Kickstarting the festival season, the Féria du vélo de Montréal (Montréal Bike Fest) derives its name from the Feria del Toro (Running of the Bulls) held in Spain and Southern France, a popular festival that fills the streets with an atmosphere of music and sun. Launched in 1999, the Montréal Bike Fest annually heralds the arrival of summer, while thousands of cyclists happily invade the city streets.
History of the Montréal Bike Fest
The Montréal Bike Fest comprises four main events:
The Tour de l’Île de Montréal was first held in 1985. This famous bike ride has played a major role in the growth of cycling throughout Québec, in addition to positioning Montréal favourably on the international scene as a North American biking capital — according to several articles over the past few years in prestigious publications like the National Geographic Travel Guide and Time Magazine.
The year 1999 marked the launch of the nocturnal version of the Tour de l’Île de Montréal: the luminous Un Tour la Nuit. At the time, the event could not logistically accommodate more than 3,000 participants. This number rose to 6,000 in 2004 and 17,000 in 2012. And the trend followed by many participants to create a personalized look — decorated helmet, clothing, lighting and bike — makes this event more in keeping than ever with Montréal’s traditional night life and fun.
First known under the name Jour V (2000-2002), Operation Bike-to-Work began extending its activities year-round in 2003. Since then, it has had a significant impact on individuals and companies in terms of choosing the bicycle as a daily mode of transportation that is healthy, ecological and economical.
Inaugurated in 2002, the Metropolitan Challenge has attracted a growing number of avid bikers — they numbered 4,000 in 2012 — keen to pedal extra kilometres — from 75 to 150 km — and enjoy the region’s diverse panoramic landscapes.