Starting to winter bike in the National Capital Region

I was as happy as a kid when I awoke to see this season’s first serious layer of freshly fallen snow. It meant I could officially launch my recently acquired winter bike – this handsome red model purchased from Re-Cycles on Bronson. For the last couple of weeks it’s been prepped and all set to go.

Winter bike

I was not disappointed – I love it. It’s a slower-as-she-goes ride (heavier bike, wider tires with studs on the front, snow & ice, etc) than on my summer bike, but great for getting around in our wintry climes.

Here’s a short route to get things going which I followed after walking my son to school. Somerset between Bronson and Preston is pretty tight even on a snowless day. This is my favourite way of getting around it.

at the eastern end of the Somerset O-train bridge there’s a little road that curls under and pops out near the old commercial area called City Centre. UPDATE – Dec 2014 : The O-train bike path has since opened and this season it’s being cleared of snow, offering an alternative to having to using the mini-underpass with trucks and cars. The orange line on the above map is the suggested O-train path detour.

Somerset mini-underpass

Elm Street a couple of blocks down is a quiet street. That’s because it’s blocked off to cars half way to Preston. But not to bikes.

Half way down Elm Street

Preston has a cross walk signal, as does Booth when you get to it. Very nice.

A bit up Primrose you come face to face with Nanny Goat Hill (or cliff). The flight of stairs is very manageable if you don’t mind carrying your bike a bit.

Stairs up Nanny Goat Hill

At the top of the stairs there is a cleared path that goes the rest of the way up to where Primrose continues on.

Primrose path

Going this way allows for a good close look at Dominican University College, which was built in 1899 as a Dominican convent, and continues to function as a Monastery as well as a college. This is where the guys in brown robes walking along Somerset hang out.

Dominican University College

UPDATE – January 2015: I am now riding a single speed bike with narrower tires on a 20+ year old steel frame. Changed bikes because in cold weather the pawls on the rear hub (little ratchets that allow you to freely pedal backwards) on my previous multi-speed bike would occasionally freeze and not allow me to pedal forward. Bought the wheel at MEC, the single speed sprocket and studded front tire at Tall Trees, and assembled the whole bike at Re-Cycles.

Author: ottawavelo


2 thoughts on “Starting to winter bike in the National Capital Region”

  1. Loving the play by play and details of our hood’….makes me wanna dress up in layers and layers of winter wear and head out there in the fresh winter air and enjoy this season of ups downs and all-arounds…plus the sunsets and full moons have been pretty spectacular lately…oh comfort and joy…keep trekkin’ Bri and take Nick too since Devonshire is closed today.

    1. Thanks China Doll! Yes, lot’s more on our hood’ to come now that I’ll be re-visiting routes closer to home. Nick is as happy as can be with this extra day off. Hopefully the dust will have settled, AND gotten rid of, by the time Monday rolls around! Rumour has it something weird happened with the old vents, spewing 100 years of accumulated dust all over the place.

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