Biking to and Skiing Through the Arboretum : Version 2

Ottawa is very fortunate to have a wonderful arboretum quite close to Centretown, located between the Rideau Canal to the east and Prince of Wales Drive to the west. A four kilometre machine groomed cross-country ski trail that runs through it has recently been prepared for the annual Winterlude Triathlon. Normally the breaking in of ski trails is left to intrepid skiers, as described in my first post on Biking to and Skiing Through the Arboretum. This modus operandi will most likely return once the next significant snow fall occurs, however until then it is definitely worth taking advantage of the groomed trail, identified by the purple line on the map below. Accessing the arboretum from the edge of Dows Lake is a fine way to get to the trail. The blue line on the map is a suggested bike route to get there from Centretown. Here’s how it goes.

Our adventure begins near the corner of Somerset and Cambridge. I bundled my skis and poles into a ski bag, strapped them to the side of my hiking backpack, and headed out.

Heading out!
And we’re off!

I rode along quiet streets towards Dow’s Lake, crossing busy Gladstone at the traffic lights at Arthur Street. On the opposite side of Gladstone I continued down Arthur Lane.

View across Gladstone to Arthur Lane
View across Gladstone to Arthur Lane

To get beyond the Queensway I turned on to Booth Street from Arlington. As Booth is one of the few roads that goes under the Queensway it can get busy, particularly during the week. A meridian has recently been added to the middle of the road along Booth just north of the Queensway underpass, narrowing the lane at this pinch point. If traffic is heavy I may choose to take to the sidewalk along Booth between Arlington to Raymond Street. This Sunday it wasn’t so bad. Booth Street widens once again beyond the intersection at Raymond as it heads under the Queensway.

SQUEEZE! - Pinch point, intersection at Booth & Raymond
SQUEEZE! – Pinch point, intersection at Booth & Raymond

At the north end of Booth there are traffic lights to help get across busy Carling Avenue. On the other side of Carling there is a plowed path that cuts through Commissioner’s Park to the Queen Elizabeth Driveway.

Access to path through Commissioner's Park on the other side of Carling
Access to path through Commissioner’s Park on the other side of Carling

There aren’t any traffic signals to help get across the Driveway to the Rideau Canal Western Pathway so watch out as drivers tend to speed along this stretch. It’s a much calmer crossing on Winterlude weekends when they close the Driveway for all vehicles except OC Transpo shuttle buses.
I then rode along the Rideau Canal Western Pathway, which is cleared throughout the winter, to the Dow’s Lake Pavilion.

Rideau Canal Western Pathway towards the Dows Lake Pavilion
Rideau Canal Western Pathway towards the Dows Lake Pavilion

To get to the groomed ski trail I took the well travelled path just to the right of the Dow’s Lake service ramp. If this path proves to be inaccessible by bike, I would lock my bike to a post or canal railing near the pavilion and ski in from this location, however on this occaision I had no difficulty getting through.

Trail to the right of Dow's Lake access ramp......that continues past the canons
Trail to the right of Dow’s Lake access ramp……that continues past the canons

I then locked my bike to this sign post a short distance further along the path, right where the groomed trail passes by. I’ve found this to be a fine spot to access the Arboretum to go skiing, even without a machine groomed trail as most often another skier has already arrived ahead of me, although early one morning after a big snowfall my daughter and I took the lead and broke trail, which can be exciting too.

Trailhead
Trailhead

The trail winds through the arboretum like so.

Trail through Arboretum
Trail

One of the joys of the arboretum in the winter is seeing the varied mix of users, making it a veritable winter playground. On a typical outing one may expect to come across snow shoers, skiers, tobogganers, skaters along the canal, fellow cyclists and dog walkers.

Happy trails!
Happy trails!

UPDATE– February 2nd: It snowed a few centimetres last night, making the trail less groomed but discernible. Someone had ridden a Fat Bike along the packed skate ski portion of the trail which must have been fun. Portions of the trail run along paths popular with dog walkers, but the classic ski tracks are off to the side. I hope to revisit the route throughout the winter. Definitely worth it.

Arboretum trail

Biking to the Rideau Canal Skateway from Centretown

One of Ottawa’s finest winter assets is the the Rideau Canal Skateway. Walking there from most parts of Centretown is pretty good, but if you live on the western edge of the ward it may be more convenient to go by bike. Here’s how.

If your starting point is west of Bronson, find your way to Arthur street and head north (see blue line on the following map). There’s a traffic light to help get across busy Somerset. Turn right on Primrose, then left on Cambridge, which veers right and becomes Laurier. On the other side of the lights at the intersection of Laurier and Bronson is the start of the Laurier Bike Lane heading east, which is cleared and salted throughout the winter.

Laurier Bike Lane
Laurier Bike Lane

If you are starting on the east side of Bronson, the safest road to follow to the Laurier Bike Lane is Bay Street, a one way heading north. It has a bike lane that is not cleared in the winter, but sections of it are often partially visible, depending on the amount of snow.

I follow the Laurier Bike Lane all the way to the plaza at City Hall, just east of Elgin Street. I then cross Laurier at the crosswalk in front of the plaza and cut through Confederation Park where there are stairs down to the canal skateway. You can lock your bike to the steel tube railing that runs pretty much the length of the canal.

Rideau Canal Access point at Confederation Park
Rideau Canal Access point at Confederation Park

The canal is void of skaters in the above photo because this section hadn’t opened yet, however when it is good-to-go it tends to be very busy, especially on weekends or during Winterlude, so I often prefer accessing the canal at the end of Somerset street. To do so, I cut through the plaza and around City Hall (purple line on above map). I then follow quiet side streets and cross Queen Elizabeth Drive at Somerset where there is a crosswalk to the canal pathway. There are some cleared stairs that bring you down to the ice, just to the right of the pedestrian bridge over the canal, like so.

Access to skate way at the end of Somerset St
Access to skate way at the end of Somerset St

The paths along either side of the canal are cleared, so you can bike to to most of the many access stairs.

On the way back I followed the canal path to and through Confederation Park (green line on map).

Path through Confederation park
Path through Confederation park

This brought me to the corner of Elgin and Laurier, and back on the Laurier Bike lane heading west. The segregated & cleared portion unfortunately ends at Bay Street. There is a narrow non-segregated bike lane but it isn’t cleared. Laurier is a busy street. If the lane is full of snow I take to the sidewalk.

Laurier west of Lyon
Laurier west of Lyon

If you are staying on the east side of Bronson, the best street to take south is Percy. It too has a bike lane, but similar to the one on Bay, it isn’t cleared in the winter. I live west of Bronson, so I continue straight along Laurier and cross at the traffic lights at Bronson.

Et voila – happy skating!

Carla on opening day, 2015
Carla on opening day, 2015

Bears in the Capital! An Ottawa Bike Tour

Canada is home to one of the largest populations of bears in the world. I have yet to come across one on my cycling exploits (like these guys) however there are some fine sculptural interpretations of members of the family Ursidae throughout the nation’s 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 Metcalfe 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).

Territorial Perogative

I then rode along Sparks to Elgin Street, then past the WarMemorial and down around the National Arts Centre via the ramp off Elgin Street. I then 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.

National Aboriginal Veterans Monument
National Aboriginal Veterans Monument

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 Street. 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.

Dancing Bear
Dancing Bear

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.

Objective Memory by Catherine Widgery
Objective Memory

As I was riding home snowflakes started to fall. 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.

Biking over the Strandherd Bridge!

The long awaited opening of the Strandherd Bridge has happened. (Update Nov 2014 – now officially renamed the Vimy Memorial Bridge) Early Saturday morning I took the opportunity to bike over and test it out!

The route I followed to get to the bridge was the same as the one described in this post, as far as Leikin Drive. Mid way along Leikin I turned east and worked my way along paths and residential streets to get to the Chapman Mills Conservation Area which lies just north of the bridge. There’s a pedestrian boardwalk that meanders through the Conservation Area along the edge of the river, with lookouts and interpretive panels that describe the area’s natural environment.

Boardwalk through Conservation Area
Boardwalk through Chapman Mills Conservation Area

I walked my bike along the boardwalk to the southern edge of the Conservation Area where the path opens up onto this impressive side view of the bridge.

Side view
Side view

The path circles under the bridge, which affords some great views of it’s ribbed underbelly and massive footings.

Strandherd underbelly

Crossing under the bridge
It’s all under the bridge

This path leads up to the sidewalk along Strandherd Drive which runs alongside the bike lane over the bridge. I decided to video the momentous occasion, so without further ado, here is the Ottawa Velo Outaouais Peddle Powered Crossing of the new Strandherd Bridge!

Et voila!

Once on the other side of the river I cut through a residential area along paths and roads, rode along Spratt then Limebank to Leitrim Road, then along High Road beside the airport. From here on in I followed the same route described in this post.

n.b. Prince of Wales Drive is a busy street which I don’t recommend biking along at anytime other than early mornings on weekends, as described in this post. Hopefully this will be improved upon as soon as possible, because Manotick could be a great bike tourism draw if there was a safer way to get there from downtown along the west shore of the Rideau River.

Architects on Bikes Checking Out Buildings: Episode 2 – Sarah Gelbard

For the second instalment of Architects on Bikes Checking Out Buildings I asked Sarah Gelbard to recommend buildings she admires within our region, and she accepted! Sarah is a graduate of architecture at Carleton, and is heading off to McGill to do her doctorate on Urban Planning in the Fall. She’s very active within the local design community, as evident in her YOWLAB initiative. She’s also one of this year’s organizers of Architecture Week AND she loves to cycle! My architect-sister-Sue had so much fun on our first instalment of Architects on Bikes Checking Out Buildings, she jumped at the occasion to come along for the ride.

Sarah’s first choice was The Sister’s of Notre Dame campus off Heron Road, while her second choice was The Old City Hall on Sussex Drive. We met up at Art Is In Bakery in City Centre early Saturday morning and headed off. Here’s the route we followed.

We wove our way south-east along bike paths and quiet streets until we reached the Sister’s of Notre Dame campus. This series of buildings were designed by Tim Murray of Murray and Murray Associates, and completed in 1965 for the Sisters of the Congregation of Notre-Dame. The Sisters operated it as an educational facility up until the 1970’s, at which time it was purchased by Canadian Government and renamed the Federal Study Centre. We were able to meander our way through the campus and admire the various buildings.

View across campus, bell tower to the left (photo by Sarah Gelbard)
View across campus, bell tower to the left (photo by Sarah)
Pavilion K
Pavilion K
Pavilion A
Pavilion A
Sarah riding past Pavilion D
Sarah riding past Pavilion D
Brick screen (photo by Sarah)
Layered surfaces & brick screen (photo by Sarah)

The brick work was interesting. In contrast to smooth glazed finishes popular in the ’60’s when these buildings were constructed, these bricks were roughly poured resulting in wall surfaces of richly varied textures.

Brick wall
Brick wall

We then worked our way over to Pleasant Park Road, and biked north to the Rideau River Eastern Pathway, which we followed down river all the way to our second destination: The Old City Hall on Sussex Drive. We approached the site from the back, via the Minto Bridge. The arch to the right in the photo below was designed by Moshe Safdie and added to the site along with a number of other additions when the original building was expanded upon in 1992-93.

Minto Bridges & Old City Hall Arch
Minto Bridges & Old City Hall Arch (photo by Sarah)

To get to the front of the building on Sussex we rode along the contour of these additions on the northern perimeter of the building, also introduced by Safdie, that bulge out into the Rideau River. I love how they appear to float on the river’s surface.

North side of Old City Hall
North side of Old City Hall

Sarah mentioned being particularly fond of the original building,designed by John Bland of the office of Rother, Bland and Trudeau, 1955-58, as seen in this shot she took of the front facade. She also mentioned a great Urbsite Post that includes original photos of the original building designed in the International Style in 1958, which you can check out by clicking here.

Front of the original Old City Hall (photo by Sarah)
Front of the original Old City Hall (photo by Sarah)

We then rode along a path on the south side of the building. There are many wonderful nooks and architectural details to be discovered throughout this site – definitely worth a visit.

South Side of Old City Hall
South Side of Old City Hall

Architectural exploration complete, we rode back across town for well a deserved break at Raw Sugar Cafe. UPDATE 2017: Hélas, Raw Sugar closed down a couple of years ago.

Bike commute from Primrose Park to Pointe-Gatineau

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.

And away we go!
And away we go!

There is a short path at the northwest corner of the park that cuts through to a lane that leads to Preston St.

Path to Preston St
Path 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.

Looking across the to the bike path heading east along Albert.
Looking across the to the bike path heading east along Albert.

I turned left off the path onto bumpy Commissioner St, which leads to the Ottawa River Pathway which continues under Wellington St.

Down Commissioners st onto bike path.
Down Commissioners st onto bike path.

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.

Voyageurs pathway access off the Portage Bridge
Voyageurs pathway access off the Portage Bridge

I crossed Boulevard Alexandre-Taché at the lights at the corner of Rue Montcalm and joined the Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway like so.

Start of the Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway at the north west corner of Montcalm and Alexandre-Taché
Start of the Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway at the north west corner of Montcalm and Alexandre-Taché

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.

Rue Taylor along the western side of the ruisseau
Rue Taylor along the western side of the ruisseau

The path dips down and under Rue Montcalm and meanders along the ruisseau for quite a spell.

Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway as it dips under Rue Montcalm
Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway as it dips under Rue Montcalm

The path eventually goes back over the ruisseau and continues downstream on the other side.

Continuing on the Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway
Continuing on the Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway

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.

Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Path just before going under Boulevard des Allumettières
Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Path just before going under Boulevard des Allumettières

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.

Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway heading under the Boulevard des Allumetières
Ruisseau-de-la-brasserie Pathway heading under the Highway 5

I turned left over a small wooden bridge a short distance beyond the underpass. This took me towards Lac Leamy.

Left over bridge just beyond the Highway 5 underpass.
Left over bridge just beyond the Highway 5 underpass.

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.

The Little Bridge From Hell
The Little Bridge From Hell

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.

Path around Lac Leamy
Path around Lac Leamy

A bit further along the path I encountered another minor wet spot, also very manageable. Shoes didn’t even get wet.

Bit of water on the path
Bit of water on the Lac Leamy Pathway

Around the other side of the lake, just beyond the parking lot, I turned left onto the Gatineau River Pathway.

Left onto the Gatineau River Pathway
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.

Path under the Rapibus Transitway.
Path under the Rapibus Transitway.

I then followed the path alongside the transit way, up and over the Gatineau River.

Path up to the bridge over the Gatineau River
Path up to the bridge 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.

Path continues on the opposite corner of Boulevard de la Gappe
Path continues on the opposite corner of Boulevard de la Gappe

The path weaves it’s way the entire length of Boulevard de la Gappe to our destination, Boulevard de la Cité.

Path along Boulevard de la Gappe
Path along Boulevard de la Gappe

There’s a swimming pool close by with one of the cleverest bike rack/wall mural combos in the region.

Cool bike rack
Excellent bike rack

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.

Left onto Montclair
Left onto Montclair

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.

Bike lane along Montcair at pathway to Ruisseau de la Brasserie
Bike lane along Montcair at pathway to Ruisseau de la Brasserie

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!

Bike commute from The Glebe to Gloucester High School

Chris was wondering what route I would choose to get from Fifth and Bank in the Glebe over to Gloucester High School in the east end of town. It’s a tricky ride. The challenge lies in figuring out safe ways to cross a number of major north-south arteries including the Rideau Canal, the Rideau River, the Vanier Parkway, St Laurent Boulevard and the Aviation Parkway, without the route becoming too erratic. I also wanted to avoid bicycling down busy streets. Here’s what I came up with. Blue line shows how I got there. Red lines are variations I took on the way back.

All set to go!
All set to go!

Headed straight down Fifth Avenue towards the Canal. Crossing Queen Elizabeth Drive to get to the path along the canal can take awhile if traffic is heavy, however this will be alleviated when traffic lights are installed at the intersection this summer. UPDATE – July 2014: Signalled crossing is in!

Rode north along the path and crossed at Pretoria Bridge, which has a bike lane.

Up and over Pretoria Bridge
Up and over Pretoria Bridge

That took me to the intersection of Hawthorne Avenue and Colonel By, on the east side of the bridge. Things get a little tricky at this spot. If traffic is bad I recommend crossing to the opposite corner and walking your bike for a short distance along the sidewalk to where it veers left along Echo Drive, like so.

Making your way over to Echo Drive
Making your way over to Echo Drive

I then turned down the first street on the left which is Graham Avenue. It has a bike lane.

Graham Ave
Graham Ave

Three quarters of the way down Graham Ave, before reaching Main Street, I took a shortcut through the parking lot of the school on the right to avoid Main as much as possible.

Shortcut
Shortcut

Unfortunately I had to ride along Main for a block before turning left onto Springhurst Avenue. UPDATE – Summer 2017: There are now protected bike lanes along Main Street.

When traffic is heavy along Main, as it tends to be at rush hour, I cross at these lights at Evelyn Avenue and walk my bike along the sidewalk to Springhurst. UPDATE – Oct 2014: A section of Lees, joined at the end of Graham, now has a bike lane heading east, as described in this post, providing an alternative to riding along Main. There is no bike lane along Lees heading west so I took Evelyn Ave on the way back, as per the above map, thus avoiding riding along dangerous Main and Lees.

Main St. Turn of to Springhurst is at the red brick building
Main St. Turn off to Springhurst is at the red brick building

I rode to the end of Springhurst to get on this stone dust path and veered left for a short distance along the edge of the Rideau River as far as the Transitway bridge. UPDATE – Spring 2016: An important link along this route, the bike path along the transit bridge over the Rideau River, is closed for LRT construction Until January 2018. An alternative route around this construction site is shown as an orange line on the above map.

Path at the end of Springhurst
Path at the end of Springhurst

I took the path along the transitway bridge over the river, like so.

Bridge over the Rideau River
Bridge over the Rideau River

Once on the other side of the river I turned right, circled under the bridge, and headed east along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

The path under the Queensway remains accessible while they continue with construction, however the passageway under the scaffolding is pretty narrow so watch out for oncoming traffic.

Path under Queensway
Path under Queensway

I turned off the path at the sign pointing to River Road.

Exit
Exit

I turned right off River Road onto Presland. There’s a pedestrian cross signal to get across the Vanier Parkway.

Crosswalk signal at Presland and Vanier Parkway
Crosswalk signal at Presland and Vanier Parkway

I continued all the way down Presland which became Hardy Rd.

Presland Road - nice quiet street.
Presland Road – nice quiet street.

At the end of Hardy I wove my way north-east a few blocks and crossed St Laurent Boulevard at Donald St. It’s a 4 lane intersection, but not for too long beyond St Laurent. I then wove my way further north-east along quiet residential streets to Gardenvale Road, off of which there is a short path that takes you to the Aviation Pathway.

Path off Gardenvale....up to Aviation Pathway
Path off Gardenvale….up to Aviation Pathway

I then crossed Aviation Parkway at the entrance to the Cité Collégiale and rode along its narrow but adequate bike lane into the centre of campus.

Road into the centre of La cité collégiale campus
Road into the centre of La cité collégiale campus

I rode through the campus, turned left on Bathgate Drive, then turned right into the National Research Council campus.

Riding on Bathgate just before the turn onto the NRC campus
Riding on Bathgate just before the turn onto the NRC campus

Wove my way through the NRC campus, then turned right on Blair, which is a speedy two lane road, but I only followed it for a short bit and it has a bike lane.

Bike lane on Blair Road
Bike lane on Blair Road

Turned left into the quiet residential area of Cardinal Heights along Mowat St, then right on Crownhill St, and finally left on Appleford St which brought me right to Gloucester High School. Ta-da!

Gloucester High School seen from Appleford St and Ogilvie Road
Gloucester High School seen from Appleford St and Ogilvie Road

Now on first blush one might think it preferable to take the more direct route from the end of Hardy St along Coventry Road and Ogilvie Road beyond St Laurent Blvd. There is a bike lane along Ogilve Road as indicated on Google Maps bike layer, however Ogilvie Road is a 4-6 lane highway wannabe, and the bike lane ends at Blair Road heading east. I took this route heading back. Here’s what it’s like just west of Blair. Lots of trucks too.

Ogilvie Road just west of Blair.
Ogilvie Road just west of Blair.

Coventry Road doesn’t have a bike lane, and this is what St Laurent looks like from Ogilvie looking across to Coventry.

St Laurent looking across to Coventry Road
St Laurent looking across to Coventry Road

Google maps estimated the alternate route I chose through Cite Colégiale and the NRC would take an additional 10 minutes versus heading straight down Coventry and Ogilvie.

So there you have it. It was nice to get back on Presland.

Presland2

Bike commute from the intersection of Aviation Parkway & Montreal Road to Downtown

Chris was wondering if I could recommend a safe route from the intersection of Aviation Parkway and Montreal Road to the path below Parliament Hill. Here’s what I came up with. Blue line on the map is the route I followed. Red line is an alternate route described in more detail on the May 15th ‘Bike commute from Rockcliffe Park to Downtown and Chinatown‘ post.

Our journey begins at the North/West corner of the Aviation Parkway and Montreal Road, across from the CMHC headquarters where I joined the Aviation Parkway Path and headed north.

Access to the Aviation Pathway at the north/west corner of Montreal Road and the Aviation Parkway
Access to the Aviation Pathway at the north/west corner of Montreal Road and the Aviation Parkway

The path weaves it’s way through a wooded area. Just before the path exits the wooded area there is a short unmarked dirt path that turns off to the left. This path brought me to Truro St.

Dirt path along Aviation Pathway
Dirt path along Aviation Pathway

I turned left on Truro, then right on Britany Drive. I followed Britany Drive down to where it crosses St Laurent Boulevard. There are painted yellow dots on the asphalt at this intersection. Stopping your bike above these dots activates the timer for the lights to change.

Yellow dots at the intersection of Britany Drive and St Laurent.
Yellow dots at the intersection of Britany Drive and St Laurent.

I crossed St Laurent and continued straight on Dunbarton Ct which eventually turns to the left. A bit further on I turned right onto a lane covered with pavers with an open waffle pattern. The lane is a short bumpy connection to Pauline Charron Pl. UPDATE- November 2016 – The connection has been rendered un-bumpy!

Lane connecting Dunbarton Ct & Pauline Charron Pl
Lane connecting Dunbarton Ct & Pauline Charron Pl

I followed Pauline Charron to a path off to the right that cuts through Richelieu Park over to the Richelieu-Vanier Community Centre parking lot.

Path into Richelieu Park
Path into Richelieu Park

I continued through the parking lot past the crowned statue of Mary dressed in blue, and down Pères Blancs Ave. as far as it went to Marier Ave.

Through the parking lot, around past Mary in blue
Through the parking lot, around past Mary in blue

I turned left on Marier, past the house with the wild collection of plastic lawn ornaments.

Left on Marier
Left on Marier

Just a bit further on I turned right on Hannah St.

Turn right on Hannah. Don't know this guy. Sheer coincidence he rode by as I took the picture.
Turning right on Hannah. Don’t know this cyclist. He rode by as I took the picture.

I continued a short distance along Hannah St and turned right onto Deschamps Ave.

Turning right on Deschamps. Don't know this guy either. Lots of riders in Vanier!
Turned right on Deschamps, just like this cyclist. Lots of riders in Vanier!

I crossed the busy Vanier Parkway at the signalled crosswalk at the end of Deschamps Avenue. This is a much safer location to cross than either Montreal Road or St Patrick St.

Crosswalk at Vanier Parkway
Crosswalk at Vanier Parkway

There’s short path on the other side of the Vanier Parkway that links to Coupal St. I followed Coupal to North River Road, then crossed the park along a path that linked up with the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.

Path through the park at the end of Coupal St
Path through the park at the end of Coupal St

The path goes under the St Patrick Street bridge as far as Stanley Ave. The route continues west along Stanley for a short distance before re-becoming the pathway just beyond the playground.

Rideau River Pathway along Stanley Ave for a short distance
Rideau River Pathway along Stanley Ave for a short distance

I rode along the pathway, then crossed the white Minto bridges over the Rideau River. The bridges are presently closed to vehicular traffic but not to bicycles. Whenever they do re-open to car traffic, and if you aren’t comfortable with sharing an open metal gridded surface with cars (the sound car tires make on these surfaces can be pretty spooky and intimidating), you can push your bike across the very generous wooden sidewalk on the side of the short bridges.

Minto bridges
Minto bridges

Once over the bridges I turned left onto the path that takes you along the river.

Path into Bordeleau Park
Path into Bordeleau Park

A bit further on the path forks to the left along the river, or right towards King Edward. I stayed left.

'Bear left! Right frog.'
‘Bear left! Right frog.’

I followed the path until it reached Rose St. I went down Rose St, then turned right on St Andrew to the crosswalk across King Edward Avenue.

King Edward crosswalk at St Andrew
King Edward crosswalk at St Andrew

I then followed St Andrew all the way to Sussex Drive. Sussex is presently under construction, however I was able to cross over to the National Gallery drop off lane way. As construction is unpredictable by nature, or if traffic is heavy along Sussex, one may be required to walk one’s bike along the east sidewalk of Sussex for a couple of blocks and cross Sussex at the lights at St Patrick.

Sussex at St Andrew
Sussex at St Andrew

When all the construction is completed there will be bike lanes along Sussex that will extend all the way to Stanley Avenue and beyond, as described in this attachment (click).

Once on the open plaza in front of the National Gallery I crossed over to the pathway that runs along the edge of Major’s Hill Park right here.

Where to cross to the path that runs along Major's Hill Park
Where to cross to the path that runs along Major’s Hill Park

I turned right onto the pathway and followed it to the end of Major’s Hill Park, before turning left onto the paved lane that goes down what my good friend Nadia calls Bastard Hill. It’s really steep.

Where to turn off the path on and head down the hill to the Ottawa River
Where to turn off the path on and head down the hill to the Ottawa River

This winds down to the canal locks, over which you cross to get to our final destination – the path below Parliament Hill. Ta-dah!

Canal locks
Canal locks

Bike commute from Kenson Park to Overbrook

A number of studies have shown that a large proportion of commuters want to bike to work but hesitate to do so for lack of a safe route to follow. I have an open offer to scope out a safe bike route to anyone within the national capital region. All I need is two cross streets – one to start from and a final destination. Halden took me up on my offer, starting from the intersection of Woodroffe and Iris at the edge of the Kenson Park neighbourhood in the west end, to the intersection of Vanier Parkway and Coventry Road in the Overbrook neighbourhood. He’s already a regular bike commuter but thought it would be interesting to see the route I scope out compared to his. Me too! Here’s what I came up with.

The Blue line is the one I recommend- a very picturesque route almost entirely along bike paths. The red line is a short cut that shaves 15 minutes off but traverses the not-so-safe Bank Street Bridge over the Rideau River. More about that later. The green line shows the route Halden takes. After crossing the locks at Carleton he rides along the canal and cuts over to the Rideau River along Graham Avenue, Lees Avenue, then through the Ottawa U Lees campus. Lees is a pretty busy road so one’s comfort level with riding in traffic would be an important factor in choosing this route.

And away we go! First I headed east on Iris.

Nice quiet street. Easy on the Iris.
Nice quiet street. Easy on the Iris.

The Experimental Farm Pathway crosses Iris. I got on the path and continued eastwardly.

Experimental Farm Pathway at Iris
Experimental Farm Pathway at Iris

This interesting building is located just south of where the path crosses Maitland. I used to think it was some sort of power station associated with the hydro towers that ran past it. Well it is a power station but of a very different sort. It’s the Trinity United Church designed by the late Ottawa architect James Strutt.

Trinity Church
Trinity Church

The path winds up and over Carlington Heights, then down through the farm.

Branches budding on the edge of the farm.
Branches budding on the edge of the farm.

Things get a little screwy where the path meets Fisher. To continue along the path on the other side requires riding south along Fisher for a hundred yards or so and crossing at the lights, like so.

Crossing Fisher Ave
Crossing Fisher Ave

The path becomes Cow Lane, and then turns right on Morningside Lane.

Corner of Cow and Morningside Lanes
Corner of Cow and Morningside Lanes

Midway down Morningside Lane there is a small road on your left that takes you to an intersection with traffic lights across Prince of Wales Drive. The path continues along the road on the other side of Prince of Wales, and ends by the canal locks across from Carleton U. I pushed my bikes over the top set of locks.

Up and over the locks
Up and over the locks

On the other side of the canal I followed the path to the right (blue arrow). The red arrow is the way you’d go for the alternative route on the above map across the Carleton campus and Bronson, through Ottawa South and across the dreaded Bank St Bridge. The green arrow points is the direction Halden takes.

Route options on the south side of the canal
Route options on the south side of the canal
Biking up the canal (the blue arrow direction)
Biking up the canal (the blue arrow direction)

The path pops out at Mooney’s Bay and crosses over the river.

Bridge over troubled waters
Bridge over troubled waters

On the other side of the bridge the path dipsy-do’s back under the road.

Follow the painted yellow line
Path going back under Hogs Back Road

The scenery is quite spectacular all the way down along the path through Vincent Massey Park.

Rail bridge the O-Train takes to get across the river
Rail bridge the O-Train takes to get across the river

This path is called the Rideau River Eastern Pathway which I followed almost entirely to our final destination. It is a very pleasant path however there is one dangerous spot, and that’s the intersection of Bank St and the pathway/Riverside Drive. Riverside Drive is a four lane speedway. Cars crossing the Bank St Bridge heading south often try to hurriedly turn right onto Riverside on the red without looking to their right, regardless of the sign. As such they threaten cyclists and pedestrians on the path as they nervously try to rush around the corner, for example this car at the intersection this Sunday that came to a screeching halt well over the stop line.

Screech
Screech

The ghost bike at this same corner is a commemoration to Meg Dussault who was struck and killed by a cement truck in July 2013. UPDATE: May 2016The ghost bike has been removed by the city.

Ghost bike
Ghost bike

On the secondary route option suggested by the red line, crossing the bridge is what is proposed. There are sharrows painted on the road, suggesting cyclists share the road. This Muddy Bike post (click here) shows that this is an ineffective option, and I believe a dangerous one as it suggests this is a safe area for cyclists when it is quite the opposite. So, when my son and I biked to Billings Bridge Museum on Sunday we walked our bike on the sidewalk.

So, what to do once you get to the corner? I don’t move until I am sure the driver stopped at the corner sees me and seems aware that I have the right of way to cross.

OK, enough on the dangerous bridge, time to continue down the pathway.

Rideau River Eastern Pathway west of Bank St
Rideau River Eastern Pathway west of Bank St

They’ve re-opened the path under the Queensway where they are doing construction, but it’s through scaffolding and only wide enough for one bike so I went pretty slow in case a rider was coming the other way, giving me time to react.

Path under Queensway
Path under Queensway

Getting close to our destination, I turned off the path at the sign pointing to River Road.

Exit
Exit

I turned right off River Road onto Presland, and was pleased as punch to discover a pedestrian cross signal to get across the Vanier Parkway.

Crosswalk signal at Presland and Vanier Parkway
Crosswalk signal at Presland and Vanier Parkway

I continued along Presland for a jot until I turned right onto Forestlane. Part way down Forestlane there’s a small opening that allows you to pop out almost right at our final destination.

Opening in the wall
Opening in the wall

And There it is – the intersection of Vanier Parkway and Coventry Road!

Van&Convent

30 Days of Biking – Day 28 : Ride through Hintonburg to do some banking, then along the river home.

Today I biked to to the bank. My main branch is on Sparks St, but the Sparks St BIA is so rabidly anti-biking they not only forbid riding, they chop locks and confiscate bikes whenever it meets their fancy. Fortunately we live in the age of bank machines, so on day 28 of 30 Days of Biking I wove my way over to the one in Hintonburg. Transaction completed, I headed north to the Ottawa River and meandered along its shore towards home. Here’s how.

Detailed description of routes to the bank can be found on my Day 2 blog entry, a combination of which I followed today. To get back home I rode north along Hinchey towards the river. Hinchey dead ends but there’s an accessible opening onto NCC lands.

Path access at end of Hinchey
Path access at end of Hinchey

A bit further on there’s a fine view of the bridge onto Lemieux Island.

Bridge to Lemieux Island
Bridge to Lemieux Island

There isn’t an official trail through this area, but the paths are well trodden and very bike-able. I took the one to the right which led to the intersection of Slidell St and the parkway.

So many paths to choose from....
So many paths to choose from….

From there I rolled onto the bike path and headed home.