I went to a very good series of presentations at the War Museum titled SAFECYCLING IN CANADIAN CITIES, hosted by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The four presenters had diverse learned perspectives on a topic obviously close to my heart. Gil Penalosa of 8-80 Cities was particularly good, as was Dr Patrick Morency, a community health and preventative specialist who’s research focuses on transportation systems, road injuries and active transportation.
To get there, on day 29 of 30 Days of Biking, I rode down Nanny Goat Hill via Bronson. Rather than follow the path that goes past the Mill St Pub and brings you to the north end of the museum, as I would have done if I wasn’t running late, I zipped up the path past the Firemans Memorial to the Sir John A Parkway. Don’t do that. There is no crosswalk light to get to the other side of the Parkway and it’s pretty much a freeway. On the way back I took the safer route (red line).
I also wanted to go to the Dalhousie Community Centre AGM so I rushed over to the community centre and caught the tail end of the guest speaker’s presentation. All very exciting, and nary a photo to show for it. Sorry.
Today I biked to to the bank. My main branch is on Sparks St, but the Sparks St BIA is so rabidly anti-biking they not only forbid riding, they chop locks and confiscate bikes whenever it meets their fancy. Fortunately we live in the age of bank machines, so on day 28 of 30 Days of Biking I wove my way over to the one in Hintonburg. Transaction completed, I headed north to the Ottawa River and meandered along its shore towards home. Here’s how.
Detailed description of routes to the bank can be found on my Day 2 blog entry, a combination of which I followed today. To get back home I rode north along Hinchey towards the river. Hinchey dead ends but there’s an accessible opening onto NCC lands.
A bit further on there’s a fine view of the bridge onto Lemieux Island.
There isn’t an official trail through this area, but the paths are well trodden and very bike-able. I took the one to the right which led to the intersection of Slidell St and the parkway.
From there I rolled onto the bike path and headed home.
The annual Spring clean up of the Centretown Community Garden Project took place this morning so I rode over to lend a hand. Lot’s of fantastic folks all getting together to clean up the site and yack about what to plant this year.
I then biked over to Théâtre de l’Île with my talented assistant Mika to get some set work finished up. Short jaunts but energizing none-the-less on day 27 of 30 Days of Biking.
The Centretown Community Garden is located at the corner of Lisgar and Lyon St N. To get there I followed the same route as described on Day 1 (seems so long ago) as far as Lyon St. Then it was half a block on Lyon to the garden.
It was a fine day for a ride to the theatre. The sky above the Chaudière dam was impressive when we biked over the Portage Bridge.
I needed to pick something up at the Museum of Science and Technology so I rode there, on Day 26 of 30 Days of Biking. Blue line on the map shows route I followed there. Red line is the one I took to get home.
One thing I like about riding at this time of year is the opportunity to notice details within the landscape less visible once the trees have sprouted leaves. Such as this pavilion, attached to the back of the slowly disappearing Sir John Carling Building presently being torn down. I hope it avoids the wrecking ball. You can take this narrow path up to take a closer look.
I then biked through the Arboretum, crossed the locks across from Carleton U, and rode up the bike path towards Mooneys Bay.
The path gets a little convoluted at Mooneys Bay. You can ride over the falls along the path on the west side of the street, but you won’t see the falls, which are pretty spectacular at this time of year. or you can cross back under the road and ride over the falls the east side, as I did and indicated on the above map, where you will catch great views of the falls. It means carrying your bike up a few steps.
I rode down along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway (no more flooding) then turned up Pleasant Park Road, which around Pleasant Park Woods, isn’t so pleasant. This huge swath of trees has been cut down because of the Emerald Ash borer bug.
I took a short cut through Weston Park to Weston Drive. It’s the one with the colourful works of crochet stretched on the chain link fence.
Weston Street is on the other side of Weston Park, which I followed to Othello St. I rode north along Othello then cut through the Elmvale Acres Shopping mall parking lot to the intersect at Smyth Road and St Laurent Boulevard.
I then rode through the huge park in front of the museum, which brought me up close to a giant old locomotive and the big silver rocket.
Bike parking is located just to the north of the main entrance.
On my way home I turned off Pleasant Park road onto the bike path that goes past the allotment gardens and followed the same route described in this post.
Day 25 was so crazy busy that I didn’t have a chance to hop on my bike, so to meet my 30 Days of Biking pledge I decided to go for a late night ride down to Nepean Point behind the National Gallery. It was great. I rode along the Ontario side of the river and back along the Quebec side. Here’s how.
To get down to the Ottawa River Pathway from Chinatown I took the stairs at the end of Empress Avenue. Good lighting and bike ramp.
On a late night ride through La Capitale Nationale one is reminded of how well we light our national edifices. Take, for example, the always impressive Library and Archives Canada, as seen from the Ottawa River Pathway.
And of course there’s always fabulously lit Chateau Laurier, as seen from the Rideau Canal locks.
Maman, the spider sculpture by Louise Bourgeous, sits infront of The National Gallery, across the street from the elegantly lit Notre Dame Cathedral.
Off the path up to Nepean Point sits this Majestic sculpture, composed of lamp posts blown over by Hurricane Catrina in New Orleans.
Looking across the river from Nepean point you can see and hear the sound of the car wheels humming over the Alexandra Bridge’s metal surface.
It’s a fantastic place to watch summer storms roll in along the Ottawa River, or to watch the Equinox sunrise.
I crossed the river along the bike path and zig zagged down to the Voyageurs Pathway behind the Canadian Museum of History. It’s a great time of day to view the large impressive sculptures within the Grand Hall. Many of these works were meant to be viewed from a distance which is possible when looking through the windows from outside into the space at night.
I rode along the Voyageurs pathway, which was very serene, to the Portage Bridge where I crossed back into Ottawa as rider number 1044 for the day.
Golden India Restaurant in Vanier was highly recommended to us by a friend from India, so this evening I rode over and picked us up a yummy feast!
We placed our order on line, which was very convenient. The restaurant called back to confirm the timing just as I headed out the door. I gave myself 30 minutes to get there, which turned out to be accurate as I’m not a particularly fast cyclist. I mapped out a route that mostly took me along cycle lanes or quiet residential streets. There were, however, a few short linking sections where the roads are not very safe for cycling. I have hi-lited those in red on the attached map.
Laurier is fantastic along the Laurier Bike Lane and over the canal bridge which has bike lanes, but dangerous between Elgin and the bridge, and east of the bridge, particularly right around Ottawa U. That’s why I got off Laurier as soon as I could by cutting across campus to access quieter streets through sandy Hill.
Here are some nice row houses I passed along Daly Ave.
The next danger zone along this route was over the Cummings Bridge into Vanier. There is a bike lane heading west, but none heading east. They have painted sharrows in green boxes along the east lanes but no matter how you dress them up, sharrows are the most useless form of bike accommodation imaginable. Worse than useless, they are dangerous because they falsely suggest to riders that they are designated safe routes when drivers ignore them because they can.
Montreal Road is pretty nasty too – no shoulders, lots of potholes, and a main artery for cars commuting east – so I rode along it as far as the Vanier Parkway and cut through to Kendall Avenue. I then rode safely along quiet streets through Vanier until I was close enough to Golden India restaurant. McArthur is a busy street and dangerous to ride down so I avoid it.
The food was all packed up waiting for me and the service was fantastic. They even included some complimentary rice pudding. I filled my panniers and headed home. Made it safe and sound. It was still warm and very yummy.
Rode to a couple of locations on day 23 of 30 Days of Biking. First foray had me pedalling to Le Théâtre de l’Île (blue line on the map below). Second one was to the Royal Oak in the Minto building for the annual Spring meeting of the Centretown Garden gardeners (red line).
Théatre de l’Ile is a wonderful performance space in Gatineau. More about the theatre in this post.
The Centretown Community Garden is located at the corner of Lisgar and Lyon. This year’s annual Spring meeting for gardeners was held just a few blocks away at the Royal Oak on Kent St. I never knew this pub existed, most likely because I never bike down Kent. It’s a three lane one way street with no bike infrastructure and very speedy traffic heading north.
The entrance to the pub is half a block north of Laurier so I walked my bike back to the Laurier Bike Lane to get home.
Today I had to bring a bunch of big painting drop cloths to Les Ateliers du Théâtre de l’Ile in Gatineau, so I stuffed them in my panniers and biked there. Now I may have driven there on this rainy day if I hadn’t taken the 30 Days of Biking pledge – a personal promise to pedal every day throughout April.
Good thing I did, because I would have missed an opportunity to pause and contemplate the brooding Edgar-Allen-Poe-ish beauty that hung over the region on this rainy spring day. Take, for example, the mist rising over the majestic Ottawa River, as seen from the Portage Bridge.
Or the big old abandoned carbide mill on Victoria Island.
Vieux Hull has some fine examples of heritage architecture to admire while passing through.
Fairmont Park is a great place for kids to play and run around, as did my son this afternoon with a group of friends from his days at Devonshire School. Here’s a safe route we followed to get there and back on day 21 of 30 Days of Biking.
We carried our bikes down the stairs that join upper and lower Primrose Avenue and wove our way along residential streets to City Centre where you can access the O-Train Pathway. We zipped up the path that brings you to Somerset, and turned onto Breezehill Avenue which took us past old Devonshire School. The Tudor entranceway was of the Collegiate Gothic style typical of ottawa schools in the early 1900’s, as mentioned on the bronze plaque to the right of the entranceway.
We then turned right on Laurel St, then left on Irving. A short distance south on Irving there’s a short alley that allows you to cut across to Fairmont Avenue.
Then it’s left on Fairmont which goes under the Queensway, one of the few Queensway underpasses that feels safe for biking.
A couple of blocks beyond the Queensway is Fairmont Park.
Ever since I set out on my goal to ride down every street in Ottawa/Gatineau four years ago I’ve shied away from big industrial parks as they aren’t usually the safest places for cyclists. Or pedestrians. Or anyone else not encased in moving metal. This shouldn’t be the case as everyone needs to feel safe getting to work, but reality and desirability often don’t match up when it comes to bike infrastructure. Yet. That’s why, when I do venture in to these pedal badlands I often choose a quiet Sunday, and what quieter Sunday could there be than Easter? So on the 2/3 mark of 30 Days of Biking, between egg hunting and feast hosting, I rode over to an industrial park in the east end behind the Museum of Science and Technology. Blue line is how I got there. Red line shows how I got back to Chinatown.
To get to the east end of town I often pass under the Queensway along the path on the western shore of the Rideau River, and cross the river on the old train bridge, however having been warned via Twittersphere that it was closed for construction, and encouraged by a myriad of detour signs, I took the the Lees Ave bridge sidewalk over the Queensway. Another sign said to walk your bike because the sidewalk is pretty narrow. I recommend avoiding this route until the construction is completed.
I rode past the train station, then followed the bike path along Tremblay Road and crossed St Laurent Boulevard. That’s where the Industrial Park begins. While there is very little truck traffic in these areas on Sunday mornings, there are things to watch out for, like loose sand and debris along the edges of the roads, and GIANT POTHOLES! These are particularly treacherous on rainy days when they are filled with muddy water and less noticeable. This one’s about 3 inches deep.
I crossed Innes at Bantree where a ghost bike rests against a light post on the north west corner in memory of Tyler Brown, killed in an collision with a pickup truck. As I approached there was a woman quietly contemplating the roadside memorial so I rode on without disturbing her.
What I find most interesting within industrial parks are the designs of many of the buildings and surrounding landscapes occupied by various companies. Their need to be noticed often results in some audacious architecture shaped by the amount of visibility they desire, or by the large and unique scale of the service they provide. One particularly interesting building is the headquarters of RJW Stonemasons on Edinburgh Place. Their huge front facade is an exhibit of their fine craftsmanship in stone masonry, made all the more obvious in stark contrast to the blue metal siding of the rest of the building.
Here are a few other buildings and sites that caught my eye.
On the way back I rode along Old Innes Road, which leads to a desire-line path that takes you down to the bike path that running along Innes Road.
Industrial Avenue on the other side of St Laurent turned out to be pretty dangerous even on Easter Sunday with 4 lanes of speeding cars and small shoulders, so I turned on to Russel Road, then Coronation street to where it becomes Blair St. From there I wove my way back downtown along the route shown on the above map and described in more detail in this post.