I like to go on a multi-day longish-distance cycling trip and recently I biked from Ottawa to Toronto around the Canada Day long weekend. I started with a four to five day itinerary in mind spanning between 400-450km, but in the end I had to cut it short to 3.5 days and 350km due to heat and exhaustion. The ride was fun, and my first through rural eastern Ontario.
A guy I contacted through craigslist rideshare agreed to transport me and my bike to Ottawa in his van. After much confusion and arguments I got into this van and we started from Toronto at 5pm, reaching Ottawa around 9:30pm. I was couchsurfing that night in Ottawa and went to bed soon after exchanging pleasantries with my host.
Ottawa has a nice bike trail that runs behind the Parliament buildings along the Ottawa river. I was kinda sad to have missed the gay pride festival in Toronto that weekend but was delighted to spot a colourful rainbow, from the tumbling water of the Rideau canal, cheering me at the beginning of my journey. Slathering sunscreen and securing sufficient water, granola bars and fruit, I took off on the bike trail that runs parallel to the Ottawa river's southern (Ontario) bank. The Ottawa River Pathway stretching from the Rideau Canal, Parliament Hill, runs for about 17km and is quite scenic and well paved. The trail passes under the Portage Bridge and the Champlain Bridge that connects Ontario and Quebec, continuing through Britannia Park, Dick Bell Park, terminating at Crystal Bay; throughout the journey you are right next to the river so the view is pretty.
The old rail track between Ottawa and Carleton Place has now been converted into a beautiful trail that runs for about 30km. The path is covered in fine gravel, so it’s great for running, fine for cycling, but unsuitable for roller blades or wheelchairs. The trail passes through Kanata, one of Ottawa’s larger suburbs, continuing to Stittsville where I stopped for lunch: a sandwich and a smoothie.
I saw a number of animals on this gently ascending trail. An orange-tailed fox, a couple of deer, and the usual racoons, squirrels, and Canada goose. Birds and butterflies fluttered past the trail towards colourful flower meadows. Quite beautiful! The Trans Canada trail is more or less parallel and adjacent to the Trans-Canada Highway 7 and for a while I watched cars and trucks zip past me smoothly. Cycling on a fine gravel trail on a bike with thin tyres can get a bit bumpy, so I decided to exit the trail after Stittsville and merge with the highway.
Cycling on the smooth highway after an hour on coarse gravel was so relieving! I pedaled along the shoulder, waved back at cars, stopped on the side under the canopy of a bridge to snack on an apple, and generally enjoying my ride. That lasted for about 30 minutes or 10km, until I heard a Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) cop car behind me.