It may not be a conundrum for everyone, but for many, the question of how to stay active on vacation in a city known for its good food, drink and vibrant arts and cultural scene can be difficult to answer. Thankfully, Montreal is highly walkable and increasingly friendly to cyclists, as the upcoming Montreal Bike Fest, May 26 to June 2, proves…
Thousands of people, Montrealers and tourists alike, of all skill levels and ages, take part in the Montreal Bike Fest every spring, in cycling tours of the city and other events. For over 40 years, non-profit organization Vélo Québec has been boosting biking for recreation, commuting and as a great way to tour Montreal’s many neighbourhoods – the Bike Fest takes this advocacy to the next level, with the Tour de l’Île de Montréal, the Tour la Nuit, an entertainment event at Olympic Stadium, a fashion show and more.
Serious cyclists take advantage of the just-right springtime weather on Sunday, May 26 in the Metropolitan Challenge, featuring 75, 100, 125 and 150-km routes leaving from Saint-Lazare, but for a more casual, chilled-out, city-focused bike ride, choose the Tour la Nuit on May 31 – experience Montreal by bike at night, surrounded by, oh, about 17,000 other cyclists, many of them in wild costumes, biking for 25 kilometres through the city streets. The event begins at 8:15 p.m. out on Boulevard Pie-IX and finishes with a party at Olympic Park’s Esplanade. Encouraging families to get and stay active together, the Tour la Nuit is free for all kids aged 12!
Also free for kids is the Tour de l’Île de Montréal on the morning of Sunday, June 3, a ride now in its 29th year, with options of 25 and 50 kilometres as well as a 100-km morning tour all along the city’s shoreline. Cyclists who want to test their speed and stamina can go for the 50 or 100 km Express routes, with average speeds of 30 km/h for 1½ hours. For families and others who want to stop and smell the roses, or at least glide past them more slowly, bike together on a loop of of either 25 km or 50 km, ending at a new finish site this year, Olympic Park’s Esplanade, complete with ferris wheel!
If you’re not bringing your own wheels to town or renting a bike from one of Montreal’s many bike tour and rental shops, opt for Montreal’s public bike system, Bixi, offering a $10 deal for the Tour la Nuit and the Tour de l’Île. But if you’re in Ottawa or Quebec City and looking for a challenge, bike over to Montreal on May 31 or June 1 and hop the train home after the Tour de l’Île with a special-to-the-festival VIA Rail Canada package. On the other hand, just soak up the fashionable side of cycling at the Montréal Cycle Chic fashion contest at a Happy Hour event on May 30, organized by new bike-culture magazine Vélo Urbain.
The Montreal Bike Fest, May 26-June 2, 2013