February 6, 2008 (Montreal, QC) – Despite record amounts of snow on the ground Montreal saw it’s first bike race of the year this Saturday, February 2 at the sixth annual Montreal Ice Cup (Coupe des Glaces). Cyclists, many of whom were bike messengers, raced around obstacles on an outdoor skating rink in Jeanne Mance Park. Onlookers, some on cross-country skis, stopped to take in the sights. The weather was a balmy -4 C, but the tent where free hot chocolate was given away by Q A Courier proved a popular spot.
Crowds at this year’s event were thinner than in previous years and the number of participants was also down, but it was a challenge for organizers to even stage the annual event in 2008. Traditionally the Montreal Ice Cup is held down at Montreal’s Old Port, but that site was unavailable due to political wrangling. Organizers, who are all from the bike messenger community, scrambled to find an alternate venue.
“We filled out 45 pages of applications for sites all over Montreal before the City finally gave us ‘permission’ to use this small outdoor rink here about 10 days before the event,” explained Harry Zadek. “And we probably only received that permission because the local councillor, Helen Fotopoulos, is ‘bike friendly.’ Then, the night before the Coupe des Glaces, a big snowstorm blew through and we had to get volunteers out with snow shovels at 5 a.m. to start clearing the rink.”
Zadek said that the Coupe des Glaces represents a great opportunity for messengers to have fun and share knowledge about the trade. He further claimed that holding such events reduces the incidence of serious accidents within the messenger community. Messengers came from as far as Calgary to compete and have fun. An upcoming event of a similar genre is the 2008 Cycle Messenger World Championships (CMWC) to be held in Toronto from June 13 -16 – for more info visit www.cmwc2008.com.
More Montreal Ice Cup 2008 photos can be found at www.coupedesglaces.org.
Montreal Ice Cup 08 Winners
1. Female Champ – Lucie Poulin
2. Best of the Rest – Fred Paquette, Montreal
3. Ice tires – Alexi Richer, Montreal / Le Yeti
4. Rubber Class – Alexis Mills, Ottawa
5. Best Messenger – Fred Paquette