Biking to MEC from Centretown

Mountain Equipment Co-op is one of many great places to shop for biking equipment within the region. I ride there often throughout the year from Centretown. Here’s how. Blue line is the route I follow to get there. Purple lines are slight deviations I take on the way back.

From the intersection at Primrose and Cambridge St N I head west. Primrose comes to a dead end just beyond Empress Avenue, however there is a paved path that continues down behind the Dominican University College building and joins Upper Lorne Ave.

Heading towards Primrose dead end beside the Dominican College....
Down Primrose beside the Dominican College….
... which turns into a path.
… which turns into a path.

Just before the path turns on to Upper Lorne there is a metal flight of stairs down which I carry my bike and continue riding along lower Primrose heading west.

View from the top of the stairs
View from the top of the stairs

I then cross Booth at the signalized crosswalk, and work my way over to Elm St which also has a signalized crosswalk across busy Preston Street. Halfway down Elm within the block west of Preston the road is blocked off to car circulation, so I do a little dippy-do on the sidewalk to get around this barrier.

Getting around the Elm St barrier
Getting around the Elm St barrier

I access the Trillium Pathway that runs along the O-Train, by cutting through the parking lot at the south end of the City Centre building, and then turn south onto the pathway. Getting across the north bound lane at this access spot is a bit tricky as it’s close to the tunnel opening under Somerset Street, making it difficult to anticipate riders heading north through the tunnel. To avoid this being a problem use the access furthest away from the tunnel opening, as shown on the photo below, which allows me to see if any riders are coming before crossing to the other side of the path. (UPDATE 2018: There used to be big boulders across this link (see second photo below). They have been replaced with posts and a chain (see 1st photo below. Access to the Trillium Pathway is now via the gap between the path and the rock. Yah, it’s pretty gross when it’s muddy.)

access to Otrain path
Access to Trillium Pathway from City Centre heading south, 2018 
Accessing the OTrain Path from City Centre, heading south
Accessing the Trillium Pathway, pre-2018

I then take the path under the tunnel and then up the bike path to Somerset St bridge over the O-Train tracks. I cross Somerset to the bike lane on the opposite side and head west. unfortunately the bike lane ends just on the other side of the bridge. Somerset St (which becomes Wellington St then Richmond Road) is a busy narrow traffic artery without any designated bike lanes between Breezehill Avenue and Woodroffe Avenue. I avoid riding along it as much as possible. Where the bike path over the bridge ends there’s a mini flight of stairs to the right down to Breezehill Avenue with a ramp to help push your bike.

End of bike lane at north end of Somerset bridge over the OTrain
End of bike lane at north end of Somerset bridge over the OTrain
Stairs from Somerset to Breezehill Ave N
Stairs from Somerset to Breezehill Ave N

Breezehill turns west and becomes a calm section of Wellington St (It’s only beyond Garland St that Wellinton becomes the busy traffic artery previously mentioned). I turn north on Garland for one block to get to Armstrong St which I follow west for a nice stretch as far as Hinton Ave. Armstrong is a quiet, mostly residential street.

View down Armstrong
View down Armstrong St

I turn north on Hinton to get to Spencer Street which has a signalized crosswalk to get across speedy 4-lane Holland Avenue. Spencer is also a quiet residential street that continues west.

Next challenge is choosing a way to get across Island Park Drive. It’s a major commuter road to and from the Champlain Bridge over to Gatineau. I turn south onto Gilchrist Avenue and cross Wellington at the lights to Granville Avenue. Gilchrist and Granville aren’t perfectly aligned, however there is a garage parking lot at the south/east corner of Wellinton and Granville I cut through which compensate for this slight misalignment.

Then it’s up Granville to the wonderful Byron multi-use path which I follow west all the way to Churchill Avenue. It’s cleared all winter.

Byron Multi-Use Path
Byron Multi-Use Path

Once at the intersection of Churchill and Byron I either ride north along Churchill the short distance it takes to access Danforth heading west, or I cross at the Byron/Churchill intersection and walk my bike along the sidewalk to get to Danforth, all depending on how busy traffic is along Churchill.

View from Byron and Chrichill over to Danforth
View from Byron and Chrichill over to Danforth

Then it’s a short ride down the hill to get to the back entrance to the MEC parking lot. I ride through the parking lot to the front of the building where there are lots of bike racks. These racks are covered and cleared throughout the winter.

Entrance to Mountain Equipment Coop
Entrance to Mountain Equipment Coop

On the way back I exit the MEC parking lot at the back, turn west on Danforth for half a block to Roosevelt, which gets me onto Byron. Byron has a bike lane heading east between Roosevelt and Churchill.

Bike lane along Byron heading east up to Churchill
Bike lane along Byron heading east up to Churchill

I retrace my ride most of the way home, except for a short section in Hintonburg where I ride along Wellington. I avoid Breezehill heading east because it’s hard to see cars speeding along Bayswater, as the two streets meet on the inside of a curve when heading east on Wellington.

I followed this same route to and from Mountain Equipment Co-op this winter as both the O-train path and Byron path were regularly cleared.

Et voila!

Author: ottawavelo


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