Tour de l’Île 2014 this Sunday; 40,000 cyclists expected over weekend…
by John Symon
This Sunday, June 1 will see an estimated 25,000 cyclists celebrating the 30th edition of Vélo Québec (VQ)’s Tour de l’Île de Montréal. Another 17,000 cyclists are expected for the Friday evening Tour la Nuit excursion. And this year there is a name change with the two weekend events being now called the “Go Bike Montréal Festival.”
“This timely name change, which coincides with the 30th edition of the Tour de l’Île de Montréal, is a logical continuation of the novelties introduced in 2013 to satisfy today’s cyclists,” says Joëlle Sévigny, Executive Director of VQ Événements. “These novelties include free admission to the Tour de l’Île and Tour la Nuit for kids 12 and under — a concrete way of encouraging them to be physically active — as well as a wider variety of experiences at the Tour de l’Île, for both leisure and sporting cyclists.”
Participants in the Sunday’s Tour de l’Île have a choice this year of different itineraries of between 25km and 130km, the longest of which actually do go around all of Montreal Island. The Friday evening Tour la Nuit ride is a 20km ride in the Plateau and downtown sectors. The Times reached Vélo Québec on May 26 which confirmed that last minute registrations are still possible starting at $39 for adults. See the web links below for more information.
Cyclists are advised to eat a hearty breakfast before setting out, bring comfortable clothing (rain seems likely), and make sure their bike is in good shape. It is also important to stay hydrated and drink lots of fluids. Some snacks are available for free at the various rest stops along the route of Sunday’s ride.
For cyclists, the feeling of taking over downtown streets can be exhilarating but this joy is not always shared by motorists; some major streets will be closed to automobile traffic as per the web link below.
Most of Sunday’s 25,000 riders will take over the streets in the centre and eastern parts of Montreal Island. The main route goes through Plateau Mont Royal; Villeray/St. Michel/ Parc Extension; Ahuntsic/Cartierville; Riviere-des-Prairies/Pointe aux Trembles; Montreal East; and Mercier/Hochelaga/Maisonneuve. Also affected are sectors of downtown (Ville Marie); Rosemont–La Petite-Patrie; and Montreal North.
Cyclists start at the corner of Rachel and Brebeuf Streets on Sunday morning between 8:45 and 9:15; nearby Parc Lafontaine Avenue, sees the longest closing; from the early minutes of Sunday morning to 6 p.m. In total, some 70 streets will be closed according to a staggered schedule, most closings are from 9 a.m.—3 p.m.
The STM transit authority is facilitating having thousands of cyclists accessing and leaving the event. Registered participants will have already received information about special rules for travelling with bikes on the metro that day. For instance, on the orange line, cyclists can only enter the metro at the following stations on Sunday morning: Montmorency, Henri-Bourassa; Vendome; and Cote Vertu with a maximum of 16 bikes allowed per train.
This reporter, an avid cyclist, is scheduled to do the 50km circuit.
Registration information can be found on the Vélo Québec.info site.