Mile End Cycling News

Yesterday St-Viateur was closed to vehicles for the annual Journée des bons voisins. Merchants were in the street selling their wares alongside some activities for kids, but my favourite stand of all was that of ABC Cycle and Sports. They manned a stand to show you how to fix your bike and offered some tools and useful assistance. They were also asking people to sign a petition asking for more bicycle parking spaces on St-Viateur. Yes, not everyone rides Bixis these days, and the city is indeed in need of more parking for cyclists.

The neighbourhood has gone cycling mad! Laurier Avenue was made into a one-way street giving half of the narrow road to cyclists. This has been a win-win situation for me and my family. It has already noticeably cut down the number of speeding motorists tearing down our street, and it gives me a safer route to cycle to work. But it has caused a lot of headaches for Montreal drivers. Between all the festivals downtown, the St-Laurent street fair, the annual construction and the now strictly East-bound Laurier, many of Montreal streets have become parking lots. On Friday, we cycled from Georges Marciano's Lhotel in Old Montreal, where we saw some original paintings by Motherwell, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol, to the Mile End to meet friends on a restaurant patio, and it took us all of about 20 minutes. A friend of ours got stuck in traffic downtown for an hour and a half and then had to park five blocks from the restaurant. Bottom line--there are some pretty compelling reasons this summer to leave your car at home and get a bike.

New Laurier Avenue Cycling Path
Let's talk Bixi now. My membership will be expiring shortly, and as you know, I will not be renewing it. I still find myself using one on occasion because of the sheer convenience. Now that Bixi has expanded to four new boroughs, the ridership has increased exponentially. This means that if you haven't picked up a bike before 7:30 am for work, you will be hard pressed to find one that is road worthy. If you're lucky enough to find one, you'll probably encounter some difficulties finding a dock to return it to downtown. I made the mistake of taking a bike downtown at 9:00 am one morning, and I drove to six different stations before I was able to return it. By that point, I was a 20-minute walk from work.

I have a bike now, but I still find myself drawn to bike shops. I'm looking for the perfect comfortable ride. I've always opted for the ugly uncomfortable recycled thang, and now I want better...But we all know people who have bought a really nice bike that stays at home because they're afraid of theft. François at ABC Cycle and Sports told me that bikes are usually stolen at night, and that I shouldn't have any problems if I bring my wheels in after dark. Still deciding...

Other cycling-related posts

The Montreal Bixi v. the Denver B-Cycle
The Path of an Activist
Bixi: Success for All
Fun Way to Track Bike Use and Carbon Foot Print
3 Compelling Reason For A Bike Share Program in Your City
City Cycling: Why Renting Beats Owning
A Review of Montreal's Bixi Rental Bike



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