Bank Street, south of the Rideau River bridge, is a treacherous stretch all the way to South Keys Mall – no shoulder to ride on, speeding cars jostling around each other in and out of parking lots, four lane intersections, etc. I avoid it completely by riding through the Arboretum, crossing over the canal locks at Carleton University, and following the path up to Hogs Back, as per the red line shown below. But for many, crossing the locks or riding along packed snow pedestrian paths through the Arboretum in the winter is not an option – cargo bikes, skinny tires, kids trailers, etc., so I set out to find an alternative. Blue line is my ride to Bank St South. Green line is my ride home.
Prince of Wales Drive from Dow’s Lake heading east has a very generous shoulder which has been cleared all winter. Some cars do drive very fast along this stretch and there are trucks, but it still felt safe.
The Experimental Farm round-about is a bit tricky. The shoulder disappears as you approach, and it isn’t absolutely clear whether we are expected to ride on the paved paths along the periphery, but I think that’s the intention.
Riding along Hog’s Back Road over the canal and the Rideau River is a bit of a challenge as well. No shoulders. Here the sidewalks become a shared path further on, so it’s fair to interpret the whole sidewalk as a shared path, as long as you are willing to walk your bike if you encounter a pedestrian.
Once beyond the falls the road widens again, although you can remain on the asphalt path as far as Riverside Drive. Brookfield Road is very wide with minimal traffic, no worries there, just be prepared to cross over at the round-about to the path on the opposite side. Can’t miss it, you’ll see the illegible yellow sign that explains how to behave as a pedestrian at a round-about.
Stay on this path on the outside of the round-about, which becomes a shared path that dips under Bronson and over the O-train tracks. This path has been cleared all winter.
Then it’s straight up to Bank St. Et voila!
N.B. This is a fine route to Bank Street, albeit a bit circuitous. All effort should be made to make Bank Street safe for biking.