Is Montreal Too Cool For Fixies?

I just spent some time in Montreal and had done a considerable amount of walking and running around the city.  One thing that has really jumped out at me is the number of bicycle and people cruising around the city.  I’m sure it’s mainly a summertime thing, but people were out in force in Montreal.  Just about every twenty paces you see a bike locked up to one of the ever present bike posts.  Bikes everywhere.

But, when you think about it, Montreal does seem to be an ideal place for biking (in the summertime).  The city is pretty flat and geogpraphically pretty small with only a few mild hills.  The only major climb seemed to be getting up into the ‘plateau’ neighborhoods from downtown.  However, this climb was very mellow compared to San Francisco standards.  Streets are laid out in a proper grid with lots of one-ways and there are a number of bike lanes as well.

Maybe it’s living in San Francisco with a close proximity to the fixie obsessed Mission, but I expected to see a ton of fixies in Montreal.  I mean, the city seems build for it. But, it took me about 6 days before I finally saw a fixed gear bike.  And, I only saw a couple more after that!  It seems like Montreal would be the perfect place for them given the flat straight roads, proper grid layout, and bountiful bike lanes.  The only way it could get better would be if Montreal was actually a velodrome.  But, that’s not gonna happen.  Montreal seems to be a  much better place than say, San Francisco with the hills, Muni tracks, and convoluted layout of the city.  So, what gives?   Where are all the fixies in Montreal? And why are there so many in San Francisco?

Training Run #41 – 7.84 mi – 9.03 min/mi

Training Run #42 – 9.22 mi – 9.46 min/mi


3 Responses to “Is Montreal Too Cool For Fixies?”

  1. 1 Julian Wainwright July 22, 2008 at 4:59 am

    in a word, “oui”. although it would be great to overhear people talking about their new bike: “eh, la fixie, c’est tres chic, no?” before pedaling home in their turquoise legwarmers to band practice.

    in other news: dude, you got like 3 weeks until the big day, you feeling the fire?

  2. 2 dylstra December 26, 2008 at 1:55 pm

    One of my friends is in Montreal at the moment and claims to have seen at least fifteen fixies.

  3. 3 alex April 19, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Hey Pai,

    Come and visit us again…The fixie craze really did pick up and you’re right…this city is build for it. Fixies are now EVERYWHERE. I have been riding my own since summer 2008 and have been ever since, even in the winter time now that the city invested in clearing snow out of the bike paths. Wicked.

    By the way I am suprised you haven’t noticed Mt-Royal and the camilien houde climb….I am positive it would give any SF hardcore fixie dude a run for their legs.

    Salut mon ami!

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July 2008
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Miles I’ve Run Since Getting Roped Into Running the San Francisco Marathon on March 23, 2008:


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