Today I had to drop off an eight foot long clear plastic tube to Les Ateliers du Théâtre de l’Île in Gatineau, to be incorporated into a set I designed. A section of path I usually take to get there is still covered in snow, as I learnt from Jambes-Folles, an intrepid local rider who has also taken the 30 Days of Biking pledge. So I followed her Tweeted advice on a safe alternate route. Merci Jambes-Folles!
Blue line shows the route that got me to Les Ateliers. Curiosity got the best of me, so I took the snowy route back, i.e, the red line, that takes you under the bridge.
How does one carry an eight foot long plastic tube on a bike? I strap long light items such as this to the side of my big red camping back pack. This technique works for cross country skiis and painting easels as well. The only precaution is to avoid low hanging branches and distracted drivers mouthing,’What the..!’.
And away we go, down the Laurier bike lane as far as Bay Street, then north along the Bay St bike lane to Wellington where the path rolls over Portage Bridge. The bike counter installed last year by the NCC is on but the display is stuck at zero. Fear not – according to Jambes-Folles the machine is still tallying the number of riders crossing the bridge on this site she forwarded to me.
On the Gatineau side, just before reaching the Rue Laurier intersection, I usually dip right onto the Voyageurs Pathway which you can follow under the bridge, but that’s where it’s snowed in, so, On J-F’s advice, I crossed at the lights and followed this path on the south side of Rue Laurier heading West until it joined the Voyageurs Pathway further on. This alternate path gets a little narrow for a very short section closer to where it joins the Voyageur Pathway, so should you come across a pedestrian along that stretch, walking your bike would be a safe bet.
I normally ride up Rue Eddy but I discovered it’s closed at Rue Wellington due to construction, so I rode up Leduc instead, which is a better option anyway, as it’s a quieter street.
Les Ateliers, which you can read more about on this post, is located at the corner of Rue Garneau and Leduc.
Tube delivered, time to head home. There are lots of squat temporary stop signs like this throughout downtown Gatineau these days to watch out for.
I had a bit of extra time so I chose to test out the path under the bridge. It is indeed icy, mushy and difficult to ride along. Should be good in a week or so if the warm weather keeps up.
Once back on the Ottawa side of the bridge I decided to check out the snowiness of the Ottawa River Pathway. It was worse. Coupled with the shattered bottles strewn all over under the bridge I recommend waiting until most of the snow has melted and the glass all swept up.
Part of the goal of my blogging throughout the 30 Days of Biking was to recommend safe routes to go about daily tasks in the region. On the way back I instinctively rode up Nanny Goat Hill along Bronson. This is not a safe thing to do, particularly at the corner of Bronson and Slater where cars roar up the hill, sometimes clipping the edge of the sidewalk. If you go this way I suggest pushing your bike along the sidewalk on the east side of Bronson. An even safer alternative, as suggested by the green line on the above map, would be to ride on the bike path along Albert to Empress St. At the end of Empress there is a set of stairs with bike ramps to push your bike up, as described in this ramp tour post.
Et voila, mission accomplie!