Off the beaten track in Orleans

It might not be your first choice as a cycling tourist, but if you like to see how new North American suburbs look like and also want to bike along the Ottawa river, and not wanting to ride in and out the same route, this is one for you.

Ottawa is a large city with a core, inner suburbs, outer suburbs and large rural sections with its own villages. The outer suburbs are becoming more and more communities on their own, but unfortunately, despite more recent housing developments, little attention is paid to active transportation, let alone cycling tourism.

It is hard to develop interesting bike routes if the only thing you see is housing and 4 and 6 lane arterial roads. Orleans is such a suburb with about 150,000 residents. The good news is that more cycling infrastructure is being proposed. With help from others I developed a 34 km route that starts at a parking lot at a sports venue, winds its way through an established neighbourhood or two, and then continues along a busier road, but fully separated from traffic.

Cycling along Trim Rd and Brian Coburn is a bit boring, but it does give you an idea of the size of these suburbs. I estimate you will be cycling about half the route in a greener environment.

Visit the nature reserve and beach on the Ottawa river

You will then cut through another neighbourhood and cycle in a hydro corridor. This brings you to the edge of Ottawa; another pathway gets you to the river, where you could visit a beach and a bit of nature along the Ottawa river. it can be really busy on a summer day here when drivers are looking for a space to park.

There is a long pathway back along the Ottawa river. Eventually you will be turning south back to the parking lot. When light rail is finished in that area (estimated 2026), you can take a train to Trim station and start your ride from there instead. Of course, until then, you can also bring your bike on the bus.

Blog post about this route: read here

Download the GPX file for Orleans: download

Orleans GPX file: