Cycling in southern Ottawa

Ottawa bike path

This was an ideal day to explore the Ottawa environs par velo. It was bright and pleasantly cool, and the fall leaves are changing colour. Mostly, I explored the paths south of Centretown on the side of various watercourses: the Rideau Canal, Rideau River, etc. I found Carleton University by accident, and discovered a very nice 10km loop that begins and ends at my house: you head north through the Lebreton Flats to the Ottawa River, then take the riverside paths to the Rideau Canal locks beside Parliament. Ride up that hill (it is good that it is near the beginning of the route), then follow the path alongside the canal until you reach the point where it widens to a well-sized lake. At one end of that lake is a kind of grey floating pavilion, which is actually at the southern foot of Preston Street. Returning to the road system there, you can cycle through Little Italy and back to my flat in a few minutes.

All told, I went a bit more than 46km. The bulk of it was excellent, though my hill-climbing muscles definitely need some re-conditioning after more than two months of bikelessness. Another well-learned fact is that it is foolhardy to cycle along most of the major roads in Centretown. It’s just one red light after another, with irate drivers all around you furious that you seem to be delaying their arrival at the next stopping point by up to three seconds.

I think a bit more random wandering in in order, before I get a cycle map. As with the lake pavilion / Preston situation, it is quite satisfying to have two pieces of your mental map of a city click together on the basis of exploration, rather than the consulting of a pre-prepared guide.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

3 thoughts on “Cycling in southern Ottawa”

  1. Lots of bike talk lately. When you get into something, it really becomes dominant for a while.

  2. Nice photo, incidentally.

    I like how the red tree and blue sky look side by side.

  3. Welcome to Ottawa. Don’t fuss at the irate motorists. They’re just mad you can go faster than them downtown. It’s a lovely Indian Summer we’re having this year. Soon you’ll have to visit for advice.

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