February 20, 2015 (Montreal, QC) – Big crowds were evident at the 13th edition of the Montreal Bike Show (MBS) / Salon du vélo de Montréal last weekend. Thousands of visitors made it down to downtown’s Place Bonaventure to check out the latest offerings by bike manufacturers, distributors, retailers, bike tour operators and more.
“We had a record number of 19,303 visitors,” said organizer Jan Dubé. “This was a 15% increase over last year and principally due to more advertising in newspapers and radio and also the launch of the new Montreal Triathlon Show in collaboration with Triathlon Quebec that was integrated to the Montreal Bicycle Show. All my major exhibitors had already confirmed that they will be back in 2016! Next year’s dates will be February 12–14, 2016.”
Some exhibitors joked that the cold, dry weather over the weekend and absence of major sporting events (i.e. Sochi Olympics) on TV also helped boost this year’s numbers. So too, perhaps did a focus on fat bikes at the 2015 show; this newest segment is proving very popular.
Guru, a Montreal area-based frame manufacturer, was showing off its Photon frame, weighing in at 650 grams for a 54cm frame, Guru claims that it takes the cake for the world’s lightest production road frame. A crowd gathered round while a technician was busy demonstrating the techniques used to “weld” together a tube-to-tube carbon frame. “That’s Oliver, he’s our wrapper,’ explained Marketing Manager, Jodi Clark. “Spelled with a ‘w’.”
At the Solution Momentum kiosk, showcasing Marin, BMC, and Mavic products, things were going well according to store owner, Yannick Guimond ‘There were more visitors this year; cycling is popular these days. And I think that visitors appreciate the big names present at the 2015 show.” Hot items at the Momentum booth included Marin bikes and wheels from Mavic such as the Cosmic C40 and Ksyrium SLR.
The Logica Sport kiosk noticed an uptick in visitor traffic versus 2014. A star item at their booth was the sexy and sleek De Rosa line of bikes from Italy starting at $3,600. “Our Diadora cycling shoes are also getting some attention. It doesn’t hurt that Cadel Evans and the Movistar Team are wearing them!” added owner, Leo Incollingo.
At the Giant Montreal kiosk, Tennessee told us that visitors wanted to see all of Giant’s offerings; mountain bikes, road, fat bikes, etc. One item that attracted much attention was the Giant Glory DH bike with 27.5 inch wheels selling for about $6,000. “There have been a lot of women coming here to look at serious bikes,” she noted of an industry traditionally dominated by men.
Bicycles Quilicot was at the show both to sell bikes and to celebrate the store’s 100th anniversary. Current owner Marc-André Lebeau said the Specialized Fit System was attracting a lot of attention. He also showed off a fat scrapbook of newspaper clippings compiled by the store’s former owners over the decades. Some photos showed a packed Montreal Forum set up for 6-Day Races. “Track cycling rivalled hockey in popularity in the 1930s,” noted Lebeau. Pedal noticed a small clipping mentioning that a Quilicot rider, Pierre Gachon, would join the 1937 British Tour de France team. Gachon was, of course, the first North American to ride cycling’s most prestigious event.
At the Thule kiosk, visitors were greeted with many models of child carrier trailers. Thule recently bought Calgary-based Chariot Carriers and is now putting its own label on the product line. Pierre Simard showed some roof boxes that completely cover a bicycle. “Another hot item is the racks and pannier systems that can go onto the front or rear of a bike, even on a carbon frame. This system includes a detachable, waterproof handlebar pouch for a tablet and is very popular with those who like spinning,” added Simard.
The Great Waterway, the group behind a network of bike paths along Ontario’s Great Lakes was also present at the show. “You can leave your home in Montreal by bike and pedal to Toronto over perhaps five days; then take VIA back home. Or the vice-versa,” explained staff in the booth. The network follows close to the St. Lawrence River and Great Lakes, extending west to Windsor, ON.
The Laurentian tourist area meanwhile was showing a new connection between its very popular Linear Park (a 200km bike path from St. Jerome to Mont-Laurier) and the Aerobic Corridor in Morin Heights. “This gives cycle tourists the option of detouring into the ski town of St-Sauveur, famous for its boutiques and restaurants,” explained Caroline. The Linear Park, built on an abandoned railway track is part of Quebec’s Route verte, a 5,358km network of bike paths across “the Belle Province.”
Combining its roles as a bicycle lobby group, bicycle tour operator, and publisher, Vélo Québec remains optimistic that recently announced funding cuts will not severely affect the Route verte in 2015. Despite international praise, the network has been targeted by Quebec’s current austerity measures. Vélo Québec was also busy organizing the second annual edition of its Vélo sous zéro mass bike ride on Feb. 15. Some 400 cyclists braved cold weather and heard Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre promise to join this year’s Tour de l’Ile mass ride in June.
The CTMA cruise lines offered its traditional door prize of a one-week cruise for two from Montreal to the distant Magdalen Islands (Iles de la Madeleine), northeast of Prince Edward Island, Just before the 2015 show closed, the lucky winner was announced: Marc Vanier of Laval. Known for their warm waters, red sandy beaches, and fresh seafood, the Magdalen Islands are a popular destination for cyclists. CTMA carries about 400 cyclists there each year between June and September. Along the way, there are stops in Quebec City and in Percé.
Dubé will remain a busy man for a few more weeks; the third edition of his Quebec City Bike Show opens February 27 – March 1st, 2015. A rival bike show in Quebec City, the Salon Info Vélo follows on Mar. 6-8 for its 30th annual edition.
Meanwhile, Dubé’s inaugural Sherbrooke Bike Show has been postponed until 2016.