Wednesday, June 30, 2010

40-wunderful kilometres

One of the more interesting challenges when it comes to the Lucent Alcatel Sunday bike days is in connecting from one closed-to-motorized-vehicles road to another. From our home in the city's south end, it's just a matter of a small trike trip through a few nearby streets to get to the very welcome barrier on the corner of Hog's Back and Colonel By Drive. From there, it's a good 10-15 kilometres to the end of the run right by the University of Ottawa campus and the Rideau Canal. Normally, we would either pop into a nearby Second Cup for a java or else just turn around and head home. However, this time, we thought we'd continue our trek beyond our usual turnaround point.
This wasn't a new idea or one we'd never done before. A couple of earlier Sundays saw us doing just that, heading west, intercepting the Champlain bridge and then easing onto the cycle pathways in Quebec and enjoying a fantastic picnic lunch at the Aylmer marina. However, this particular venture would see how far west we could go staying on the Ontario side of the river. This particular Sunday, as slightly cool and misty as it was at the start, saw us following our normal route up to Mooney's Bay ->Hog's Back ->past the barrier and onto Colonel By. From there, we rode all the way to the end but rather than turn back eased up the Corktown pedestrian/bike bridge. That put us on the west side of the Rideau canal and allowed us to trike past what looked like preparations for the TDBank summer jazz festival. I had to make a quick trip to the washroom and so found a Starbuck's within a very short walk. Relieved and armed with the purchase of a couple of baked goodies (you can't just use the washroom without making *some* kind of purchase...right) I got back to Adam who had been guarding both trikes. We then continued our trek towards the bottom of the locks at the canal. Adam had spotted something interesting. From there, it was just a small matter of veering west and reintercepting the Ottawa River parkway. By that time, the clouds were lifting, slightly, and the mistiness seemed to have receded.
We got to the war museum and had to travel quickly on a regular ol' road before getting to a cycle-only road. By then, we were seeing a few other people out on bikes which meant that the morning was wearing on. I'm guessing that if the weather had been sunnier, we would have seen a lot more people out there.
Our trikes performed flawlessly and so we sailed along until we got to a little place called Remic Rapids. By then, we were both hankering for the baked goodies I bought from Starbuck's. So, we pulled over and mostly did some people watching while I enjoyed my oat bar and Adam savoured his blueberry square. We decided this would be as far as we would go today and so we turned around and headed back. Because it was still morning, the roads were still closed to cars so we didn't have to worry about having to contend with them.
By then, the sun was actually starting to emerge from the thinning clouds, burning off what fog we had had from the previous night and it looked as though the day could get quite hot and humid. We travelled past the war museum and got back on the bike path itself. Within a short while, we were back at the Rideau Canal locks. Remember that "something interesting" that Adam had spotted on our way down towards the locks? Well, it was a sandwich board advertising ice cream at the Bytown Museum and that was a sufficient reason to stop for one.

The museum has a nice collection of tables and seats for watching boats ease their way through the many locks and that is precisely what we did while enjoying a well-deserved cold treat.
Refreshed and rested, we hopped back on our trikes and eased our way up the hill and back onto the pathway. Crossing the Corktown bridge saw us deposited on the east side of the canal and back onto Colonel By Drive - still closed to motorized cars but with only about 45 minutes left before it would be reopened. We charged down Colonel By Drive and, at one point just north of Mooney's Bay, we found a park bench and pulled out the lunch we had made for this trip. That would be the last rest for us. We stayed on the bike path as opposed to the road as much because it would be easier to get into and through Mooney's Bay. Retracing our steps, we got through the park, avoided major roads as far as possible and got ourselves home. It was a 40 kilometre fun trip.

I should probably emphasize here that while it may look as though all we did was "pull over for a bite" the fact is that we cycled a lot and only ate when we were hungry.
My ultimate triking goal for this year is to trike from here in South Keys all the way out to Kanata and back - a roughly 80 kilometre venture.

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