Monday, April 18, 2011

Rent a bicycle in Montreal if ...

  • ... you think you'll find an automatic-bicycle-rental stand that works.
  • ... you don't mind being told you can't rent a bike because you already have the maximum number of bikes out.
  • ... you don't mind wondering how many bicycles you'll be billed for when your next credit-card statement arrives.
  • ... you enjoy talking to customer-service people.
And, most important of all, make sure you have good walking shoes or plenty of change for the Metro.
To be fair, the bicycles were sturdy and smooth-riding and, when their balky distribution stations granted me the benediction of transport, they took me first to the Paragraphe bookstore downtown and then to Vieux-Montréal.

The day's purchases included Paul Auster's New York Trilogy and Histoire d'un mot: L'ethnonyme Canadien de 1535 à 1691, which ought to interest all Canadian words guys who occasionally try to read French.

© Peter Rozovsky 2011

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Blogger John McFetridge said...

PEter, did you see any Quebecois crime fiction?

April 18, 2011  
Blogger Tales from the Birch Wood. said...

These are great photos. There seem to be many locations and street scenes that are
not unlike those found in

These urban bikes are a great idea. Street photographers enjoy snapping cyclists who are often dressed to the nines, heading for work.

Thanks for the French link.
Plenty to think about and study there.

April 18, 2011  
Anonymous I.J.Parker said...

I love bikes. I'd love to ride a bike around an inner city instead of pounding away on the pavement until exhausted. New York came to mind. Alas, I don't think you want to ride a bike in all tht traffic.
Enjoy your vacation, and thanks for hanging around here, too.

April 18, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

John, Paragraphe the two David Montrose books and, out of Toronto, novels by Maureen Jennings and Howard Shrier. It has no separate section for Canadian crime.

But I'll be a years a few days more. Any suggestions of Canadian crime writers whose work I should look for?

April 18, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Make that "Paragraphe has the two ... " in the comment immediately above.

April 18, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Tales, parts of Old Montreal might remind you of Paris. One Metro stop has a Paris-style "Metropolitain" sign, for instance. But the Montreal scale is smaller. Perhaps it retains a bit of Paris' pre-Haussmann flavor.

April 18, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Thanks, I.J. I love those bikes, too. It's just their damned distribution system that drives me nuts. I may try to rent another one today, though a warm glow just below both knees reminds me of yesterday's exertions.

I refrained from using the similar bicycle system in Paris. Its wide boulevards and chaotic traffic circles, combined with my lack of familiarity with the city, scared me off. I might even hesistate to try such a system in Amsterdam. Many people ride bicycles there, of course, but they move through the narrow streets and bike paths with a telepathic familiarity that I would lack.

April 18, 2011  
Blogger adrian mckinty said...


I love the theory of the bike rental scheme but the actuality of it is a disaster. I rented a bike in Amsterdam that I discovered had cost me 75 Euros when I got back to North America. I could have bought a used bike for less. It was refreshing to see the rental bikes abandoned in the canals, such a change from boring old shopping trolleys.

April 19, 2011  
Blogger Peter Rozovsky said...

Adrian, this scheme charges $5 for 24 hours of $12 for 72 -- and a $250 deposit per bicycle. Since the system was telling me, in essence, that I had not returned a bicycle when in fact I had, I'll await my next credit-card statement with some apprehension. I told the third customer-services person I talked to yesterday that any charges beyond the $5 will result in legal action, which felt good to say.

By the time I get wrongly charged, in other words, the bicycles will have been long since returned, so chucking them in the St. Lawrence River or the Lachine Canal will not be an economically sensible option.

April 19, 2011  

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