As you know, I'm a big fan of spinning and bike riding, so it only stands to reason that when having an opportunity to either walk around a town, or ride around one, I'd pick the latter. Such was the case with us in Montreal yesterday.
Weather called for better than it turned out, but some things you cannot control. Life goes on. I know this does not sound like Blobby, but sometimes I am not so....me.
Montreal has this great system called Bixi. Basically it's a bike-taxi, and I don't mean a pedi-cab. They are basically bikes you rent for $5 a day, but only for 30 minutes at a time. Kind of. Let me see if I can explain it to you easily.
You go to one of the many Bixi stations that are all over town.....see.....?
Then you use your credit card to take out one of the many bikes at the station.
(if you belong to some kind of CSI organization, you can use your high-tech equipment to see Denton in the reflection in this picture. Good luck!)
All the bikes are the same, though some in a bit better shape, as I would come to find out.
You can ride for 30 minutes before returning it to one of the stations (any of the stations). If you do it in that 30 minutes, you can get another bike back out after 5 minutes, for another 30 minutes. ...and so on and so on. All on the original $5 charge.
If you do go over those half-hour increments, you get an additional charge. It's not much, but it would add up if you're not time efficient. The Bixi isn't meant for you really to keep the bike all day, just to use it in short spurts for a commute or errand. We kept it for a few hours (in those half-hour at a time) and while I like to ride at longer than 30 minute time frames, there was that pesky rain.
Twice we stopped because of the rain and just hung out under some awnings. I would have had to stop twice anyway because I got two bum bikes. One, the tire just scraped and rode horribly. The second one wouldn't stay in gear. After that, the bikes worked just fine and it was easy to swap them out at one of the many stations.
In the morning, I took off my sweatshirt because I was too hot. Here I am being careless and riding down Boulevard de Maisonnevue at a good clip, yet still taking a self-portrait.
Yeah, Bixi doesn't rent helmets. Kids - do not try this at home. Seriously.
But then the storm came in and temps dropped. It did force us to stop in to eat lunch, then we'd get back on la bicyclette and check out more of the city. We were (in no particular order) down near the water; we were in Chinatown; we rode to the base of Mount Royal; over to some musees. No real rhyme or reason to our route. I'm sure we didn't do the most efficient route, but that's what makes exploring so fun.
I feel good about using Bixi for many reasons. One is, I didn't have my normal gym experience this weekend, so there's that. It's a great way to see more of the city than you normally would and you take roads a normal tour might not take you. And I love promoting such a program for the environment and just good health.
As it is, this is national bike month and this week is Ride Your Bike to Work Day. I'd love to, but I am only in the office one day this upcoming week. Weather permitting, I will ride to work on that one day. But if I can't - I feel I've done my part, not only riding in Montreal, but letting you know of National Bike Month and its associated programs.
Song by: Lone Justice