A continuation from Laura Robinson’s previous guest post, where she shared her thoughts about the On the move in the community! conference and told us she that would be riding in the Tour la Nuit.
Laura Robinson: What could be more fun then over 9,000 cyclists taking over downtown Montreal on a Friday evening? I met our gracious hosts from Velo Quebec at the most amazing Velo Maison, a Victorian rambling house that has been added to and added to as this non-profit organization continues to grow. Now with 80 full-time staff and another 30 temporary to help with the organization of un Tour la Nuit and Tour de I’ile on the first weekend of June the house vibrates with the energy of people who love to ride, and/or are simply committed to a culture where bicycles count.
I arrived around 5:30 on Friday evening after a short tour up Mount Royale and a “negotiated” ride on Montreal’s cycling lanes. The lanes are fashioned in a way that has the coming and going cyclists on the same side of the street on a somewhat narrow lane, with a yellow line between them. The success of Montreal’s cycling campaign is obvious as hundreds of cyclists going in different directions vie for a narrow slice of the pavement. But I made it along rue Rachel to find hundreds more cyclists already preparing for a ride that started three hours later.
Velo Maison offers a store and cafe downstairs so after a tour of the travel office and the place which is the heart of cycling in Quebec–which includes the ever expanding second and third stories, as well as the new patio off to the side, we settled into fabulous fresh food and conversation. Journalists from New York, Toronto and Seattle attended, along with CEO of Cycle New York. I think the Americans decided to move to Montreal by the time the outdoor cafe meal had ended and we were all straddling our saddles.
The start of the festival was a blast. Volunteers had dressed up in all kinds of great get-ups, music blasted, cyclists had decorated bikes like we were all ten years old again and bike cops and motorcycle cops led the way.
Riding through the neighbourhoods of Montreal as the sun sets behind Mount Royale and neighbourhoods come out to cheer us on is an experience never to be forgotten. Before I knew it the 20 km were over and I rode back to my hotel, dodging through festive summer streets as only Montreal can deliver.
Tundra Books: That’s not all, Laura Robinson celebrated the launch of Cyclist BikeList with Octopus Books two days later! Here are some event photos, posted with permission and courtesy of Tim Bouma:
Phoenix, Laura Robison, Yannick, and Noah!
Noah on his unicycle reading Cyclist BikeList! Now that takes skills! Sarah and her daughter Breanna are sharing a joke in the background. Breanna is a member of the Anishinaabe Racers that Laura Robinson coaches.
Sarah (Breanna’s mother) juggling.
Many thanks to Steve and his great team at Octopus Books! They were up against dark skies, rain clouds, and cold temperatures, but the kids who came had a fun time.