Even though I was working early Saturday morning, I passed by the Tour de Nuit on Friday night out of curiosity. And because it happened to be on the way home and I figured I might as well take advantage of the closed streets. I’d never been to either annual tour before, so I wasn’t really prepared for just how many cyclists take part.
The Bixi stand at Mont-Royal and Garnier was almost full. The Tour extended into Ahuntsic and St. Michel, where stands aren't available.
Here’s what I saw. For more pictures from the Tour la Nuit and Tour de l’Ile, see photo galleries from The Gazette and its cycling blog, as well as lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of pictures on Flickr.
Garnier, looking south. This is just a fraction of the cyclists taking part.
Crazy hats (Part 1)
I didn't register for the tour since I didn't think I'd finish it.
Vélo-Québec estimates 12,000 cyclists take part in the Tour la Nuit every year
At St. Joseph and Garnier, volunteers funnelled cyclists from three directions toward the start line.
I wasn't the only one playing shutterbug.
Huge speakers were setup on lamp posts blasting pop music to entertain the waiting cyclists.
St. Joseph and Garnier, looking east.
St. Joseph and Garnier, cyclists lining up from the south.
Crazy hats (Part 2)
Crazy hats (Part 3)
Energie was responsible for the music...
... and the babes.
Getting on that would have made for a great photo.
Cyclists head east on St. Joseph for the first part of the Tour.
Volunteer cheerleaders - in what look like pyjamas - get the cyclists going. Every closed-off intersection had volunteers similarly cheering everyone on.
Holy crap that's a lot of people.
Yet more volunteers at the start line ensure everyone gets out without colliding with each other.
One of two at the start line with a counter in hand. It took an hour to get all the cyclists past the start line.
The start line had a tower that was quickly dismantled once the cyclists were under way.
There were so many cyclists to start that they were split into two groups going up separate streets from St. Joseph. They were later reunited.
The highest I saw this speed counter go was 26. Nobody got any speeding tickets.
This group on a balcony was one of many to entertain cyclists with music as they passed by.
Christophe Colomb was split between cyclists heading north and wall-to-wall drivers heading south. The street closures caused headaches for drivers.
The route took cyclists through the St. Michel environment complex, where portable lights on generators showed cyclists the way.
An ambulance was called to St. Michel, though it didn't look serious.
This kid and his family got creative, hitting a bucket with a stick and changing "Olé, olé olé olé" into "Vélo, vélo vélo vélo"
At Boyer and des Carrières, some take a break. I contemplate taking the Boyer bike path home and calling it a night.
The Clark/St. Urban underpass, everyone was told to slow down and keep to the right.
Pay no attention to the gathering on the left.
Tired near the end of the tour, many decided to walk their bikes up the incline on St. Urbain.
Another group of young musicians serenades the cyclists as they go by.
At Jeanne-Mance Park, people pose with ... a ghost?
Nothing you want to do more after a two-hour bike ride than consider investment strategies with your bank.
Desjardins offered riders souvenir photos, taken with $500 consumer cameras.
A volunteer takes photos of the event's afterparty.
Among the swag people got was free milk (milk-product?) from the milk industry sponsor.
A giant party at Jeanne-Mance Park just before midnight.
Marching band shows up randomly and starts playing.
I got home at half-past midnight. Didn’t sleep much, but I got a heck of a workout.