Monday I had to bike to Ikea. Strong westerly winds made me hesitate. The challenge was to find a route that avoided speedy traffic AND Aeolus. Success! The blue line shows how I got there, red is how I got back. The short pink lines are where I could have gone to avoid the wind just a little bit more.
First, head towards the Experimental Farm Pathway via Dow’s Lake and Prince of Wales Drive. UPDATE 2019: If you are getting to Dow’s Lake via the O-Train path there is a detour under the Queensway while they do major construction on the overpass. This safe detour is indicated on the map (Gladstone-Preston-Young St E).
Bike along the National Capital Commission Scenic Driveway with tall trees on either side.
This takes you to a path through what’s popularly known at as the Enchanted Forest that runs along Fisher.
Beyond Fisher the pathway continues along the edge of the farm. A less windy option would be to follow Kingston Avenue that heads the same way, as shown in pink.
Between Merivale and Maitland the path snakes through a wooded area. All good.
Now the most exposed area along this path comes next – the stretch between Maitland and Woodroffe. On a blustery day I suggest biking along the residential streets hi-lited in pink past this area. But you’d miss this type of view along the pathway.
Beyond Woodroffe, the path follows a little valley along a stream.
Then ride down Iris Street, which is protected from the wind by houses and trees on either side. That gets you to Ikea. UPDATE – August 2019: Iris street has been repaved since this post was originally written. In the process a bike lane heading east between Cobden Road and the Transitway was included, which is good, but that’s all there is in the way of added safe bike infrastructure. Sharrows have been painted in the centre of the roads in other locations however sharrows are a useless form of bike infrastructure or, as some research has show, more dangerous than no infrastructure at all.
On the way back I re-joined the bike path where it crosses Iris and headed north towards the Ottawa River. Now the wind became my best friend! I sailed home. After dark, the oncoming headlights along the driveway are really bright, especially on a moonless night such as it was, but if you don’t let them bother you they make for an interesting contrast between the rush of the river flowing by on the left, while glaring lights rush by the opposite way on your right.
2 thoughts on “Biking west on a windy day to Ikea”
I used to bike home along the river parkway late into the fall… at night. The oncoming headlights made it very hard to stay on the path sometimes, and dangerous for the occasional oncoming bike. Still, the pathway along the river is a fantastic resource to travel west. Cheers, John
Yah, the car headlights were particularly noticeable heading east along the pathway, but not discouraging. I noticed alot of bike commuters coming the other way had two sorts of front lights going at the same time: one flashing, the other stationary. I thought that was clever. I had set my light to stationary to be able to see the path, but missed the ‘Hey I’m here!’ benefits of the flashing light. Those bike commuters had the problem figured out.