Biking to Sundae School on Beechwood for some yummy ice cream!

Sundae School is a brand new ice cream parlour on Beechwood Avenue. A couple of Chinatown residents are in need of a bike commute route to get there. The rest of us need a consume route because the ice cream is super delicious!

The blue line on the following map is the route Carla and I rode to get there. The two short purple lines are slight variations heading back.

We begin at the corner of Primrose and Empress, right in front of the Dominican University College.

Dominican University College at the corner of Primrose and Empress

We rode east along quiet Primrose Avenue, then turned left on to Cambridge St North. This took us to Laurier Street. The segregated bike lane along Laurier starts on the other side of Bronson Avenue. We followed the Laurier Bike Lane all the way to City Hall.

Start of Laurier Bike Lane at Bronson

We then turned off Laurier at the exit ramp just before heading over the bridge, which took us down to Queen Elizabeth Drive. There isn’t a bike lane along the short exit ramp, but the lane is quite wide. That said, some do feel safer taking to the very wide sidewalk, while others cut through Marion Dewar Plaza infront of City Hall to Queen Elizabeth Drive to avoid having to ride along the exit ramp. If I was taking kids for an ice cream outing I would do the same. There are three way stop signs to facilitate cyclists and pedestrians wanting to cross Queen Elizabeth Drive to get on to the Rideau Canal Western pathway.

Riding along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway

Ww rode over the Rideau Canal via the Corktown Bridge.

Up and over the Rideau Canal along the Corktown Bridge

We crossed Nicholas Street at the lights and rode through the Ottawa U campus to King Edward Avenue. After crossing King Edward we sailed down Somerset East all the way to the Adawe bike & pedestrian bridge. This section of Somerset has a potpourri of vanishing and re-appearing painted bike lanes. It usually has lots of other cyclists too, as it serves as a well travelled bike link between the two non-car bridges.

Crossing the Adawe Bridge

Once over the Adawe Bridge we turned north along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

Rideau Rideau River Eastern Pathway

The pathway crosses Montreal Road. Many drivers tend to be extra antsy and aggressive at this intersection. Advance cross lights for pedestrians and cyclists would be helpful.

Crossing Montreal Road heading north along the Rideau River Pathway

We continued along the pathway, eventually arriving at St Patrick St where we could have turned up onto Beechwood but chose not to. That’s because the section along Beechwood for a couple of blocks immediately north of the river is attrocious for biking – very tight space with parked cars offering lots of dooring potential, and impatient drivers roaring up behind you on adrenaline rushes after flying along the St Patrick Street speedway. Instead we continued along the Rideau River Pathway under St Patrick before turning onto a short gravel path that took us to Crichton Street.

Path continuing under St Patrick St
Gravel path off Rideau River Pathway to Crichton St

We rode east half a block along Crichton to get to Vaughan Street – a quiet residential street heading north.

Vaughan St

This brought us to Putman Avenue, another quiet residential street along which we rode to get to the lights at Beechwood. There are bike lanes along Beechwood north of the intersection which we followed on to our final approach to Sundae School! Upon arrival we locked our steeds to the impressive bike rack located off the path just to the north of the entrance to the ice cream shop.

Sundae School !
Yummy!

Once we had finished our well deserved treat (I highly reccomend the chocolate flavour) it was time to head back. Traffic was steady along Beechwood when we left, giving us no chance to dart across the street to the bike lane heading south. Instead we rode east on Joliet, then turned south onto Hector-Hotte Way. We cut through the recently renovated Optimiste Park, and on to Marier Avenue. Turning right on Marier took us straight to the lights across Beechwood and on to Putman.

The only other variation on the route back was getting from the Rideau Canal Pathway to the segregated section of the Laurier Bike Lane that starts west of Elgin street. To get to the inersection of Laurier and Elgin I rode under the Laurier Bridge, then cut through Confederation Park.

Et voila!

Biking to the Ottawa Train Station from Centretown

The Ottawa Train Station is located a few kilometers outside of downtown. Here is a bike route to get there from Centretown.

I started off from the intersection of Laurier & Bronson avenues and headed east along the Laurier Bike Lane.

Laurier Bike lane starting at Bronson Ave
Laurier Bike Lane starting at Bronson Avenue

After passing in front of City Hall I took the exit towards Queen Elizabeth Drive and got on to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway.

Exit ramp off Laurier just beyond City Hall
Crossing Queen Elizabeth Drive to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway

I rode south along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway before crossing the canal over the Corktown bridge.

Up and over the Corktown Bridge

I traversed Colonel By Drive at the pedestrian lights and rode under the Nicholas Street tunnel, then up through the University of Ottawa campus.

Crossing Colonel By Drive towards the tunnel under Nicholas Street

After crossing King Edward Avenue at the traffic lights I rode straight down Somerset East before heading up and over the Rideau River on the Adawe Bridge.

Heading down Somerset Street East
Riding over the Adawe Bridge

On the opposite side of the river I turned right onto the Rideau River Easten Pathway.

Rideau River Easten Pathway

Just after riding under the Queensway along the Rideau River Easten Pathway I turned left onto a packed gravel path that leads to the intersection of Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road.

Gravel path off the Rideau River Eastern Pathway

Crossing the Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road intersection is the least pleasant spot along this route. Something about Riverside Drive seems to compel drivers to become impatient speedsters. The oncoming left lane is also a Queensway off ramp with a yield sign to compel drivers to let you cross. There used to be a path that went over Riverside Drive, thus avoiding this intersection, but it is blocked off (temporarily I hope) as the new transit line is being constructed.

Approach to Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road intersection
Crossing Riverside Drive and Tremblay Road intersection

Once through the intersection I continued along the sidewalk that runs parallel to Tremblay before it becomes a paved path leading up to the train station.

Path along Tremblay up to the train station

I passed all the taxis lining the circular approach to the front of the station to get to where there is a bike rack just to the left of the main doors. This location, along with the security camera hanging right above it, provides me with the confidence to leave my bike locked up to the rack when I go away on a train trip for a few days. It’s a huge improvement from a long time ago when the only option was to lock your bike to a post near the poorly lit car parking lot. That’s where I discovered my bike was stolen after returning from a weekend trip to Montreal. The bike rack out front is much better.

Bike parking at the train station

On the way back I retraced my route, except for the section along Laurier in front of City Hall. That’s because when heading west along the Laurier Bike Lane, the safe segregated section only starts at Elgin and Laurier. To get there I cut through Confederation Park as indicated by the purple line on the above map.

If anyone needs a bike route to the station from another area of town, send me a starting reference point by email or via the ‘Leave a comment’ tag.

Bike route from Greenboro to Downtown

Greenboro is a residential community located just south of Johnston Road and west of Conroy Road. Here’s a route I tested out that’ll get you from Greenboro to downtown.

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I started off from the Greenboro Community Centre and headed west towards Bank Street, following a selection of the many multi-use paths that weave their way through the community.

Path through Greenboro
Path through Greenboro

After crossing Albion Road and cutting through Pushman Park, I turned right on Pebble Road then Left on South Keys Place to Clearwater Crescent. Across Clearwater Crescent there are a series of paths that cut through to Southgate Road.

Shortcuts
Shortcuts

I rode north on Southgate for half a block before turning into the lane heading into a housing complex called Southgate Square. This I followed a short distance to Bank Street.

Laneway into Southgate Square
Laneway into Southgate Square

The next section of the route is less than stellar. That’s because there is no clear safe way to bike across Bank Street to access the Sawmill Creek Pathway on the opposite side of the South Keys Shopping Mall.

Once at the end of the driveway there is a shortcut that I took up and on to the sidewalk along Bank.

Path to Bank St at the end of Southgate Square laneway
Path to Bank St at the end of Southgate Square laneway

I followed the sidewalk south a short distance to the traffic lights across Bank Street into the South Keys Mall parking lot. The only crossing is on the south side of the intersection. I stayed along the sidewalk on the other side until I was able to access the parking lot.

Sidewalk along Bank to lights....crosswalk at the lights to South Keys Mall
Sidewalk along Bank to lights….crosswalk at the lights to South Keys Mall

Access to the Sawmill Creek Pathway is though a tunnel under the O-Train tracks at the south end of the mall, so I rode through the mall parking lot to get there. The sign at the entrance to the tunnel is confusing, however I have Tweeted confirmation from OC-Transpo that it is meant to be interpreted as ‘no riding your bike’, versus ‘no bikes allowed at all’.

Tunnel under Otrain to Sawmill Pathway..and it's confusing sign
Tunnel under Otrain to Sawmill Pathway..and it’s confusing sign

Beyond the tunnel is the Sawmill Creek Pathway, which is wonderful to ride along all the way to where it intersects the Brookfield Pathway.

Sawmill Creek Pathway - I stayed right
Sawmill Creek Pathway – I stayed right

I turned left at the Brookfield Path intersection which eventually brought me to the Brookfield Road round-about.

Brookfield path towards the round-about
Brookfield path towards the round-about

I negotiated the round-about and continued west along Brookfield Road, which isn’t the greatest of roads to ride along. It’s four lanes to Riverside Drive that most drivers tend to speed along. There is no bike infrastructure, even though there is ample room for bike lanes on either side, which would be a huge asset toward encouraging cyclists, particularly since Brookfield High School is half way along this stretch of road. Rather than ride along the road, many riders continue along the round-about to the sidewalk on the south side of Brookfield, which may be a multi-use path considering it is paved and wider in stretches, but I’m not sure. Here are a couple of riders along Brookfield using both methods.

Brookfield Road. Some go on the left, some stay on the right
Brookfield Road. Some go on the left, some stay on the right

I crossed Riverside Drive and continued along the path beside Hog’s Back Road, which is identified as a shared pathway. That said, the path on the south side is commonly used by riders heading west as it is also paved and twice as wide.

Path along Hog's Back Road
Path along Hog’s Back Road

I stayed on the pathway heading north along Hog’s Back Road. Once arrived at Hog’s Back Falls, one may take the path that goes under Hog’s Back Road and pops up along the multi use path on opposite side over the falls. I’ve hi-lited this option in purple on the above map. This tends to be the more popular option.
I sometimes prefer to cross the falls on the east side as it affords a spectacular view over Hogs Back Falls. Only inconvenience is the requirement to carry your bike down a short flight of stairs.

Hogs Back Falls
Hogs Back Falls

The path dips under Hog’s Back Road then down along the Rideau Canal.

Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway
Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway

I then crossed the canal at the locks near Carleton University. There is a metal u-channel to push your bike up the flight of stairs that gets you to the locks.

Up the stairs...to the locks
Up the stairs…to the locks

I then rode down the hill along the canal before taking the first gravel path inland. Normally I would continue along the paved path beside the canal, as suggested by the red line on the above map, but at the time I rode this route there was construction along the Champagne Path beside the O-Train so I needed to detour west of the path before joining up with it further north. UPDATE: May 13 – Path has been re-opened between Carling and Young St, so the red line on the above map is accessible. 

Path through the Arboretum
Path through the Arboretum
 Young St access to the get to the path beside the O-Train
Young St access to the get to the path beside the O-Train

I then rode along the path to it’s northern end before it turned right and headed up to where it links to the path along Albert Street.

Path along the O-Train just before it heads right up up to Scott St
Path along the O-Train just before it heads right up up to Albert St

I followed the path along Albert Street as far as the crosswalk that leads towards the Laurier Bike Lanes.

Crosswalk along Albert St
Crosswalk along Albert St

The path continues through the intersection at Bronson & Slater before eventually cutting through to the Laurier Bike Lanes.

Bronson & Slater intersection
Bronson & Slater intersection

The laurier Bike Lanes cut west to east across downtown as far as City Hall.

Laurier Bike Lane heading east
Laurier Bike Lane heading east

Et voila!

N.B. Here is another route I have ridden, however there are a few spots to beware of:

  • Conroy Road has bike lanes, but it is a major arterial road with lots of speedy traffic
  • There is lots of construction around Hurdman Station and Ottawa University for the LRT expansion, requiring some not-so-pleasant detours. These detours are described in the post immediately preceding this one, i.e. Bike Route From Centretown to CHEO

Bike Route from Centretown to CHEO

Here’s a route from the corner of Somerset & Elgin to the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO).
The blue line on the map below is the route I followed. A lot of road and path construction is happening between our start and finish points. The green line is the route I would take after all the construction dust settles, described in more detail within this earlier post (click).

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Somerset&Elgin
Away we go!

I rode down Somerset to the canal and crossed over the Corktown Footbridge.

Corktown Bridge
View downtime canal through the love locks

UPDATE June 2017 – Previous version of this took a detour to north as the Nicholas St underpass was under construction. It’s still partially under construction, but you can ride under it regardless.

I cross Colonel By Drive then ride under the Nicholas St underpass. I continue straight along Marie Curie, across King Edward at the lights, then down Somerset all the way to the Rideau River and the Adawe pedestrian/cyclist bridge.

Somerset.jpg
Looking down Somerset just east of King Edward
Adawa 1.jpg
Adawe Bridge
Adawa 2
View from the bridge

Once arrived on the eastern shore I turned right and followed the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

Rideau River path.jpg
Rideau River Eastern Pathway

After passing under the Hurdman Bridge I turned off the path and rode along the detour past the major construction happening in and around the Hurdman transit station. This path is mostly crushed gravel.

Hurdman
Crushed gravel detour around Hurdman Station

The path becomes paved and continues through to the major traffic intersection at Riverside Drive and Industrial Avenue. Once across Riverside Drive I continued along the path that runs along Industrial Avenue beside the memorial to victims of cancer.

path beyond Riverside
Path along Industrial Avenue

After crossing Alta Vista Drive the path then veers off to the right away from busy Industrial Avenue.

path off Industrial
Path off Industrial at Alta Vista intersection

I then followed Coronation Avenue for a very short distance before turning on to Station Boulevard. At the end of Station Boulevard there is a path that cuts through to the ring road that circles the CHEO campus.

path to cheo
Path at the end of Station Boulevard

I then followed the ring road around to the main entrance of the hospital. Because there are no shoulders along the ring road one may feel more comfortable cutting through the parking lots, as suggested by the yellow line on the above map. I noticed a couple of bike racks right near a small playground, indicated by the yellow drop on the map.

CHEO.jpg

Et voila!

Biking from the Glebe to Centretown

Here’s a suggested bike route from the Glebe to Centretown, in response to a request from a cyclist in search of a commute route that avoids having to ride along busy Bronson Avenue or Bank Street. This ride begins at the intersection of Holmwood Avenue and Craig Street and ends at the intersection of Bank Street and Somerset Street West.

View up Craig St from Holmwood Ave
View up Craig Street from Holmwood

Head north along Craig St. There’s a short jog left where Craig meets Fifth Ave before the route continues north along Percy Street.

Craig to Percy
Jog in the road from Craig to Percy

There is often a fair amount of traffic along Percy Street heading through the Glebe, and there are no bike lanes, however stop signs at almost every intersection seem to help keep drivers calm.

percy
View down Percy through the Glebe

A bike lane appears just before Percy continues under the Queensway. It requires easing your way over to the centre of the street. There are traffic lights to help get across the busy three lane speed strip that is Chamberlain Ave.

lane under queensway
Percy at Chamberlain

The bike path continues bi-directionally along Percy under the Queensway, however the northbound bike lane disappears a few blocks later at Flora St.

Flora
Northbound bike lane along Percy ending at Flora St

Turn east on Flora, then continue north along Bay St, which has a bike lane.

Percy bike lane
Bike lane along Percy

This stretch of Bay goes past the Powers House designed by architect Francis Sullivan. Sullivan worked with Frank Lloyd Wright before settling in Ottawa. If the works of Sullivan strike your fancy there’s a tour with visits to this and other buildings he designed within Ottawa that can be found by clicking here.

Powers house
The Powers House

The trickiest part of this route is encountered at the intersection of Bay & Gladstone where there aren’t any traffic lights to help get across busy Gladstone. You have to wait for a break in traffic.

The next busy street to get across is Somerset a few blocks further north along Bay. UPDATE – June 22, 2016: A cross walk with pedestrian activated lights has just been installed at this intersection that greatly facilitate traversing busy Somerset.

Crosswalk Bay & Somerset
Crosswalk at the intersection of Somerset and Bay

Once across Somerset, continue for a block along Percy, then turn right on to Cooper St. Cooper is a quiet one way street. The next two streets that require crossing are Lyon St and Kent St, both of which are one ways that drivers fly along on their way in or out of Centretown. No cross lights at these intersections but the gaps in traffic tend to be quite generous due to lights being one block away. Being one-ways there is also less traffic to contend with.

Once arrived at Bank Street I recommend walking your bike the final block to Somerset because Bank & Somerset is a pretty crazy intersection with cars and buses squeezing around each other or jumping the lights. You can also lock up to one of these sidewalk bike racks.

Bank St bike rack
Bank St bike rack

OR you can lock up to this fine bike rack in front of the Independent Grocery, also popularly known as Hartman’s.

Bike rack at Bank & Somerset
Bike rack at Bank & Somerset

Heading home, walk another short block along Bank to MacLaren, another quiet one way heading west, and follow it all the way to Percy. Another fine building encountered on this route along MacLaren is the old St Elijah’s Antiochia Orthodox church that was successfully converted into apartments, while maintaining it’s original outer form and aesthetic. It’s at the corner of Lyon and MacLaren right across from Dundonald Park, a.k.a. The Beer Store Park.

Speed bump hoping in front of the old St Elijah's Antiochia Orthodox church
Speed bump hoping in front of the old St Elijah’s Antiochia Orthodox church

Once arrived at Percy St, head southwardly along the bike lane back to the Glebe. Fortunately there are lights at the intersections of Somerset and Gladstone along Percy.

et voila!

Biking down Nanny Goat Hill

Nanny Goat Hill is a rise of rock that cuts through a section of Centretown, separating Chinatown from Lebretton Flats. It is roughly defined by the yellow line on the map below and extends from Bronson Ave to Somerset St. A longstanding challenge for many cyclists heading north or west has been how to negotiate a safe way down this mini-precipice.

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One of the few options that avoids having to dismount your bike is to take the steep hill down Bronson, identified by the red line on the above map. But Bronson is filled with speeding traffic at all times of the day flying blindly over the crest of the hill, except at rush hour when it tends to look like this:

Traffic jam on Nanny Goat Hill along Bronson
Traffic jam on Nanny Goat Hill along Bronson

The recently opened path link that cuts below Nanny Goat Hill Community Garden connecting the Laurier Bike Lanes to the Albert Street Bike Lanes, as per the purple line on the map, has done wonders to facilitate avoiding Bronson. It is also the safest option of all for those pulling a trailer. Here is a clip starting from the intersection of Laurier and Bronson down to the Albert Street Bike Lanes.

Another north-south option is to take the set of stairs that joins the upper and lower sections of Empress St, as shown in orange on the above map. This set of stairs has a trough along which you can push your bike.

Stairs with bike trough joining upper and lower sections of Empress St
Stairs with bike trough joining upper and lower sections of Empress St

Many cyclists ride east-west down Somerset, as per the light blue line on the map, however I’ve seen a number of cyclists get hit by drivers along this stretch. I’ve also seen a cyclist get doored by a someone getting out of their parked car, as well as many other close calls along Somerset. It’s a popular commute route where aggressive drivers have been known to threaten cyclists who dare to take the lane. Suffice to say it is not one I would recommend.

My preferred east-west option is to carry one’s bike down the stairs that join the two sections of Primrose – see dark blue line on the map. While much safer than riding down Somerset, this set of stairs unfortunately doesn’t have a trough which makes it difficult for those with heavier bikes, loaded panniers or little kids in tow.

Stairs joining upper and lower sections of Primrose
Stairs joining upper and lower sections of Primrose

Et voila – a few options to get down or around this challenging geographical feature.

Bike commute from the intersection of Woodroffe Ave & Richmond Road to Downtown

The Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict organized a great event to promote bike commuting, as well as hi-lite potential improvements to infrastructure that will further encourage cycling to work. Groups of riders started off from various locations around town and arrived at the final destination – City Hall, where the mayor and a number of city councillors were there to greet us. Our group of three started off from the intersection of Woodroffe Avenue and Richmond Road. Here’s the route we followed, along with observations for potential areas of improvement that we made along the way.


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Byron Avenue runs parallel to busy Richmond Road. Richmond draws most of the commuter car traffic so we headed east along Byron.

Start from Woodroffe Ave
Start from Woodroffe Ave

There is the odd aggressive driver along Byron that many potential cycling commuters understandably prefer to avoid at all cost. An alternative solution would be to follow the shared multi-use path that runs between Byron and Richmond. One disadvantage of this path is that it starts 10 meters east of Woodroffe along a sidewalk that passes in front of a bus shelter. A solution would be for the path to start at Woodroffe extending behind the bus shelter.

Start of path beyond bus shelter..........path looking west
Start of path beyond bus shelter……….path looking west

We continued along Byron, then turned left along Fraser Avenue and across Richmond at the lights.

Lights at Fraser & Richmond
Lights at Fraser & Richmond

We rode to the end of Fraser, then one block back along Skead St to access the paved link onto the multi-use path that runs along the south side of the SJAM Parkway.

Access path off Skead
Access path off Skead

This path is poorly maintained. There are cracks that extend across it’s width every few meters creating a very jarring and uncomfortable ride.

Bumpy path
Bumpy path

We rode along this path as far Westboro Beach where we crossed under the parkway to the much better maintained Ottawa River Pathway.

The crossing at River Street was noted as a potentially dangerous spot, identified by the red marker on the above map. The path takes a quick turn just before reaching this intersection. Cyclists who notice and take heed of the miniature stop sign are quickly overtaken by cyclists approaching from behind.

Intersection at River Street
Intersection at River Street

Good to see the gaps have been filled between the path and the ends of the small wooden bridge just to the west of the War Museum.

Filled in gap at edge of wooden bridge
Filled in gap at edge of wooden bridge

The rest of the ride was smooth sailing. We followed the path below Parliament Hill then up beside along canal before cutting through Confederation park to City Hall.

Arrivée!
Arrivée!

Kudos to the Ottawa EcoDistrict and their partners for organizing this great initiative, along with all the riders who participated!

Yeah team Woodroffe&Richmond!
Yeah team Woodroffe&Richmond!