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It's Finally Winter Biking Season In Montreal — Here's Everything You Need To Know

It's easier than you'd think!

Staff Writer
A Montrealer biking in winter near the Olympic stadium.

A Montrealer biking in winter near the Olympic stadium.

With the season's first real snowfall finally here, transportation has suddenly become more challenging. Walking is harder, driving is harder and biking is also, shockingly, a little harder.

Winter biking isn't quite an extreme sport, but it's certainly not for the faint of heart (or leg). Montreal's beloved bike paths may be slipperier and snowier in the winter months, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy them anyway! Some boroughs, like Ahuntsic-Cartierville, even provide free winter biking equipment to residents.

Is it safe to bike in winter?

Yes! Especially in well-plowed cities like Montreal, winter cycling is a safe pastime, especially if you take full precautions (like, say, a helmet). You're more likely to fall in the slippery, snowy streets, but prepping your bike well can reduce your risk of tumbling over the handlebars.

How should I set up my bike for winter biking?

You can use your standard city bike for winter biking, but beware of your tire treads: mountain tires tend to do well when it's wet, but can't grip as well to ice or snow. You can try studded tires, which are designed for snow and ice, but Vélo-Quebec says they're expensive, and heavy, "making for a slower, more challenging ride." Similarly, your standards brakes should be able to handle the cold conditions, but it's recommended to keep your seat a little lower than usual, so you can stop safely and quickly or stay balanced.

Keeping a little vial of anti-freeze or lock de-icer is also a good plan.

What should I wear while biking in the winter?

Vélo-Quebec says it's "just like cross-country skiing:" you should start off feeling a little chilly, and warm up to a comfortable temperature by the first 10 or so minutes of exercise. If you start off your trip feeling warm and snug, you're probably a little overdressed. Like with any biking, the wind chill is your enemy: good gloves, a scarf and even snow goggles can help you combat the breeze.

Where can I do winter biking in Montreal?

Most of the city's street bike paths are plowed and de-iced, so you can probably take your favourite routes nearly year-round. For a better look at your options, Vélo-Quebec compiles a yearly map of Montreal bikeways you can consult for your snowy escapades.

    Willa Holt
    Staff Writer
    Willa Holt is a Staff Writer for MTL Blog focused on apartments for rent and is based in Montreal, Quebec.
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