The weather may not make you feel like it, but a sign summer is around the corner made an appearance Friday.

The Bixi rental bike service launched for the 2011 season Friday, and within six hours more than 1,500 had taken advantage of the sunny, crisp weather to take one for a twirl.

"Community mobility, everybody gets access to it, anybody who needs a ride can just get on it," said Raviv Boudin, listing his reasons for using the service. "It's a happy way to be cruising the city."

The price for a Bixi membership was maintained at $78 for the season or $5 a day. But a new incentive this year is that the price for riding a Bixi doesn't increase until it's been rented for 45 minutes, as opposed to 30 minutes last year.

That lost revenue will likely be made up by the new appearance of large ads on the bikes themselves, making them rolling billboards.

"I hadn't noticed until you pointed it out, because this is my first Bixi ride of the season," Tanjalee Kuhl told CTV Montreal's Aphrodite Salas. "It's kind of ugly, they didn't have those last season."

Bixi stands will be installed for the first time this year in N.D.G., Ahuntsic, Verdun and Westmount as the network slowly fans out from the central core of the city.

It took a year for Westmount to negotiate a deal with Bixi to bring five stations and a total of fifty bikes to the by the end of the summer.

One of the stations will be here at the corner of Prince Albert and Sherbrooke Sts, while others will be in front of Westmount city hall, another at Victoria Hall, one on de Maisonneuve Blvd. and another on Ste. Catherine St.

"If we find it's a runaway success we'll increase the number," Westmount Mayor Peter Trent said. "If we find the locations aren't good we'll move them."

Westmount resident Francois Garcia says Bixi bikes should have been in his city from the beginning.

"I felt that Westmount wasn't picking up and it was to its detriment, so I'll be quite pleased to use the service as soon as it becomes available," he said.

Bixi enthusiasts can still hop on to one of 5,000 bikes in other parts of the city from now until the season ends in November.