Bixi Bingo

So many colourful Bixi bikes!

Once upon a time, the city of Montreal came up with a genius idea, which was to bring a new bike share system to the city. In order to fund it, they set up an international business to provide their bikeshare to many other cities.

This plan garnered big interest from such cities as London, Washington D.C., Melbourne and more recently New York City. Even some company campuses such as RIM have jumped on the Bixi bandwagon. To mark each new city joining the Bixi family, Montreal gained a token bike from each one. These coveted foreign bikes were initially hard to spot, since there were so few of them around.

But, it seemed Montrealers appreciated the novelty of charging around their city on an Australian or British bike, as last season there were loads to be seen. I know I certainly took a secret pride in riding a bike from my hometown of London around my new favourite city, even if I was endorsing Boris Johnson’s antics abroad.

But then, disaster struck! It emerged that Bixi’s international arm was massively in debt, and the city of Montreal had little choice but to sell it off, just keeping ownership of its own system (which is also heavily in debt). Tragically, the whole controversy has clouded the future of Bixi here in Canada’s second largest city. For somewhere that’s pioneered bike-share as a concept and proved it can be massively successful, it’s been a cruel twist of fate.

This year I’ve not seen these special bikes around. Maybe they were removed because technically they’re no longer property of the city, or perhaps they’re a painful reminder of the financial cost of a business venture which was unwittingly paid for by Montrealers.

Good thing I took a few photos then.

Bixi from Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

London, England.
A genuine Boris Bike! In Canada!
Melbourne, Australia.
Melbourne & Montreal.
Since Bixi was extended to Longueuil (the city to the South of Montreal), some of the bikes have been branded.
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
Wonder why they call it “Nice Ride”?
Washington, D.C., USA
Another Ottawa bike.
Taking a Boris-bike for a ride around Montréal.
Selfie with a Boris-bike in an alley in my home neighbourhood of Vieux-Rosemont, Montréal. Apparently I suck at selfies.
Here are some D.C. bikes in their native environment, which I saw when I visited Washington.
Some Toronto bikes in their native Toronto-esque environment. Toronto lacks the bike network that Montréal excels at.

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