Planning on visiting Montreal this spring or summer? Montreal is one of the most bike friendly cities in North America. The city has over 500 km of bike paths and a great public bike rental system. Biking is a great way to see the city and can often be a faster way to travel than walking or public transportation.
Bixi is Montreal’s public, self-service bike system, run by the city’s parking authority. Here’s how it works: There are over 300 Bixi kiosk stations around Montreal with 5000 bikes available for rent. You can purchase monthly or annual membership but, if you’re just in the city for a few days, you can use the bicycles for a low daily rate.
To pick up a bike, go to the nearest Bixi kiosk, pay at the kiosk – by credit card if you’re renting without a membership or scan your Bixi keycard if you have a membership – and unlock your bike. You can keep a bike out for up to 24 hours at a time and when you’re done, you can return the bike to any Bixi station around the city. It’s that easy! Bixi bicycles are available for use from May to November.
Guided Bike Tours
A great way to see Montreal while learning about the city’s rich history is to take a guided tour. Montreal offers the unique experience of guided bicycle tours in and around the city. Here are some options of guided bike tours through Montreal:
The Route Verte is made up of more than 2000 miles of on and off-road trails across Quebec. It includes miles of trails throughout and around Montreal. The trails lead bikers, walkers and rollerbladers through Mount Royal, Parc Jean-Drapeau, Lachine Canal and more. National Geographic listed the Route Verte as one of the top 10 bike routes in the world.
Montreal Bike Fest
Montreal is host to the world’s largest bike fest. In its 26th year, attendance of the weeklong festival was over 70,000 last year. Festival highlights include: The Tour de l’Île de Montreal – a 31 mile (50 km) ride on the l’Île de Montreal and the Tour la Nuit – a night ride through Montreal’s streets. Montreal Bike Fest runs May 30 – June 6, 2010. See here for more information.
You don’t have to be a hard core cyclist to get around Montreal by bicycle. Many residents use bikes as a daily form of transportation. It is a good idea to wear a safety helmet and learn the local bicycle rules.