There are lots of things to like about Montreal – the nightlife, restaurants, cafes, parks, shopping, et al – but the thing that has really impressed me over the past week has been a system called Bixi that lets people use bicycles when needed.
There are stations scattered throughout downtown Montreal where you can pick up a bicycle, travel to where you want to go, and then park it at another station. The system, which can be accessed and monitored online (that’s the technology angle here!) can tell where you pick and drop off a bicycle, along with how many kilometers it’s been used. Since Bixi’s launch a few months ago, more than 1,000,000 kilometers have been racked up. Now, that’s impressive!
It was thought that Bixi would be particularly popular with tourists looking an easy and eco-friendly way to get around the city but, surprisingly, Bixi has also been enthusiastically embraced by Montrealers who view as a convenient way to commute.
Of course, this shouldn’t be a huge surprise given how Montreal is one of the most bicycle-friendly cities in North America. As someone who commutes via bicycle in Toronto, the focus on promoting bicycles is just another thing to like about Montreal. Along with Bixi, Montreal has aggressively expanded the number of bicycles paths.