Biking from Ottawa to Manotick and back early Sunday morning

The community of Manotick is a great destination for bikers. It is located a comfortable 30 km or so up the Rideau River from downtown Ottawa. The Village of Manotick was founded in 1859 by entrepreneurs Moss Dickinson and his partner Joseph Currier when they constructed a gristmill on the shores of the Rideau. Their well preserved and still functioning mill remains a symbolic focal point for the community in their attempts to preserve its small town character. Choosing a safe bike route to Manotick and back can be a challenge, so early last Sunday morning I set out to do so. Here’s what I came up with – blue line on the map below is how I got there, red line’s how I made it back. While plotting my route I leaned heavily on two other intrepid bikers who scouted out the journey to Manotick before me, and wrote about it here and here.

Early Sunday morning is a good time to ride along Prince of Wales Drive heading south. There is a generous shoulder to ride along for most of the way and few vehicules. During the week the ride is much less pleasant with a lot more traffic using it as as a major commuter artery into town, big trucks included.

Experimental Farm Ornamental Gardens looking good
Experimental Farm Ornamental Gardens looking good

The city has done a fine thing by removing the concrete protrusion that used to stick out from the edge of the road at the Hog’s Back intersection. Before bikers travelling along the shoulder of the road were suddenly obliged to merge into traffic. This fixes that.

Fixed sidewalk at Hog's Back intersection
Fixed sidewalk at Hog’s Back intersection

Unfortunately the problem persists at all other intersections between Hogs Back and Fallowfield Road, the worst instance being the approach to Rideau Heights Lane where Prince of Wales takes an uphill turn, providing little chance for overtaking traffic to notice riders. I rode off the road onto the well worn gravel path shown below. This worn path’s existence is indicative of how much this corner is a safety problem for bikers and pedestrians.

Crazy POW corner just before Rideau Heights Lane
Crazy POW corner just before Rideau Heights Lane

So, be extra careful wherever Prince of Wales meets another street. Otherwise, enjoy the scenery, like this interesting old dead tree.

Dead tree in a field
Dead tree in a field

I’ve heard that Prince of Wales from Fallowfield Road to Manotick is pretty treacherous so I avoided it by riding along residential streets and a wonderful stone dust path through the woods. Here’s how. First, turn off Prince of Wales onto Fallowfield. It has a generous bike lane, as does Merivale Road, onto which I turned and headed south.

Golden Fields
Golden Fields along Merivale Road

Leave Merivale and turn onto Leikin Drive, along which there’s a generous shoulder AND a recreational pathway to choose from, like so.

Gotta be Leikin this!
Gotta be Leikin this!

Leikin turns into Cresthaven Drive and the bike lane disapears, but the ride is through residential areas which have very little traffic on Sunday mornings. Cross Strandherd, and turn onto a path that runs alongside heading east like so.

Path parallel to Strandherd Drive
Path parallel to Strandherd Drive

This will alternate between short stretches of paths and streets until you get to Bakewell Crescent. The Strandherd Bridge across Prince of Wales is still being constructed, so I went and took a closer look. Pretty amazing structure. UPDATE– July 2014: The bridge is completed, and it’s pretty impressive! I test rode it shortly after it opened and described it in this post.

Strandherd Bridge under construction
Strandherd Bridge under construction

Follow Bakewell Crescent to Rocky Hill Drive, which crosses Prince of Wales to Lodge Road. Very pleasant little street, with the Rideau River on one side, and the Carleton Lodge Long Term Care Home on the other, which must hold the title for the most eclectic collection of birdhouse architecture in the region.

Birdhouses!
Birdhouses!

To get over the Jock River one has no other choice but to get back on Prince of Wales Drive. Fortunately there is a shoulder along this stretch, like so.

POW over Jock River
POW over Jock River

Once over the bridge there is a gravel path on the Rideau River side that takes you down to a trail which you will need to cross over Prince of Wales to get to, like so.

How to get to the trail on the other side of Jock River
How to get to the trail on the other side of Jock River

The trail weaves its way through woods and over little streams flowing to the Rideau River.

Path through the woods
Path through the woods

At one point the path splits. There aren’t any directional signs so I chose to veer left along the river, which led to this series of flat faced boulders strategically placed to help get across a brook. It was very easy to negotiate carrying my bike, however if this seems inconvenient (trailer pulling, loaded panneirs, etc), the map suggests that, by following a path to the right towards the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority building, you can avoid this zen garden-ish method of river crossing. But I’m not sure, didn’t check. My apologies.

Zen Crossing
Zen Crossing

Eventually the trail comes out at Lockview Road. For a more detailed description of the trail just travelled, albeit heading in the opposite direction, click here.

I then rode along Barnsdale Road to get onto Long Island, which sits in the middle of the Rideau River.

Rideau River from Barnsdale Road bridge
Rideau River from Barnsdale Road bridge

Turn onto McLean Crescent, until you reach a path that takes you through George McLean Park. You’ll recognize it by the hockey boards all up and ready for next season.

Path through McLean Park
Path through McLean Park

Once through the park carry on along West River Drive and cross Bridge Street on into AY Jackson Park, named after one of the Group of Seven painters who lived in Manotick for a spell. Ride on down the path to the great lookout over the river towards Watson’s Mill. Et voila – made it to Manotick!

Watson's Mill
Watson’s Mill

Time to head back to Ottawa on the east side of the river, but before doing so I explored the southern tip of Long Island, which is mostly residential with a mix of big bushy trees, like so.

Various big bushy trees on Long Island
Various big bushy trees on Long Island

Then over to the north-east shore via Bridge St. As you can see it was pretty busy even on a Sunday morning. Cars also tend to speed over this bridge, so, depending on the amount of traffic, you might consider walking your bike along the sidewalk.

Bridge Street
Bridge Street

Bridge Street becomes Mitch Owen Drive. It’s got a shoulder, but it’s got lots of fast traffic too.

Mitch Owens Drive
Mitch Owens Drive

I prefer roads with less traffic even if they are shoulder less, so I turned up Spratt Road.

Spratt Road
Spratt Road

The above photo is also the intersection where I turned east onto Rideau Road, which is similar to Spratt Road in terms of surface quality, amount of traffic and farmland scenery. I Continued along Rideau Road until Bowesville Road where I turned north. Very nice road – not much traffic and excellent shoulders. AND, if your timing is right, you might spot a big metal low flying bird.

It's a bird! It's a plane!! It's Super.... no sorry, it's a plane.
It’s a bird! It’s a plane!! It’s Supe…., it’s a plane.

When you get to the end of Bowesville Road Where it crosses Leitrim Road you will be greeted by a chain link fence topped with barbed wire and no access signs. Fear not! There’s an inconspicuous access point right where the arrow is pointing for cyclists and pedestrians to get through.

Access to High Road
Access to High Road

Once you’re through, follow the road around the airport. The Uplands Drive intersection and stretch to the Airport Parkway was a bit confusing and felt like a freeway off ramp. There is a generous bike lane along Uplands that takes you under the Airport Parkway, like so, but be extra careful as it crosses merging traffic lanes, and cars always seem to be rushing to and from the airport.

Uplands bike lane
Uplands bike lane

Once clear of the Airport Parkway, Uplands is endowed with great big shoulders like so, making it a pleasure to ride along.

Uplands shoulders
Uplands shoulders

It’s also very popular with the zip-zip set. This was the third pack that passed me heading in the opposite direction.

Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!.....
Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi! Hi!

Now the next trick is finding a safe way to the recreational path along Mooneys Bay, which primarily means avoiding riding along Hunt Club Road, Riverside Drive and Walkley Road, all very busy, not very bike friendly roads. Here’s how: Continue along Uplands across Hunt Club. Turn right on Cahill Drive West and then left on Twyford Steet. Than cut through to Annapolis along this short path.

Path to Annapolis
Path to Annapolis

Turn left on Annapolis, left on McCarthy, left onto Southmore Drive West and finally left on Fielding Drive for just a short distance until you reach a short path on the right like so.

Fielding path
Fielding path

It takes you under the train tracks through to Otterson Drive.

Nineteen-seventy-tchoo-choo!!!
Nineteen-seventy-tchoo-choo!!!

Shortly after Otterson Drive curves left there is another short path like so….

Path through Otterson park
Path through Otterson park

Which takes you through to the Riverside United Church Parking lot.

Riverside United Church
Riverside United Church

Cross Riverside to the path that takes you through Mooneys Bay. Continue along the path, cross the bridge over Hogs Back Falls, and, if you wish, check out a regatta.

Regatta be kidding!
Regatta be kidding!

It being Sunday, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to bike right down Colonel By Drive which is closed for Sunday Bike Days. So there you go. A fine early Sunday morning ride to Manotick. Happy Trails!

Biking to Blue Skies Music Festival from Ottawa

Last Thursday I biked to a friend’s cottage on Sharbot Lake just south of the Blue Skies music festival, and then rode up to the festival site the following morning to set up our tent. Here’s how it went.

To get out of Ottawa I followed the Ottawa River Pathway and Watts Creek Pathway as far as Moodie Drive. A description of those paths can be found on this post. Rather than follow Watts Creek Pathway which continues on the other side of Moodie, I rode along Corkstown Road to where it meets the Greenbelt Pathway before it goes under the Queensway.

Following Corkstown Road............ to where it joins the Greenbelt Pathway
Corkstown Road, and the turn off to the Greenbelt Pathway under the Queensway

This section of the Greenbelt Pathway is a very pleasant meander through fields and woods.

Greenbelt Path1

Greenbelt Pathway
Greenbelt Pathway

I followed this path as far as Robertson Road to where it joins the rail-to-trail path that takes you all the way to Carleton Place, as described in this post. This time I rode through the rain, which made the crushed gravel a little slower going.

Carleton Place has a number of fine heritage buildings to ponder on your way through, such as the Town Hall on the edge of the Mississippi River.

Carleton Place Town Hall
Carleton Place Town Hall

I crossed the Mississippi at Bridge Street, and then headed South West on High Street – a safe road to bike down, with big old houses on either side as you head out of town.

Old house on High Street
House on High Street

I then followed the Trans-Canada Highway for a 4km stretch. The Trans-Canada is a terrible two lane road to ride on. Folks drive along it as fast as they can to get from point a to b. That includes big transport trucks. Fortunately the section heading out of Carleton Place has a small paved shoulder and packed gravel that’s ride-able. I regret not having a small mirror attached to my helmet or handle bars to anticipate trucks roaring up behind me. It would have helped brace myself for the backdraft that shakes you on your bike as they pass.

4km stretch along the Trans-Canada Highway between Carleton Place and Tatlock Road
4km stretch along the Trans-Canada Highway between Carleton Place and Tatlock Road

I turned onto Tatlock Road, a two laner that wasn’t too busy.

Tatlock Road
Tatlock Road, heading towards Blue Skies

Before this trip I hadn’t realised how generous Google Maps is in their interpretation of what constitutes a road, that is until I reached the turn off to Forest Road.

Forest Road
Forest Road

That’s OK, says I. Carla had a copy of my route and my phone still had batteries, so off I went down Forest Road. It was a little bumpy, but quite bikeable.

After crossing Old Perth Road, Forest Road became much more navigable, like so.

Old Perth Road
Forest Road beyond Old Perth Road

Concession Road 1 Ramsay and Boyds Road which became Ferguson Falls Road were very similar – packed gravel through farmland. Very nice to bike along.

This Methodist graveyard along Ferguson Falls Road is located just before Pine Grove Road, or Route 12. I was struck by the landscape’s layers of rich contrasting colours.

Methodist Cemetery
Methodist Cemetery

I quickly discovered cars like to travel fast along route 12. Not as fast as on the Trans Canada, but still pretty fast.

Heading down Route 12
Heading down Route 12

There were also a number of dump trucks travelling in the opposite direction, that I soon discovered were heading away from a huge quarry just off Route 12.

Dump Truck Alley
Dump Truck Alley

I rode into Lanark Village and paused long enough to buy liquids at their general store. I sensed this was a very special place, full of resilience and rich heritage. This building for example, that someone is conserving and re-pointing. I’ve since found this walking tour of Lanark Village that describes some of the towns origins. Can’t wait to re-visit.

Back to life in Lanark
Back to life in Lanark

Route 12 heading South of Lanark felt a lot safer with fewer cars and a nice wide shoulder in places.

Route 12 South of Lanark
Route 12 South of Lanark

Lot’s of cedar post fences like these.

Cedar post fence
Cedar post fence

They are also right in the middle of paving the road further south in a way that suggests a wider shoulder will be in the offing. While I was humming along on this fresh asphalt I almost missed a little sign indicating Hunter Side Road, which was supposed to be my next turn. Where was the road? Just there, over the edge where the white arrow is pointing.

Hunter Side Road
?

And voila – Hunter Side Road!

Hunter Side Road
Hunter Side Road

I turned onto Bennett Lake Road, which is the perfect country road to bike along – very little traffic, and the few vehicules that did overtake me slowed right down and gave me lots of room.

Route 19
Bennett Lake Road

After crossing Elphin-Maberley Road, Bennett Lake Road became 11th Line Road, surfaced in a light coloured packed gravel excellent for biking.

11th Line Road
11th Line Road

11th Line joins Zealand Road which is paved and just as great as Bennett Lake Road.

Old house along Zealand Road
Old house along Zealand Road

Turned onto Bell Line Road, which is a brown gravel surface, that alternates between packed and loose, still very good for biking.

Bell Line Road
Bell Line Road

Next turn will be onto the K&P Trail which crosses Bell Line Road. There isn’t a sign indicating where the trail crosses Bell Line Road. Here’s what the intersection looks like.

K&P Trail crossing
K&P Trail crossing

The trail is mostly packed dirt and gravel, like so.

K&P Trail
K&P Trail

However there are a couple of short stretches where they’ve put down some stones for draining which may require dismounting and walking your bike.

Stones along short section of K&P Trail
Stones along short section of K&P Trail

There’s a beaver house just off the trail along one of these stretches.

Beaver hut
Beaver hut

The trail crosses Clarendon Road, which you will know you’ve reached by the abandoned station house on the opposite side of the road.

Clarendon Train Station
Clarendon Train Station

Follow Clarendon Road for a short bit to get to the entrance of the festival site. It’s hilly and narrow so watch out for cars heading to the festival.

Et voila! Time for Blue Skies.

Mika jamming at Blue Skies
Mika jamming with friends

GCTC Bike-a-Thon

Founded in 1975, the Great Canadian Theatre Company is Ottawa’s longest established independent English professional theatre company. I and a group of fellow GCTC board members with the help of theatre staff, are organising the first annual GCTC Bike-a-Thon to raise funds to go towards mounting upcoming productions. It all takes place early in the morning on Sunday, September 15th.

This Spring I test rode the following route with Eric Coates, GCTC’s new Artistic Director AND avid cyclist. I recently re-visited the route to celebrate the recent launch of our fundraising website and to blab about it in this blog!

It’s a participaction / distance achievement type of bike-a-thon i.e. not a race. Very laid back. In keeping with the bee icon on the cover of next season’s program and posters, all the riders are encouraged to wear whatever yellow and black combo’s they can pull from their wardrobe. Rumour has it some may even sport wings and antenna. The Bike-a-Thon will start from the Irving Greenberg Theatre located at the corner of Holland and Wellington St W, home of the GCTC.

GCTC
GCTC

We will ride east on Wellington and head north on Parkdale to where it joins the Ottawa River Pathway.

Where Parkdale meets the Ottawa River Pathway
Where Parkdale meets the Ottawa River Pathway

Continuing east along the pathway we will be treated to such wonderful sights as this…

Ottawa River
Ottawa River

… and this, where the path follows the edge of the river and continues behind Parliament Hill.

Ottawa River behind Parliament Hill
Ottawa River behind Parliament Hill

We will leave the Ottawa River and climb up beside the Rideau Canal locks between Parliament Hill and the Chateau Laurier.

Ottawa Locks
Ottawa Locks

After passing under Sapper’s Bridge…

Sappers Bridge
Sappers Bridge

… we will pull up to our good friends at the National Arts Centre.

National Arts Centre
National Arts Centre

Once we’ve paused long enough for everyone to catch their breath after the climb up from the river, we will continue along the Rideau Canal where one is treated to glorious views such as this.

Rideau Canal
Rideau Canal

The path circles around Dows Lake and weaves its way through the Arboretum.

Path on the other side of Dows Lake
Around Dows Lake
Through the Arboretum
Through the Arboretum

One more short climb up beside the locks across from Carleton University before our route takes us through the Experimental Farm.

Experimental Farm
Experimental Farm

A section of the route that runs parallel to Fisher wanders through a stand of tall majestic trees like so.

A little bit of forest for good measure
A little bit of forest for good measure

The route then crosses Carling and follows the bike lanes along Island Park Drive, like so.

Bike lanes along Island Park Drive
Bike lanes along Island Park Drive

A few blocks east along Byron Avenue.

Path along Byron
Path along Byron

Then one block north along Holland, and voila! – We arrive at the finish line back at the GCTC.

FINISH / ARRIVÉE
FINISH / ARRIVÉE

So dear friends, bikers, and readers, if any of you may be interested in helping fund the great art created at the GCTC, as well as indirectly promote biking as a wonderful activity within our area, please visit the Bike-a-Thon site and follow the instructions.

Happy trails!

First Nations – Part II

On January 2nd I described a tour of various locations and monuments within the National Capital Region that are of particular significance or reference to the First Nations. Since then I have learnt of a few others, including one that eluded me on the first tour – the bronze sculpture of an Anishinabe Scout. Here is the route I followed to visit these additional locations.

First stop, 299 Montreal Road where stands the recently completed Wabano Centre for Aboriginal Health, designed by architect Douglas Cardinal who also designed the Canadian Museum of History in Gatineau.

Wabano Centre
Wabano Centre

Second stop is the sculpture of the Anishinabe Scout at the northern tip of Majors Hill Park, tucked behind the small heritage stone building. The first image also shows the statue of Champlain in the distance up on Nepean Point. The sculpture was originally installed at the base of the plinth upon which Champlain stands but was relocated to its present site in 1996 at the request of Ovide Mercredi, former National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations. UPDATE: December 2018 – Just discovered a very good mini-doc on the history of this sculpture.

Anishinabe Scout & Champlain
Anishinabe Scout & Champlain
Anishinabe Scout
Anishinabe Scout

My final stop was along the Ottawa River Pathway, just east of Island Park Drive where this recently installed circular arrangement of stones is located. It is titled the Kitchissippi Medecine Wheel and is the work a fellow named Tim. UPDATE – Summer 2015: The installation is no longer there, but it’s still a great spot to visit, overlooking the Ottawa River.

Kitchissippi Medecine Wheel
Kitchissippi Medecine Wheel

This description of the piece is mounted to a wooden post just to the right of the wheel.

Kitchissippi Medecine Wheel interp

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!

Biking to Acorn Creek Garden Farm to Pick Strawberries

Every year we head over to Acorn Creek Garden Farm for some strawberry picking. This year I biked there and met up with Carla and the kids who drove. Here is the route I followed.

.

It’s a relatively flat 30 km ride almost entirely along recreational pathways BUT I recommend doing so early on a Saturday or Sunday morning, as things get a little tricky riding through parts of Kanata and along Richardson Side Road.

I headed out along the Ottawa River Pathway and followed it all the way to Carling Avenue at the beginning of Andrew Haydon Park.

Where to turn off the Ottawa River Pathway
Where to turn off the Ottawa River Pathway

I got off the Ottawa River Pathway at this spot by turning left across Carling and onto Watts Creek Pathway. The path gets a little convoluted where it reaches Holly Acres Road. I crossed Holly Acres Road and rode down Aero Drive for a short distance to where Watts Creek Pathway continues to the left, like so.

Path ends at Holly Acres......... and continues down Aero Drive
Path ends at Holly Acres……… and continues down Aero Drive

I continued along Watts Creek Pathway to where it crosses Corkstown Road. On the other side of Corkstown Road the path becomes gravel. There is also a directional sign suggesting you bike along Corkstown Road. I prefer the gravel path, however it can get a bit mucky during rainy weather especially where the path reaches Moodie Drive. On this occasion I should have followed the road.

Path meets Corkstown Road....... and puddle along gravel path where I got my soaker
Path meets Corkstown Road……. and puddle along gravel path where I got my soaker

I crossed Moodie, and got back on Watts Creek Pathway.

Where the apth continues on the other side of Moodie
Where the path continues on the other side of Moodie

Further along there is a turn off with a sign pointing to Carling Avenue. I ignored it and continued under this train bridge.

Train Bridge
Train Bridge

There is another fork in the road further along with a sign pointing towards March Road. I ignored it as well and stayed right to continue through this tunnel under March Road.

Tunnel under March Road
Tunnel under March Road

Watts Creek Pathway, which is maintained by the NCC, ends on the other side of this tunnel at Petrie Lane. I crossed Petrie Lane and followed this path for a bit.

Path beyond Petrie Lane
Path beyond Petrie Lane

There are very few directional signs throughout this part of Kanata. I assume they were originally developed by the local community whose residents were in little need of directional signs. As such you pretty much have to go on instinct to find your way around the area. For example the path I found myself on splits off in many directions. I took the middle path indicated by the big white arrow on the photo below.

Path through Kanata
Path through Kanata

This brought me to Teron Road which has a bike lane.

Path along Teron Road
Path along Teron Road

I followed Teron Road south to Campeau Drive. It too has bike lanes, but they disappear a hundred yards before and after each intersection. There is a paved path running along Campeau Drive as well. I’ve heard say that paved paths can be interpreted as multi-use paths, so take your pick.

Bike lane along Campeau Drive........... intersections not included.
Bike lane along Campeau Drive……….. intersections not included.

I found myself deep in Car Land – those buffer zones surrounding most North American cities where one rarely sees a human outside a vehicule, other than transferring from their parked car to whatever building they drove to, however bike lanes such as these encourage a more diverse mix of users that are good for local business.

I followed Campeau Drive to Terry Fox Drive. I turned right onto Terry Fox Drive, which has nice generous bike lanes like so.

Terry Fox Drive Bike Lane, intersections included!
Terry Fox Drive Bike Lane, intersections included!

I turned left onto Richardson Side Road and followed it for around 2 km’s to Old Creek Road. Richardson Side Road is a straight two laner with packed gravel shoulders. I felt safe riding on the road at 10 am Saturday morning. Cars slowed down and gave me lots of room as they passed. I suppose those in a hurry take the Queensway that runs parallel to Richardson Road just half a kilometre south. However there must be some speeders to warrant a stop sign this big.

Richardson Side Road
Richardson Side Road

I tested out the gravel shoulder which wasn’t too bad if you don’t feel comfortable biking on the road. I would have felt comfortable doing so as the distance along Richardson Road is only for 2 kilometres. I do suggest biking out early on a weekend morning. That way you are sure to avoid most, if not all traffic along this narrow side road. Acorn Creek Farm opens little after 8am.

Road vs gravel shoulder (Bravo generous driver!)
Road vs gravel shoulder (Bravo generous driver!)

I turned onto Oak Creek Road which was fine – hardly any traffic at all.

A welcome sign
A welcome sign

Truth be told, by the time I pulled into the farm parking lot Carla and the kids had finished picking and purchasing all the strawberries we needed. The kids thought that was very funny. If you are planning on heading out to pick strawberries bring good bug spray, and wear long sleeves and pants. There were swarms of mosquitoes this year because of all the rain. Wear rubber boots too. This year the pick-your-own patch is about a kilometer walk into the field. But it’s worth it – the strawberries are very yummy.

strawbs2