Sunday 2 May 2010

A Sunday Ride Around Ottawa

The weather has improved rapidly and I am starting to leave the confines of the Tour de Basement, blinking in the bright sunshine. Yesterday I did tempo circuits of the Eastern Parkway with Mr. Mocha before we enjoyed a well-earned cappuccino with a shot of caramel at Bridgehead. The weather forecast today was only moderately promising but I decided to persevere and just do two hours of relaxed cyclepath riding.  I thought that if I left early enough, I would avoid all the clueless pedestrians and dogwalkers who usually get in the way.

Leaving home at 10:40 under leaden skies, I felt much better than I have for most of the week.  I have learned that I am allergic to birch pollen and it has been pretty hard at times, with the weepy, scratchy eyes, the headaches and congestion but today seemed to be a huge improvement.  After leaving home, I took backstreets to get to the bike path along the Rideau River, and headed south to Hog's Back.  There was some kind of charity walk taking place so I had to take care on the bikepath and watch out for folk afoot who were wandering over the yellow line.  I crossed the Rideau Canal and went through the Experimental Farm, seeing the odd cyclist but very few people in general.  The route continues west and then loops up to the Western Parkway.

There seems to have been a very large charity event today as there were cyclists with numbers and they were clearly not racers.  The Western Parkway was closed to vehicular traffic for this (usually this happens only from the Victoria Day/May 24 weekend onwards) so I was able to enjoy two lanes to myself and I did a few windsprints.  I also managed to get the chain stuck on the Raleigh through bad shifting technique but it was soon set right.

When I reached Downtown Ottawa, I discovered that the bikepath along the river was closed due to construction, so I crossed the Portage Bridge and went along the Quebec side of the river, crossing over the MacDonald-Cartier Bridge and coming back into Ottawa that way.  Then it was a meandering ride through Rockcliffe, now in warm sunshine, before coming home to some espresso.

I have been a bit demoralized by the allergy, bad weather and a bit of a weight gain.  There are times, I realize, that I should just ride my bike to have fun.  Today I did not train for anything in particular, nor did I raise money for a charity, nor did I have any particular purpose.  However, I enjoyed the fresh air, the open road and my new/old Raleigh, which is proving to be a truly marvelous bike.

I wore my Lost Boys Tour of Europe 2009 jersey and thought about some of the great rides I have done as I cruised through town in 24C temperatures, a huge improvement over last week's 4C.  The smell of lilacs in New Edinburgh and next to the South African Embassy almost blew me away but luckily I do not seem to be allergic to them!

1 comment:

Donald said...

So glad you were able to just get out and ride. It is nice to be able to just roll through those great cycling memories in your mind while pedaling another beautiful route. Great pictures of Ottawa in bloom!