Viewpoint : January 2014

Make way for Vélo sous zéro!

The popularity of four-season biking is definitely on the rise. The white networks in Montréal, Longueuil and elsewhere, increasingly mild winters (with certain exceptions) and the amazing efficiency of the bicycle in all kinds of conditions is motivating more and more people to cycle 12 months a year. This is hardly surprising given the fact that between December and March, the bike paths of Rachel Street and De Maisonneuve Boulevard in Montréal are used by an average of 600 cyclists per day, or the equivalent of only 12% to 14% of summer traffic.

At Vélo Québec, we have always believed in the impact of the masses to encourage more people to get on their bikes. That’s why, this winter, we are responding to your many requests by launching a winter bike happening: Vélo sous zéro. This easy-paced 15-km tour, mainly along the City of Montréal’s white network, is an opportunity to demystify the practice of winter biking - in short, a chance for cyclists of all stripes to have a really fun experience.

Many people imagine the worst conditions when we talk about winter biking. However, getting outside and playing winter sports has always been part of Québec culture.  It’s true that road conditions are not the same as in summer and that we must adapt our behaviour accordingly. But it’s really just a matter of slowing down and taking wider turns.

Vélo sous zéro — organized in partnership with ENvironnement JEUnesse — is designed to be a friendly urban happening where seasoned and novice winter cyclists come together to pedal, share their experiences and exchange winter biking tips. The event is free, but we ask you to register on our Web site in order to give us an idea of the number of participants. While we are not expecting a high turnout for this first edition, we are hoping to attract about 300 below zero biking enthusiasts.

As the saying goes, “come rain, come shine, come snow, come sleet”, Vélo sous zéro will take place! So get out your bike and participate in a unique event. See you on Sunday, February 16 at 10 a.m. - start and finish at Maison des cyclistes in Montréal!

Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO
Vélo Québec