The Forgotten Bicycles Of Montreal
You walk past them everyday without even blinking an eye.
All Photos By - Tim Charman
As winter FINALLY comes to a merciful end in Montreal, the rapidly receding snow has revealed amazing collections of garbage, household items, money and most noticeably bicycles.
The sheer number of abandoned bicycles is enough to boggle the mind and make one wonder what possessed the former owners to leave them behind to face the harsh winter season. During a recent one hour walk I managed to stumble across an impressive collection of over 50 derelict bicycles woefully chained to parking posts, fences and bike racks. Here are the stand outs:
Here are some of the city's abandon bicycles that I've come across along my journeys.
This guy was discovered on rue St. Denis exhibiting the loose sideways slant and front wheel with a large helping of rust - tell tale signs of an abandoned cycle.
A clear victim of the sidewalk plow with the warped front wheel. From there I'm guessing someone took off with the rear wheel in order give this bike the true derelict look!
Continuing the trend of lost rear wheels. Something about a wheel-less bike just seems to scream "art" but this guy would likely be just fine with a good tune up (and of course, a new wheel).
Not too sure what happened to this motley collection of cycles but rest assured they have all seen kinder times.
Weeds growing through the tires are a sure sign of neglect. Another case of a bike that would likely be fully functional with a little TLC so it is truly unfortunate that it has been left to rot.
It seems a little cruel that someone decided to lock up their slick modern whip next to this poor guy but it sure does provide a nice degree of ironic contrast.
Full of charm, this one looks like it came straight out of a 1960's Sears catalog. Unfortunately the sidewalk plows got the better of the front wheel and rust has taken its toll on just about everything else.
The former owner likely tried unsuccessfully to protect this one from the elements but probably didn't take into the five thousand metres of snow that we had this winter.
So many questions come to mind like, what happened to the rest of the bike!?
Sidewalk plows and never ending rounds of road salt make an incredibly hostile environment for front wheels!
These guys may have been the victims of more than just one Montreal winter. I'm not sure if I've ever seen such carnage.
The city does have a somewhat loosely administered removal program for derelict cycles but it doesn't take very long to come across a collection of sorry bikes that would fill any modern art museum ten times over. There is an amazing cycling culture in Montreal but an unfortunate bi-product is the fact that bikes are so cheap and readily available that they become expendable. While there is a certain melancholy charm about a rusting bike chained to a staircase, one has to think that all of these bikes would likely be of much more use if they were actually being ridden. Who knows? Maybe with the improving weather we will see some of these rusting beauties find new homes with loving owners. I certainly hope so.