Montreal bike festival heralds release from grip of COVID

MONTREAL (AP) — In early June, Montrealers will line sidewalks, toot horns and pound drums as swarms of cyclists wend their way through the iconic spaces of that bicycle-mad city. It’s not a race. Rather, the crowds will cheer on neighbors and strangers, some 20,000 of them in each of two main rides June 2 and 4, during a festival that celebrates Montreal’s status as one of North America’s best bicycling cities. Velo Quebec is the organization that manages the province’s vast Route Verte cycling network and the festival. It considers this year’s festival to be the first full-blown one since COVID-19 at first crushed, then curtailed, the annual event and other gatherings.