Thursday, June 12, 2014


I am back to the mundane world of commuting on two wheels.

It's not as exciting as touring, but commuting is still an inexhaustible source of satisfaction.  My commutes this week have been blissful.  Any route I choose has its pleasures.  I am spoiled that way.

Monday on the way home I took the slow scenic route.  It occured to me that I could take a look at what may be Montreal's most curious heritage building: our very own, essentially unknown, shot tower.  A turn-of-the-nineteenth-century industrial revolution museum piece.  Essential for making musket balls and buckshot.
It looks like a chimney, but only if you're not very observant.  For instance, are those windows? That is how our one and only shot tower manages to hide in plain sight.  Who would have thunk?  Not me!

I only found out about it a few weeks ago when doing a little homework on shot towers as a tidbit to add to my reference to Mark Twain's disparaging comment on the Tower of Pisa.  I have been riding right by it several times a week going on five years and never once guessed what it really was.
Montreal has a lot of history.  Montrealers are spoiled that way. You can see how a little thing like a shot tower could slip by under the radar, even in what is now a residential neighbourhood.

Tuesday morning was overcast and cool when I set out on the morning commute.

Throwing caution to the wind, I chose my BMW Airflow jacket and Tucano Urbano mesh gloves.  These are my coolest riding gear choices... because they keep me nice and cool.

I am spoiled to have choices.

On the way to the expressway (I was running late), I zipped up my jacket as the slightest chill got to my open collar.

After a mile or two of running on the highway, I felt a little chill on my hands.

I reached down and dialed in some heat to the grips.

Aaaahhhhh! Seriously spoiled.

PS: Doug went to visit the Dubuque shot tower.  His post is here.


Trobairitz said...

How very cool to have a shot tower in your own back yard (so to speak) You are spoiled.

SonjaM said...

The tower is not leaning... so it's not perfect to Italian standards ;-)

Think about it, your family gave you 'a day off' on a vacation of a lifetime. You are spoiled rotten!

RichardM said...

I would agree, yes, you are spoiled...

I had always assumed that musket balls were cast or stamped. More consistent sizes than you'd get from a screen.

David Masse said...

Brandy, truth be told, the shot tower pales compared to some of the other stuff we have.

As Bob knows, when the Grand Prix is not running (which is like at least 350 days a year) you can walk, bike, roller blade, skateboard, and yes, drive, the course.

David Masse said...

Don't I know it Sonja, don't I know it.

David Masse said...

I think there's a whole story of the production of lead shot in the Wikipedia page. Apparrently dropping molten lead and letting the laws of physics form the balls is a pretty good method of making round shot, and cheaper than casting.

I wonder what else you could drop? I now know how they get the caramel in the Caramilk bars, I wonder if Lindt drops molten chocolate in unused shot towers for their balls.

Unknown said...


Your family is good to you. They knew what you really wanted to do and went along to Tuscany just to keep you happy. You would have been really, really, really spoiled had you turned one day into two

I know it's hard to go back to your usual routine after a tour like that

Riding the Wet Coast

David Masse said...

Yes Bob, hard it is.

Coop a.k.a. Coopdway said...

I'm really liking this dropped chocolate line of thought.....welcome back to historical, blissful mundane.

David Masse said...

Doug, I think you've got something there. Vacations, particularly the great long awaited ones where there was a long period of anticipation, are kind of like an adrenaline rush.

There is bliss in the mundane, and history too.

That's a soothing thought.

Like a vision of molten chocolate forming into spheres as it drops...

motor scooters said...

This is my first time checking out this blog. It is very well done with an interesting perspective. I will be back!

David Masse said...

Hi MS, thanks for the kind words and welcome to the ScootCommute!

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