Cyclists conquer the streets of Montreal during the 39th Tour de l'Île


Thousands of cyclists took to the streets of Montreal on Sunday for the 39th edition of the Tour de l'Île – the city's biggest cycling event.

According to the organizers, an estimated 18,000 participants were expected.

“This year's Tour de l'Île is in line with what we have had in recent years. 18,000 participants is an incredible number. We are really excited,” said Jean-François Rheault, CEO of Vélo Quebec.

The event, organized by Vélo Quebec, began at around 9:15 a.m. The cyclists set off on a 28- and 50-kilometer tour through the city – with no cars on the road.

“The roads are clear, the paths are clear,” one driver told CityNews. “The potholes are there, but it's OK.”

Cyclists take part in the 39th edition of the Tour de l'Île in Montreal on June 2, 2024. (Swidda Rassy, ​​​​CityNews)

The cyclists started in Jeanne-Mance Park and rode to Outremont, Côte-des-Neiges–Notre-Dame-de-Grâce, down to the Lachine Canal and René-Lévesque Park, along LaSalle Boulevard, back to the city centre through Wellington Street in Verdun and up to the Plateau.

“By cycling through the different neighborhoods, we can connect them in our minds and really experience the city in a different way,” Rheault said.

“For us, the Tour de l'Île is a very important way to celebrate cycling culture. Cycling is fun, of course, but when we organize a big party like the Tour de l'Île, we take it to a whole new level.”

Cyclists take part in the 39th edition of the Tour de l'Île in Montreal on June 2, 2024. (Swidda Rassy, ​​​​CityNews)

The riders had nice, albeit hot, weather for their all-day bike ride: sun and some clouds, with no rain.

Canada's Environment Minister attended the Tour de l'Île on Sunday and praised the benefits of active transportation.

“It's obviously very environmentally friendly as well,” said Minister Steven Guilbeault. “At the federal level, we now have the first active transportation fund of $400 million where we're working with municipalities, provinces, territories and local governments to help them build and invest in more infrastructure to make it safer and more enjoyable for people to cycle around, to commute to work and do all those things.”

Cyclists take part in the 39th edition of the Tour de l'Île in Montreal on June 2, 2024. (Swidda Rassy, ​​​​CityNews)

The streets were packed with people of all ages, including first-time attendees and people from out of town.

“I'm here to see Montreal,” said one person. “I'm from out of town, so a bike ride is perfect. A city tour is perfect. The weather is perfect.”

“This is my first time taking part in this event,” added another. “It's a great opportunity to just cycle freely around the city with friends and colleagues. It's just great team spirit.”

Some even took part in the cycling race in costume.

“I'm getting in shape for the holiday season because I have to deliver all these presents at Christmas,” said one person in a Santa costume. “So Santa has to stay in shape and he does that every year.”