Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Canada Day: On the Move in Montreal--on Bikes

July 1 is Canada Day but it’s also moving day in Montreal. Yesterday Le Devoir had a delightful story about one young man who’s making a career moving people on bicycles, which combined the annual ritual (standard leases run from July 1 to June 30) with a light-hearted approach to life suitable for a holiday.

Julien Myette now has three bicycle-powered carts which he and two employees use for small moves. Hiring them is cheaper than hiring a truck, he says, adding that people are charmed by what he does. That includes wrestling refrigerators down stairs from third floor apartments and then peddling them to their new home.

At the same time, Montrealers appear to be taking a lot more bike rides. The new bike path in our neighborhood which connects the Université de Montréal with a major bicycle thoroughfare is getting a lot of traffic, while bike racks on shopping streets are full of bikes parked as their owners run errands. But the big news is the welcome Bixi, the rental bicycle scheme, has received. Launched officially May 12, in six weeks time 5,300 people signed up for monthly or yearly subscriptions and 150,000 individual rides had been taken, The Gazette reports. Some bikes and racks have been vandalized but so far no more than had been anticipated.

Well, you aren't going to get me on a bike any time soon (got run over by one at an impressionable age, if you have to know) but I like to see people using their muscles to get around. The Walkable City should also be the Bikeable City.


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lagatta à montréal said...

This is a lovely story. I cycled along Côte-Ste-Catherine several times a week when doing my bacc and master's at UdM. Scary at times, especially late in the evening (I was working and studying for most of my studies),

Bicycles are becoming more and more important here and in many other heretofore cycling-adverse cities, such as Paris.

I'm sorry about your bicycle trauma. I have some arthritis all along one side of my body, from my shoulder down to my ankle, and while I walk everywhere, it is at times painful for me to walk as much as you do, as a way of keeping fit. Cycling a lot actually helps alleviate this minor handicap, and is accessible to many people who can't only rely on walking for a series of reasons.

And some of us simply live too far from the city centre or other work, educational, cultural or shopping destinations.

Bravo, Transport Myette!

Jack Ruttan said...

My bike is my car. I love it, and so far it's helped keep me healthy and sane.

It's not the greatest in inclement weather, and I can't go to Quebec city and back in a day, but it's got cars beat every other way.

Captcha word: "Vilegore" - one of the lesser bad wizards in Harry Potter.