Cyclo Tourist Ottawa: Part III – Aylmer bound!

Laura Allardyce is a cultural observer with an overactive imagination, who is always insisting the glass is half full. She has lived in Ottawa her whole life and says she will only leave once she has smelled all the roses. She is currently training for the ride of her life.

In my last post, I shared with you my favourite route in Ottawa. The ride to Alymer is similar in the sense that it’s somewhat along the same pathway and still a great route along the water. This time instead of going right at the end of the Champlain Bridge, you go left (west) and head out towards the Deschenes Rapids.

After doing mostly short rides, no longer than 25km at a time, it was time to start challenging myself to longer rides – hence 40km loop to Aylmer!

Over the Champlain Bridge once again. I can’t tell you how awesome it is to have bike lanes on both sides of this bridge. It is my preferred way to cross the river. Once across the bridge exit to the right as you would to head towards Parc Mousette (East) but make sure to stay to the right because the path leads under the bridge (heading West).

This is a great pathway. For the most part, it runs parallel to Boulevard de Lucerne. In some places, like in this photo, the brush next to the path is so thick it’s like being hugged by nature. The other benefit, if you’re not as into tree-hugging as I am, is the shade. If you’re out early in the morning, or later in the afternoon (anytime the sun is right overhead), the trees on either side of the path provide fantastic shade to keep you cool on your ride.

My favourite part of this ride is when you the path turns into a wooden bridge over a swampy area. It’s very Lord of the Rings-ish, very pretty.

Go discover it!

Maybe I was suffering from heat exhaustion because all of a sudden I thought I was in a Mario Bros game. I emerged from the tree-lined pathway into suburbia, greeted by this house that looks an awful lot like Bowser’s castle. No offense to the people who live there or the designer, but really? The tower, chimney and colour choices didn’t do this house any favours. It is, however, one of my favourite markers on this route. (What you don’t see in this photo is the back yard. Lovely seating area and a hot tub. Okay, yeah I’m just jealous.)

Well it happens to be breakfast time and apatio just happens to be empty. Sure, let’s stop for a bite! It didn’t take long until the patio of the Marina d’Aylmer Restaurant to fill up. The food is basic but good and exactly what I wanted. Plus coffee. Is it just me, or does coffee really help when you’re riding? I have no pep before coffee.Don’t worry about finding the restaurant, the bike path leads you right to it. Right now there is construction blocking the path that forces you to ride in front of the patio. But once you’re at the marina, you’ll know it. (Hint: Before you reach the marina you ride through a bit of a residential area. Each time I’ve been here artists are set up displaying their works.

The artists are from the Centre d’Exposition l’Imaginer, a not-for-profit organisation that promotes contemporary visual arts in the Outaouais region. Stop and check out the Parc de l’Imaginaire too. It’s located directly behind the centre. It’s essentially an open-air art gallery. It’s full of bench sculptures!

On the other side of the marina is Parc de Cedres. It’s a great beach for swimming and relaxing and there’s a canteen and washrooms (but note, they don’t open until 11 a.m.). In one visit I saw a girl doing yoga, a guy practising martial arts, and someone kite surfing.

So many ways to enjoy the outdoors in summer!

The route continues up to Eardley Road but there isn’t anything up there. It’s part of the 40km but basically, we go up there to turn around – which is fun because it’s a pretty good hill to speed down (carefully!). Check out the map above on the MapMyRide site to see what kind of hill we’re talking about by hovering over the elevation chart.

Return the way you came, either back over the Champlain Bridge, or continue the mapped ride of the basic loop from part II of this series.

Until next time when we tour around Ottawa some more before another long-distance trek out to Carleton Place.

Thanks Laura! Laura will cycle across Vietnam in September to raise money for CARE Canada, an international humanitarian NGO whose work focuses on empowering women and girls in emerging nations. If you want to help, you can make a donation here.