Thousands of cyclists biked around Montreal on Sunday for the annual Tour de l'Ile.

Some have been participating for decades.

"I don't go to the gym or anything, I just hop on my bike when I need to go somewhere," said Gordon Little who, at 94 years old, is doing his 31st Tour de l'Ile.

The longest loop of the tour is 100 kilometres, stretching all the way to Senneville and back into the city.

"It's fun," said Stephen Beck, a Pierrefonds resident. "You get to see parts of Montreal you don't normally get to see on a bike, without having to worry about traffic."

Hope the rain holds out for all the awesome racers! #Tourdelile #Montreal @VeloQuebec #lachepas #morningmotivation pic.twitter.com/zcyhREwirt

— Molecular Forecaster (@MolForecaster) June 2, 2019

Keith Tolson came all the way from Buffalo, New York to be part of the event.

"One of the reasons we wanted to come to Montreal is because it has such great bike paths and you can bike right through town," he said.

Mayor Valerie Plante and Kent Nagano, Musical Director of the Montreal Symphony Orchestra, were among VIPs who made appearances.

Très heureuse d’avoir donné le coup d’envoi du Tour de l’île de Montréal 2019 en excellente compagnie! Ça n’est pas la météo qui va nous empêcher de découvrir ou de redécouvrir notre métropole ensemble, sur deux roues et dans la bonne humeur! ���� #tourdelile #polmtl pic.twitter.com/5lbXYgTjzw

— Valérie Plante (@Val_Plante) June 2, 2019

"There's lots of families here, so that gives me the indication that the the more safe cycling paths we have, the more they'll use bikes," she said.

There are challenges with the event, which often pits cyclists against drivers.

Longtime city councillor Ruth Kovac was among those with reservations.

"We need a petition to stop this until all road construction is finalized," she tweeted.

"Or take it off island completely." 

Disgusting! We need a petition to stop this until all road construction is finalized. Or take it off island completely. Then they will have to cycle to east end or past west island...or heaven forbid use a car!!

— Ruth Kovac (@RuthKovac1) June 2, 2019