University of Ottawa Bike Co-op: How to Get There From the Main Campus

The University of Ottawa Bike Co-op is a great big work space with stands, tools, and on-site expertise to help you fix your bike. It’s free for undergraduate students and a mere $5 annual membership for everyone else. Lots more info can be found on their website, including hours, by clicking here.

The tricky part is getting there, as it’s tucked around the back of the Lees Avenue Campus building.  Here are a couple of routes to get there, starting from the main campus on King Edward Ave. The first route (blue line) is more direct and accessible in the winter, while the second is slightly longer route (purple line) but is much more picturesque, taking advantage of  the Rideau River Western Pathway. It also avoids a couple of testy traffic spots encountered on the first route.

Both routes start off from the entrance to the main campus at the intersection of Marie-Curie and King Edward Ave.

START : Marie-Curie and King Edward Ave

OPTION 1 – THE MORE DIRECT ROUTE (blue line on the map)

I crossed King Edward and headed straight down Somerset St East. There are bike lanes along Somerset which dissapear intermittently for a couple of blocks, then re-appear at the bottom of the hill.

Somerset bike lane that come and go as you head down the hill for a couple of blocks

I turned right onto Chapel St, a quiet residential street.

Turning right off Somerset East onto ….. Chapel St.

At Wiggins Private I crossed onto the sidewalk on the left hand side which becomes a multi-use pathway after a few meters.

Up onto the sidewalk at after crossing Wiggins

I continued along the pathway as far as the signalised lights across Lees Ave. For some strange reason the bike lane along Lees starts a few meters beyond the crosswalk so I made sure I had time to cross and get to the bike path before the light changed.

Crosswalk lights to get across Lees

 

Lees Avenue curls over the Queensway before reaching the traffic lights heading onto the Lees Avenue campus.

Riding along the Lees Avenune bike lane over the Queensway

I rode into the campus, past the front entrance to the main building.

Crossing Lees into the Ottawa U Lees Avenue Campus

I then turned right onto the path between the building and the Gee-Gee’s football field.

Turn right before the football field, continuing around the building

I continued around to the back of building to where the path joins the Rideau River Western Pathway. There you will notice some spray painted signs in the window facing the path indicating you’ve arrived at the Co-op.

Handmade Co-op signs

I continued around the corner to where the entrance door is located. There are no signs identifying this entrance, but there is a track on the side of the stairs to help push your bike up the stairs.

Around the side of the building… to the entrance with the bike ramp.

Once through the exterior doors there is a sign pointing to the Co-op.

Entrance sign to the Co-op shop

And quite the Co-op shop it is.

Co-op shop

An alternative to riding around the building is to enter through the main doors of the Lees Avenue Campus building and push your big through the hallways to the Co-op shop.

OPTION 2 – THE PICTURESQUE (& SAFER) ROUTE (purple line on the map)

This second route starts at the same location as the first route and similarly heads down Somerset, however rather than turning onto Chapel, it continues along Somerset all the way to Strathcona park on the edge of the Rideau River.

Entrance to Strathcona park at the end of Somerset

I took the path leading straight into the park, then turned right along the Rideau River Western Pathway, rather than over the Adawe Bridge (the one with the silver sphere sculptures).

Turning right along the Rideau River Western Pathway

It’s a very pleasant ride along the Rideau River Western Pathway.

Rideau River Western Pathway berween Strathcona Park and the Bike Co-op

The path goes under the Queensway and up beside the Gee-Gee football field to the Co-op with the signs in the window anouncing you’ve arrived.

Arrival at the co-op

Et voila! If anyone needs a different route to get to the co-op please send me a starting point and I’ll figure one out for you!

 

 

 

The Osgoode Ride

Last summer the City of Ottawa posted a series of self-guided bike tours  with the goal of encouraging cyclists to explore the countryside within Ottawa’s limits and surrounding areas. I’ve been meaning to visit a few sites in and around Osgoode so I decided to try out The Osgoode Ride. The city rates this 59km route as ‘experienced’. I’ve gone on many rides of varying difficulty within Canada and abroad so I figured I qualified. On Saturday morning I gave it a shot. Here’s how it went.

I  set out from the parking lot off Mitch Owens Road on the edge of the converted rail-to-trail Osgoode Link Pathway. This parking lot is conveniently located right beside The Wood Source where they have a great selection of types of wood not available in most lumber yards.

Parking off Mitch Owens Road along the Osgoode Link Pathway

I rode south along the Osgoode Link Pathway and turned left onto Gough Road to get onto the city’s recommended route.

The majority of this route runs along two lane straight-aways in various states of repair, from crumbling asphalt to fresher pavement. Most of the shoulders are a mix of loose and packed gravel.

Varied road conditions

I’m guessing the linear directness of these roads are what encouraged most drivers I encountered to push the pedal to the metal, regardless of the condition of the roadway. Tragically, last September alone there were two fatal collisions along this route, one at the intersection of Pathway Road and 8th Line Road, the other along Dalmeny Road.

If there wasn’t any traffic coming in the opposite direction most drivers generously moved way over to the opposite lane to pass. There were a few instances that required bailing out onto the gravel shoulder in hopes of survival. For example when this oncoming driver chose to move into my lane to pass another car.

Oncoming passing car

There are only a few small hills on this route. When they did appear, drivers were loathe to move over when passing me lest an unseen vehicule be cresting the hill in the opposite direction. The proper thing to do is wait until you are over the hill and sight lines are clear to safely pass, but this was not a popular option for some, like this guy who could be heard accelerating from a long ways off, making it quite clear he had no intention of slowing down as he flew over the hill.

Vroom Vroom heading over the hill

Another common circumstance that often necessitates taking to the shoulder is when a vehicule insists on passing even though the timing coincides with another car approaching in the opposing lane, leaving minimal or no room beween the passing car and the edge of the road. This was paticularly common along Victoria Street where traffic was busiest. Having a mirror is essential in these circumstances to be able to guage how close the encounter was lining up to be, and to assess the size of the vehicule coming up from behind, particularly in communities that often rely on wider than average vehicles as their mode of transpo.

Wide Load

The need to always be prepared to ride onto an unpredictable gravel shoulder in a moments decision means I don’t  consider this route to be safe for cycling. To do so there would need to be paved shoulders to provide riders with a safe means of escape in such dangerous situations. There are a few instances along this route where there are paved shoulders, such as when entering Metcalfe, and a short section where Dalmeny Road road turns onto Gordon Murdoch Road.

Paved shoulder approaching Metcalfe
Paved shoulder where Dalmeny Road road turns onto Gordon Murdoch Road

Optimally every road should have a paved shoulder or, at a minimum, along bike routes recommended by the city, similar to those along Albion Road and other roads frequented by cyclists near the airport.

The intitiative to encourage cycling through the countryside is admirable. It provides a boost to local economies, like at the vegetable stand I visited along the route and at the Metcalfe Farmers’ Market . It also allows for wonderful healthy outings for residents and tourists alike. But without proper infrastructure, routes such as this will remain accessible to only the most foolhardy of cyclists. Build safe bike infrastructure and they will come. Don’t and they won’t. I only saw 4 other cyclists on the roadway portions of this route whereas along the Osgoode Link Pathway I encountered over 15.

I leave you with a few fine discoveries made along the route.

Very curious cows
Metcalfe Farmers’ Market
Impressive farm
Heritage buildings in Osgoode
Heading north along the Osgoode Link Pathway…ahhhh….

Et voila!

Biking to the Bells Corners Pop-Up Bike Lane !

Updated – July 23rd, 2018: On Sunday, July 22nd there was a pop-up bike lane installed along Moodie Drive in Bells Corners for cyclists to try out. The Healthy Transportation Coalition was behind this great initiative which you can read more about by clicking here. An important part of their goal is to demonstrate the need for safe cycling infrastructure on Moodie Drive in Bells Corners West.

Here’s a bike route for those located closer to downtown who are interested in riding out to Bells Corners! The purple line indicates the location where the pop-up bike lane was installed.

As the event landed on a Sunday, the first section of this route capitalised on the weekly Sunday Bikedays event when the Sir John A Macdonald (SJAM) Parkway westbound lane along the Ottawa River is closed to traffic, starting from the War Museum and continuing all the way west to Carling Avenue.

SJAM Parkway is re-opened to cars at 1pm on Sunday Bikedays, so the orange line on the map proposes an alternative return route from the Pinecrest Creek Pathway that is primarily along the Experimental Farm Pathway. Or one could ride along the Ottawa River Pathway that runs parallel to the SJAM Parkway.

Riding along the Sir John A Macdonald Parkway during Sunday Bike Days

Just before Carling there is an oppportunity to get onto the Pinecrest Creek Pathway just off the SJAM Parkway exit.

Getting onto the Pinecrest Creek Pathway (there won’t be any cars on Sunday morning like that red one)

The path goes under the Queensway and up to Iris St, then continues on the opposite corner of Iris, like so.

Corner of Iris & Transitway
Corner of Iris & Transitway

Further along there is a path off to the right. There is a sign (barely visible on this photo) pointing to it that reads ‘Baseline’. If you miss the turn off and wind up by the fire station on Woodroffe you’ve gone too far.

'Is that arrow still following me?'
‘Is that arrow still following me?’, thought Carla as she paused to wait for her partner to take another picture.

After curling up and under Baseline Road the official path circles around a bus parking lot, however most continue straight to avoid this detour.

Detour around bus parking at Baseline

The path continues parallel to Woodroffe, then veers west just before reaching the Legacy Skatepark. It then continues westwardly, twice crossing Centrepoint Drive.

Bike path west, away from Algonquin College

The path dips under the train tracks and ends a bit further at Craig Henry Drive.

Heading under the train tracks
Path just before Craig Henry Drive. Follow the light posts to avoid taking a wrong exit.

Craig Henry Drive has a painted shoulder but it is not signed as a bike lane so there is a chance you may have to bike around the odd parked car. Follow Craig Henry Drive all the way to Greenbank Road.

painted lane along Craig Henry Drive

On the opposite side of Greenbank continue along Canfield Road for a short distance before hopping onto another path. To access this path take the closest cut in the curb which is a few yards away from the start of the path, infront of some communal mailboxes.

Accessing the path heading west off Canfield Road

This section of path weaves it’s way through a wooded area before crossing McClellan Road, and then follows power lines all the way to Bruce Pit.

Woodsy section of path before crossing McClellan……and along power lines after crossing McClellan

Once arrived at Bruce Pit turn right and follow the packed stone dust path that circles the Pit.

Entering Bruce Pit onto the stone dust path
Gravel path around Bruce Pit

Cross Cedarview Road on the west side of Bruce Pit and then ride along the bridge, that has bike lanes, over the 416 highway.

Bridge over the 416

Once on the other side of the 416 cut through to the northwest corner of Bell High School campus. Just beyond the black chain link fence there is a short path off to the right that leads down to Stinson Avenue.

Path beyond the chain link fence leading down to Stinson Ave

Stinson Ave is a quiet residential street, as are Delta St, Evergreen Dr, Ridgefield Crescent, Longwood Ave, Tanglewood Dr and Hadley Circle which I followed as per the above map all the way to our final destination on Moodie Drive.

Looking south down Moodie Drive

Et voila!

Biking to The Merry Dairy for Delicious Ice Cream!

The Merry Dairy is a wonderful ice cream parlour at the corner of Gladstone and Fairmont Avenue, a perfect destination on a warm Summer’s day! Here’s a bike loop from the Trillium Pathway and back. (The Trillium Pathway is also popularly known as the O-Train Pathway. Some wayfinding signage uses this name as well).

We begin at the bottom of the path that comes down from Somerset Street and joins the Trillium Pathway. Head south along the pathway.

Starting off for ice cream! Mmmm….

After crossing Gladstone, the path continues under the Queensway.

Crossing Gladstone…. and heading under the Queensway

Just beyond the Queensway there is an exit to the right that crosses over the O-Train tracks along a pedestrian bridge to Young Street.

Exit off Trillium Path…across the bridge to Young St

Continue up Young Street all the way to Fairmont Avenue. Turn right on Fairmont Avenue and ride back under the Queensway.

Straight on Young St….. & right on Fairmount

Nota bene: The Merry Dairy also has an ice cream truck that attends various events around town. On the evening of July 21st it will be in Fairmont Park where A Company of Fools will be presenting Twelfth Night! To get there, turn left once you reach Fairmont Avenue and ride south for a couple of blocks. I’ve indicated this option in purple on the above map.

Twelfth Night in Fairmount Park on July 21st!

A block north of the Queensway you’ll find the ice cream parlour on the south west corner of Fairmont and Gladstone.

The Merry Dairy!

AND they love cyclists! For example, when it came time to purchase a bike rack they surveyed the Ottawa biking community via Twitter who overwhelmingly preferred this model.

Merry Dairy bike rack

The service is great and the ice cream is delicious!

Time for ice cream!

To get back to the Trillium Path, continue north along Fairmont across Gladstone to the lane opposite Duhamel Street. Turn right onto this lane which takes you to quiet Irving Avenue.

Laneway between Fairmount and Irving Ave

Turn left on Irving, them right on Laurel, and follow Laurel all the way to Breezehill Ave N. Turn left onto Breezehill. These are all pretty quiet residential streets. You’ll pass Devonshire Elementary School at the corner of Laurel and Breezehill.

Turning onto Laurel from Irving
Passingby Devonshire School on Breezehill Ave

Heading north along Breezehill takes you to Somerset. Turn right onto the bike lane over the Somerset bridge.

Breezehill and Somerset

On the opposite side of the bridge there is a right hand exit onto the path that leads dowm to the Trillium Path to where our adventure began.

Somerset Bridge bike lane to exit…..leading down the hill to the Trillium/O-Train Pathway

Et voila!

If anyone needs directions to the Trillium Path please let me know and I will post a route.

A Bike Tour of Orleans

Bruce has been a long time resident of Orleans. When asked for his opinion on places he thought a visitor might find interesting in his neck of the woods, he generously offered a few suggestions which I have linked together into the following bike route!

We begin at the western end of Hiawatha Park and follow a path that weaves it’s way though the residential neighbourhood. This is also the park where A Company of Fools will be performing Twelfth Night this Thursday night! UPDATE: The show in Hiawatha Park has happened, but you can follow this link to see where performances will be held throughout the rest of the summer in parks across the region!

Hiawatha Park with Twelfth Night model

Halfway along the path through Hiawatha Park I turned north towards the Ottawa River via Hiawatha Park Road. Near the northern end of the road there are two interpretive panels that describes the history of Orleans. One panel details the origins of Bruyere Village which the panels are facing, and the Grey Nuns who were it’s initial residents. The second panel details the history of Louis-Théodore Besserer and the influence he had on the formation of Orleans, including the origin of it’s name.

There is a pleasant little park at the end of the street with a fine view across the river.

View across the river at the end of Hiawatha Park Road

Next I retraced my treads a short distance up Hiawatha Park Road to where there is access to a bike path that heads east. Bruce mentioned the numerous branches off of this path that lead through the woods down to the rivers edge, in particular the one across from Bilberry Drive.

Path opposite exit to Bilberry Drive

As one approaches the river along this trail the ground surface transitions from stone dust to packed dirt.

Transition in Bilberry path surfacing

The path follows along the river a short distance, affording some pretty great views across the water and into the woods. Bring bug spray.

Views along Bilberry path

Now back on the main path, the next area Bruce mentioned was the stretch between Champlain St and 10th Line Road. The beauty of this section of path is hard to capture in a photo. There is a wonderful cacophony of wildlife in the surrounding canopy of trees and sloped forest floor rising up on the right.

Path between Champlain & 10th Line

To get to our final destination requires heading inland across a few major traffic arteries. Fortunately there are multi-use paths and bike lanes along Trim Road with a couple of round-abouts to keep things calm.

Trim Road bike infrastructure

I then turned right onto St Joseph Boulevard which has bike lanes as far as our final destination, the Princess Louise Falls. The falls are on the south side of the road which requires waiting until there is a long break in traffic to cross, or riding up to the lights at the 174 on ramp, then coming back on the south side. I don’t reccomend trying to get to the falls via 10th Line Road unless you are comfortable riding with lots of speeding heavy traffic. I tried. It sucked. The vantage point of the falls is pretty far from the road, although after a heavy rain fall or in the Spring they would appear quite dramatic even from this vantage point. There is a hiking trail that brings you closer however this would require a mountain bike to negotiate, if they are permitted.

Princess Louise Falls

Et voila! Thanks Bruce for all the great suggestions.

Biking to the Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival Pow Wow!

The annual Summer Solstice Indigenous Festival Pow Wow will be held this coming weekend in Vincent Massey Park. I went last year and it was fantastic! For those thinking of biking to the Pow Wow, here is a route that starts at the Gathering-Ring, an art installation on the Ottawa side of the Portage Bridge, just off the bike path. This route is almost entirely along multi-use pathways.

The Gathering-Ring

From the Gathering-Ring we headed north a short distance before turning off to the right down onto the Ottawa River Pathway that circles under the Portage Bridge. On either side of the wide underpass a group of artists have just completed a series of large paintings in honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day that takes place annually on June 21st.

Two of the paintings installed on the walls of the Portage Bridge underpass

A short distance further along the pathway there is another wide underpass. An exhibit of large photographic reproductions of works by indigenous artists from across the country are on display along the walls of the underpass.

Exhibit: From here to there (then and now)

The path continues past the Mill restaurant, then crosses Booth Street and follows the edge of the Ottawa River.

Ottawa River Pathway

Just beyond the War Museum there is an interpretive display describing the river as a vital travel route for Indigenous peoples and others that followed.

Interpretive display on the Ottawa River

We then turned off the Ottawa River Pathway onto the Trillium Pathway and headed south, all the way to Prince of Wales Drive.

Exit to the left from the Ottawa River Pathway onto the Trillium Pathway
Trillium Pathway heading under SJAM Parkway

The section of the Trillium Pathway between Carling and Prince of Wales Drive is gravel or dirt, however there are plans to have it paved.

UPDATE – Fall 2018This section has been paved – YAH!

Trillium yeah
Trillium Path between Carling & Prince of Wales Drive – before and after being paved

We turned right along Prince Of Wales to get to the lights that cross over into the Arboretum. There is a bike lane along Prince of Wales, but the painted lines along this section are so worn out as to be indiscernible. We hugged the old exit lane to the no longer existing Sir John Carling Building.

POW
Section of poorly maintained bike lane along Prince of Wales Drive

Once safely across Prince of Wales Drive we followed the stone dust path through the Arboretum, then up along the paved pathway to the Hartwell Locks.

Path through the Arboretum
Path through the Arboretum

We pushed out bikes across the top set of locks, carrying our bikes up and down the three steps on either side.

locks.jpg
Crossing the Hartwell Locks

We then followed the Rideau Canal Pathway all the way to Mooney’s Bay.

Canal.jpg
Rideau Canal Eastern Pathway

The path circles up along Hog’s Back Road and heads across the bridge over the Hogs Back Falls. Once on the other side we turned right onto the Rideau River Eastern Pathway that circles back under Hog’s Back Road.

The Rideau River Pathway meanders a bit before heading down a long hill, flattening out just as it passes under Heron Road, and winding up in Vincent Massey Park on the other side.

VM park.jpg
Entering Vincent Massey Park along the Rideau River Pathway

The site of the Pow Wow is just of the path.

site
Site getting prepped for the Pow Wow!

Et voila. Have a great Pow Wow!

Victoria Day Bike Ride

Victoria Day is our distinctly Canadian holiday which we celebrate on the Monday between the 18th to the 24th of May, in honour of Queen Victoria who was born on May 24, 1819. One legend says she chose Ottawa as the nation’s permanent capital by jabbing a hat pin into a spot on a map between Toronto and Montreal to stop the two cities from squabbling over which one deserved it the most. Another suggests her appreciation of landscape paintings of the region inspired her to choose this location. There may be an element of truth to both when she acted on the reccomendations of Sir John A MacDonald and made the final decision. A big statue of the sovereign was installed on Parliament Hill to commemorate her reign after she passed away in 1901, so that’s where our tour begins.

At present the statue can only be admired from afar, as it is located in the midst of a construction site while the refurbishment of the West Block continues, however the surrounding view is still quite impressive.

Statue of Queen Victoria on Parliament Hill
As close as we get

 

The road along the southern edge of Parliament Hill goes down infront of the West Block. Our route turns right once off the Hill beyond the RCMP retractable bollards.

Turn right once beyond the RCMP bollards

Hugging the western edge of Parliament Hill leads to a service road that winds its way down through a series of parking lots to the edge of the Ottawa River.

Road heading down to the Ottawa River on the West side of Parliamnet Hill

Once at the rivers edge our route heads left along the Ottawa River Pathway, then right at the exit up onto the Portage Bridge.

Exit off the Ottawa River Pathway up onto the Portage Bridge

The Portage bridge leap frogs across Victoria Island. You can bike down onto the island from the bridge where there is lots to explore and discover. 1 2 3

Access to Victoria Island from the Portage Bridge

Once across the bridge we got onto the Voyageurs Pathway and circled under the Portage Bridge. The path heads up stream along the Ottawa River, which we followed all the way to the exit with a little sign pointing to Gatineau Park, just in front of a hydro site.

Exit off Voyageurs Pathway towards Gatineau Park

This took us to Rue Belleau, a quiet street with bike lanes leading to the intersection at Boulevard Alexander-Taché. The start of the Gatineau Park Pathway is immediately across this intersection.

We followed the beautiful Gatineau Park Pathway up through the park all the way to Chemin de la Mine.

Heading up the Gatineau Park Pathway

We accessed Chemin de la Mine from the pathway and headed north. Chemin de la Mine is a two lane winding road with little or no shoulder and often speedy traffic.

Chemin de la Mine

It eventually intersects Notch Road. We turned right onto Notch Road, a two lane straight-away with packed dirt/gravel shoulders.

Notch Road

Chemin de la Mine and Notch Road are the poorest sections of this route. The good news is that there are plans to put in bike lanes along Chemin de la Mine and Notch Road into Old Chelsea some time this summer or fall.

Notch road ends at Chemin de Kingsmere which has a bike lane leading in to Old Chelsea.

We turned right and followed Chemin Old Chelsea east heading over the Gatineau Autoroute, all the way to Route 105. There is a bike lane along Chemin Old Chelsea however an extended section near the bridge over the autoroute was filled with sand left over from the winter. Hopefully the town will sweep that up soon.

Bike lane heading over the autoroute along Chemin Old Chelsea

We then headed north along the 105 which has a paved shoulder. Many drivers do tend to speed along this road, however on the early weekend morning we rode it was fine.

Shoulder along the 105 between Chemin Old Chelsea and Scott Road

We followed the 105 to the entrance to the small and intimate Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery where lay the remains of Private Richard Rowland Thompson who in the Boer War Battle of Paardeberg saved the life of a wounded colleague and stayed with him throughout the heat of battle. He also attempted to save another as the fighting raged about him. For this he was the sole Canadian recipient of a Queen’s Scarf of Honour, one of eight scarves crocheted by Queen Victoria in her final year of life. The scarf is now at the Canadian War Museum.

Entrance sign for the Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery

Resting place of Private Richard Rowland Thompson
Tombstones in the Chelsea Pioneer Cemetery

Exiting the cemetery we continued north along the 105 before turning onto Chemin Scott, which has bike lanes as well, a section of which becomes segregated as one enters Old Chelsea.

Segregted bike lanes along Scott heading into Old Chelsea

We stopped for a very yummy brunch at the restaurant Tonique. If ice cream is what you crave La Cigale is right next door.

Banana Nutella Crepe and Croque-Madame brunches at Tonique

Chemin Scott intersects Chemin Old Chelsea which we hopped back onto and retraced our route in reverse back to Ottawa.

Et voila!