I learnt via the Twitter-sphere that the recreational paths along the canal had been plowed after Friday’s storm, so yesterday I set out to confirm the rumour.
Now I’ll admit to feeling a little discouraged from the day before when I attempted to ride through the storm. There was little room to manoeuvre on busy streets like Somerset with all the piled up snow, and visibility was lousy, for myself and the drivers squeezing around me. Along side streets, which had yet to be cleared, my tires intermittently planed and sunk all over, making me twitter aloud whether skinnier tires were the way to go. One fellow even flew past on cross country skis. BUT by yesterday, only one day after the storm, biking conditions had improved drastically.
The route I chose to follow was pretty much icy all the way, as shown in red, code for studded tire zone. However most streets I ventured along, as shown in blue, were sufficiently cleared that I would have felt comfortable riding down them sans studs.
I headed down to City Centre to see if the new bike path beside the O-Train was navigable. On the way I stopped to ponder this little old building sitting in the City Centre parking lot. More on this little gem from Eric Darwin’s blog here. This past summer some folks taking a smoking break at the front door told me it was still operational, with the inside set up with office spaces. Yesterday it unfortunately appeared closed for business.
The O-Train path was not bike-able.
So I headed up over Somerset to cross under the Queensway along Bayswater Avenue, because it’s one of the most pleasant, safest roads to get to the other side of the highway, Bayswater being a residential street with very little traffic. Just on the southern side of the Queensway sits St Mary’s Parrish.
This image on their website confirmed how great I imagined the stained glass above the entrance must look when properly lit.
The path between Carling Avenue and Dows Lake looked promising, as a number of folks had packed it down, but not quite enough. Just a couple more days of foot traffic and it should be fine to ride along. I pushed my bike most of the way to Prince of Wales Drive.
They plow the path in the Arboretum all the way to the foot of the toboggan hill.
The path from the hill to the canal locks at Carleton University was packed down from all the dogs out walking their humans, so most of it was indeed bike able.
But then the big question was – is the bike path along the canal cleared…. ?
YES! Icy all the way, but YES!
I stopped at the top of the locks leading down to the Ottawa River to take a shot of the Parliament Buildings, when I noticed these guys filming themselves for an Ottawa tourism promo video. They were more interesting. Click.
The path is cleared all the way to the bottom of the locks.
Now why the path below Parliament Hill along the river isn’t cleared remains a mystery to me, especially considering how beautiful it is along the river.
It wasn’t sufficiently packed to ride along either, which is why I turned up where a parking lot West of the West Block extends halfway down the hill. I knew it would be meticulously plowed and salted.
From there all went well, all the way home.