Monday, September 7, 2009

Day 248: Bixi Bikes

Day 248: Bixi Bikes, originally uploaded by susanvg.

This is an idea whose time has come. Montreal has placed Bixi bikes, which are for rent, all over the central part of the city and they are slowly spreading out from the central core. These bikes are meant as transportation. You can get a yearly membership for 78$. With this your first half hour is free multiple times during the day. Each successive half hour is more expensive. This fee scale makes it practical for people wanting to get from one place to another (the bikes can be returned to any Bixi stand) but are not practical for those wanted to have a day of cycling.

The idea is spreading and these bikes will soon be found in Boston and London. Montreal is becoming a city of more bicycles (though not in winter - these bikes are only available from May through November). More and more bicycle paths are being built with the intent of transportation, not recreation. And more and more stands to park your bikes are appearing. Many of our parking meters are designed to provide a place on which to lock a bike.

I have not yet embraced the bike culture here. I live on a hill and it is a challenge to go many places. In addition, I don't feel confident riding in traffic; the bike paths don't reach everywhere. For now, I keep my bike in Casselman and, weather permitting, have been slowly developing my confidence. It had been many years since I used a bike. But, who knows, I may yet learn to be an urban cyclist.


  1. This is a very neat idea - I'd heard about it being done in Europe/England, I believe. Though there are some infrastructure issues, it seems a good one to encourage using our own renewable source of energy! :)

  2. Like you I'm not a fan of mixing bikes and cars. I do agree though that it's a valuable service for many. I first saw the bikes for rent last spring when I was in Luxembourg. They seemed very popular.

  3. Yes, riding in urban areas does take some special skills and a bit of courage! I ride both in the mountains where I live and in Denver where I often visit. When I turned 60, five years ago, I rode my bike from CO to CA. It was an adventure...Here in CO, some cities are offering free bikes for day use. It's an idea whose time has come.