MONTREAL – More than 300 cyclists showed up Sunday morning, to take part in the third edition of Vélo sous Zéro.
Participants with tuques, ski googles, helmets, warm mitts and a lot of resolve, followed a 17-km route on open streets and through the City of Montréal’s network of bike paths.
In a phone interview, Magalie Bebronne with Vélo Québec, told Global News that the event aims to demystify what winter cycling is all about.
And today certainly felt like winter, with temperatures in the -40s with the windchill.
Despite the cold, Brebonne said the circuit is a fun and safe way for people who are interested in riding in the winter to try it out.
“It shows that it’s possible and popular too,” she said.
Mayor Denis Coderre was on hand for the start of the event and vowed to increase the amount of paths available during the winter season.
There are currently 400km of paths and roads available to cyclists in the winter versus 730 km throughout the year.
Brebonne added that while there are technically 400km of paths available, problems with snow-clearing operations mean that in reality there are far less that are usable.
Coderre said he would speak to borough mayors in an effort to improve the situation.
Brebonne expressed hope for the future saying that there was a political willingness to make cycling in Montreal possible throughout the year.
She added that new bike paths in the city will be planned with four-season cycling in mind.
Coderre also expressed enthusiasm for the future of cycling in Montreal alluding to next year’s international Winter Cycling Congress.
The congress will be hosted by the City of Montreal and organized by Vélo Québec.
In a written statement,Vélo Québec president Suzanne Lareau said the conference “was a wonderful opportunity to fast-track the development of four-season biking in Québec.”
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