Monday, April 16, 2012

foray through Vincent Massey

Well, by Vincent Massey is meant that gorgeous valley-like park that lies just north of Hog's Back park/beach and sits just across the Rideau River from Carleton University. It's a gorgeous park, thick with trees, concession stands (not open yet but pretty to behold anyway) and a few dips into tall deciduous forests. It's one of the most gorgeous cycle paths to take during the annual colour change of autumn - but it's only April and the branches on the trees have only just the tiniest tinge of green.

The morning was spent doing domestic chores. I planted some Physalis (aka Chinese lanterns) seeds in our back yard along with some Aquilegia (Columbine) seeds in our two large beige barrels. Another sign that spring is truly were the winds we faced when we left after lunch to head out on a trike trip.

The spring weather this year has been chilly-bordering-on-cold, dry and exceptionally in gusts up to 50 km/hr. But this day, the temperature was a decent 17C and the winds were not too brisk although they seemed to switch randomly throughout our trip so that we were always into the wind. The sun made a few feeble attempts to finish burning off the last of the fog/mist we had had so conditions were actually quite good.

No, seriously, they were good. Too hot is unbearable as is too cold - these conditions were good.

Luckily for us, car traffic wasn't too bad. I like to think that people around here are actually considering such realities as rising gas prices ($1.33/litre at last check) before mindlessly jumping into their cars and zooming off to somewhere but I'm probably wrong. Yet, our foray up Hunt Club and heading west to McCarthy Road was one of ease. I am not in the least bit afraid of sharing the road with any number of vehicles but I also admit that it is nice when there aren't too many other cars. I don't have a hate-on for cars but any car/cycle accident is always bad for the cyclist so the fewer chances of any collisions, the better it works for me.

Once heading north on McCarthy, it was smooth sailing up to Southmore, a genuinely suburban street. There, we passed a lot of homeowners raking up the thatch from their lawns and quite a lot of early season flowers were blooming nicely despite the fairly chilly and dry conditions we have had lately.

We followed our usual route along Otterson to Walkley where Otterson changes name (a common feature here in Ottawa) to become Springland to Mooney's Bay Place. It was there where a woman and a young child on bicycles thought it would be okay to run the stop sign and I found I had to veer quite far out to avoid hitting the little girl. A few stern words from Adam to the effect that cyclists cannot just run stop signs and, a few minutes later, we had safely (and properly) crossed Riverside and got right into Mooney's Bay Park. If I sound too edgy about cyclists running stop signs, I am. It's bad enough that car drivers hate having to share the roads with cyclists because they think we're too unpredictable without having cyclists act too unpredictably.

Typically, we would trickle north through the park and exit onto Hog's Back Road turning left to curl around and go under the bridge and onto the bike path that parallels Colonel By Drive. This time, we turned right and meandered under the bridge to find ourselves right at Hog's Back Falls. The bike path continued until we got to the switchback heading down and riding along Heron Rd. Another few turns and we found ourselves neatly deposited into Vincent Massey Park - one of the city of Ottawa's most beautiful places, in my humble opinion. Although it wasn't freezing cold, it wasn't really picnic weather either but that didn't seem to stop some people from coming out and kicking a ball around or otherwise enjoying the greening ground.

We kept going on the bike path (this was almost all done on bike paths, by the way) and found ourselves ducking under the Bronson Avenue bridge. We were heading towards Billings Bridge and having a great ride at the same time. We got to the corner of Riverside Drive and Bank Street. We were still on the bike path but it was also a sidewalk so we did have to keep that in mind in case there were some people pushing strollers or walking with canes.

Further we continued until the Ottawa Hospital Riverside campus was visible and getting bigger as we approached. Finally, we pulled over at a park bench, took a break, revelled in the gorgeous scenery and then turned around and headed back.

We retraced our route and pulled into our driveway eagerly anticipating a smoothie. We had some bananas and some strawberries along with some vanilla yogurt so we wanted to replenish ourselves with a smoothie of those ingredients. Okay, Adam added some skim milk, ice cubes and some hot chocolate powder but the result was amazing.

Each day is amazing.


Last standing was 248 kilometres
Today's tally was 21.0 kilometres done
That leaves me 227.6 kilometres to go as of today.

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