Biking to the Ottawa International Airport from Downtown

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

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

 Bike lane along Percy
Bike lane along Percy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Up & over the locks
Up & over the locks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Paved shoulder along Riverside Drive
Paved shoulder along Riverside Drive

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

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

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

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

Paul Benoit Driveway
Paul Benoit Driveway

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

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

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

Bike racks
Bike racks

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

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

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

UPDATE – summer 2019: For a route heading from the airport to the downtown Byward Market click here.

Et voila!

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.

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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

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Here’s our ride down Leitrim

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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.

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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.

Outside...
(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

Bike Tour of Totem Poles

A while ago I joined a walking tour of Parliament Hill with Jaime Koebel. Jaime runs Indigenous Walks which she describes as, ‘A guided walk & talk through downtown Ottawa that presents participants with social, political, cultural & artistic spaces from an Indigenous perspective‘. As we looked out across the Ottawa (or Kitchissippi) River towards the Museum of History, Jaime mentioned the totem poles displayed within the museum, as well as a number of others carved by indigenous sculptors located outdoors within the area. Here’s a 33km loop that visits those sites. This bike tour is almost entirely along  NCC multi-use paths.
UPDATE 2018: I’ve added an optional detour to Rideau Hall where stands another totem pole (see purple line on map). More on this piece further down in the post.

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Our ride begins near the eastern tip of Victoria Island where stands this totem pole sculpted by Walter Harris of the Gitxsan First Nation in northern British Columbia.

Totem sculpted by Walter Harris
Totem sculpted by Walter Harris

I rode west and accessed the Ottawa River Pathway behind the War Museum, and followed it along the river to where it connects to the Pinecrest Creek Pathway.

View from the Ottawa River Pathway
View from the Ottawa River Pathway

I rode the length of the Pinecrest Creek Pathway to Woodroffe Avenue.

Pinecrest Creek Pathway
Pinecrest Creek Pathway

On the south side of Woodroffe the path continues as the Experimental Farm Pathway.

North section of the Experimental Farm Pathway winding through open areas
North section of the Experimental Farm Pathway winding through open areas

On the south side of Maitland the path weaves it’s way up through a wooded area.

Wooded section of Experimental Farm Pathway between Maitland Avenue and Merivale Road
Wooded section of Experimental Farm Pathway between Maitland Avenue and Merivale Road

The second totem pole on our tour is located in front of the Scouts Canada National Office on Baseline Road. To get there I turned off the pathway and cut through a residential area along paths and quiet roads as shown on the above map.

This totem was carved by Chief Mungo Martin, a Kwakwaka’wakw carver from British Columbia. It was acquired by the Boy Scouts in 1960.

Totem sculpted by Chief Mungo Martin
Totem sculpted by Chief Mungo Martin

I then headed back to the Experimental Farm Pathway which runs along farmed fields east of Merivale Road. Sections of the pathway east of Fisher follow along quiet roads through the farm.

Experimental Farm
Experimental Farm

I crossed Prince of Wales Drive at the signalized crosswalk and headed over to the Rideau Canal locks beside Carleton University. I crossed the locks and biked down the Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway towards downtown.

The Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway
The Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway

I re-traversed the canal at the Somerset pedestrian bridge and headed over to Confederation Park to visit the third totem pole along the tour, sculpted by Henry Hunt also of the Kwakwaka’wakw and apprentice of Mungo Martin.

Totem sculpted by Henry Hunt
Totem sculpted by Henry Hunt

Next stop – the Grand Hall of the Museum of History. To get there I rode down beside the canal and across the second to last set of locks.

View down the last set of locks along the Rideau canal before it drains into the Ottawa River
View down the last set of locks along the Rideau canal before it drains into the Ottawa River

I then rode up the paved path from the river and crossed the Alexandra Bridge to our final stop at the Museum of History in Gatineau.

Crossing the Alexandra Bridge
Crossing the Alexandra Bridge

I UPDATE – August 2018: There is another totem pole sculpted by Mungo Martin located on the grounds of Rideau Hall. The purple line on the above map shows how to get there via the bike lane along Sussex Avenue , and then back, crossing the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge to the Quebec side of the river, versus the Alexandra Bridge. The grounds of Rideau Hall are open to the public up until 1 hour before sunset.

Rideau Hall
Totem pole by Mungo Martin on the grounds of Rideau Hall

The best time to visit our final spot along the shore of the Ottawa River facing the Museum of History is in the evening as the sun is setting. That’s when the vista of totem poles within the Grand Hall of the museum are most visible from outside the large windows.

Exterior view of the totems within the Grand Hall
Exterior view of the totems within the Grand Hall

Here are views of these majestic sculptures as seen from outside as well.

Grand Hall2

Totems within the Grand Hall
Totems within the Grand Hall

To complete the loop I rode along the Voyageurs Pathway beside the river, then halfway across the Portages Bridge back to Victoria Island.

UPDATE 2018: The NCC has yet to complete repairs along the Voyageurs Pathway caused by the Spring flooding of 2017. The alternative route, as per the orange line on the above map, goes along the very wide Laurier Avenue sidewalk which is being used as an interim multi-use pathway.

Et voila!

Detail of totem on Victoria Island
Detail of totem on Victoria Island by Walter Harris

Biking from Sandy Hill to the Byward Market

Dave was asking about a route to access the Byward Market from the eastern edge of Sandy Hill. The Market is a challenge to get to by bike from the east and south due to the flow of heavy crosstown traffic coming off the Queensway down Nicholas Street, Rideau Street and King Edward Avenue, heading towards the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge. This includes a steady flow of transport trucks. Streets that traverse this heavy traffic artery leading into the market are less than stellar for cyclists. There are plans to introduce a safer pedestrian access along Nicholas Street between Besserer and Rideau Street. How this pans out in providing a safe access route for cyclists into the market remains to be seen. Until then, the safest approach into the heart of the market is from the north. Here’s the route I followed starting from the eastern end of Wilbrod Street in Sandy Hill.

Red line on the map is the route I followed to get to the market. Turquoise lines are slight deviations taken on the way back.

There’s a small patio beside the apartment building at the end of Wilbrod that provides a great view of the Cummings Bridge and Cummings Island in the Rideau River. Carriages once rode over a previous wooden incarnation of the bridge. It went to the island on which there was a grocery store run by the Cummings family.

Cummings Bridge and Island
Cummings Bridge and Island as seen from the end of Wilbrod St

Wilbrod becomes a one way heading east on the opposite side of Charlotte Street, so I rode one block north along Charlotte to get to Stewart Street. Vehicules heading down this stretch of Charlotte tend to speed as they rush from Laurier to Rideau Street, so I waited for a generous gap in traffic. Fortunately it’s a short block.

Stewart is a quiet one way heading west, with a bike lane!

Stewart Street
Stewart Street

I then turned north on Chapel Street which led to traffic lights across Rideau Street. Chapel dead-ends just before reaching Beausoleil Drive, except for bicycles.

North end of Chapel St
North end of Chapel St

I turned left onto Beausoleil, which makes a big curve before ending at traffic lights that help get across busy St Patrick Street. There’s an opening in the fence on the other side of the intersection that provides cyclists access to St Andrew Street.

Access to St Andrew St across the intersection at St Patrick & Beausoleil
Access to St Andrew St across the intersection at St Patrick & Beausoleil

St Andrew is a quiet residential street that curls west to a traffic light with a bike lane that gets you across King Edward Avenue. On the opposite side of King Edward only cyclists and pedestrians can access St Andrew at this point, which continues westwardly.

Lights at St Andrew St across King Edward Ave
Lights at St Andrew St across King Edward Ave

Traffic along St Andrew remains calm, thanks to a few ‘No Enter-Bicycles Excepted’ signs along the way to Parent Avenue. I then turned south on Parent, a relatively calm street, that brought me to the south end of the parking garage, one block away from the centre of the market.

Travelling south on Parent Ave
Travelling south on Parent Ave

There are hanging bike racks on the north exterior wall of the parking garage that are accessible throughout the year. There are also some seasonal racks along the sidewalk, as well as racks just inside the entrance to the garage.

Sidewalk, wall mounted,  & garage bike racks
Sidewalk, wall mounted, & garage bike racks

On the way back I headed east on Guiges Avenue to Cumberland St, as St Andrew is one way heading east for a few blocks.

Biking east along quiet Guiges Ave
Biking east along quiet Guiges Ave

Similarly Stewart St is one way heading west, so I rode along Wilbrod back to our starting point.

Heading east on the bike lane along Wilbrod
Heading east on the bike lane along Wilbrod

Et voila!

When I head to the market from the west side of town, I usually go along the path below Parliament Hill, or along the path in Gatineau and cross back over the Alexandra Bridge as described in this post. Alternatively, because this requires riding along the section of Murray Street between Mackenzie and Parent which can get pretty frantic with traffic rushing over the bridge, I often prefer riding up through Major’s Hill Park and locking my bike to the fence at the top of the stairs that lead down to the market, as described in this post.

Biking to MEC from Centretown

Mountain Equipment Co-op is one of many great places to shop for biking equipment within the region. I ride there often throughout the year from Centretown. Here’s how. Blue line is the route I follow to get there. Purple lines are slight deviations I take on the way back.

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From the intersection at Primrose and Cambridge St N I head west. Primrose comes to a dead end just beyond Empress Avenue, however there is a paved path that continues down behind the Dominican University College building and joins Upper Lorne Ave.

Heading towards Primrose dead end beside the Dominican College....
Down Primrose beside the Dominican College….
... which turns into a path.
… which turns into a path.

Just before the path turns on to Upper Lorne there is a metal flight of stairs down which I carry my bike and continue riding along lower Primrose heading west.

View from the top of the stairs
View from the top of the stairs

I then cross Booth at the signalized crosswalk, and work my way over to Elm St which also has a signalized crosswalk across busy Preston Street. Halfway down Elm within the block west of Preston the road is blocked off to car circulation, so I do a little dippy-do on the sidewalk to get around this barrier.

Getting around the Elm St barrier
Getting around the Elm St barrier

I access the Trillium Pathway that runs along the O-Train, by cutting through the parking lot at the south end of the City Centre building, and then turn south onto the pathway. Getting across the north bound lane at this access spot is a bit tricky as it’s close to the tunnel opening under Somerset Street, making it difficult to anticipate riders heading north through the tunnel. To avoid this being a problem use the access furthest away from the tunnel opening, as shown on the photo below, which allows me to see if any riders are coming before crossing to the other side of the path. (UPDATE 2018: There used to be big boulders across this link (see second photo below). They have been replaced with posts and a chain (see 1st photo below. Access to the Trillium Pathway is now via the gap between the path and the rock. Yah, it’s pretty gross when it’s muddy.)

access to Otrain path
Access to Trillium Pathway from City Centre heading south, 2018 
Accessing the OTrain Path from City Centre, heading south
Accessing the Trillium Pathway, pre-2018

I then take the path under the tunnel and then up the bike path to Somerset St bridge over the O-Train tracks. I cross Somerset to the bike lane on the opposite side and head west. unfortunately the bike lane ends just on the other side of the bridge. Somerset St (which becomes Wellington St then Richmond Road) is a busy narrow traffic artery without any designated bike lanes between Breezehill Avenue and Woodroffe Avenue. I avoid riding along it as much as possible. Where the bike path over the bridge ends there’s a mini flight of stairs to the right down to Breezehill Avenue with a ramp to help push your bike.

End of bike lane at north end of Somerset bridge over the OTrain
End of bike lane at north end of Somerset bridge over the OTrain
Stairs from Somerset to Breezehill Ave N
Stairs from Somerset to Breezehill Ave N

Breezehill turns west and becomes a calm section of Wellington St (It’s only beyond Garland St that Wellinton becomes the busy traffic artery previously mentioned). I turn north on Garland for one block to get to Armstrong St which I follow west for a nice stretch as far as Hinton Ave. Armstrong is a quiet, mostly residential street.

View down Armstrong
View down Armstrong St

I turn north on Hinton to get to Spencer Street which has a signalized crosswalk to get across speedy 4-lane Holland Avenue. Spencer is also a quiet residential street that continues west.

Next challenge is choosing a way to get across Island Park Drive. It’s a major commuter road to and from the Champlain Bridge over to Gatineau. I turn south onto Gilchrist Avenue and cross Wellington at the lights to Granville Avenue. Gilchrist and Granville aren’t perfectly aligned, however there is a garage parking lot at the south/east corner of Wellinton and Granville I cut through which compensate for this slight misalignment.

Then it’s up Granville to the wonderful Byron multi-use path which I follow west all the way to Churchill Avenue. It’s cleared all winter.

Byron Multi-Use Path
Byron Multi-Use Path

Once at the intersection of Churchill and Byron I either ride north along Churchill the short distance it takes to access Danforth heading west, or I cross at the Byron/Churchill intersection and walk my bike along the sidewalk to get to Danforth, all depending on how busy traffic is along Churchill.

View from Byron and Chrichill over to Danforth
View from Byron and Chrichill over to Danforth

Then it’s a short ride down the hill to get to the back entrance to the MEC parking lot. I ride through the parking lot to the front of the building where there are lots of bike racks. These racks are covered and cleared throughout the winter.

Entrance to Mountain Equipment Coop
Entrance to Mountain Equipment Coop

On the way back I exit the MEC parking lot at the back, turn west on Danforth for half a block to Roosevelt, which gets me onto Byron. Byron has a bike lane heading east between Roosevelt and Churchill.

Bike lane along Byron heading east up to Churchill
Bike lane along Byron heading east up to Churchill

I retrace my ride most of the way home, except for a short section in Hintonburg where I ride along Wellington. I avoid Breezehill heading east because it’s hard to see cars speeding along Bayswater, as the two streets meet on the inside of a curve when heading east on Wellington.

I followed this same route to and from Mountain Equipment Co-op this winter as both the O-train path and Byron path were regularly cleared.

Et voila!

Springtime Sunday Ride from Ottawa to Manotick

Manotick is a community first settled in the 1830’s located 30 km’s up the Rideau River. This past Sunday I and a group of fine people rode there. It was a great outing. Blue line on the following map shows how we got there. Green lines are variations we took on the return trip. Purple and orange lines are suggested minor deviations to the chosen routes.

JP and I started off at 8:30 am from the Chinatown Arch in Centretown.

Away we go!
Away we go!

We headed down Somerset to get on the O-Train Path, over to Prince of Wales Drive, and through the farm before joining the Experimental Farm Pathway where we met up with three more riders -Glenn, Heather and Chris. We cut south from the Experimental Farm Pathway through a series of paths and streets to Capilano Drive, a more detailed description of which can be found within a previous post, by clicking here.

We headed south down Birchwood off of Capilano and continued straight through back ends of  mall parking lots, mostly empty on Sunday mornings.

Link at end of Birchwood to mall parking lots.
Link at end of Birchwood to mall parking lots.

To avoid having to ride through the parking lot, there is also the option of taking the path up behind the parking lot, as suggested by the orange line on the above map. This path starts off as gravel before becoming a well trodden desire line that ends at Meadowlands Drive. A hundred meters to the right along Meadowlands takes you to the lights that leads across to Grant Carmen Drive.

path behind Merivale malls
Path behind Merivale malls (May 2017- building is completed)

We then kept heading south along Grant Carmen Drive which had very little traffic, all the while avoiding crazy dangerous strip-mall Merivale Road, one block west.

Grant Carmen Drive
Grant Carmen Drive

South of Viewmount Drive the road morphs into a multi-use path that cuts through to Colonnade Road.

Grant Carmen Drive ends, path begins
Grant Carmen Drive ends, path begins

We rode along Colonnade road to Merivale Road. UPDATE – Fall 2015: A bike lane has been installed along Colonnade Drive between Merivale and the path – a huge improvement to the shoulder less section it once was.

Colonnade Road approaching Merivale Road
Colonnade Road approaching Merivale Road (new bike lane being installed to the right)
July 2015 update - Bike path going in along Colonnade
July 2015 update – Bike path going in along Colonnade

We rode along dreaded Merivale Road to get under the train tracks, however there fortunately is a paved portion between the curb and the sidewalk one may to choose to ride along to get to Woodfield Drive on the other side of the tracks.

Technically a 'Service Strip', Literally a 'Boulevard', Legendarily a 'Kill Strip' 'cause no green can grow there so gets paved
Technically known as a ‘Service Strip’ or ‘Boulevard’, Legendarily called a ‘Kill Strip’ because nothing green is able to grow there, so it gets paved over

Just off Woodfield there’s a path that runs all the way west to the signalized Hunt Club Road crossing. It’s a shaded path that isn’t cleared in the winter, so we encountered a few patches of slush and ice. We decided to ride along quiet Benlea Drive that runs parallel to the path.

First encounter with slush & ice
First encounter with slush & ice

The path continues behind the Nepean Sportsplex, then runs south along Woodroffe. The paths we followed all the way from the Sportsplex to and through Barrhaven were cleared all winter so no slush to worry about.

Woodsy portion of path along Woodroffe
Woodsy portion of path along Woodroffe

We crossed Woodroffe and continued along the path on the north side of Fallowfield Road for a short distance before crossing Fallowfield at Via Park Place. We got on to the path that continues southwest then south beside the transit way all the way to Berrigan Drive.

Followed a road link between Berrigan and Strandherd Drive. Rode west on Strandherd, south on Greenbank, then east on Marketplace Avenue through the big box mall parking. East end of the parking there’s a short path link to roads that join up with the bike lane that runs along Longfields Drive.

In retrospect I would recommend turning off the path and onto Longfields further north as suggested by the purple line on the above map, thus avoiding busy Strandherd, Greenbank and the big box store parking lot.

After riding down Longfields and crossing the Jock River we joined a gravel path that weaves it’s way in and through varied wooded areas along the shore the river. This path went under Prince Of Wales Drive and then continued along the Rideau River. We had to contend with a few remaining minor slushy and icy patches along the path but that just added to the sense of adventure.

gravel path1

Riding the gravel path beside the Jock River
Riding the gravel path beside the Jock River

Bit of a challenge crossing the stream in Beryl Gaffney Park, but nary a soaker was had!

Crossing the stream
Crossing the stream

We rode along quiet streets and paths the length of Long Island, then crossed back onto the west side to seek out the French Café, where a colleague and friend of mine, Judy deBoer is showing some of her paintings. JP had to head back after grabbing a snack, while the rest of us settled down for a yummy treat and the biggest cappuccinos I’ve ever seen.

French Café in Manotick
French Café in Manotick

Heather plotted a great route for the return journey which included a short side trip that rode a local dam.

Checking out the dam
Checking out the dam

We had hoped to ford the stream that runs through Gaffney Park at another spot closer to the Rideau but the walking stones were completely submerged. It’s a great short portage in dryer seasons.

Downstream crossing, Spring flooded... but très Zen in the summer
Downstream crossing, Spring flooded… but très Zen come summer

Our return journey also took us further down the Rideau River along a path that goes under the fabulous Vimy Memorial Bridge.

View from under the bridge
View from under the bridge

On the north side of the bridge the path turns into a wooden boardwalk that weaves it’s way through the Chapman Mills Conservation Area. Lots of pedestrians on the boardwalk so be prepared for a slow leisurely pace through this area.

Boardwalk through the Conservation Area
Boardwalk through the Conservation Area

We pedalled along quiet Winding Way before cutting inland through quiet residential streets and parks before joining up with the bike path that runs along Woodroffe Avenue.

We parted company with Heather and Chris at West Hunt Club Road, which seems a fitting spot to sign off.

For an alternate route to Manotick that runs along Prince of Wales Drive heading out of Ottawa and back on the east side of the river, click here.