Montreal sets an example in the use of bicycles in winter

The canadian city of Montreal appears each year in the lists of the best destinations worldwide for fans of the bike. The metropolis of Quebec is also known for

Montreal sets an example in the use of bicycles in winter

The canadian city of Montreal appears each year in the lists of the best destinations worldwide for fans of the bike. The metropolis of Quebec is also known for its freezing temperatures for a good part of the calendar, but that does not stop the cyclists. There are increasingly more people who cycle for their arteries in the colder months. The 17% of the total number of cyclists that has the city opted to use this means of transport all year, according to calculations by the mayor's office.


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In the fall of 2007, François Démontagne decided to continue using your bike until it is unbearable. The days passed and, when he realized, had come the month of march and he had not renounced his purpose. His experience that winter led him to open Vélo d'hiver-Montréal [Bike winter - Montreal, a group on Facebook that has imposed itself as the reference city for this practice. “We already have almost 10,000 members. It is proven that the bicycle is an efficient means of transportation, not contaminated and contributes to the good physical state. Now, in addition, it represents an important activity for that the cold months are not very long, especially in a time where people are in little contact with the sunlight. Cycling in the winter is very pleasant”, says this daily.

Between January and February -the coldest months in the northern hemisphere-, Montreal has an average temperature of -8.7°C. To this is added the thermal sensation, that is to say, the temperature felt by exposed skin. The thermometer can make a morning -12°C, but it is possible that with the wind and humidity have a sense of -20°C. In turn, the city receives approximately 2.6 metres of snow annually. In spite of this, Démontagne ensures that passing “80% of the days of cold," on pavement.

The group that Démontagne created in Facebook disseminates information on the best routes to follow, organises events and advises the neophytes. The network of bike lanes, Montreal has an extension of 800 miles between April 1 and November 15. The rest of the year, parts of the circuit to suffer closures because of the winter. However, the authorities, city governments have put special attention in recent years for the bike to continue riding in the cold. Currently, 75% of these roads (575 kilometers) is open in periods in icy-cold.

Montreal has Bixi, a bike rental system that is in high demand, but does not operate during the winter. As the normal bike is not suitable for the snow, the most common thing for cyclists is to adapt the used during the hot months, buy another, especially for use in cold climates or to buy an old unit and incorporate what is necessary.

Hugo Roy opted for this third option. A professor of literature at a college in Montreal, Roy is defined with pride as a redneck pedaling winter. “I go every day to work by bike and I always look for any excuse to use it in that station,” he says. In each output porta helmet and goggles for alpine skiing, gloves and other clothing to retain the heat. The majority of cyclists in the cold months, added, benefits of the grip provided by the high cleats of the special wheels. It is important to have fenders, he says, and a light that allows motorists to distinguish the bike.

Roy points out that sometimes doubt and pedaling when the temperatures descend steeply. “The cold is not the problem. In reality, I feel warm and well sheltered, and perform a physical effort as is required. My reservations have more to do with the motorists, since they can form a layer of ice on the pavement that make it hard to brake or turn the steering wheel with precision,” he says.

The use of bicycles in winter wins every time more and more popular in Montreal. Although not everyone is rejoicing. Some comments on social networks and in snaking columns say that it is a very dangerous activity. “In my years as a cyclist, I've seen more accidents in summer than in winter. People take their precautions, is well equipped, shows prudence and has a relationship of many years with the bike,” he answers, Démontagne. "There is also an increasing awareness among motorists".

this Is the third year that Roy drives his bike in the cold. He confesses that he did not know the group “Vélo d'hiver-Montreal” because you do not use Facebook, but now follow you on Twitter. “I'm interested in sharing my experiences with them, give and receive advice. There is one thing I appreciate about having a bike in the winter: we spent a lot of time locked up and, well, I get more motivated to work after cycling. The endorphins act”.

Updated Date: 30 December 2019, 09:00



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