The Jacques Villeneuve circuit (aka the F1 track) has long been a staple of the Montreal cycling scene. But this may no longer be the case if the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau (overlords of the track and encompassing park) have their way.
First a bit of background. The F1 track is located on an island in the St. Lawrence River a perfect 20 min warm up from downtown. It hosts a small handful of motoracing events, and the rest of the year it is open to the public for recreational cycling, rollerblading or what ever your heart desires. The track is a beautifully paved 4.36km track with two small rises and little to no car traffic.
In addition to recreational recreating, it is used by 'performance' cyclists for interval training, leadout practise, as well as being a safe place to introduce new cyclist to the concepts of group riding and paceline etiquette.
However, the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau is fed up with the number of accidents related to 'performance' cyclists (27 in the last year, compared to 300 in Montreal as a whole) and have, with out consultation with any cycling groups in the city, have installed speed bumps and speed chicanes to deter these 'performance' cyclists from their nefarious acts.
As an alternative, the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau has told the 'performance' cyclist that we are to use the track around the Olympic basin instead. The basin is used by paddlers and the track beside it is used by their coaches. However, the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau promises that this is a safe place for us to do our training. What do you think?
The Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau feel justified in this action because, according to them, this will only affect 300 cyclist. The cyclists of Montreal disagree. A petition has been started to inform the Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau that this effects more than they think. As of right now we have over 3500 signatures. But we need more. The Société du Parc Jean-Drapeau has agreed to meet with cycling groups next week, but we need the strongest leverage possible. So if you are a cyclist in Montreal, wish to visit Montreal as a cyclist, or simply support cyclists in Montreal (like moi...and all the other future Dominique Rollin's) please visit click here for more information and to sign the petition.
There will be a critical mass type event this evening at 6-7PM at the track to demonstrate this draconian decision. As a wise man once said:
This aggression will not stand...man.