Stephen Rees's blog

Thoughts about the relationships between transport and the urban area it serves

Posts Tagged ‘Montreal

North America’s Best Kept (Cycling) Secret

with 2 comments

1

Photo © by Chris Bruntlett on Flickr

“…when it comes to building bike culture, North American cities tend to use their (chiefly ineffectual) neighbours as a yard stick, rather than measure themselves against far braver European cities like Paris, Seville, and Barcelona. Sadly, their myriad successes are seen as unattainable; their urban areas far more willing and able to embrace change. Quebec, meanwhile – with its own cultural heritage, identity, and language – is simply too “foreign” to figure into the daily consciousness of this continent, and somehow ends up lumped in with the rest of Europe.

Three years later, all of that is changing,.. people [are waking] up to what is undoubtedly North America’s cycling capital. Montréal now regularly tops lists of the most bicycle-friendly cities on the continent, and is often named one of the top twenty cycling cities on the planet. Their secret is (slowly) getting out; their compelling story is being told, and it is inspiring romantics, such as myself, to demand better than the half-baked policies, poorly-connected facilities, and dismal, single-digit mode shares officials and advocates have accepted for far too long.”

Chris Bruntlett does something very clever. He has been taking photographs of people cycling in smart clothes “cycle chic” – he may not have invented the term but that’s how it came to my attention. I tried to do something similar while in Italy: it is not as easy as it sounds. I was was going to write about what they do for cyclists in Rome and Florence  – but that all came out too negative. Cycling is, of course, forbidden in Venice.

Quebec City has long been on our bucket list. Montréal I once visited for work purposes back in the early nineties: I was not impressed then. Obviously I need to go again now.

Is that a popup bistro?

Written by Stephen Rees

June 17, 2014 at 9:30 am

Posted in bicycles, cycling, Transportation

Tagged with

Montreal gets velib

with 3 comments

UPDATED
New text from CBC

Montreal unveils ambitious bike-rental program
‘BIXIs’ will be available at 300 stations across the city
Last Updated: Monday, September 22, 2008 | 10:01 AM ET
CBC News

Montreal introduced a new self-service, bike-rental system on Sunday modelled after the highly successful Vélib’ program in Paris.

So far there are only 40 of the bicycles available — the city calls them BIXIs, a mix of bicycle and taxi — but the plan is to have 2,400 BIXIs in service by next spring. In Paris, the Vélib’ service provides
more than 10,000 bicycles.

“It’s not for long trips. You ride it and you return it, and [for] the first half hour there’s no charge,” Mayor Gérald Tremblay said Sunday.

“We sincerely believe that a lot of citizens who are not presently commuting with a bicycle will use the bicycles,” he said.

The service will cost $28 a month, or $78 for seven months. Users can buy a day pass for $5.

Montrealer Michel Gourdeau won an online contest to name the bike service.

“Well, I’m a user of bicycles myself, and I thought it would be a good idea to participate and try to find a name that is special,” he said.

Gourdeau felt BIXI had “a nice international feel to it.”

The city will deploy a squad of BIXI experts to explain how to use the rental service over the next few months.

When it’s fully in service there will be 300 BIXI stations around the city where the bicycles can be rented or returned.

The $15-million system is being paid for by Stationnement de Montreal, the company that manages the city’s on-street parking.

It hopes to recoup its investment through the membership fees.

The bikes are designed entirely in Quebec, and are made of 100 per cent recyclable aluminum. The bike parking stations are powered by solar energy.

velib park

Written by Stephen Rees

September 21, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Posted in bicycles

Tagged with , ,