Viewpoint : February 2016

The Winter Cycling Congress in Montréal in 2017!

Québec cities have undoubtedly come a long way over the past few years in terms of promoting active transportation and recognizing the rightful place of bicycles on our streets – so much so that many of them now boast a four-season cycling network. At Vélo Québec, the rapid evolution of winter biking inspired us to mark Montréal’s 375th anniversary next year by holding an international winter cycling conference in our city. The joint bid by Vélo Québec and the City of Montréal to host the 5th edition of the Winter Cycling Congress in Montréal in February 2017 has been accepted by the World Cycling Federation. For Vélo Québec, this event is in line with the winter biking initiative Vélo sous zéro, the third edition of which will take place on Sunday, February 14.
It was actually very easy to convince the City of Montréal to join us in bidding for this conference. Montréal enjoys being seen as a North American trail blazer in four-season biking, and hosting this event will provide the perfect platform for demonstrating its commitment. Let’s hope that other Québec cities also benefit from this occasion to show their colours.
Every year, this conference constitutes the forum for dialogue about biking in Nordic cities. In 2017, these discussions will get major media coverage throughout Québec, helping to convince sceptics of the value of winter biking. If certain European cities make snow removal on bike paths a priority or provide cyclists with heated routes, it is because they are convinced of the practicality of promoting bike travel in winter as well. I am eager to see how these realities will fuel discussions in Québec, where it is high time that future biking facilities be accessible year-round.
The presentation of the Winter Cycling Congress in Montréal is definitely a wonderful opportunity to fast-track the development of four-season biking in Québec.
Suzanne Lareau
President and CEO