June 2, 2019 4:26 pm
Updated: June 2, 2019 4:47 pm

‘It’s just a happy part of my life’: Montreal cycling event draws 22K riders

Cyclists taking part in Montreal's Tour de L'Île. Sunday, June 2, 2019.

Phil Carpenter/Global News
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Cyclists are a hardy bunch and it takes more than a downpour to rain on their parade.

That was made evident on Sunday, with 22,000 cyclists taking part in Montreal’s 35th edition of the Tour de l’Île.

“The weather won’t prevent us from discovering or rediscovering our metropolis together,” Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante said in a tweet.

Rudy Manlac came all the way from New York to participate in this year’s bike ride through city streets. The classic ride offers several options for cyclists, including 25-kilometre and 100-kilometre routes, both of which give participants a chance to see Montreal landmarks.

READ MORE: Montreal cyclists to take over city streets for annual festival

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Manlac has been coming to Montreal for the past five years just to take part in Tour de l’Île. He said it would take more than a bit of weather to keep him from riding.

“I just thought of it as a long shower,” he said of Sunday’s rain.

But it’s the atmosphere of the Go Bike Montreal Festival, which includes the Tour la Nuit — a nighttime ride through the city — that keeps him coming back for more.

“Montreal is a nice biking-friendly city. Cars get out of your way and stop for you,” he said. “It’s a great atmosphere, it’s a party — especially Friday night’s Tour la Nuit.”

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Manlac isn’t the only one who covered some distance just to ride on two wheels.

Larry Beaton came from Toronto.

He started cycling 35 years ago and it’s become part of his lifestyle.

“It makes me feel great to be on the bike. Especially to finish an event like this, it’s just a happy part of my life,” he said, adding that the tour also allows him to make new friends along the way.

Beaton, who rode a 65-kilometre circuit, admitted, however, that he’s expecting to feel some pain.

“My legs feel exhausted, they might be sore tonight, but I feel like a million bucks,” he said.

READ MORE:  Montreal announces new road safety measures on Mount Royal

Everyone has their own reasons for taking part in the tour, from making friends to discovering a new city, but some are more surprising than others — like learning French.

“I figure that by the time I’m 100, I’ll know French if I come back here,” said New Yorker Manuel Sanudo. “It took me four years to learn to say ‘Bonjour, je suis Manuel. Comment allez-vous?'”

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