That Montreal ever gained a reputation as a haven for bicyclists is somewhat improbable. There is a forested mountain in the middle of town. The weather dips below freezing nearly half the year. The streets are often covered in snow and ice. When they’re not, they’re in horrendous condition, thanks to the freeze-thaw cycle.
But bike lovers know Canada’s second-largest city as one of North America’s best cycling spots. Its roots in two-wheeled innovation run deep: Montreal built the continent’s first protected, on-street bike lane back in the early 1980s, and all but invented modern bike-sharing when Bixi came on the scene eight years ago.