This year the Copenhagen Index evaluated 150 cities for qualities including bicycle advocacy, gender split, and infrastructure. Beating many other top contenders, Montreal was ranked the most bike friendly city in North America. It was also the only city in Canada and the USA that made it into the top 14, coming in at #11 internationally. That's just one more reason why I choose to live here!
Photo by Mathieu Lamarre
Montreal saw it's first bike paths as early as 1980, and now boasts 589 km of path. Cyclo-toursim plays a role in the local economy as outfits like Fitz & Follwell give tourists a chance to experience Montreal bike culture through guided biking tours. In 2008, Montréal pioneered a new public bike sharing system known as Bixi. The model has worked so well that it's now being adopted by cities all over the world including Boston, Melbourne, London, Toronto, New York and Washington, D.C.. The systems are all fabricated in Montréal and then sold worldwide, making it simple for other cities to become bike friendly as well. People keep asking me to make a bicycle wine rack that fits a bixi - maybe one day - but for now I've managed to converted one of their old docks into a speaker cabinet! Additionally, city residents don't just use their bikes to get to work and back, biking is part of a broader culture. Events like Friction Montreal showcase bike friendly artists creating instruments from bike parts, and the annual Tour de l’Île race features a 100km ride, opening many main roads to cyclists for the event. Artisans like Rose Pedals create earrings out of used bike parts, and community bicycle Co-ops throughout the city allow cyclists to share tools and resources to keep their bikes in tune. Montrealers like to have their fun as well; this year they participated in the World Naked Bike Ride for the 9th time. Perhaps next year the city will climb even higher in the ranks. For now it's amazing to be featured so close to the top! Here's how the rest of the world stacked up:
Thanks to all the wonderful cyclists out there who helped to make our city number one in North America! Montreal sure is a pleasure to ride.
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Bike touring is different than other types of travelling in that you don't really know how far you're going to get every day. This can make planning accommodations difficult and stressful, but it doesn't need to be.
In this post, I share some of the techniques I use to find accommodation on the fly so you can enjoy the ride and not stress about where to rest your head that night.
Stay tuned for more free-cycling adventures & inventions.