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The Bixi reaches Ottawa-Gatineau

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Bixi Ottawa-Gatineau

Did you know that the Bixi, Montreal’s public bike system, now has stations in the Nation’s Capital? But this isn’t news at all because the pilot study in Ottawa-Gatineau was launched over a month ago, some time in early June.

I was in Gatineau last weekend and took the opportunity to do a run across town documenting each of the four bixi locations. 50 bikes are deployed in downtown Gatineau (Vieux-Hull and Civilizations Museum) and Ottawa (National War Memorial and ByWard Market at York & Dalhousie). By contrast, the Bixi Montreal website states that no less than 300 stations and 3000 bikes were planned for.

Station Monument commémoratif de guerre du Canada - Bixi Ottawa-Gatineau

If the Ottawa-Gatineau Bixi project goes ahead, a pass bought in any of the Bixi-served cities would serve in the other, a Bixi employee told me at one of the stations. Currently, this isn’t the case, because the 6,000-odd Bixi subscribers in Montréal would probably be flooding the nascent Ottawa-Gatineau system.

If you happen to be in Ottawa-Gatineau this summer, here is a suggested run from the Bixi website:

1. Head for downtown Ottawa for a free “Noon on the Bridge” concert.

2. Take a break at lunchtime, and get a breath of fresh air, by pedalling along the Rideau Canal or the Ottawa River.

3. After a spectacular show at the National Arts Centre, go out for a bite and a drink in the ByWard Market.

4. Ride across the bridge for a get-together with friends in Vieux Hull.

5. On a Sunday morning, start your day by indulging in brunch in the ByWard Market; then, visit the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

If you are a Canadian government employee working in Ottawa-Gatineau, it is also a very good idea to use the Bixi to get you from one federal building to the other.

Here is a map that I made on Google Maps:

View Bixi Ottawa-Gatineau (projet-pilote 2009) in a larger map

Station Marché By, Bixi d'Ottawa-Gatineau



  1. Bixi did a trial day in Vancouver as part of June’s Bicycle Month. I hope we become part of the BixiNation.

  2. Toronto is in talks with the Bixi people to launch here as well. A Canada-wide bicycle rental service? Awesome.

  3. My god Toronto sucks! We’ve been &%$#ing around talking about this for years and achieved nothing. In the end it looks like we are negotiating to get Bixi. We can’t get anything domestic to work (look at our streetcars!).

  4. I hope for your sakes that Bixi is fixed before it gets exported. Right now it’s not all that usable.

  5. As it is entirely designed and manufactured in Canada, it would be great to see it spread across the nation.

    I’ve tried it and it’s a pleasure. It’s the perfect solid bike to cruise smootly in the city. There is some issues about some details, mainly with the stations, but nothing that can’t be fixed.

    The designed was made by one of Canada’s first and most famous industrial designer, Michel Dallaire.

  6. First, there is NO WAY you can make it to Gatineau – much less Ottawa – in the alotted 30 minutes of free rental. This is just absurd.

    But the main thing is that the Bixi is the easiest bike to steal. Just lift the back wheel – using the whole bike as a lever – until the little plastic dock thing cracks. And when you’re done, you can just put it back into whatever dock is near you.

    I hope they’re working on something solid, becaus every station I go by has a couple of broken docks.

  7. I’ve got a Bixi Google news alert and there’s a lot of sales interest. Newport Beach, CA, a wonderful place I’ve had the pleasure of staying in, is reportedly interested.

    I wonder if that’s why Bixi playing down how easy it is to steal the bikes and break the racks: they don’t want to spook buyers.

    Also, I think I’ve actually noticed some racks that had been busted, now repaired. Anyone else spot that?

  8. If you had a Montreal Bixi bike, rode it to Ottawa and docked it at one of their stations, do you think it would work?

  9. @Andrew

    I actually asked the lady attending the station whether that was possible, and she said it would be very very very expensive. :)

  10. @Shawn, indeed, they announced it on their facebook page (wich as always been their REAL blog btw). They started installing the new dock model on july 14th (damages started being a big problems over 2 weeks prior to that but they tested a few prototypes before settling on this new one). Hopefully this one is more resistant.

    I read that NYC was getting closer to ask submissions for its public bike system. Hopefully the time zone, proximity and similar environments will give bixi an edge over Paris’ Vélib’ and all the other Euro competitors.

  11. Regarding Bixi theft/station vandalism. A bunch of stations that were busted in my area were replaced with the 2.0 design about 2 weeks ago. The new desing is still standing strong… hopefully this one will work better in the long run.


  12. we just got back from 3 days in Montreal and used the Bixi bikes day and night. It was INCREDIBLE, easy to use. Seeing the city by bike, being able to deposit one and pick up another just about anywhere was incredibly liberating. I am praying that we get Bixi here in Toronto – does anyone know sites/politicians we should appeal to.

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