skiing.

If you’re ever in Quebec near the Vermont border, make sure to stop and visit Au Diable Vert and try Velovolant, the flying bicycles. Just don’t decide at the last moment to venture into Vermont without luggage or a destination in mind. Vermont was lovely, but the immigration officers were more than a tad suspicious. But that’s a story for another time. 😊