Transformer nos milieux de vie par le vélo : a symposium defined by unity and sharing!

Jean-François Rheault
November 10, 2022

On October 25 and 26, close to 300 key players in Quebec’s bicycle culture gathered in Drummondville for our Transformer nos milieux de vie par le vélo symposium. It was with a happy heart and a brain full of ideas and inspiration that we left the conference, thrilled by the enthusiasm and the spirit of collaboration of the participants who came from all over Quebec.

Together, we can go further

This symposium, the first event of its kind to be held since the pandemic, along with its two days of presentations, field trips, workshops, panels and discussions, will have shown that our province’s cycling culture is stronger than ever, galvanized no doubt by the boom in active mobility in recent years, but also by a global desire to propose cycling as a vehicle for change in our living environments.

From the opening remarks of Bruno Marchand, mayor of Quebec City, who presented his ambitious Vision de la mobilité active 2023-2027, to the field visits of mountain bike trails, by way of Guillaume Lavoie’s presentation on veloconomy, i.e. the economic benefits of cycling, all aspects of cycling in Quebec were addressed, discussed, shared and explored in depth.

Check out our new page on bicycle economy

These lively discussions and exchanges filled with diverse expertise will have allowed us to see that the actors of Quebec cycling come from all fields and all walks of life. The list is impressive: elected officials, municipal and government personnel, representatives of parapublic entities and organizations, researchers, consultants in mobility, tourism and recreation, managers of bicycle networks, mountain bike and fatbike trail networks, Route verte partners, stakeholders from the outdoors and tourism sectors, and members of the bicycle industry. This is the beautiful collection of people who are now supporting the cause of cycling in Quebec, and that is promising for the future!

Transforming through cycling, for the benefit of the whole society

We were struck by the passion of the speakers, and also by the power of cycling to bring people together and create discussions that move our society forward. By putting the bicycle at the center of our decisions and our developments, we contribute to creating a world on a human scale, where travel as well as the relationships between the various users of the road network are safe and considerate of all.

The symposium also provided many inspiring moments, notably during Camille Thomé’s conference, which saw the director of the French organization Vélo & territoires advocate for an ambitious vision for the development of cycling. She used the unprecedented commitments made by the French government in recent years as an example, as well as the contribution of cycling to tourism development. The French example shows that with support and a clear governmental vision, cycling can accomplish great things for the benefit of our populations: health, quality of life, purchasing power, environment – all of which are enhanced by greater investments in cycling.

This is where the title of this symposium truly comes into play – investing in cycling creates inclusive environments that benefit the entire population, whether they cycle or not; planning for cycling transforms our society BY cycling, and this benefits the vast majority of users of shared-use paths and environments.

It is often repeated: cycling is a tool that makes us feel alive, a tool that creates happiness, memories and links between people. During these two days spent in Drummondville, this was once again demonstrated, and the links (re)forged during the symposium promise a bright future for cycling in Quebec.

Jean-François Rheault

President and CEO of Vélo Québec