Bike commute from Aviation Parkway & Montreal Road to Downtown – Option 2

In the Spring of 2014 I posted a bike commute route from the intersection of Aviation Parkway & Montreal Road to downtown which you can check out by clicking here.

This summer two new lengths of bike lanes along busy roads have been introduced that allow for a less circuitous route. The first set of new lanes are along St Laurent Boulevard, linking previously existing bike lanes that run along Montreal Road and Hemlock Road.

The second set of new lanes encountered on this outing are along Sussex Drive that complete an important bike link from downtown to the Ottawa River Pathway.

I tried out the route one morning last week during commute hour. Here’s how it went.

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There are bike lanes along Montreal Road that end at St Laurent Boulevard heading west.

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Bike lane along Montreal Road

I turned north on St Laurent and rode down the freshly painted bike lanes. A more detailed description of these new lanes can be found on the web site of the local city councillor by clicking here.

Bike lane along St Laurent Boulevard
Bike lane along St Laurent Boulevard

Here’s a clip of my ride along the new bike lane along St Laurent heading north.

I turned left onto Hemlock Road and followed the bike lane to where it ends at Putman Avenue.

Bike lane along Hemlock
Bike lane along Hemlock

Headed west along Putnam then left down Vaughan Street, both quiet residential streets through New Edinburgh.

Riding through New Edinburgh
Riding through New Edinburgh

Vaughan ends at Crichton Street. A short jog west along Crichton took me to a gravel path that links to the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

Gravel path off Crichton that leads to.....the Rideau River Pathway
Gravel path off Crichton that leads to…..the Rideau River Eastern Pathway

One of my favourite routes from New Edinburgh to downtown takes me over the series of little white bridges along Union Street, then cuts through Lowertown, as described in the other route, however the bridges are presently under major renovation.

Closed for construction
Closed for construction

All the more incentive to try out the second stretch of new bike lanes along Sussex Avenue.

Bike lane along Sussex
Bike lane along Sussex

I then turned in to the parking lane of the National Gallery and cut across the plaza where one can admire Louise Bourgeois’ sculpture Maman.

Maman
Maman

Here’s another clip, this time of the new section of bike lane along Sussex heading in to town.

I then crossed at the signalized pedestrian crosswalk over to the bike lanes that run along Majors Hill Park. Before crossing the Alexandra Bridge (which would be a fine thing to do if your commute was to Gatineau) I turned left onto the road that goes down to where the Rideau Canal meets the Ottawa River and walked my bike over the second set of locks. From there one can follow the Ottawa River Pathway to points further west along the river, or bike up along the canal towards the NAC and the rest of downtown.

Et voila!

Rideau Canal locks
Rideau Canal locks

Biking to the Ottawa International Airport from Downtown

There are a number of bike routes one may follow to get to the Ottawa International Airport from downtown.
Here’s my favourite.

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Starting off from the corner of Laurier Avenue and Percy I headed south along the Percy Street bike lane. Percy and Laurier is an intersection that’s easily accessible from many points within the business core via the Laurier Bike Lane that slices through downtown.

 Bike lane along Percy
Bike lane along Percy

Percy continues on the opposite side of the tunnel under the Queensway sans bike lane.

Riding along Percy south of the Queensway
Percy south of the Queensway

I turned right on Fifth Avenue and crossed Bronson Avenue at the traffic lit intersection.

Traffic lights at Fifth Avenue heading across Bronson
Traffic lights at Fifth & Bronson

Once across Bronson I continued down Madawask Drive, then onto the pathway that cuts through Commissioners Park.

Access to path through Commissioners Park from Madawaska Drive
Lovely path through Commissioners Park. Always lots of flowers.

This path took me to the intersection of Preston Street and Prince of Wales Drive.

Path through Commissioners Park as it approaches Prince of Wales and Preston
Approaching Prince of Wales and Preston

I crossed at the lights and accessed the bike path that runs through the Arboretum along the edge of Dow’s Lake and the Rideau Canal.

Path through the Arboretum along the Rideau Canal
Ahhh…where are we going again? Oh yes, the airport.

I pushed my bike over the canal locks opposite Carleton University and continued west along the Rideau Canal Pathway as far as Mooney’s Bay.

Up & over the locks
Up & over the locks

The path continues over the Rideau River along Hogs Back Road.

Once over the Hogs Back Falls bridge take the path to the right that goes through Mooneys Bay park
Once over the Hogs Back Falls bridge take the path to the right that goes through Mooney’s Bay park

On the other side of Mooney’s Bay Park the path continues along Riverside Drive for a short distance. Riverside Drive is a very busy street with lots of speeding traffic. For much of its length there are paved raised shoulders between the sidewalk and the street, however these are mostly lacking along the stretch between Walkley Road and Quesnel Drive.

I see lots of cyclists at this intersection whenever I ride through this area. Most stick to the sidewalks because they have little choice, considering the crazy traffic and lack of shoulder space to ride along. This stretch of Riverside is screaming for bike infrastructure.

To avoid this nasty section I rode a short distance along the dirt path beside the sidewalk and crossed Riverside to the parking lot of the Anglican Church.

Crossed to the church parking lot, just beyond the cyclist riding on the sidewalk.
Crossed to the church parking lot, just beyond the cyclist riding on the sidewalk.
Entrance to church parking lot off Riverside
Entrance to church parking lot off Riverside

I rode through to the opposite side of the church parking lot to the short path that cuts through to Otterson Drive.

Short path from the church parking lot through to Otterson Drive
Church parking lot, to path, to Otterson Drive

I rode south along Otterson, then down the short path that links to Quesnel Drive. I then got back on Riverside Drive and continued south along the previously mentioned raised paved shoulders. They extend from Quesnel to Uplands Drive, apart from a few spots where Riverside intersects streets and bus stops.

Paved shoulder along Riverside Drive
Paved shoulder along Riverside Drive

Then I turned left on Uplands Drive for a short distance before continuing south along Bowesville Road.

Mid way down Bowesville there’s a NO THROUGH TRAFFIC sign, and a smaller green one below it that asks pedestrians and cyclists passing through to remain on the road. That’s because it cuts through the Ottawa Hunt & Golf Club. There’s a steel gate a bit beyond the signs, however there’s space to ride by just to the right.

Signs midway down Bowesville, and gate a bit further on.
Signs midway down Bowesville, and gate a bit further on.

Once beyond the golf club property I crossed Hunt Club Road at the lights and continued south along Paul Benoit Driveway. This is a very pleasant road to ride down. Traffic wasn’t too speedy, the posted limit being 50km/h. There is also a paved path that runs along the west side of the road.

Paul Benoit Driveway
Paul Benoit Driveway

To get to the terminal I turned right where Paul Benoit Driveway ends at the airport, straight through the employee parking, then left at the end of the parking lot, which became a lane that airport employees use to walk back and forth to their cars. This lane leads right to the arrivals doors in front of the terminal.

Right @ end of PB Driveway...straight through parking...left @ end of parking...down lane to arrivals.
Turned right @ end of PB Driveway…straight through parking…left @ end of parking…down lane to arrivals.

The following concrete pillars located just outside the entrance to the airport at the arrivals doors have bike racks placed up against them.

Bike racks
Bike racks

Bonus – if conditions aren’t right for riding back in to town, there’s the OC Transpo 97 with Rack&Roll you can catch beside the last concrete column at the arrivals entrance.

Rack&Roll'ing on the 97
Rack&Roll’ing on the 97

I retraced my treads on my ride back, except for the last stretch north of the Queensway where the bike lane is along Bayswater versus Percy, as indicated by the purple line on the above map.

Et voila!

Biking to Blue Skies Music Festival from Ottawa – Route #3

Blue Skies Music Festival is a wonderful three day event that takes place on the first weekend of August in Clarendon Station. For the third consecutive year I’ve biked down to the site, exploring different routes each time (click here for route #2, and click here for route #1). This year I cheated a bit on the way out of town. I’ve been wanting to try the OC Transpo Rack&Roll for quite some time, whereby you mount your bike on a rack attached to the front grill of the bus. So, at 5:25 a.m. I caught the 96 at Lebretton Flats and bussed it out to Kanata. I was nervous using the Rack&Roll for the first time however after studying an online video the night before, as well as following instructions printed on the rack itself, it was relieved to find it all very clear and straightforward.

The blue line on the following map is the route I rode to Blue Skies. The purple lines are alterations followed on the way back.

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After the bus driver dropped me of at the Kanata Centrum Shopping Centre I rode along Terry Fox Drive which has bike lanes.

Bike lane along Terry Fox Drive
Bike lane along Terry Fox Drive

I turned west onto Richardson Side Road – two narrow straightaways of crazy speeding truck traffic and soft gravel shoulders.

Richardson Side Road
Richardson Side Road

Once across the bridge over the Trans-Canada Highway I was very pleased to turn off onto David Manchester Road.

I then headed west along Old Almonte Road, which alternated between packed gravel and paved surfacing. It was very pleasant ride all the way to Ramsay Concession 12.

Next time I would continue all the way along Almonte Road to Mississippi Mills, rather than via March Road, as suggested by the purple line on the above map which I followed on the way back from the festival.

Old Almonte Road
Old Almonte Road

I took the advice of a theatre colleague who lives in Almonte and popped in to Baker Bob’s just off Mill Street for a tasty snack & coffee.

Baker Bob's in Almonte
Baker Bob’s in Almonte

I headed west out of Almonte along Wolf Grove Road. This was a another extended white knuckle riding stretch of road, i.e. two lanes of fast moving traffic with minimal or no paved shoulder. I had to ride off onto the gravel shoulder a couple of times, like when the big ass Winnebego roared up behind me as a cement truck flew by in the opposite direction. On such occasions I use my trusted rear view mirror to assess what’s coming up fast, and whether they look like they have time and room to safely get around me.

Wolf Grove Road
Wolf Grove Road

I exited off Wolf Grove Road onto quiet Purdy Road.

Purdy Road
Purdy Road

The roads to Herrons Mills and the 511 were a combination of paved and gravel surfaces along farms and woodland.

North on 511 took me to Watson’s Corners Road, another paved two laner but with much less frantic traffic. Everyone slowed down as they drove up behind me and passed only when they were sure there was lots of room to do so. Why do driving behaviours change on various rural roads, even though their physical arrangements are similar? I don’t know.

Watson's Corners Road just west of the 511
Watson’s Corners Road just west of the 511

I was soon in need of a big lunch break. The sun was beating down, the hills were mostly up hilly, and the strong easterly wind had been in my face for quite some time. Fortunately the Dalhousie Lake Restaurant down the road at the eastern edge of Dalhousie Lake was open and very hospitable. Even offered to fill my water bottle without my having to ask.

Dalhousie Lake Restaurant
Dalhousie Lake Restaurant

After a yummy lunch I worked my way over to McDonalds Corner Road and continued west. McDonalds Corner Road was another two laner which became the Elphin-Maberly Road. Parts of this section were freshly paved. The white stone gravel along the shoulder created a very dense surface, more so than most typical gravel or sand shoulders.  The harder the shoulder, the safer the bail-out.

White stone gravel shoulder
White stone gravel shoulder

I turned off Elphin Maberly onto Robertsville Road, a packed gravel road that went up and down all the way to the 509.

Robertsville Road
Robertsville Road

I turned south onto the 509, which is another two lanes of very speedy intermittent traffic.

Riding down the 509
Riding down the 509

I made it to Clarendon Station by 2:45.

Exit off the 509 to Clarendon Station
Exit off the 509 to Clarendon Station

I followed the same route back to Ottawa early Monday morning, apart from a short cut to the 509 from Clarendon along School House Road, the short section along Old Almonte Road as previously mentioned, and the portion covered by my bus ride to Kanata. I made very good time on the return trip because the wind was at my back, and Ottawa is at a lower elevation by 162m, so mostly downhill.

Here’s a painting by artist Janet MacKay, inspired by an image I included in last years post. Many of Janet’s works draw upon and capture the rich contrasts evident in the landscape of Frontenac County where the festival takes place. She spends much of the year painting at her cottage nearby on Sharbot Lake.

Painting by Janet MacKay
Painting by Janet MacKay

Et voila!

Big moon over main stage
Big moon over Blue Skies main stage