Last week, I had to drop off our four year old Kia Rondo at the dealership in Kanata to have the heating fixed. Last winter, our feet were freezing in the car. Problem is, I live 25 km away and the courtesy shuttle doesn’t go that far. They offered to drive me to the Park and Ride and take the bus from there.
Too much hassle
Already, that sounded like too much hassle as I would have to change somewhere to the 118 or 86 to Fisher and Baseline. As the weather looked promising, I figured I might as well throw the bike in the car and cycle back home. I checked Google maps for the best route and while it was close to the ideal route, I preferred a somewhat different route, as Google send me crisscrossing through neighbourhoods in the west end and partly over Baseline. I prefer a bit of a detour in order to stay on the NCC pathways.
Most of the route was familiar to me, but part of the Greenbelt from March Rd to Holly Acres I never cycled before. So off I went to Kanata and dropped the car of at the dealer on Terry Fox. I had a chat with the car salesman on the lot who mentioned he cycled too, but not this year. His waist line, he said, is 51” again (mine is 33″), after having dropped 100 pounds before.
The first part of the trip went via Campeau Drive, which has lots of room for a MUP but has bike lanes instead (which disappear near intersections). At the intersection I turned into Teron Road NB, and then into Penfield Drive to cross (underneath) March Road.
Right after the tunnel is a Y-section, and that is where I saw the first cyclist in Kanata. So far, none is indicated as a route to the Greenbelt unfortunately, so by that time I had pulled out the map three times already. There is a sign pointing right to go to March Road (but in fact you are turning into Corkstown Rd.)
The Watts Creek Pathway meanders northeast and then south again. It is hard to keep a sense of direction. At one point I felt I had to turn left, but that was wrong.
The CityMaps2go app does give you your position on downloaded maps (I don’t have a dataplan). The intersection could be improved with some way finding signs pointing to Carling, Moody or Bells Corners or even North, East and South for that matter. The name of a trail means nothing to me: Greenbelt Pathway, Trans Canada Trail. The Watts Creek Pathway is paved and cycles really nice, but can be a bit quiet or even ‘spooky’ as @modalmom tweeted me.
Beautiful cross rides
Eventually the path crosses Moody; even that is a bit confusing, with a stone dust path along the edge of a soccer field. I wonder if cycling on Corkstown by that time isn’t more practical.
The path crosses Corkstown and meanders towards Holly Acres, where the city put in a very nice new intersection, the way intersections should look like. Because they are full blown intersections, there are also pedestrian lights and cross walks along Holly Acres.
I don’t think one single pedestrian would actually stop on the sidewalks going parallel on Holly Acres. But that is OK, a bit of anarchy in Ottawa doesn’t hurt the government town.
Another new bike crossing shows up a wee further where the path crosses Carling. You are coming down a bit of a hill from a fairly sharp corner, so don’t go too fast there.
Crossing Carling Before…..(seen from car)
And after…(seen from bike)
The path continues along the mighty Ottawa river eastbound until an intersection where I turned south towards the Pinecrest Creek Pathway (which runs to Baseline Station).
Turning south away from the Ottawa river you follow a bit of an odd route along the Sir John A McDonald Parkway (SJAM in short by the locals), crossing on and off ramps and passing behind an OC Transpo station, underneath the 417 (Queensway) and further south until you meet up with Woodroffe Ave just before Baseline: another Y-intersection without wayfinding signs. You could easily end up totally lost at the Baseline Station parking lot, whereas you should have veered north towards the fire hall to cross Woodroffe instead.
Across Woodroffe, the path has now become the Experimental Farm Parkway. It would be great to have a sign there pointing to the Rideau Canal, which is where the pathway really goes in the end, but not a word about the Unesco Heritage Site.
Cycling along near the water reservoir, no less than six paramedics in their yellow jerseys cycling towards me. We cheerfully greeted each other.
Usually I turn south at Merivale for the last stretch home, but I discovered there is a little short cut into “Central Park” which is dead quiet. If you combine it with a short cut through the Government of Canada Agriculture parking lot (you, taxpayer, own that anyway, remember), you can nearly get to the Merivale Baseline intersection without cycling on Merivale.
Map my ride + Citymaps2go
I had to stop a fair amount of times to check the old fashioned paper map combined with my position on citymaps2go. Meanwhile I had MapmyRide running in the background, which I stopped if it took a bit longer to figure out where I was or when I was taking pictures. I rode the 28 km including a bit of a 2 km mistake detour in 1:20h on my 14 year old commuter bike, in cargo pants and boat shoes and 1998 T shirt.
To pick up the car the next day, I rode the distance again in the opposite direction with Karen; a slightly different route with a total of 25 km in 1:15. Average speed about 20 km/hr. Taking the car home again took us 18 minutes for 21 km (or about 22 minutes had it be 25 km). So roughly speaking the car is 4 times faster, which is not even that much actually. About 80% of the bike ride is on Multi Use Paths, which is pretty impressive. Another 10% is on bike lanes (Terry Fox and Campeau)
What happened to the car?
Apparently, some wire was loose. They repaired it for free. But my high beam was apparently not working either, which cost me $5.99 for the light and $21.00 for labour. I should have done that myself.
NB: sorry for the smal pictures, I resized them a bit too small.