3 BIXI bike rides attendees will pop a wheelie for
Once they arrive in town, everyone notices Montréal is a biking city. With over 800 km (500 miles!) of bike paths criss-crossing the island, there’s few finer ways to experience Montréal like a local than perched atop two wheels. And the city’s BIXI bike sharing service means everyone – Montréaler and visitor alike – can quicken their commutes with one of the system’s 7,250 bikes. Signed out in a snap at one of 600 stations across the city, BIXI offers attendees quick point A to B access to explore Montréal during downtime.
A quick BIXI user’s guide
Open to anyone with a credit card, BIXI passes are available for several time periods ranging from as little as a one-way trip to a full season from April through to November. Bikes can be booked directly at the station terminal or via the BIXI app (for iPhone and Android) including a trip planner and stations map and the first 30 (the most likely option for visitors) minutes are included. There’s also a small surcharge required for use of the system’s blue electric bikes that zip riders around quicker than ever before (but according to SAAQ law also require a helmet). BIXI’s informative website and How it Works section offers step-by-step assistance and further details.
Unforgettable biking routes worth rooting for
The BIXI system is designed for shorter jaunts – and can offer quick and fun transport between our convention centre the Palais des congrès de Montréal and its nearby cultural spaces, shopping options, cafés, bars and restaurants.
Here’s three routes taking less than 30 minutes each that start from the Palais des congrès that will thrill your attendees – and give them a taste of Montréal life to boot. With all of the stations available throughout the city, it’s easy to think of the BIXI system as a hop-on hop-off bike ride, so we’ve made a couple of suggested site visits on these routes where it’s simple to drop off a bike and enjoy the rest stop for as long as you like.
The Lachine Canal and Atwater Market (10 km / 6.2 miles round trip)
According to local folklore, an expedition to find the mythical passage from the west to Asia ran aground in the rapids of the St. Lawrence River just a few miles from its starting point near Montréal’s present-day Verdun neighbourhood – a spot now beloved by urban surfers. Referred to with a humorous nickname that stuck (China is La Chine in French), the Lachine Canal today is one of the city’s most iconic sites, winding between the Quartiers du Canal and finishing at the open waters of its namesake borough.
To get a taste of the Canal multi-purpose path, we suggest a ride from the Palais des congrès to the postcard-pretty Atwater Market, a perfect stop for snacks or supplies for a canal-side picnic. Your attendees will also love a wander through the hip Saint-Henri neighbourhood before heading back down the Canal.
The sights of Old Montréal (4.5 km / 2.8 miles round trip)
With several stations throughout Old Montréal, BIXI can quicken a sightseeing wander through the neighbourhood, making it possible as a dash between some of its most important sights or with the option of checking the bike back in for a longer look at each location. We suggest passing by Place d’Armes and the Notre-Dame Basilica of Montréal, heading down Saint-Sulpice Street and to the Pointe-à-Callière archaeology and history complex, certainly worth a exploring during free time.
Carrying on, cycle down the waterfront (making sure to look over the water towards the iconic Habitat 67) to the Clock Tower at the end of the Quai de l’Horloge. From here, the urban beach or the stunning views of the Jacques-Cartier Bridge and the Notre-Dame-de-Bon-Secours Chapel are #selfie perfect.
Heading back, the Château Ramezay museum is unmissable, as are the other scenic points of Notre-Dame Street, including the ornate City Hall, calm Place de la Dauversiére and the buzzing Place Jacques-Cartier.
A view of Mount Royal (6 km / 3.7 miles round trip)
Those looking for an unbeatable vista of Mount Royal will love taking BIXI from the Palais des congrès to leafy Jeanne-Mance Park, the perfect spot to drop off the bike and take in the views. Just a 20-minute ride, the nearby cafés on Mount Royal or du Parc Avenues offer refreshment close at hand.
It’s possible to cycle up Jeanne-Mance Street directly to the park, but alternately we suggest re-routing up Saint-Laurent Boulevard, one of the city’s busiest shopping strips and a de facto Montréal must-see. Once the bike is checked in, it’s possible to relax in the shadow of the Sir George-Étienne Cartier statue (the location of the city’s beloved Les Tam-Tams du Mont Royal every sunny spring and summer Sunday) or walk up to Mount Royal’s Chalet and lookout.
What goes up, must come down and when it’s time to head back, bike-friendly Saint-Urbain Street has a dedicated bike lane and is a direct shot back to the Palais des congrès’ station right at the corner of Saint-Urbain and Viger Avenue.
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