Montreal is one of those cities that is best explored by bike. With over 600 kilometers of bike paths, it has a boisterous cycling culture that comes alive in the summer. Tens of thousands of Montrealers dig their bikes out of their garages or tune up their brand new fixies to hit the streets as soon as the last bit of snow melts. Whether for commuting or exercise, for business or pleasure, in rain or shine, biking becomes one of the cities main pastimes.
If you’re a visitor from out of town but still want to enjoy the city from a cyclist’s perspective, never fear. Bike rentals are easy and affordable, with at the forefront Montreal’s own bike sharing system, Bixi, providing easy access to public bicycles at a reasonable price. But for those who are loath to invest in a new membership or even spend the 3$ required for a 30 minute one-way trip, Bixi has surpassed itself this year, as May 29th marks the beginning of Free Bixi Sundays.
Every last Sunday of the month all the way until October (May 29 – June 26 – July 31 – August 28 – September 25 – October 30), all Bixi rides of 30 minutes and under will be free to anyone, and you’ll be able to make an unlimited amount of trips during the whole day (providing each trip does not exceed 30 minutes). Some stations have helpful Bixi staff to assist, but just in case, here’s a step-by-step guide to borrowing your own free Bixi:
- Go up to the pay station of any Bixi station between 12:01am and 11:59pm on a free Bixi Sunday.
- Press on “Rent a Bike” on the screen, insert and remove your credit card, enter the phone number associated with the card, then select “$0 One-way” and follow the instructions on the screen. *A $20 deposit per bike and trip will be held for up to 10 days.
- After completing the transaction, type in the code you received into the keypad on the left side of the docking point of the Bixi bike of your choice.
- You can then ride the bike freely for a maximum of 30 minutes (fees will apply if you go over your allotted 30 minutes, so make sure to complete your rides within the allotted time). Saddle height and can be adjusted and there are three speeds to choose from on the right handlebar.
- Return your Bixi bike at any station (to make sure it’s released properly, align the triangle on the bike frame well with the triangle in the rack, push in firmly and wait until the light turns green) and take out another as many times as you would like by following the same process.
Try it out yourself if you’re in town near the end of the month! For more information about Free Bixi Sundays or any other of Bixi’s fees and services, visit their website: http://montreal.bixi.com/en