Tracking down the Nepean Bell – A Time Travel Tour by Bike!

Cast iron bells can become unifying symbols for a community. Their distinct clarion call draws together those within earshot towards a shared experience. The Nepean Bell became such a symbol when it was first hung and rung back in 1896 from the old town hall in Westboro. As the seat of government of Nepean Township moved south-west, then east, the bell went with it. This bike tour visits the three locations the Nepean Bell has occupied since its arrival in our region. It is also a ride along a number of wonderful bike paths in the western end of town through varied terrain. The purple line is a return shortcut to get to the starting point.

Our tour begins in front of the old Town Hall building in Westboro located at 345 Richmond Road where the Nepean Bell began its public life. The building was designed by architect Moses Chamberlain Edey and opened in 1896 as the Town Hall building for the Township of Nepean.

Old Town Hall in Westboro. Note the empty bell tower.

The eastern portion of Nepean Township was annexed by the city of Ottawa in 1950, however the old town hall continued to serve as Nepean Township’s headquarters until 1966. Once the construction of new headquarters were completed further west in Bells Corners the township authorities took the beloved bell with them. There they installed the bell on the front lawn in a sculpted tripod base. Each leg was a different height, meant to represent a member of the traditional nuclear family, i.e. mother, father and child. The image of this sculpture became the logo for the City of Nepean until The Great Ottawa Amalgamation of 2001. The logo is still evident on street signs, park signs, etc throughout the former city of Nepean. Note – the name Bells Corners far predates the arrival of the Nepean Bell.

City of Nepean logo

To get to the Nepean Bell’s second home at the intersection of Old Richmond Road and Robertson Road in Bells Corners I headed over to the path that runs along the south side of the Sir John A Macdonald Parkway and followed it as far as the intersection that passes under the parkway and onto the Ottawa River Pathway.

Path along Sir John A. MacDonald Driveway…. and underpass to get to the Ottawa River Pathway.

I followed the Ottawa River Pathway all the way to Britannia Bay. There I crossed Carling at the lights and got on to the Watts Creek Pathway. Where Watts Creek Pathway crosses Holly Acres Road is a bit tricky, as the path continues a short ways up quiet Aero Drive. This link is barely visible from Holly Acres Road.

White arrow shows where Watts Creek Pathway pathway continues a short way Aero Drive, as seen from Holly Acres Road

Watts Creek Pathway meanders through a wooded area before crossing Corkstown Road. Once across Corkstown Road the path follows a new paved section that goes along the edge of some baseball fields to get to lights across Moodie Drive. This new section of path is a great improvement on the previously poorly maintained path that was regularly flooded.

Section of Watts Creek Pathway from Corkstown to Moodie

I continued along Watts Creek Pathway for a spell before turning on to the Greenbelt Pathway West. The Greenbelt Pathway is a packed gravel surface that rolls through a wonderful assortment of woods and fields before and after it crosses Corkstown Road and goes under the Queensway.

Greenbelt Pathway just south of the Queensway
Greenbelt Pathway meandering through cedars

The Greenbelt Pathway West meets up with the Trans-Canada Trail which I followed to Fitzgerald Road. I turned right onto Fitzgerald, then left on to Robertson Road at the lights. Robertson Road is a busy street with lots of traffic. It also has a bike lane between Fitzgerald and Moodie Drive.

Bike lane along Robertson Road

I turned right onto Moodie which also has a bike lane that goes only as far as Hadley Crescent. I rode along Hadley Crescent, then Tanglewood Drive, then Old Richmond Road to get to the second stop of the Nepean Bell at the corner of Robertson Road and Richmond Road. The building which was built to serve as the township headquarters in 1966 only lasted until 1988 when it was demolished and replaced it with a mini-mall.They had already moved to the Nepean City Hall at 101 Centrepointe Drive.

Second stop of the Nepean Bell – 3825 Old Richmond Rd

I then wove my way through residential streets of the Lyndwood Village neighbourhood, which has a fine selection of mid-century-modern home designs.

Lovely Lyndwood Village

This brought me to Bruin Road beside Bell High School. Bruin Road gets you over highway 416 to the Bruce Pit. I took the path around the northern perimeter of Bruce Pit.

Path around Bruce Pit

Next I dipsy-do’d along a combination of paths and residential streets to get to the bike path that cuts diagonally along a hydro pole right-of-way to Centrepoint Drive.

Centrepoint Pathway

Once arrived at Centrepoint Drive, I rode around to the front of the old Nepean city hall to discover the Nepean Bell installed in the middle of a mini round-a-bout. I gave it a ring and it sounded great!

Nepean Bell resting place

Et voila!

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 short purple line is a slight variations heading back.

UPDATE – Summer 2018: Sundae School moved a couple of blocks south along Beechwood, on the west side of the street. Their new location is indicated on the map. Bike lanes have also since been added along Beechwood from when this route was originally posted, as indicated by the green line on the map below.

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. UPDATE- Fall 2017: This has all changed! as mentioned in the intro, there are now bike lanes along Beechwood (see green line on the above map). That said, the original route described below is still legit.  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 brings you to Putman Avenue. Their new 2018 location is at the corner of Putnam and Beechwood.

Sundae School (in their original 2017 location) !

Once we had finished our well deserved treat (I highly reccomend the chocolate flavour) it was time to head back.

The only 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 we 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.

UPDATE – July 2018: They’ve installed bi-directional multi-use lanes on the sidewalk just after you exit off Laurier. 

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.

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.

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.

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!

Remembrance Day Bike Tour

Many Canadians are drawn to the November 11th Remembrance Day Ceremonies held at the National War Memorial to pay tribute to those who have fought and given their lives in the service of our great country. The following is a commemorative bike tour starting from the National War Memorial, with visits to a number of lesser known Canadian War Memorials throughout the capital, and ending at the National Military Cemetery.


The National War Memorial was unveiled in 1939 to commemorate those who served in the armed forces during World War !. It has since come to symbolize the sacrifice of all Canadian Armed Forces in times of war.

National War Memorial
National War Memorial

Immediately in front of the Memorial is the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It contains the remains of an unidentified Canadian soldier who died near Vimy Ridge during the First World War. This tomb represents the many Canadian soldiers who have no known grave.

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Leaving the War Memorial, Head down along the edge of the Rideau Canal beside the National Arts Centre to Confederation Park where the South African War Memorial is located.

South African War Memorial
South African War Memorial

Continue through the park to Elgin Street where one can see the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument.

National Aboriginal Veterans Monument
National Aboriginal Veterans Monument

The tour crosses Elgin street and follows the Laurier Bike Lane heading west before turning north along the Bay St bike lane. After crossing Wellington at the northern end of Bay, head east for one block to Lyon St. There is a gravel path through the park just to the east of the National Archives building that leads to Lyon. Looking across Wellington up Lyon Street, one sees the Veteran Memorial Buildings . Beneath the arch connection the two buildings across Lyon St there is a stone relief carving by Ivan Mestvovic in honour of those who fought in the First World War.

Veterans Memorail Buildings
Veterans Memorail Buildings

The tour continues west along Wellington which has a bike lane beginning at Lyon St. This bike lane continues across the Portage Bridge. Just before heading over the Ottawa River there is a path off to the right that leads down to the waters edge and the Royal Canadian Navy Monument.

Royal Canadian Navy Monument
Royal Canadian Navy Monument

Head back up and over the Portage Bridge, then east along the Voyageurs Pathway that hugs the shore of the Ottawa River. One of the finest views of Parliament Hill can be seen from this section of path. The Memorial Chamber is located inside the Peace Tower. it contains the Books of Remembrance, recording every Canadian killed in service from Canada’s first overseas campaign, the Nile Expedition, to the present.

View of Parliament Hill from the Voyageurs Pathway
View of Parliament Hill from the Voyageurs Pathway

The tour heads back over the Ottawa River over the Alexandra Bridge. The Peacekeeping Monument, dedicated to Canadians who have served as peacekeepers around the world, is located on a traffic island along Sussex Drive between the national Gallery and the American Embassy.

Peacekeeping Monument
Peacekeeping Monument

The next section of the tour continues north along Sussex Drive which has a bike lane. The Defence of Hong Kong Memorial is located at the corner of Sussex and King Edward Avenue. This Memorial is dedicated to those Canadian Soldiers who served in the defence of Hong Kong during the Second World War.

Defence of Hong Kong Memorial
Defence of Hong Kong Memorial

Cross Sussex and follow the path overlooking the Rideau Falls. There are two memorials on Green Island located between the two sets of falls: The Commonwealth Air Forces Ottawa Memorial, and the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion Memorial dedicated to Canadian volunteers of the Mackenzie–Papineau Battalion during the Spanish Civil War.

The Commonwealth Air Forces Ottawa Memorial
The Commonwealth Air Forces Ottawa Memorial
Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion Memorial
Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion Memorial

The tour continues along the path overlooking the second set of falls, then back across Sussex. On the opposite side of Sussex is the CANLOAN Monument, dedicated to Canadian soldiers who died while volunteering with the British army during the Second World War.

Canloan Monument
Canloan Monument

Head east along Stanley Avenue and the Rideau River Eastern Pathway. Then weave your way north along Barrette St to avoid the busy section of Beechwood, then get back on to Beechwood where the bike lane starts at Marier avenue. A bit further along one arrives at the entrance to Beechwood Cemetery. The National Military Cemetery is located within the grounds, as indicated on the above map.

National Military Cemetery
National Military Cemetery

the poem In Flanders Fields is cast onto a bronze plaque and mounted on a simple elegant plinth.
It is from this poem that the red poppy was drawn to become the symbol of Remembrance Day.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McRae, 1915

In Flanders Fields
In Flanders Fields

Bike tour of Stromatolites on both sides of the Ottawa River

Stromatolites are eerily stunning fossils dating back to the emergence of life on earth. The Ottawa-Gatineau Geoheritage Project describes them as ‘biosedimentary structures built up during sedimentation by cyanobacteria and blue-green algae’. The following is a bike tour of a few examples of Stromatolites visible on both sides of the Ottawa River.

Choosing the Portage Bridge as our starting point, we crossed over the Ottawa River to Gatineau and rode upstream along the Voyageurs Pathway.

Our first stop is located just off the pathway immediately west of the Champlain Bridge. These stromatolites are visible when water levels are low in the summer and fall. It’s the most impressive display of these fossils in the region.

Stromatolites along the edge of the Ottawa River just west of the Champlain Bridge
Stromatolites along the edge of the Ottawa River just west of the Champlain Bridge

Another example of a few local Stromatolites visible in cross section can be found on the Ottawa side of the river at the eastern tip of Westboro Beach. To get there we followed the bike lanes over the Champlain Bridge back to Ottawa, then continued upstream along the Ottawa River Pathway to Westboro Beach. There are bike racks in front of the beach pavilions if one prefers avoiding having to push their bike through the sand.

Section of Stromatolites at Westboro Beach
Section of Stromatolites at Westboro Beach

Our final stop is located along the bus transitway near Roosevelt Avenue. To get there we took the tunnel under the SJAM parkway at Westboro Beach, then followed Kirchoffer Avenue to the pedestrian bridge over the OC Transpo transitway. From the opposite side of the pedestrian bridge one can see a layered section of Stromatolites exposed at the top of the stone channel that was cut to create the transitway.

Section of Stromatolites at top of stone channel
Section of Stromatolites at top of stone channel

To get back to our starting point we retraced our treads along Kirchoffer to Westboro Beach, then rode back along the Ottawa River Pathway to the Portage Bridge – a rock & roll tour almost entirely along pathways!

More on Stromatolites can be found by clicking here or on any of the Geoheritage Project links hi-lited in the above post.

UPDATE – September 2019: Here’s a recent CBC post about the Stromatolites on the Quebec side that includes a great interview between Giacomo Panico of the show In Time and Out and Allan Donaldson, a retired professor in the earth sciences department at Carleton University.

Eastern tip of Westboro Beach in the Fall
Eastern tip of Westboro Beach in the Fall

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.

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.


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!

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, which turns into Beechwood Avenue.

UPDATE 2018 : Bike lanes have been added to the full length of Beechwood, indentified by the purple line on the map, which allows for a slightly less circuitous route than the one described below.

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.

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

Bike lane along Montreal Road

I turned north on St Laurent and rode down the freshly painted bike lanes.

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

This brings you to the bike lanes along Sussex Avenue. Turn left onto Sussex towards downtown.

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.


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

Ride down Leitrim Road in memory of Andy Nevin

While cycling along Leitrim Road on the morning of Sunday June 28th, Andy Nevin was struck and killed by someone driving a white pick-up truck. The driver fled the scene of the collision and has yet to be apprehended. Andy was a father of two young boys. He was on his way to fix up a house his family were moving into just down the road from their previous home. Update – July 8 – 39 year old man arrested in hit & run death of Andy Nevin.

This past Sunday morning Patrick and I rode along Leitrim Road in an attempt to try to come to terms with this senselessness tragedy. For many there is an overwhelming feeling of apprehension that follow such horrible events. I know people who have given up riding after a friend or loved one was killed or injured while cycling, even though it remains one of the healthiest ways to get around. But when something like this occurs, facts and stats often seem meaningless.

This ride is in memory of Andy Nevin who should never have lost his life on that early Sunday morning.

Blue line is the route we followed to get there. Red is the stretch we rode along Leitrim Road. Purple line is how we got back.

We joined Leitrim where it crosses Bowesville Road on the south side of the airport and headed east as far as Albion Road.

Leitrim & Bowesville
Leitrim & Bowesville

Here’s our ride down Leitrim

Most cars passed us at speeds well above the posted limits. Drivers seem to have a propensity to speed along popular commuter routes such as Leitrim. In such cases relying on signs alone to get drivers to maintain safe speeds is not effective. As Leitrim is a popular commuter route for drivers, so should it be made safe enough for who wish to do so by bike. Leitrim is also the only way to access the northern trailhead of the Osgoode Multi-Use Pathway.

Second Annual Ottawa/Gatineau Microbrew Bike Tour

Micro-brewing is taking off in and around Ottawa. On our First Annual Ottawa/Gatineau Microbrew Bike Tour we visited a number of breweries in the south, east and central areas of Ottawa and Gatineau. This year’s tour focussed on breweries in the east end of Ottawa and one in the Byward Market. Here’s how it went. Blue line on the map below is the route followed. Purple line is a section of route originally plotted, and one I would ride once the bike lanes along Innes Road have been returned to their former glory post road construction. The red line on the map is a section we should have taken.

Before heading out we (Robert, Glenn & I) met up at Raw Sugar for coffee beside the Chinatown arch.

Starting off from the Chinatown Arch
Starting off from the Chinatown Arch

Off we rode to our first stop – Bicycle Craft Brewery on Industrial Road. Great name! The last bit of approach to the brewery along Industrial Road was treacherous. Not only is it filled with speeding trucks and cars, the little shoulder room available to avoid them speeding up behind us had pot holes and sewer grates with slots lined up in the direction of travel. Fortunately the person who greeted and served us is a cyclist, and she told on how to avoid Industrial Avenue. That’ll be the red line on the above map. ie, instead of turning left on Russell road from Coronation Avenue and riding along Industrial, it would have been better to go right on Russell then turn down the lane through the parking to the front of the brewery.

Bicycle Craft Brewery has a bike rack built for three located beside the front door.

Our first stop
Our first stop

The front of house space is very welcoming with various bike memorabilia adorning the walls. There are also chairs, a wood table to gather around, and a big cosy couch. We had small tastings of a few of their fine brews, my preference being the Crimson Cascade, so I bought a half-growler to enjoy back home. I wrapped it up in a small towel and stuffed it in my rear pannier.

A very relaxed bike tour indeed
A very relaxed bike tour indeed

On our way out, to avoid Industrial Road, we accessed Russell the way we should have on the way in, then cut through Everest which brought us to the sidewalk on St Laurent Boulevard. Looking across St Laurent we noticed a storefront sign for North of 7 Distillery, so we popped in and see what they were up to. Super friendly owner greeted us. He and another fellow working there shared stories on how the distillery came to be and offered taste sips of a couple their wares. The Triple Bean Gin was very tasty, so I bought a bottle top take home. Carla is very fussy about her gin and she really liked this one.

North of 7 Distillery
North of 7 Distillery (photo by Robert Batsch)

We rode through the parking lot to get to the bike path that runs along Innes Road as far as the Trans Canada Highway. There are no bike lanes or even sidewalks along the bridge that goes over the Trans-Canada and cars fly on and off the ramps to and from the highway. To avoid this terrible section we turned north on Star Top Road, then south east along Cyrville Road over the Trans Canada. Cyrville is not a great road to ride along either but is the least dangerous option of the two, with no highway on and off ramps to worry about. On the east side of the bridge there is a bike path that starts beside the entrance to the Home Depot to Innes Road.

Normally there is a bike lane on both sides of Innes east of the Trans Canada, however some serious road construction had the east bound bike lane all dug up, so rather than riding along Innes, as suggested by the purple line on the above map, we cut up the path that to the Transitway pedestrian bridge over the Queensway.

Path between Innes and Blair transitory pedestrian bridge
Path between Innes and Blair transitory pedestrian bridge

We then rode along Ogilvie Road, which has a bike lane as far as Blair Place. Sans bike lane, riding along Ogilvie is quite unpleasant. Fortunately Robert grew up in this part of town and was able to navigate a safe route along quiet streets from Jasmine Crescent to the Dominion City Brewing Co. on Canotek Road.

Some very friendly people at Dominion allowed us to sample a few small samplings of their brews, my favourite of which was the Two Flags IPA, so I bought a mini-growler. Dominion is also a supporter of the arts. They sponsored the opening of Brian Doyle’s Up To Low performing at Arts Court.

(photo by Glenn Gobuyan) Outside…

... and inside the Dominion City Brewing Co.
… and inside the Dominion City Brewing Co.

In the parking lot outside the brewery sat the recently Rico Peru food truck. Normally they are located on Montreal Road, but on this fine Saturday Dominion welcomed them to set up in their parking lot, so we sampled their tasty menu. I didn’t have the cerviché, but Glenn said it was really good.

Rico Peru!
Rico Peru!

Our next stop was just around the corner at Broken Stick Brewing Company. After a couple of mini-samplings I chose the TPA as my favourite and stocked up on a small growler of the brew.

Inside the Broken Stick
Inside the Broken Stick

Final destination – Lowertown Brewery in the Market. Right beside Broken Stick Brewery there is a path that leads on to my favourite local multi-use path, the Ottawa River Pathway.

Ottawa River Pathway
Ottawa River Pathway (photo by Robert Batsch)

This we followed all the way to Rockcliffe and then wove our way through Lowertown to the brewery on York Street. This is a restaurant brewery that, at the time of our visit, were a couple of months away from meeting the qualifications to sell their brews to take home, so, it being our final destination of the day, we indulged and settled in for a pint on the patio.

Et voila!

Bike and glasses