Friday, January 17, 2014

February 16 – Vélo sous zéro: Winter fun and advocacy in one [updated]

[Update January 26: So a mere week after registration opened, all 500 spots have been taken already. Pretty awesome!]

For the first time, Vélo Québec and Environnement Jeunesse will organize what is kind of like the winter equivalent to the massively successful Montreal Bike Fest (primarily known for its Tour de l`Île and Tour de la Nuit): an organized bike ride through Montreal's streets in the middle of February. The aim of the ride is to both have fun on the bike, but also to underline the recent growth of the winter bike movement in Montreal and to advocate for changes to further support that growth.
Brush the snow off your bike and join Vélo sous zéro!
Montreal still lacks a comprehensive network of reliably cleared bike paths—the "White Network" formulated a couple years ago remains more ambition than reality—and consequently the number of winter cyclists remains relatively low at an estimated ten to 15 per cent of the summer numbers.

There has been progress, though: In Westmount, pressure from the local Walking and Cycling Association has led to improvements in clearing the de Maisonneuve bike path; in Outremont, a pilot project to clear the path along Cote Sainte-Catherine has just begun; and there is an active Vélo d'hiver movement on Facebook as well as in real-life.

Having a high profile bike ride in the middle of February will hopefully send a strong message that there is a lot of untapped potential for biking in winter in Montreal. After all, cities like Minneapolis and Madison in the US or Oulu in Finland have winters just a rough or even worse than Montreal and still manage to have a higher proportion of riders who stay on the bike year-round.

So come out and play in the snow! Registration is required but free. Vélo Québec is hoping for a turnout of 300 cyclists—but I say: let's aim higher and show that cycling in the winter is totally feasible!

The ride will start and end at the north end of Parc La Fontaine at the corner of Rachel and Chambord at 10 a.m.

View Larger Map

No comments:

Post a Comment