A Guide to Montreal’s Best Local Bike Shops
In a city where metro shutdowns and painfully long lines for the 105 bus are seemingly constant problems, sometimes the fastest (and most enjoyable) way to get where you’re going is on two wheels. Whether you’re cycling just for the heck of it, or using it as your main means of transportation, Montreal is a great place to experience by bike.
If Bixis aren’t really your thing, getting a bike of your own is a good idea, but with so many shops to choose from—not to mention the plethora of bikes available on Craigslist and Kijiji—finding the right store can seem like a matter of trial and error. It doesn’t have to be that way though!
Life’s too short to spend too much money on subpar service, so whether you get a flat tire in Villeray or right next to Concordia, the following bike shops are here to get you back on your bike as fast as possible.
Right to Move (2153 Mackay St.)
Conveniently located just behind the Hall Building, Right to Move is a non-profit organization committed to making cycling accessible to all. You need to be a member to take advantage of their many services, but for quick fixes like adding a bit of air to your tires or adjusting your seat, you can get away without paying any fees. That said, RTM is a great resource for all things bike-related, so it’s worth considering the $20 annual membership, as it gives you access to their repair shop.
Bikurious (1757 Amherst St.)
Home to some of the friendliest staff around, Bikurious is a sure bet if you find yourself in the Latin Quarter with a bike issue. If you’re looking to get a bike built, it’s worth checking out their online gallery for some photos of beautiful bikes they’ve put together over the past few years.
St-Henri / Griffintown
Cycle Technique (788 Atwater Ave.)
While most of Cycle Technique is dedicated to clothing and expensive-looking road bikes, the store’s second half is a solid bet for basics like bike lights or tires. Prices are average, but the staff is friendly and the service is generally fast (except for the start of the season, when bike shops across the city fill up with rust-covered frames and wait times skyrocket).
Velomakak (215 Murray St.)
While the entrance to Velomakak may seem less like a bike shop and more like a place to get mugged, if you’re in Griffintown, it’s a cheaper alternative to most places in the neighborhood. The store is cash-only, so be prepared.
Plateau Mont-Royal / Mile End
Fitz & Follwell Co. (115 Mont-Royal Ave. W.)
More than just a place to rent cushy-looking city cruisers, Fitz & Follwell Co. is a solid Plateau-based bike shop. If you’re curious about something bike-related, the shop is a great place to take your questions. The staff is happy to provide answers to whatever questions you may have, and for small fixes like brake tightening or adjustment they will often walk you through the steps so you can do it yourself the next time around.
C & L Cycle (75 Villeneuve St. W.)
While it may be small, C & L Cycle is fully stocked with higher-end bike parts and offers comprehensive, decently priced tune-up packages. They also do custom builds, generally provide a quick turnaround on repairs, and offer discounts for students and bike couriers.
SantroVélo (111 Roy St. E.)
Less of a traditional bike shop and more of a do-it-yourself type of place, SantroVélo, like Right to Move, aims to educate the public about bike transport by teaching people how to fix their rides themselves. You need to be a member to use their tools or buy a part for your bike, but memberships are a mere $15 for the season or $5 per visit.
Villeray / Park Ex
Dumoulin Bicyclettes (173 Jean-Talon St. E.)
With two floors of bike-related goodies, Dumoulin Bicyclettes has just about everything you’d need to get your bike looking as fancy as can be. If you use your bike as your main mode of transport, make sure to check out their sales for good finds like jeans specifically designed for bike commuters. The only downside is that they appear to only sell Brooks handlebar tape, so unless you feel like spending a pretty penny on it, you’re better off going somewhere else for such an item.
Ça Roule Montreal (27 de la Commune St. E.)
Nothing puts a damper on your Saturday afternoon bike ride along the Lachine Canal like a flat tire. Thankfully, Ça Roule Montreal is here to help. Primarily specializing in bike tours and rentals, the shop has some of the cheapest tubes for sale, and seemingly because most people go there to rent bikes rather than get them fixed, there is rarely any wait for their reasonably priced repairs. Ça Roule also sells its bikes after every season, if you’re in the market for a well-maintained hybrid.
Basic Bike Tips
(1) Riding at night is fun, but getting hit by a car because you aren’t visible—or being ticketed by a police officer for said lack of visibility—is not fun. Your bike needs to have reflectors on both pedals and wheels, as well as a red reflector on the back and a white one on the front.
(2) Reflectors and lights can be bought at any bike shop, but most pharmacies carry cheaper lights that generally work just as well. Also, because bike thieves will steal every possible part of your bike given the opportunity, cheaper bike lights will bring less emotional trauma if they’re stolen.
(3) Brakes are important! Fixies are great, but riding one without a back brake means risking a $37 fine. As long as you can stop by either backpedalling or using a lever, you’re in the clear.
(4) Lock up your bike. Buying a lock that costs as much as your bike might seem excessive, but given the rampant bike thievery that Montreal suffers from, it’s money well spent. And don’t buy the flexible, wiry locks—those things are about as useful as a piece of string.
(5) Riding without a helmet is legal in Quebec, so it’s up to you to decide whether or not you want to use one. Bike shops carry a range of styles, so if you do decide to cover your dome before riding out you can still look cool, if that’s what you’re worried about.