by Calvin Woodward, The Associated Press, March 30, 2016
Montreal puts the sizzle on its status as a cycling and cultural beehive with a bike festival May 29-June 5. It's anchored by a bicycle tour of the city-island that rivals New York's Five Boro cycling extravaganza in size, adds a distinctive French twist and shows Americans how very far their dollar can go in Canada these days.
Tour de l'lle de Montréal is the iconic event for a bicycle-mad city that Joelle Sevigny of Velo Quebec, the province's bicycle association and festival organizer, calls "little Copenhagen in North America."
The festival is far from little. The Sunday tour on closed-off streets, June 5, typically draws 25,000 people, and follows a Friday night ride that brings together 15,000 in good weather. The classic Sunday ride is 30 miles (50 kilometers), with an "express" option for fast cyclists to leave before the mob. Shorter hops are part of the mix, as is a 60-mile (100-kilometer) ride that ventures beyond streets closed to traffic. Tour la nuit, on the Friday night, takes cyclists 14 miles (23 kilometers) and invariably brings out plenty of bikers and spectators in goofy costumes with some wild homemade illumination on the bikes.
Tour de l'lle de Montréal began in 1985 with 3,500 people and mushroomed as the cycling ethic took hold. Cycling is a year-round form of commuting and recreation despite the bitter winters in a province that is home to Route Verte, the vast bike network that made Quebec the world's top cycling destination, according to National Geographic.
The Go Bike Montreal Festival opens May 29 with "metropolitan challenge" rides in the countryside. The main Sunday ride costs $30.50 to $41 Canadian dollars for an adult, depending when booked. The exchange rate, about even a few years ago, has tilted heavily in favor of the U.S. dollar, meaning discounts of one-third or more for Americans in Canada in recent months.
If You Go...
MONTREAL BIKE FESTIVAL: May 29-June 5, http://www.veloquebec.info/en/govelo/Go-bike-Montreal-festival
This article was written by Calvin Woodward from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.