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.
I turned north on St Laurent and rode down the freshly painted bike lanes.
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.
Headed west along Putnam then left down Vaughan Street, both quiet residential streets 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.
One of my favourite routes from New Edinburgh to downtown takes me over the series of little white bridges along Union Street, then cuts through Lowertown, as described in the other route, however the bridges are presently under major renovation.
All the more incentive to try out the second stretch of new bike lanes along Sussex Avenue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
I rode the length of the Pinecrest Creek Pathway to Woodroffe Avenue.
On the south side of Woodroffe the path continues as the Experimental Farm Pathway.
On the south side of Maitland the path weaves it’s way up through a wooded area.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Here are views of these majestic sculptures as seen from outside as well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
South of Viewmount Drive the road morphs into a multi-use path that cuts through to Colonnade Road.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Bit of a challenge crossing the stream in Beryl Gaffney Park, but nary a soaker was had!
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.
Heather plotted a great route for the return journey which included a short side trip that rode a local 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.
Our return journey also took us further down the Rideau River along a path that goes under the fabulous Vimy Memorial 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.
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.
Canada is home to one of the largest populations of bears in the world. They have inspired sculptors from across the country and been depicted in many of their works. I have yet to come across a wild bear on any of my cycling exploits, as have these fortunate cyclists, however I’ve happened upon a number of sculptural interpretations of the Ursidae family throughout the capital. So, if you are a lover of bears, or sculptures of bears, this tour is for you!
We begin at the intersection of Sparks Street and Elgin Street where stands this big bronze statue of a fishing grizzly by artist Bruce Garner (for tours of other sculptural works by Bruce throughout the capital, click here).
I then rode around the National Arts Centre via the ramp off Elgin Street, and cut through Confederation Park to the National Aboriginal Veterans Monument, sculpted by Lloyd Pinay. A life sized bear is one of four animals depicted in the base of the bronze sculpture, each representing spirit guides. The bear symbolizes healing powers.
Our next stop is located in the Jeanne d’Arc Courtyard in the Byward Market. To get there I cut through the plaza in front of City Hall, then along quiet residential streets to the bike & pedestrian bridge over the canal at Somerset St. I then rode along the Rideau Canal, and crossed Colonel By Drive at Daly Avenue. The stretch of Colonel By/Sussex St between Daly and George where it intersects Rideau Street does not have a bike lane and most times of the week it is filled with cars, trucks and buses jostling their way through this busy intersection. The safest time to try this tour would be early Sunday morning when biking through this area isn’t so dangerous.
To access Jeanne d’Arc Courtyard from the south requires walking along the York Street sidewalk just off Sussex for a short distance. Within the courtyard you’ll find Dancing Bear by Inuit sculptor Pauta Salia.
Our last destination is Green Island located in the middle of the Rideau River. To get there I made my way from the Jeanne d’Arc Courtyard over to St Andrew Street which crosses busy King Edward at a signalled crosswalk. I then took Rose Street to the path through Bordeleau Park.
The path through the park pops out onto Union Street and over the white bridge onto Green Island. The Old City Hall covers most of Green Island, and in the central open space sits this sculpture of a polar bear perched on a metal pyramid engraved with star constellations. It is one of a grouping of three sculptures by Catherine Widgery titled Objective Memory. The pieces are surrounded by water in the summer months.
As I was riding home snowflakes started to fall signalling the arrival of our most recent storm. Unless we experience another freak thaw such as the one we just had between Christmas and New Year’s, this tour may have to wait until Spring. No worries, lots of great winter riding to come. All very bear-able.
Members of the community surrounding Bayshore Park came up with a great idea – to build a brick oven for people to come together and cook. The city has a Better Neighbourhoods Program to help support such initiatives. On Saturday I packed up some prepared bun dough and biked over to the park to attend one of their scheduled oven lightings, and it was fantastic.
The blue line on the map below describes the route I followed to get there. Purple lines are deviations I took on the way back.
Our adventure begins at the base of the hill leading up from the O-Train path to Somerset St, both of which are cleared of snow! If anyone needs a bike route to get to this starting point, send me your cross street and I would be pleased to figure it out.
I crossed Somerset and followed the cleared bike lane to the west side of the bridge. UPDATE: On January 5th this bike lane and the one on the opposite side of street were not cleared of snow, and it is uncertain when or if they will be plowed. When they aren’t cleared I take to the sidewalk, as cars tend to speed when heading up and over this bridge.
The bike lane ends suddenly on the other side so I took the short set of stairs to the right, down to Breezehill Avenue.
I then wove my way along quiet streets through the Hintonburg and Wellington Village neighbourhoods, all the way to the intersection of Scott Street and Carleton Avenue where there are lights to safely cross speedy Scott Street. I then followed the cleared multi-use path that runs along the north side of Scott.
The path continues to be cleared beyond Churchill where Scott ends, as far the parkway along the river. The path that runs along the south side of the parkway isn’t cleared, however there is a very well trampled desire-line path to Fraser Avenue that was easy to follow, especially with my studded front tire.
I biked up quiet Fraser and across Richmond road at the lights to access the multi-use path that runs between Richmond and Byron all the way to New Orchard Avenue.
I crossed back over to the north side of Richmond at New Orchard Avenue where there are traffic lights. The bike lane heading west along Richmond starts at New Orchard, however the level of snow clearing varied. Between New Orchard and the bridge it wasn’t great, however the lane heading over the bridge was cleared.
Once over the bridge I turned onto Regina Lane that runs parallel to Richmond for a short spell. There’s a great mural part way down the lane. More detailed photos of the work can be found here.
I continued along residential streets through the Lincoln Heights neighbourhood, and took advantage of a small opening in the fence along Greenview Avenue to access Farrow Street.
The final challenge was to get to Bayshore Drive without having to ride along busy Carling Avenue. This required following a couple of short, well traversed but not cleared, pedestrian paths between Kempster to Wylie avenue and Oakley to Birchdale avenue.
Then it was across Carling to Bayshore Drive, along Woodridge Crescent, and into Bayshore Park where sits the communal oven. When I arrived there were a whole bunch of wonderful people cooking and sharing an assortment of dishes. Tom, the head baker of the day cooked up the little buns I had prepared and they turned out perfect! Everyone was very pleased.
To know more about how the oven came to be check out this CBC interview with John McDougall the oven builder and Mete Pamir, one of the community organizers. They also have a Facebook page with more history.
Time to head home. On the return trip I couldn’t ride back along Regina Lane because it’s a one way heading west. Closer to Centretown, I avoided Breezehill because it’s hard to see cars coming when crossing Bayswater heading east, as the two streets meet on the inside of a curve. Crossing Somerset at the top of the Breezehill stairs to get to the bike lane heading east is a bit tricky as well, as it’s hard to see cars coming over the crest of the bridge.
Alexandre wrote, “Just moved into Gattawa from Montreal and biking routes will be a challenge. For one thing, what’s the best way to safely bike from Gatineau Park to Ottawa? Or to Aylmer?”.
Thanks for asking! Here’s a safe route from the park to Ottawa.
Our adventure begins at the P3 parking lot along the Gatineau Parkway, also referred to as the Gatineau Park Welcome Area. There one can find a big interpretive map panel showing paths that lead into the rest of the park. There is also an interpretive kiosk with helpful information officers. I joined the Gatineau Park Pathway just to the left of these very well designed interpretive panels.
A hundred yards or so further along, the path crosses another path that runs east-west (it used to be Rue Gamelin). I continued south.
The path follows the road for a bit before dipping left through a beautiful wooded area.
It The path continues alongside the road over Boulevard des Allumetières before heading back through the woods.
The path ends at the southernmost tip of the park, at Boulevard Alexandre-Taché. I continued across the intersection down quiet Rue Belleau.
At the end of Belleau there’s a path that turns off to the left.
A bit further on there’s a fork in the road. This is the Voyageurs Pathway. By turning right you’d be heading west, which will take you all the way to Aylmer. It’s a great ride, described in more detail in this post.
I turned left and headed towards Ottawa.
The path eventually meets up with Boulevard Alexandre Taché once again, just beyond some train tracks, and turns right alongside Boulevard Alexandre Taché.
The only spooky bit along this route is at the corner of Boulevard Alexandre-Taché and Rue Eddy. I keep further back and closer to the wall while waiting for the light to change than these fine cyclists ahead of me because I’ve witnessed cars and trucks clip the corner of the sidewalk in their rush to turn onto Eddy and over into Ottawa. I’ve also seen cyclists turn on to Eddy, which I would never have the guts to do as that bridge is very narrow with afore mentioned impatient car & truck drivers. Instead I cross through the intersection and continue along the path on the opposite side.
The path continues east, eventually going under the Portage Bridge before popping out in front of this sculpture by Phyllis Kurtz Fine. Turning left takes you behind the Museum of History and the opportunity to cross over to Ottawa on the Alexandra Bridge. I turned right and made my way along the bike path over the Portage Bridge.
Once on the other side of the bridge there are a myriad of options, depending on your final destination. I went left, just like this guy, and headed west along the Ottawa River Pathway. Et voila!
Beth is seeking safe ways to bike commute from the northern section of Little Italy to the eastern edge of Pointe-Gatineau. I scouted out a route that is almost entirely along bike paths, as identified by the blue line on the map below. Red line is the slight variation I took on the way back. Green line is another route Beth test rode last week that is also almost entirely along bike paths, however the path was flooded in a few areas near the confluence of the Gatineau and Ottawa Rivers forcing her to do a bit of a detour. It’s a great route too, best ridden a little later in the season. UPDATE 2017: (see pink line on following map) There’s a great new bike lane on the east side of the Gatineau that runs between Rue Jacques Cartier and the Ottawa River which joins up with the Route Vert path heading north, then the bike lanes along Montée Paiement. This takes you straight to our final destination. This new section is described in this post.
We begin at the recently renovated Primrose Park, corner of Primrose and Rochester St.
There is a short path at the northwest corner of the park that cuts through to a lane that leads to Preston St.
I turned north on Preston and rode half a block to the lights at Albert, crossed at the lights and rode east along the bike path.
I turned left off the path onto bumpy Commissioner St, which leads to the Ottawa River Pathway which continues under Wellington St.
Once beyond the Wellington St underpass I turned left up along the path over the Portage Bridge. On the other side of the bridge I turned right onto the Voyageurs Pathway and circled under the Portage Bridge and headed east.
I crossed Boulevard Alexandre-Taché at the lights at the corner of Rue Montcalm and joined the Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway like so.
The path takes a short detour around construction just in front of Théâtre de L’Île. It’s a short detour around the parking and over the canal bridge. Once on the other side of the bridge I turned right onto Rue Taylor which hugs the side of the stream, eventually becoming the Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway at it’s northern end once again.
The path dips down and under Rue Montcalm and meanders along the ruisseau for quite a spell.
The path eventually goes back over the ruisseau and continues downstream on the other side.
The path continues under Highway 5, however there were these P-gates just before the underpass and a sign warning that it may be flooded.
A cyclist popped out from the other side just as I approached and reassured me that there was only about a couple of inches of water across the path, so I went and took a look, and she was right, so I rode on through.
I turned left over a small wooden bridge a short distance beyond the underpass. This took me towards Lac Leamy.
Before going any further I would like to pause and contemplate this little wooden bridge, which I have come to call The Little Bridge From Hell! You see, the last time I rode over it I crashed, resulting in a meniscal tear in my knee, sidelining me for a good chunk of last Fall. A light drizzle had fallen that morning making the wooden surface very slippery. Heading back over the bridge in the opposite direction, the path suddenly turns to the right. one’s instinct is to start to turn while still on the bridge, as suggested by the tire tracks in the image below. When I did so my tires slipped right out from under me. As I put my right leg out to brace my fall my foot slipped uncontrollably in the opposite direction, bringing all my weight down on my knee. Thus the injury. SO, hard lesson learned, if it’s raining or frosty, go very slowly over this innocent looking little bridge and don’t start to turn until you reach the asphalt on the other side.
OK, on with our tour. The path continues along until it joins the Leamy Lake Pathway. One could normally choose to go either to the left or the right around the lake, however at this time of year the east side of the lake gets very flooded, so I stuck to the left.
A bit further along the path I encountered another minor wet spot, also very manageable. Shoes didn’t even get wet.
Around the other side of the lake, just beyond the parking lot, I turned left onto the Gatineau River Pathway.
The path forks at the edge of the elevated Rapibus transit way. I followed the path to the right under the transit way.
I then followed the path alongside the transit way, up and over the Gatineau River.
Everything becomes a bit of a dogs breakfast once the path reaches Boulevard de la Gappe. The path crosses the train tracks, and continues on the opposite corner through the traffic lights. See big white arrow in photo below.
The path weaves it’s way the entire length of Boulevard de la Gappe to our destination, Boulevard de la Cité.
There’s a swimming pool close by with one of the cleverest bike rack/wall mural combos in the region.
On the way back I decided to avoid riding along the Gatineau River and around Leamy Lake by continuing alongside the Rapidbus transit way to where it ends at Boulevard Montclair. I crossed Montclair at the lights and rode east.
Montclair can be a pretty busy street with fast moving cars, but there is a bike lane that takes you to the path that accesses the Ruisseau de la Brasserie Pathway.
Heading towards Pointe Gatineau along this alternate route would require biking on the sidewalk against traffic as far as the lights across from the start of the bike path beside the transit way, however I’ve rarely seen any pedestrians along this sidewalk. If any are encountered there is plenty of opportunity to see them coming to dismount and walk your bike past them with a great big smile! So there you have it – a few fine ways to bike to Pointe Gatineau!