MONTREAL – The Tour de l’Île celebrated its 30th anniversary Sunday by embarking on a bike tour of the whole island – that’s a 130 kilometre ride.
“Last year went went along the Lachine Canal, and this year we went along Gouin and all through the east end,” said Kristina Libertad, who is taking part in the event for the second time.
“It’s an amazing way to learn about the city.”
There are also shorter routes available, from 25 to 100 kilometres, for anyone who doesn’t want to do the entire stretch.
“We can see the urban places,” said Felix Trottier, a cyclist.
“And on a bicycle…It’s magic.”
The tour is part of Vélo Québec’s Go Bike Montreal Festival, which aims to encourage Montrealers to get active and allow cyclists to see their city on a bike without having to be concerned about safety.
This comes after a spate of bike accidents has left the city questioning how to manage two wheeled transit.
“It’s also the opportunity to question yourself about where we put the human in the city, where we put the bicycle,” explained Joelle Sevigny, a spokesperson for Vélo Québec.
On a day as sunny as this one, cyclists were just thrilled to have the streets to themselves.
“Well the best thing is to do bicycles without cars, in streets,” said Benoit Fredete, a Laval resident.
“We’re taking the street back to the bicycle.”
The $3 million festival started off its week of cycling events on Friday with the Tour la Nuit, a 20 kilometre nighttime bike ride through the Sud-Ouest, Ville-Marie and Plateau-Mont-Royal.
Several streets in the downtown and eastern Montreal areas were closed to accommodate the Go Bike events.
These included Ville-Marie, Plateau-Mont-Royal, Outremont, Rosemont-La Petite-Patrie, Villeray-St-Michel-Parc-Extension, Mercier-Hochelaga-Maisonneuve and more.
Around 30,000 participants took part – from casual riders to some of Montreal’s most enthusiastic bikers.
The Tour de l’Île started at 7 a.m. at Lafontaine Park and ended at Jeanne-Mance Park.