Saturday 23 August 2008

Saturday Along the Ottawa River

View from the Eastern Parkway

After my time trial experience on Thursday, I had a very easy spinning ride on Friday. Today’s program called for 1-2 hours of cycling, not exceeding 75% of max heart rate. The weather looked excellent so I left home by 9:30 am and headed out on the Eastern Parkway.

There was little traffic on the Parkway, although even more groundhogs than usual were munching the grass. There were some runners jogging along the gravel path directly next to the river but otherwise it was all very peaceful.

After turning around at St-Joseph Blvd. as usual, I passed by the Rockcliffe Airport and stopped to look at the interesting airplanes that had arrived for the weekend of vintage aircraft and cars. Peering through the chainlink fence as I did not feel like paying anything for admission or cutting my bike ride short, I saw a very nice Hawker Sea Fury in civilian markings, a very rare DeHavilland Fox Moth, a Tiger Moth and several nice biplanes. There was a C-47 (the military DC-3) and a classic 1930s executive plane, the Stinson Reliant, identifiable by its very distinctive “gullwing” design. While I was watching, a Nanchang CJ-7 trainer arrived as well. I took some photos but the links were pretty close together.

I continued my ride through Rockcliffe Park, riding then past the Prime Minister’s Official Residence on Sussex before turning onto the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge to cross the river. This route meant that I would not have to go through the Byward Market or over the busy Alexandra Bridge, with its nasty wooden bikeway. The M-C Bridge only has a sidewalk for crossing and it is not very nice either but at least there is nobody else getting in the way. At the far end you come to Jacques Cartier Park where there is a frisbee golf course set up. The park is fairly large and I rode the bikepath heading west, past a big open spot where, of all thing, a religious revival event was taking place. Passing the Museum of Civilization, where I stopped to look at some modern sculptures by a Montreal architects that are supposed to resemble people, the bikepath continued westwards, past the turn to Gatineau Park and onwards towards Aylmer.

There was another piece of art, overlooking one of the old match factories alongside the river. This was the outline of a boat, with two iron wolves walking around it. Apparently the boat skeleton represents Culture and the wolves, curious yet fearful, are Nature.

There were a few other cyclists on the path, and the usual annoying rollerbladers who take up their side and yours as well, but it was an enjoyable ride. There were some families out and only a few other people on racing bicycles.

Les Cedres

I passed the rapids and soon came to the marina at Aylmer, but continued to follow the bike path past the beach at Les Cedres to its end before turning around.

I took a very brief look at Aylmer, but there is really not much to see. It is pretty well all residential. Near the marina is an old inn, built in 1830 by the founder of the town, Charles Symmes, and it is now a regional history museum but seems to be undergoing extensive renovation as it was last fixed up in 1978. It is an attractive grey stone building with an extensive porch and will look good when it is fixed up again.

Retracing my route, I was home in time for lunch, having ridden 72 kms at a relaxed pace.

Today's ride


Anonymous said...

Yep - It was a great day to cycle in Ottawa. I may have passed you. Who knows?

The wind was deceiving. I stopped after 45 K. and realized that I was completely dehydrated. Not a good feeling. Thank goodness I was near the Dairy Queen on Merivale! (brain freeze).

Groover said...

That sounds like a lovely ride. I love exploring the city by bike. Thanks for taking us on a little sightseeing ride of yours.

Sprocketboy said...

I really enjoyed the ride but there was an odd consequence: it must have been much, much hotter than I had expected. I was home before noon yet around 3 pm I was showing signs of heat exhaustion. I had taken care to hydrate all day but it didn't seem to make much difference. I think I went through another 12-14 glasses of water over the evening and had a terrible headache and hot spells. Today (Sunday) we will probably have some rainshowers as the humidity this morning is already 88%. Interval training today, supposedly.

Anonymous said...

Enjoyed the descripton of the Ottawa ride.I love reading about rides in Canada and I hope more are posted.