Since 2015, the 5BBC has revived, with flare, a nice lead-in weekend trip to Montreal’s Tour de L’lle. It is a bike event similar to New York City’s Five Borough Bicycle Tour, but in our sister Canadian city of Montreal, Quebec province. You’ll see a much bigger ride, spread evenly our and beautiful glimpse of this beautiful city.
We will do this again, from June 2 to June 4, 2017
First day: we gather at a meeting place in the Bronx (e.g. Yankee Stadium). Morning time we pack our bikes & belongings in a comfortable mode of transport. We’ll be off and running early by 9AM.
After crossing the border to Canada, we get to our hotel in Montreal. Accommodations are good. Our bikes are kept in a secure location on the ground floor. The rooms are nice and cozy. There’s wi-fi , good for social media and other needs. In the area, there’s various shops and restaurants for dinner, some 24-hour places.
About two hours later, we get together at the parking lot to ride to the Tour La Nuit – yes, a short 20 kilometer (12 mile) night ride organized by the local event organizers. Make sure you have bright front and rear lights - and all kinds of funky lights to join in the theme of the evening. We ride 5 miles to Jeanne-Mance Park. For the past two years, we arrived at the park with countless riders in the twilight sun. Beautiful and not to be missed. They have lots of enthusiastic hosts, upbeat pop music, getting all of us in good cycling mood, in French.
As the ride starts, we’ll go through quiet neighborhoods, with residents cheering us on. You have to be there to see it. The only climbing is near the Olympic Stadium area. We return to the finish. And we get complimentary bottles of chocolate milk. Once we’re together, we ride back to the hotel.
Second Day: one of our leaders, Allan, is a native Montrealer. He will take us on a trip around his city. Lots of highlights: Saint Joseph’s Oratory, nifty climb to the top of Mt. Royal (from where the city gets it's name) to see the city above, timeless local neighborhoods, picking up sandwiches at a local deli, have lunch at a Montreal waterfront park, riding various greenways and going to the Montreal Biosphere at Île Sainte-Hélène (Saint Helen’s Island.) We get back to Montreal proper by way of the Jacques Cartier bridge, which is bike accessible. We might get ice cream and refreshments before returning to the hotel.
Or if you want, instead of the bike ride, you can explore Montreal on your own. There’s a Metro (subway) station near the hotel. And within reason, our 5BBC leaders can accommodate special requests. Like a riding through Montréal’s Chinatown, which I didn’t know existed but was added to the ride to satisfy my curiosity.
Third Day: time for Tour de L’Île de Montréal. This is what we’re here for! We ride early to the start, to the same Jeanne-Mance Park like on the first night. Like Tour La Nuit, lots of cheering well-wishers, bike marshals and lots of free chocolate milk. Photo opportunities galore. You will have a choice of riding 28 kilometers (17 miles), 50 kilometers (31 miles), 65 kilometers (40 miles) or 100km (62 miles). We strive to ride and get back to the hotel at a good hour to return to New York City.
Tips: Please remember to let the leaders know before the trip which distance you want to do on the Tour de L’lle. Have a bike in good working order. Come prepared. Be a 5BBC member. Be punctual for departures and returns. Pack and think light. Most of all, enjoy the journey.
5BBC Montreal Weekend Trip description: https://tinyurl.com/kkernad
Alfredo Garcia is a deceptively quiet hard-riding cyclist, a veteran 5BBC ride leader and head admin of the 5BBC’s Facebook page. He has gone on the 5BBC Montreal weekend for the past two years and did the original one in 2003.