Winter biking from Chinatown to Sandy Hill

On Saturday I biked over to Sandy Hill to visit the studio of my friends Janet and Mitchell to see their latest paintings and sculptures. Here’s the route I followed across town and back. Blue line is how I got there. Purple line is how I got back.

The Laurier bike lane heading east will be kept clear of snow for the winter. Most of the bike lane heading west is to be kept clear as well, however the section heading west between Bays St and Bronson had lots of snow piled in it. I joined the bike lane at Bronson and followed it as far east as it goes to Elgin St.

View down Laurier Bike Lane from Bronson Ave
View down Laurier Bike Lane from Bronson Ave

UPDATE Sept 2014 – the Laurier Bike Lane has been extended east of Elgin in front of the Provincial court house and City Hall.

Laurier Bike Lane extension
Laurier Bike Lane extension

The Rideau Canal pathway is also cleared in the winter.

Canal Pathway
Canal Pathway

I turned off the pathway at the car-less bridge over the canal at the end of Somerset St W. Be careful crossing this bridge as it can be icy even with the spattering of sand strewn across its path.

Bridge over the canal at the end of Somerset
Bridge over the canal at the end of Somerset

Here is a view from the top of the bridge, including just a few of the many love locks hanging from the railing.

Love Locks
Love Locks

I crossed the driveway at the crosswalk and follow the path under the transitway bridge right up through campus.

Up to and through Ottawa U
Up to and through Ottawa U

There is a bike lane to follow as far as King Edward Ave. The street opposite is Somerset St E, which isn’t too busy, and cuts right across Sandy Hill. I followed it as far as Blackburn Ave, and turned right up Blackburn to get to the studio.

Worldview Art Studio
Worldview Art Studio
Janet at her easel.
Janet painting at her easel.

On the way back, after crossing the bridge over the canal, I decided to continue straight along Somerset W. It can be a busy street, particularly in the winter when the snowbanks leave you with little option but to take the traffic lane. The traffic tends to be a little calmer between the canal and Bank Street than between Bank and Bronson.

Somerset St W in the winter
Somerset St W in the winter

Et voila – two ways to bike across town in the wintertime.

Bike commute to Briargreen

Briargreen is a small community within Nepean built in the 1960’s which has been described as a ‘snapshot’ of mid-century architecture in Ottawa. Those who live there are fortunate to have two fabulous bike commute routes into town that are almost entirely along bike paths. Here they are. The blue line is the route I followed from Centretown to get there. Purple line is the alternate route.

Blue route first – Centretown to Briargreen. Cutting through the Experimental Farm is a bit tricky these days while they are doing construction work along Cow Lane, so I followed the pathway along the NCC Scenic Driveway, then turned onto the gravel path through the small section of woods that runs parallel to Fisher. UPDATE Summer 2014: The path along Cow Lane is all fixed up (see red line on map) which permits avoiding riding along the speediest section of the NCC Scenic Drive.

Wooded path parallel to Fisher
Wooded path parallel to Fisher

This brings you to the Experimental Farm Pathway which is presently being dug up as well just east of Fisher Avenue, but fear not. You can follow this very well trodden path on the right to Fisher.

Link from wooded path to Fisher Ave
Link from wooded path to Fisher Ave

Cross Fisher to Kent Street and weave your way to Kingston St. There is a path where Kingston crosses Hollington Ave that gets you back on to the Experimental Farm Pathway. One thing I love about this and many other sections of the recreational paths is how they look onto people’s backyards where the landscaping tends to be more relaxed and personal, like this garden being guarded by an interesting scarecrow.

Scare-everything!
Scare-everything!

Follow the Experimental Farm Pathway until Woodroffe Avenue, and cross to where it becomes the Pinecrest Creek Pathway. Follow along until you come to a turn off that takes you across the bus transitway. Take this turnoff.

Now things get a little tricky just south of Baseline Road where the path jogs around an OC Transpo parking lot. This jog in the path is confusing because it opens up to a huge parking lot with no directional signs to help you distinguish what is parking vs road vs sidewalk vs pathway. While trying to figure this out I noticed most folks don’t bother with this mini detour and just ride infront of the bus parking rather than go around, as shown here and indicated by the short pink line on the above map (zoom in).

You can go that-away.... or that-away!
You can go that-away…. or that-away!

If you do take the path, versus cutting in front of the OC Transpo parking, the photo below shows where it turns once beyond the bus parking.

Direction of path around Baseline bus stop
Direction of path south of the Baseline bus stop

Continue along the path until you come to this turn off which will bring you to Summerwalk Place Lane.

Path link towards Summerwalk Place Lane
Path link towards Summerwalk Place Lane

Weave your way to Centrepoint Drive, and cross over to Marble Arch Crescent. Follow Marble Arch Crescent until it elbows south. There on the right you will notice this short path link which will takes you right through to Briargreen!

Path link from Marble Arch Crescent into Briarcliffe
Path link from Marble Arch Crescent into Briarcliffe

Here’s a well preserved mid-century modern dwelling that caught my eye.

Mid century modern in Briarcliffe
Mid century modern in Briargreen

The alternative bike commute (purple line) turns north along Watsons Creek Pathway where it joins the Ottawa River Pathway. It’s slightly longer but very scenic with fewer roads to cross. If you are gonig downtown continue along the Ottawa River Pathway. If you are coming into town via the blue line route continue along the pathway that runs along the canal from Dow’s Lake.

On that note, if anyone requires info on a safe bike commute from, or to any specific location within Ottawa or Gatineau please text me below and I would be pleased to try and help out.

Happy commuting!