Montreal Visitors' GuideA taste of Paris in Canada
Whether you BIXI it or bring your own bike, the city has plenty to explore. Montreal Island hosts 310 miles (500 kilometers) of bicycle paths. Many paths lead to quiet green spaces where the only traffic you’ll have to contend with is of the two-wheeled variety. One of Montreal’s favorite bike paths runs along the historic Lachine canal. But for many cyclists, nothing beats the beauty of Mount-Royal Park, the site of the mountain that gives Montreal its name.
Tour de l'Ile and Tour de la nuit (Vélo Québec) are indisputably the largest cycling events of the year, attracting over 25,000 cyclists. The group rides have now gotten so big that Vélo Québec created a whole festival around it called, “Féria du vélo.”
Bike Movies in the Park (various locations) This gathering includes rides and movie screenings at various parks. Previous flicks included Breaking Away and The Triplets of Bellevue.
Coupe des glâces/Ice Cup Race (various locations). Montreal gets pounded with so ice and snow, that it would be a shame not to have an ice bike competition. Usually happens in early February.
Santropol Roulant (111 Roy East) is Montreal's most famous meals-on-wheels program. (Most of those wheels are bike wheels). One of their many projects is a community bicycle workshop called Santrovélo.
Montreal Bike Polo (various locations) meets every Sunday for a game. (In case you haven't heard, bike polo is, as the name suggests, like polo, on bicycles).
Bicycle Film Festival (1564 St Denis St.) This international film festival hits Montreal late summer or early fall, and is usually combined with other activities such as bike scavenger hunts and after-parties.
Wheel Club (3373 Cavendish Blvd.) One of Montreal's longest running open stages, "Hillybilly Night," attracts a high number of cyclists every Monday night.
Le Cajibi (5490 St. Laurent) This shaggy-chic dive has long been a favourite haunt for scenesters, zinesters and cyclesters in the Mile End. Great food, live entertainment and generous bike parking.
La Panther Verte (66 St-Viateur St. W.) True to its name (which means "Green Panther"), La Panther Verte has many ecologically-friendly practices, including catering delivery by bicycle.
Cafe Santropol (3990 St.-Urbain) Located along a bike path in the Plateau, Santropol Café is famous for their monstrously big cream cheese sandwiches.
Maison des cyclistes (1251 Rachel St. E) Housed in the Vélo Québec quarters, this café is a popular rest spot for cyclists. At the intersection of two important bike path superhighways.
Les Foufounes (87 Ste.-Catherine E.) Go to this downtown bar at 5:30 on any weeknight, and you're sure to find bike couriers drinking after work. A favourite Montreal institution.
Café Fractale (200 Sherbrooke St. W. SH-R380) Located on the UQAM (Université de Québec à Montréal) campus, this student-run café specializes in fair trade and organic food and drinks. BQAM, UQAM's community bicycle shop, is housed in the same building.
So many Quebec hotels, B&Bs and hostels wish to advertise themselves as "bicycle-friendly" that Vélo Québec established a certification program – Bienvenue cyclistes!. To be certified by Bienvenue cyclistes!, an establishment must provide guests with covered and locked bike storage, tools for minor repairs and information on cycling and cycling facilities in Montreal. To find certified Bienvenue cyclistes! accommodations that suit your specific needs, consult the database.
Below is but a selection.
Hilton Bonaventure Montréal (900 de la Gauchetière St.) The Montreal Hilton probably sees more limousines than bicycles, but when cyclists come, the hotel will open its glamourous doors.
Hôtel Travelodge City Centre (50 René-Levesque West) One street away from Montreal’s Quartier des Spectacles, which hosts many of the biggest events of the summer.
Auberge de Jeunesse de Montréal (1030 MacKay St.) Only a few blocks from the Centre Bell Stadium, this Hostelling International institution offers hockey packages for those dropping in to watch games.
BIXI bike share (various locations) The three-speed bike share bikes are heavy and clunky, but with 405 rental outlets all over the city, BIXI takes the prize for convenience.
La Bicycletterie J.R. (201 Rachel E) Located along a bike path in the heart of the Plateau, J.R. is one of Montreal’s most reputable and established bike shops. Prices start at $15 for four hours.
Ça roule, Montréal on Wheels (27 de la Commune St. E.) Located in the picturesque Old Port, its rental fleet is 150 strong and includes tandems, cruisers, kids’ bikes and more. Prices begin at $5 for one hour.
My Bicyclette (2985 C Saint. Patrick St.) Rents on an hourly, daily, weekly and monthly basis. My Bicyclette also houses the Montreal chapter of Bicycles for Humanity, which ships bikes to developing countries. mybicyclette.com
ABC Cycles and Sports (5584 Park Ave.) One of the giants in the Montreal cycling retail business. Situated in the Mile End, this shop has an impressive range of bicycles for sale.
Dumoulin Bicyclettes (173 Jean-Talon St. E) One of the highest-rated retail shops in Montreal. Also a generous supporter of community bicycle shops and other local non-profit initiatives.
Right to Move/ La voie libre (No address. Check website for map) Montreal's oldest and most established community bicycle workshop. You do all the work, and friendly volunteer mechanics are always on-hand to assist.
Bikurious (1757 Amherst St.) Located in the Gay Village, this retail bike shop is rightfully named. Famous not only for their swanky custom-made bikes, but for also for their barber service, which offers "lesbian haircuts for anyone."
The Flat (3480 McTavish, Suite B-02) This student-run community bicycle shop is located on the McGill campus in the Shatner building. Also offers workshops on bicycle mechanics.
Cycle Technique (788 Atwater). Located in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce neighborhood, this unique training centre and bike shop specializes in products and services for triathlon competitors.
SAAQ (Societé de l'assurance automobile du Québec) Information on Bicycle Safety
La Route Verte is the longest network of bicycle paths in Quebec.
Cyclo Nord-Sud ships bicycles to developing countries.
Bettina Grassmann is a veteran of the bicycle scene in Montreal. She has worked as a bike mechanic, a bike courier and a community bicycle workshop coordinator. She volunteered at Right to Move/La voie libre for eight years, organized Montreal's first bike coop conference – Vélo! Vélo!, and co-founded Le Petit Vélo Rouge. She holds a Masters of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing from Concordia University and writes professionally for websites, magazines and anthologies.