Winter cycling is more popular than ever in Quebec
Huge increase in riding in the cold months since 2020
It may be cold and there may be snow, but more cyclists are riding in Quebec than ever. From December to March of 2020, 190,000 cyclists rode in the province, according to the latest report from Vélo Quebec, a massive increase.
According to an article in La Presse 15 per cent of cyclists who were cycling between June and September in 2020 in Montreal continued to ride during December and March in 2021.
In 2015, that number was only 9 per cent. In 2022, one in seven continue to ride in the winter, Magali Bebronne of Vélo Québec said.
“Winter biking is less and less marginal, more and more generalized,” Bebronne explained. “What we are seeing is that the retention rate of cyclists in winter is increasing.”
There is also a direct correlation between plowing bike paths and usage, she said.
“There is a causal link with the quality of snow removal and the quality of infrastructure,” Bebronne added.
For exampel, on the south shore in Longueuil, the city is clearing 60 km of bike lanes this year, compared to 27.5 km last year and only 5 km the winter before.
Bike stores are noticing the uptick as well. There are twice as many customers in shops, according to Jean-Alexandre Léger, a mechanic at André Cycle et Sport in Longueuil.
Locals explain that it’s perfectly fine to ride all year, you just have to be prepared. “Winter biking is enjoyable as long as you dress well,” Louis Duranleau said. “I have nothing to say so far, everything is well cleared of snow and there is salt everywhere.”
“It feels good and it puts you in a good mood,” Guillaume Paradis said. “My goal is to do it at least four days a week. It’s really for fun, speed and cost. It’s cheaper.”
It was the partial closure of the Louis-Hippolyte-La Fontaine tunnel that encouraged him to ride all year. “Since the tunnel was reduced to one lane, there is no longer any question of me going through it,” he said. “It is not temperatures, snowfall or precipitation, but the quality of the roadway that encourages people to take their bikes.”