Thursday, 24 September 2015

Bixi Bike Ride and Habitat '67

Major Europe cities are known for their bike share programs and thousands of commuters and tourists use them to navigate through the streets to get from point A to point B or to use as a leisure day peddle through the park. North America is coming around to the bike sharing movement and Montreal was the first in Canada with Bixi Bikes (a portmanteau of bike and taxi).

During our two day visit to Montreal after spending the first day walking and walking and walking, we figured getting off our feet for a bit sounded like a good idea.

We picked up our bikes by the Atwater Market and peddled along the Lachine Canal with Parc Jean-Drapeau as our end destination in mind.
A similar set up to London, the Bixi Bikes allow up to 30 minutes free riding (after a small registration fee and refunded deposit) if you can find a docking station within that time frame. Our particular route took us along areas where few stations were located and ended up just staying on them for the duration.

Along our route, I was super excited to happen upon the iconic Habitat '67. It's block-y silhouette, large against the skyline, seemed to appear out of no where. Like a Hollywood celebrity taking up residence in a quiet, leafy neighbourhood; Habitat is often recognized, but humbly trying to eke out a 'normal' life. If it was ever part of Doors Open, I would totally make the trip back to Montreal just to get a glimpse inside one of these private apartments. Seeing these Brutalist beauts has crossed number 5 off my bucket list.

It was cool to see the city from this side of the river. It was a challenging ride as we kept taking wrong turns as we tried to navigate our way around Parc Jean-Drapeau and still make it in time for our afternoon train to Ottawa.

Like London, there were Bixi stations located all over downtown Montreal for easy pick up and drop off. We did encounter several broken docking stations and machines which frustrated the situation as time was running close to our departure.

I don't think I'll ever become one to pick up one of these bikes to actually use as transportation in a major city like Montreal, London, or Toronto, because my nerves just couldn't take it, but a Sunday leisure ride I could be talked into once in a while.

What about you? Are you a fan of the bike shares? Do you use them for travel or pleasure?

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