Montreal has always been a cyclist-friendly city with many ways to get around Montreal by bicycle. There are numerous bicycle paths located all over the city, and Montreal is home to the BIXI bicycle sharing program. BIXI, which is a term that combines the words “bike” and “taxi”, gives people a convenient way to get some exercise and explore Montreal’s 400km of bike paths. Montreal has 5000 BIXI bikes that can be rented with credit cards at a very low fee and returned to any BIXI station. The BIXI bike station network includes stations along many of the popular tourist streets such as Boulevard de Maisonneuve which traverses the heart of Montreal. Montreal’s BIXI bike stations have gotten so popular that they are now being installed in Boston and London.
Montreal by Bicycle
In 1999, Montreal was rated the number one cycling city in North America by Bicycling magazine. There are over 300 km of bicycle paths located on the island. Cycling is one of the most relaxing ways to travel around the city’s scenic outskirts. One of the most popular trips is along the Lachine canal, which is a paved 15 km recreation path between Old Montreal and Lachine.
Montreal’s BIXI Bicycles
BIXI is Montreal’s popular public bicycle sharing system that features more than 4,000 bicycles and 400 stations located around Montreal’s central core. A BIXI user can purchase a membership for $5/day, $28/month, or $78/year. The membership entitles the rider to unlimited use of the BIXI system, providing the first 30-minutes of each trip for free. Additional charges only apply if the bicycle is used for more than 30-minutes at a time. The BIXI bicycle stations are powered by solar energy and are completely portable and wireless. Due to the popularity of the system, additional stations are constantly being added. Additional stations have been added in some boroughs, and at the Parc Jean Drapeau on Ile-Ste-Hélène.
A Brief History of the BIXI Bicycles
The BIXI system is modeled after a similar program, Vélo’v, which launched in Lyon, France in 2005 and led to the creation of the largest bicycle sharing system in the world, Vélib’, which launched in Paris in 2007. Other cities around the world are starting to adopt the BIXI system. Some of these cities include Melbourne and certain metropolitain cities in the U.S.A. A recent Montreal survey of Bixi users found an 85-per-cent satisfaction rate, and 96-per-cent of the corresponants said that they would recommend the service to a friend.
Additional Bicylcle Information
There are many bicycle lanes throughout the city. Helmets are not mandatory, but bicycles should be well equipped with reflectors if you will be riding after dark. Please keep in mind that Montreal motorists tend to be quite aggressive so ride carefuly and be vigilant. Bikes are permitted on the Metro subway system during on-rush hour periods. You can view a complete list of bike paths in Montreal here.