New Eco-Activity: Pedal Through the Trees

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Owner Jeremy Fontana waits for a VéloVolant rider to finish his treetop excursion. Photo: Haley Shapley

Au Diable Vert owner Jeremy Fontana waits for a VéloVolant rider to finish his treetop excursion. Photo: Haley Shapley

Soaring through the treetops used to be reserved for birds, Tarzan and intrepid zip-liners, but those without wings and a need for extreme adrenaline can enjoy a trip along the top of the forest with VéloVolant, a canopy cycle that debuted this summer at Au Diable Vert in Glen Sutton, Quebec. The first of its kind in Canada and the highest anywhere (there are also canopy cycles in Florida and Mexico), VéloVolant takes riders through maples and pines on a course that is more than a kilometer long and ranges from 12 to 100 feet off the ground.

A steady, leisurely pace is best, both for controlling your yellow recumbent bike and taking in the sights. “You’ll go along just like a bird, having the minimum amount of movement,” explains co-owner Jeremy Fontana. He and his wife, Julie Zeitlinger, spent years working on bringing the bikes in the sky to their property, going to great lengths not to cut any branches during construction — a consideration that fits with their eco-focus of people-powered activities and environmentally friendly lodging.

The experience is unlike many others. “You’re on top of 60-, 70-foot trees, looking at the pointy part where you put the star,” Fontana says. “You’re totally in control, yet there’s a pretty good exhilaration factor. I look at the reaction of people’s faces when they come off. It’s the best; people are super pumped.”

It takes approximately 45 minutes to pedal the VéloVolant course. The cost is $50 CAD for adults, $35 CAD for children 12 and up. The maximum weight is 220 pounds. Each guest receives an e-mailed video upon completion of the course; see ours here

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Haley Shapley

Haley Shapley is based in Seattle, where recycling is just as cool as Macklemore, walking in the rain without an umbrella, and eating locally sourced food. She writes for a wide range of national and regional publications, covering everything from sustainability and health to travel and retail.