Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I'm in downtown Montreal and it's very, very bikey here. I could bike-watch, mesmerized, for hours. The diversity seems to this visitor to be a continuum, as the range of styles and colors appears to have no beginning or end.

What is by far the most intriguing to me, though, is the monotony of the public bike system, BIXI, where every bike looks exactly the same. Sometimes the racks are full and sometimes they are empty. I won't be able to spend enough time here to make any sense of it, but there are tides of human movement that wash the waves of bikes in and out of the racks. Here's a station at high tide with all the bikes swept ashore:

I think they(?) end up hauling bikes from the lower elevation stations back up to the higher ones at the end of every day, which seems like yeah, no duh. And apparently some people check bikes out at night and take them home to the burbs and check em back in the next morning. Also apparently, you can't keep them for too long or they charge you for the price of the bike and you end up owning a heavy turd. I heard a yearly pass for unlimited use only costs 70 bucks. I heard they dimantle all the stations and pack all the bikes and kiosk-ey hardware away in the winter.

So there you have the ramblings of a bewildered, barely-informed visitor. Apparently, my employer sent me up here with the expectation that I would get some work done and not spend a bunch of time dinking around looking at bikes. I like having a job and totally agree with that viewpoint. As a result, I may never get to the bottom of this, but what a fun mystery.


the word said...

based on the website, it actually looks like the annual $78 fee gets you access, 30 minutes of use free at any one time, but you do pay for time used over 30 minutes. If you decided to take the bike home overnight you would pay $3 for the first 90 minutes then $12 per hour after that. I imagine that would equal close to $130-150, an unwelcome proposition, even for those rich bastards up in Canada.

Pat S said...

Thanks, word, for doing the heavy lifting. I knew it was too good to be true. Rich Canadian bastards.

Wait, I still need to cross the border. Canadians rule. And I mean that.

Traditional Bike Club Curmudgeon said...

" employer sent me up here with the expectation that I would get some work done and not spend a bunch of time dinking around looking at bikes..."

The man's trying to keep you down!

mike said...

whoa. 26inchslicks only an hour and a half from my neck of the woods!

montreal is a cool cool town.

enjoy the bixi and the town. maybe the old port? the plateua? wander up the big hill in the center of town for some views?

Pat S said...

Hey Mike. Thanks for checking in. Yeah, quite apparent that Montreal is super cool. This trip was all work so I didn't get anywhere near the chance I'd have liked to look around. Managed to work in a coupla damn fine meals though.

Hope your summer is good and that you're getting some sweet rides in.