Last weekend I spent three days at the Montreal bicycle show in a booth for active holidays. Working in a booth is fun but also very tiring because you are standing and walking around for 8-9 hours a day and there is virtually no rest.
We forewent a hotel and had rented a place through booking.com: the promised pull out sofa turned out to be an air mattress. The towels on the bed were neatly rolled up but still damp and the comforters (no duvet here) for the voluntold air mattress visitor (me) had holes. O, and there were no towels for the air mattress guy.
Party Central at AirBnB
However, renting a place and cook for yourself still saves a lot of money for a small company so it was not a big deal for us. It is also very nice to be out of the show and conference environment for a bit.
Unfortunately another place in the building, which was rented out through AirBnB, had a party going on with kids coming and going until midnight with loud music coming into the hallway when the door opened. Then the whole bunch left and came back at 3:30 am, making even more noise and ringing our door bell four times.
So that was irritating because I didn’t sleep much after that. I got up early and walked through the Little Burgundy neighbourhood to check out the new developments along the canal and to enjoy an 8 am coffee at Lali.
Montreal bicycle show
The Montreal bicycle show apparently attracts 20,000 people. Looking to some of the people visiting the show, I was wondering sometimes if they knew what a bike was, but one should never judge on the outside (but we all do it anyway). It is nice to see so much interest in cycling though.
I met at least two people who were planning to cycle across Canada, one from east to west, which I somewhat discouraged because of prevailing winds from the west. I explained Canada is not Belgium, where he’s from.
Tourism and Bicycles
The two main topics at the show were bicycles and cycling holidays. There was a clear emphasis on electric bikes in all shapes and forms, from Dutch step-through Gazelle and a beautiful German Riese & Müller cargo bike to roadsters, racing bikes and even time trial bikes. E-scooters were a first for me and I should have used the indoor track to try them out. Two big retailers on the show were E-2 Sport and Quilicot, taking up considerable space and admittedly, some mouthwatering bikes.
Finding a simple commuter bike was tough. I am guessing the e-bikes have much better margins. When I finally thought I saw a fairly ‘normal’ bike, it was a CAD 5000 delivery e-bike. The steel frame Hobo Bootleg from Chinelli appeared one of the cheaper bikes at the show at CAD 1799.99 available at ARG Sports.
Cycling destinations galore at Montreal Bicycle Show
Quebec had a large representation of cycling destinations in different areas, Ontario by Bike had a booth and across from us was New Brunswick with a double booth. Besides us was the Simcoe region in Ontario with Humdinger Bicycle Tours promoting single and multiple guided tours. How about a three day Pedal, Pints and Pub Tour in the Haliburton highlands?
Velo Quebec drew big crowds as they also operate bike tours, besides doing advocacy. I learned about the Blueberry routes from Lac St Jean to Tadoussac but have to look into it a bit more to understand how those bike infrastructure conditions actually are. I have no desire to cycle on shoulders with drivers flying past me at 90 km per hour while checking their entertainment unit.
Quebec is definitely putting a lot of effort in developing bicycle tourism, but unfortunately the focus is still on the longer touring in spandex, don’t forget your gloves and don your helmet, go for the 100 km a day mindset if I look at the many brochures I saw. On the other hand, there is often not much to see than rocks and trees and water so you might as well put the pedal to the metal. How long can you watch a loon?
Nutrition, nail polish and nougat
I was surprised with some of the businesses at the bicycle show: someone had a booth full of storm resistant umbrellas, someone else was selling nougat and there were some protein folks. There was a booth full of oil paintings and there was a not for profit organisation (I assume) training dogs to get accustomed to crowds.
And there was a booth with something like make up and nail stuff. There were a number of booths where you could sign up for a charity ride; there were two people walking around with a foam rooster type hat on for three days: the ride was sponsored by St Hubert restaurants (I seem to remember). Everything goes on a bike show.
2019 Montreal bicycle show video
I have put a quick clip together with some impressions and lots of bikes which you can see below. There is no nail polish shot in it, sorry:
Next time, I will report on the Toronto bicycle show.