Montreal’s annual Tour de l’Île massive bike ride event was back on Sunday as cyclists rode through closed-off streets in several boroughs of the city.
The festival closed down dozens of roads to car traffic for its 36-kilometre route. Organizers say over 15,000 cyclists, including families, seniors and children, took part in the ride — the first year the event was at maximum capacity since the start of the pandemic.
The ride was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic and was capped at 9,000 cyclists in 2021.
President and CEO of Vélo Québec, Jean-François Rheault, said this year he felt “great enthusiasm” from the public participating in the bike ride.
“All these people in the streets to celebrate cycling, it’s really a unique moment,” Rheault said.
A ticket to participate in the ride costs $50 for an adult and $10 for youth aged 13 to 17. Children 12 and under participate for free.
“What is most interesting for us with the Tour de l’Île is the families and the children, the smiles, the people who are happy, who are there to celebrate, and it’s really a party, it’s festive and accessible to everyone,” the Vélo Québec president said.
Rheault said the event allows Montrealers and tourists to reclaim public space, see the city differently without car traffic and noise pollution, and to appreciate Montreal’s architecture from a new point of view.
He also added that the event permits people who are intimidated by city cycling to experiment in a safe, car-free route, which helps build confidence for cyclists.
The ride began at 9:30 a.m. and finished at around 2:30 p.m. It took over the streets of Plateau-Mont-Royal, Rosemont-La-Petite-Patrie, Outremont, Côte-des-Neiges-Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, the Sud-Ouest , Verdun, Ville-Marie and Westmount.
A map of the route is available on the Vélo Québec website and authorities warned people commuting by car on Sunday to plan their itinerary accordingly. Vélo Québec also partnered with the Waze application to provide real-time information on traffic conditions.
Closed off streets of the city are expected to remain inaccessible to car traffic until 4 p.m.
— with files from the Canadian Press