30 Days of Biking – Day 15 : Return to Les Ateliers du Théâtre de l’Île.

On day 15 of 30 Days of Biking I rode to Les Ateliers du Théâtre de l’Île in Gatineau for some set painting. Had to put on my goggles mid way there because the freezing rain in the eyes was nasty.

The rain had turned to snow by the time I headed home. Very pleased to discover the smashed glass that was all over the underpass on the Ontario side has been all swept up and enough snow has melted to allow for a clear ride along the path between the bridge and Albert St.

I followed the path heading west along Albert, then crossed at the lights at Empress, which leads to the stairs that have bike trough up to the top of Nanny Goat Hill.

Bike path along Albert St
Bike path along Albert St
Princess St from Albert towards stairs
Princess St from Albert towards stairs

Et voila!

Snowy trees

30 Days of Biking – Day 14 : A short ride to pay the taxman, and another to learn how to fix brakes

Today I managed to squeeze in a couple of short bike errands, thus maintaining my 30 Days of Biking pledge. The first was a quick morning ride to the government drop box on Laurier. The second was an even quicker evening ride to Re-Cycles on Bronson to attend a bike fixing workshop.

There is a drop of box for federal tax stuff at 333 Laurier. That’s very convenient if you are biking along the Laurier Bike Lane. Also saves you the cost of postage.

In the evening I rode a few blocks south to Re-Cycles. Re-Cycles is a win-win sort of bike shop for those who want to learn how to fix their own bike. For a minimal hourly fee you can go in and, using their tools and the timely advice of a head mechanic, fix your bike. I’ve done so on numerous occaisions, and it’s been great. Another way to do it is go in and volunteer on fix-it nights. The time spent volunteering can be redeemed for personal use free of charge. They also have group workshops on fixing specific parts of the bike to prep you for when you go in to volunteer, as well as teach you how a bike works. Tonight I went to my first one, which was on brakes.

Bike parts cabinet
Bike parts cabinet

Re-cycles is located very close to the dangerous intersection at Bronson and Gladstone. That’s why I rode a block further south to Arlington and circled back along Bronson. I recommend avoiding Bronson altogether and arriving via Percy and McLeod. Red line’s how I rode home.

Among the many tid-bits of great info gleaned from tonights workshop was the importance of having cable cutters like these in your tool chest.

Cable cutters
Cable cutters

30 Days of Biking – Day 13 : Chinatown to the Coliseum

My son is a trooper. After yesterday’s 10 km loop around town I was worried it would take quite an effort to convince him to join me on a ride over to Hog’s Back Falls. Not only was he keen, he suggested we ride even further out towards Britannia Bay to a favorite store of his called Games Workshop. It recently relocated to a mini-mall beside the Coliseum Cinemas. So, for day 13 of 30 Days of Biking we saddled up and headed off!

Usually we would have ridden west along the Ottawa River Pathway starting at the Portage Bridge, but with rumours of river banks flooding, and memories of how much the path was inundated last Spring I decided to cut through Hintonburg to the bike lane along Scott. Traffic is usually less frantic on the weekend, and I didn’t want to push my luck on the distance my son could ride as it’s a more direct route than riding along the Ottawa River pathway. At the western end of Scott we followed the path along the transit-way that joins the path along the south side of the parkway. This section of bike path was fine, apart for just a few muddy puddles like so.

Puddle pedalling
Puddle pedalling

I did notice some cyclists riding along the path on the north side of the driveway, so when we arrived at the intersection west of Woodroffe I made the executive decision to take the parkway underpass and continue along the north side. It was great. The views of the melting ice on the river are quite spectacular.

Ottawa River in  Spring
Ottawa River in Spring

There was only one slushy patch around Mud Lake, but otherwise the path was very rideable.

Just a bit of slush
Just a bit of slush

We accessed Carling from Burland St, which was a bit of a mistake. We should have done so one block west at Kempster where there is a traffic light. On the ride home I was reminded of how windy it can get along the river, particularly in the spring when there are no leaves to dampen the wind. It was really strong, but still the boy braved on. On the way back we also noticed patches of trees with the bottom portions of the bark freshly chewed off. Hope they survive.

Chomped tree trunks
Chomped tree trunks

So, all in all, a fine outing indeed. I am very proud of my lad.

30 Days of Biking – Day 12 : 10 km loop along O-Train path, Rideau Canal, and Laurier Bike Lane

A fine day for a ride on day 12 of 30 Days of Biking! Here’s the route my son and I followed on this sunny Saturday.

Took the stairs that join the upper and lower sections of Primrose Avenue, then wove our way over to the O-Trian path behind City Centre.

Stairs from upper to lower Primrose
Stairs from upper to lower Primrose

The O-Train path is in great shape, apart for a patch of ice under the Somerset bridge and muddiness where the path isn’t paved between Beech and Prince of Wales.

Muddy section of O-Train path
Muddy section of O-Train path

The path along the Canal was filled with folks jogging, strolling or biking. Years ago I passed a man walking his elephant in this spot just east of Dow’s Lake. I kid you not! This was back when the Ex was held at Landsdowne Park. It was a hot day so the trainer was taking the elephant for a swim in Dow’s Lake.

Path along the north side of the canal
Path along the north side of the canal

Once downtown we turned off the path and rode through Confederation Park to get to the Laurier Bike Lane. My son made a quick stop into Fandom II, and I dropped off some library books before continuing along the Laurier Bike Lane. Before the lanes were installed I would never have let my son bike down Laurier. A fine example of how bike infrastructure is good for business.

30 Days of Biking – Day 11 : West, North, South & East from Chinatown

Day 11 of 30 Days of Biking saw me riding all over the map. Blue lines are the routes that got me to where I was going, red lines are slight alterations to get me home.

First foray was westwardly to deal with a domestic emergency – no TP in the house! Off to Giant Tiger on Wellington. Probably could have gone to the Indian Store on the corner, but I’m also on the lookout for a 15″ sphere as part a set I’m designing, so I checked out what GT had in stock. No luck, but TP was acquired!

O-Train path and ramp up to Somerset
O-Train path and ramp up to Somerset

Next direction: North to Les ateliers du Théâtre de l’Île in Gatineau for a production meeting on said mentioned set.

Next: South. Technically, it wasn’t a ride, but it did involve bikes. My son and I walked a couple of my old frames with bits attached to donate to Re-Cycles on Bronson.

Couple of old reliables off to find another home.
Couple of old reliables off to find another home.

Finally: East when I rushed to City Hall to attend an evening presentation on urban critters. I was rushing because I took longer than I had hoped to replace my front studded tire for the studless one that came with the bike. Yes folks, a sure sign that Spring has officially sprung!

30 Days of Biking – Day 10 : Riding to the Canadian Museum of History

For day 10 of 30 Days of Biking Carla and I rode to the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau. On the way back I scoped out the snowiness of the Voyageurs Pathway between the museum and the Portage Bridge along the Ottawa River.

To get to the museum we rode over Portage Bridge and along Rue Laurier on the north side of the museum (blue line on the above map).

On the way back I got on the Voyageurs Path along the river (red line), which is cleared….

Oooh goodie - no snow!
Oooh goodie – no snow!

… until just west of the museum, where you will encounter this pile of mush, then patches of slushy ice beyond.
BUT, I predict, it will be all gone by the weekend. UPDATE – Spring 2018:  This section of the Voyageurs Pathway is closed until at least the Fall of 2018 as the NCC has not finished repairing the damages caused by last Spring’s flooding. 

Pile of mush..... and icy patch.
Pile of mush….. and icy patch.

I took a peek under the Portage Bridge on the Quebec side and am pleased to confirm that it is good to go, apart from this little bit of slush, but it’s manageable and minutes away from disappearing.

Path under Portage on Quebec side
Path under Portage on Quebec side

No such luck for the path under the bridge on the Ontario side. It’s still mucky and filled with broken glass under the bridge.

Et voila!

30Days of Biking – Day 9: Chinatown to the Sandy Hill Community Centre

Every Wednesday night there’s a life drawing workshop at the Sandy Hill Community Centre. When I have time to go I bike there, as I did today on day 9 of 30 Days of Biking! The blue line on the map below is the route I took to get there, red line’s the slight deviation I followed to get back.

Here’s how I manage to carry my trusty easel, paper, brushes and assorted media (gouache, Caran d’ache aquarelles and pencils).

How to carry a folded up three legged easel
How to carry a folded up three legged easel and other painting paraphernalia

I rode down the Laurier Bike Path, cut through the square in front of City Hall, down Cartier then Somerset, over the Rideau Canal bike/pedestrian bridge, then across Colonel By Drive at the cross walk and up through Ottawa University. The only tricky spot with the easel sticking up the top of my back pack is through the transitway underpass on the east side of the canal up to Ottawa U. Just have to make sure I remember to lean forward a bit.

Underpass to Ottawa U
Underpass to Ottawa U

On the other side of the transitway the path wiggles up a switch back to Somerset St E. I continued straight on Somerset St E across King Edward. The Community Centre is just a couple of blocks down Somerest E on the right.
It’s best to access the community centre from the parking lot off of Sweetland. That’s close to where the life drawing workshop is held, and there’s a bike rack. Not my favorite kind of bike rack mind you, as it relies on your wheel versus your frame to stay up, but a bike rack none-the-less.

Sandy Hill Community Centre bike rack
Sandy Hill Community Centre bike rack

Et voila!