Visiting Montreal between Spring and Fall means it is BIXI bike season!
While the BIXI web site does not make it clear, it is possible for US residents to sign up for a BIXI subscription.
30-day membership is CA$30 for the 2016 season and it is worth it even if you are just visiting for at least 7 days in a 30-day period. These subscriptions also offer 45 minute rides instead of the normal 30 minute rides.
Sign up for the subscription a couple of days before your arrival. The sign up page will ask for a Canadian address. Use your hotel address. You’ll receive an email confirming subscription and if the email says that they are going to mail the BIXI key to the address, then call the BIXI customer service center and tell them not to send the key and that you’ll pick up the key personally.
You can pick up the key from a handful of main STM Metro Stations during normal working hours. Berri-UQAM is one of the stations that is also open on the weekend.
Once you have the key, call up customer service and they will attach the key to your account and activate it.
BIXI key instructions has a picture and instructions on using the key – ready to ride!
Be sure to read the FAQ and the Instructions at the BIXI web site. Any mistake can end up with $1000+ charge on your credit card. Be sure to check that the LED indicator turns green after you return and dock a bike.
Disclaimer: The above instructions worked for me in 2016. Be sure to read up all the BIXI rules on their website and also call up the customer service center for any additional information.
In addition to the key, it is quite critical to have a smartphone with a data plan since the BIXI phone app is critical to have. Many times you’ll find docks full or no bikes at docks so having an app to quickly see all nearby BIXI stations with available bikes or free docks on a map is essential.
The BIXI app also allows you to rent a bike without the key. It has an button on the app to generate a code which can be used to unlock a bike.