More than 500 cyclists braved the cold and biking a 15-kilometre circuit throughout the city as part of Vélo sous zéro, Vélo Quebec's inaugural winter Tour de l’Île.

The circuit began and ended at La Fontaine Park and travels through open streets along the city’s bike path network. Cyclists will take off at 10 a.m. ET from Vélo Quebec’s hub on Rachel Street and tour several Montreal neighbourhoods.

The pro-bike organization wants to use the event to promote and demystify winter cycling, as well as encourage city administrators to develop winter-cycling bike paths.

According to Vélo Quebec, all-season cycling is becoming more popular. Between December and March, an average of 600 people per day use the bike paths on Rachel Street and De Maisonneuve Boulevard — about 13 per cent of the volume the paths experience during warmer climes.

Vélo Quebec is also using the winter Tour de l’Île as an opportunity to announce its programming for its Go Bike MTL Festival, happening May 25 to June 1.

Velo Quebec map

The circuit cyclists will take during Vélo sous zéro. (Vélo Quebec)

With files from La Presse Canadienne