For as long as I can remember, the bicycle has been my favourite way to travel. Fast enough to get places quickly and efficiently, but slow enough to be a part of the places through which I am passing. Whether it be for a daily commute, running errands, local recreation or holiday travel, I agree completely with the Queen lyrics: "I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride it where I like."
As Canada celebrates the 150th anniversary of Confederation, and the City of Ottawa embarks on dozens of projects to commemorate the occasion, it seemed obvious to me that my personal project would involve cycling. As a city councillor and a proud citizen of this great and diverse city, I have contributed to the development of Ottawa's cycling infrastructure, to a culture of making cycling normal and to encouraging cycling tourism. That includes the development of a set of 15 cycling routes in the Ottawa region, or as I like to call them, 15 Capital Rides.
Experience Ottawa by bike
My Canada 150 project is to ride these 15 routes over the coming months, between May and August 2017. My goal is to experience this very big and diverse city from the seat of my bicycle, and to share what I see and learn (and eat and drink) with the world. I know Ottawa is a great place to ride, for local residents and visitors alike, and I want to share this with the world.
My rides will be informal. Some will be with family and friends, some with invited guests. Some will be planned, with pre-arranged stops at points of interest, like significant local events, bakeries, cafes, vineyards and pubs (did I mention food and drink?). A couple may even involve overnight stays at an inn or a campground. I say "may" because planning everything in advance would be restrictive. Weather is just one factor that might force me to postpone a ride or two. Then again, if the day is looking just too glorious, I may have to cancel whatever I was planning for that day and just get on my bike and ride.
Capital Rides blog
I'll take photos. I'll tell stories. I'll invite local people to tell me about their businesses, favourite eateries or points of interest. Some might even come along for all or part of a ride. Follow me through the Capital Rides blog.
The routes I follow are available to all. Part of my motivation for doing this is to help publicize the creation of these 15 routes. Most of us could do at least some of them, keeping in mind diverse route length, varying road conditions and skill or fitness levels. The maps indicate level of difficulty and areas where on-road competence is needed. Please review each route before you go and be smart about what rides to choose.
And note the rest stops, bike rentals (including e-bikes) and places of interest. No ride should be a chore!
Share your rides
I have no doubt that many people will have opinions on the routes and related information. I welcome feedback and photos from anyone who rides one or more of these routes, and I'll share some of your submissions on this site.
If you have tips for me on events or places of interest along these routes, perhaps some not yet noted by the mapmakers at the City of Ottawa, please let me know. Especially if they involve food! Did I mention food yet?
Here's to a great spring/summer/fall of riding in the Ottawa/Gatineau region!
Councillor for Capital Ward
Lover of Cycling