Monday, August 8, 2011

The Sunday cycle track

If we want to go to the Rockcliffe Flying Club on Sunday mornings in the summer we are stopped at a barrier where the Rockcliffe Parkway is closed to normal traffic. Chris winds down his window to say to the people manning the barrier, "To the flying club, very slowly, with both lights flashing?" and they smile and let us through.

The reason for this slight inconvenience is a very good one: the city allows cyclists and inline skaters dedicated access to the smooth surface of the scenic parkways for this four-hour period once a week (until September 4th, this year) so that they can enjoy speeding along without the need to worry about oncoming motor vehicles. Alcatel-Lucent have sponsored the initiative; good for them!

Ottawa apparently has the highest per capita population of cyclists in Canada.

Personally, when we're using our bikes, we prefer the route that takes us down to the unsurfaced trail right beside the Ottawa River, rather than along the top of the bluffs. The views up, down and across the river are exhilarating, the trail is nearly always in the shade and it continues from the old boathouse (belonging to the Ottawa New Edinburgh Club) all the way to Orleans.

The Ottawa River Pathway on the western side of the city is worth exploring too, whatever your self-propelled means of transport.

Cycle paths in Ottawa-Gatineau

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