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  1. #1
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    Touring around the Ottawa area

    I'm living in the Ottawa area (in Ontario, Canada.) I'm just outfitting my old steel Raleigh road bike for light touring before I go out and spend the big bucks on a real touring bike. I'm planning on going touring for a weekend, maybe taking a friday or monday off and heading for the hills. I haven't decided on stealth camping vs. legit camping, or a destination yet. I am very tempted to head up to Wakefield or go into quebec and West of the gatineaus. I was wondering if you guys had any suggestions on touring in the Ottawa area, and on touring with road bikes.

    I currently have 700x23 tires on there right now, with some 700x25's in the closet. Should I bother swapping the tires? I'm going to be putting a lowrider set of pannier racks on the front for two gear panniers, and a rack on the back for my sleeping bag and tent. I'm planning on travelling pretty light, although some amount of weight will probably be unavoidable.

  2. #2
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    I used to do lightweight (< 20 lbs. or 9 kg) road touring on 23 mm and 25 mm tires. No problems. Now I have 28 mm tires.

    I know someone who tours on 20 mm tires!

  3. #3
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    I also live around Ottawa (Hull) and I feel the area is great for cycling.

    Finding the right roads to reach Wakefield can be a pain in the ass. Fortunately, you can get a brochure called 'cycling in western Quebec' at the Quebec tourist office in Hull which propose a series of routes (including the road to Wakefield). Some of the route proposed are on dirt roads so read carefully. I often go to the Lake Philip camp site in the Gatineau park by bike.

    Further North, there is a fairly new cycling path which runs from Low to Maniwaki. It is made of stone dust and is sometimes a bit too soft. The area around Gracefield and Blue Sea is realy nice though and if you want to continue towards the North, there is a nice road with very little trafic which follows the Gatineau river up to Grand-Remou. (From there, you can ride for 30 km on the pave shoulder of road 117 to Mont Laurier where the p'tit train du Nord bike path begins).

    Road 148 which runs on the Quebec side of the Ottawa river can be quite interesting too. You can easily reach the Plaisance provincial park for camping or go a bit further to Montebello for a variety of accomodations. This follows the Route Verte .

    Otherwise, the Pontiac is another nice region to visit in Quebec. They even have another failry new bike path there (stone dust, sometimes a bit too soft for my taste) and an interesting landscape. Have a look at this web page.

    On the Ontario side of the river, the options are quite numerous too! From Orleans (which can be reach via the cycling paths of the capital) you can ride up to Montreal on quiet roads. Have a look at Brian Hedney's website for details: http://www.hedney.com/o-m.htm

    The Rideau Canal area is also quite popular. They have a nice website with a few suggested itineraries: http://www.rideau-info.com/canal/cycle/grandtour2.html .

    I am still just at the beginning of my explorations in the area but if you need more detailed info, drop me a line.

  4. #4
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    About wheels... it all depends on the road you chose to ride. There are plenty of nice dirt roads in the area as well as some 'stone dust' bike paths. My suggestion would be to try and see fi you need something else later.

  5. #5
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    Is there a bike club in your area you can consult? What about a tourist information centre?

    Ottawa Bike Club website

    Buncha tours on offer on the site -- upper right hand corner.

    Good luck! It's a great area for touring.

  6. #6
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    Last summer I biked between Kingston and Ottawa via Westport, and except for the suburbs of Ottawa, it was a beautiful route. I was on quiet country roads 90% of the time, sometimes too quiet. There were not a lot of services on some roads, so it was good I carried ample food.

    The trip took me two days, with an overnight in a cheap motel in Westport. Next time I do this route, I might try to stay closer to the Rideau Canal.

    As you approach Kingston, there is a large meteor crater at Holleford. An interesting diversion if one is into such things.


  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor
    I used to do lightweight (< 20 lbs. or 9 kg) road touring on 23 mm and 25 mm tires. No problems. Now I have 28 mm tires.

    I know someone who tours on 20 mm tires!

    Ha ha, that doesn't sound like fun! (The 20 mm ones.) So, is it more of a comfort thing to ride with larger tires, a durability thing, or a bit of both?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magictofu
    I also live around Ottawa (Hull) and I feel the area is great for cycling.

    Finding the right roads to reach Wakefield can be a pain in the ass. Fortunately, you can get a brochure called 'cycling in western Quebec' at the Quebec tourist office in Hull which propose a series of routes (including the road to Wakefield). Some of the route proposed are on dirt roads so read carefully. I often go to the Lake Philip camp site in the Gatineau park by bike.

    Further North, there is a fairly new cycling path which runs from Low to Maniwaki. It is made of stone dust and is sometimes a bit too soft. The area around Gracefield and Blue Sea is realy nice though and if you want to continue towards the North, there is a nice road with very little trafic which follows the Gatineau river up to Grand-Remou. (From there, you can ride for 30 km on the pave shoulder of road 117 to Mont Laurier where the p'tit train du Nord bike path begins).

    Road 148 which runs on the Quebec side of the Ottawa river can be quite interesting too. You can easily reach the Plaisance provincial park for camping or go a bit further to Montebello for a variety of accomodations. This follows the Route Verte .

    Otherwise, the Pontiac is another nice region to visit in Quebec. They even have another failry new bike path there (stone dust, sometimes a bit too soft for my taste) and an interesting landscape. Have a look at this web page.

    On the Ontario side of the river, the options are quite numerous too! From Orleans (which can be reach via the cycling paths of the capital) you can ride up to Montreal on quiet roads. Have a look at Brian Hedney's website for details: http://www.hedney.com/o-m.htm

    The Rideau Canal area is also quite popular. They have a nice website with a few suggested itineraries: http://www.rideau-info.com/canal/cycle/grandtour2.html .

    I am still just at the beginning of my explorations in the area but if you need more detailed info, drop me a line.

    Thanks for the info Majictofu! I've been riding around Ottawa for the past few years as a Carleton U student. I've covered the core of ottawa and the gatineau parks quite a bit. Touring opens up a larger area for traveling, you list some great places to check out. Hmm, in a few more weeks the weather will have gotten warm enough that it'll be great weather for cycling, and I'll hopefully have my gear ready for a trip! I'll definitely keep you posted on plans, and you may hear from me with a few questions. I have never done this before, it's interesting to plan multi day cycling trips.

    Ha ha, agreed about getting to Wakefield! I attempted to make it there once last November, but only made it to Old Chelsea. It was a really fun ride, I got a lot of good pictures that day too. The bake shop in Old Chelsea is amazing, I think I need to take another ride up there soon.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magictofu
    About wheels... it all depends on the road you chose to ride. There are plenty of nice dirt roads in the area as well as some 'stone dust' bike paths. My suggestion would be to try and see fi you need something else later.
    Well, I'll be using 70x23 or 700x25 wheels. I don't mind hitting dirt roads and long as they aren't too run down. Do you know anything about Chemin de la Riviere? It looks like it might be a really nice rode to take for a ways.

  10. #10
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    I used to love to ride to Carp and to Arnprior. My favorite part of the trip was down diamond view road, the name says it all. A trip out to Lanark and the towns around that area is a great idea, I miss the old area. Even going out to Barry's Bay is a good ride. Check out Foymount, it is supposedly the highest inhabited elevation in Ontario. If I was back there I would definitly be spending my time touring the Ottawa Valley, it is so beautiful and the roads are pretty good. I've ridden across the river but I do not like the roads conditions compared to the Ottawa valley

  11. #11
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    Hi bobbotron, I used to study at Carleton too but dropped out of the geography PhD program recently. All I need now is either a job or good weather ;-)

    BTW, I looked at your pictures and could recognize almost each places... nice shots! My girlfriend and I used to go to Chelsea by bike on sundays last summer to have brunch at the Cafe Soup'herbe. From there, the road to Wakefield is quite straightforward: you simply have to follow road 105 until you reach the intersection with highway 5. There, you just turn left to use the old road... quiet, paved, beautiful! And once in Wakefield, you can refil your bottle at that spring water tap... cold and deliscious!

    I might know that 'Chemin de la Rivière' but since I have a terrible memory for place names i just don't recal anything about it. Where is it located?

    As for myself, since I don't plan long trips this summer, I might just follow the Rideau canal up to Kingston and explore the West (Arnpior, etc) a little bit more.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Magictofu
    Hi bobbotron, I used to study at Carleton too but dropped out of the geography PhD program recently. All I need now is either a job or good weather ;-)

    BTW, I looked at your pictures and could recognize almost each places... nice shots! My girlfriend and I used to go to Chelsea by bike on sundays last summer to have brunch at the Cafe Soup'herbe. From there, the road to Wakefield is quite straightforward: you simply have to follow road 105 until you reach the intersection with highway 5. There, you just turn left to use the old road... quiet, paved, beautiful! And once in Wakefield, you can refil your bottle at that spring water tap... cold and deliscious!

    I might know that 'Chemin de la Rivière' but since I have a terrible memory for place names i just don't recal anything about it. Where is it located?

    As for myself, since I don't plan long trips this summer, I might just follow the Rideau canal up to Kingston and explore the West (Arnpior, etc) a little bit more.

    Chemin Riverside is just near the intersection of the 5 and 105 - maybe it's the same one you are talking about? From the looks of it, you would turn right to get onto it though.
    http://www.google.ca/lochp?hl=en&q=&....00799,0.01163

    That sounds like a great ride! I can't wait to get my act together to do it.

    Yeah, I would love to go to Kingston at some point this summer, a friend of mine did that last summer, I hear it's a good ride.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbotron
    Yeah, I would love to go to Kingston at some point this summer, a friend of mine did that last summer, I hear it's a good ride.

    Have you though about the Rideau Lakes tour with the Ottawa bike club?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by !!Comatoa$ted
    Have you though about the Rideau Lakes tour with the Ottawa bike club?
    I have, although I'm not an OBC member and I've heard it fills up really quickly. I did the MS150 and the Tour Nortel last year.

  15. #15
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    I think you can do the ride as a non OBC member but it costs more. I have never done it myself. There is a ride from kingston to Montreal that I might try this summer since I live along the route so it would be perfect for me.

    I also am going to be riding to Ottawa a few times for doctors appointments, since now I do not have a car that works. Also most of the people that I know live in Ottawa so it is a good excuse to go for a nice long ride.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bobbotron
    Chemin Riverside is just near the intersection of the 5 and 105 - maybe it's the same one you are talking about? From the looks of it, you would turn right to get onto it though.
    http://www.google.ca/lochp?hl=en&q=&....00799,0.01163

    That sounds like a great ride! I can't wait to get my act together to do it.

    Yeah, I would love to go to Kingston at some point this summer, a friend of mine did that last summer, I hear it's a good ride.
    Yes... its a right turn... so its the same road... sorry about giving you the wrong info. This road is very nice. It starts with some very nice downhills towards the river. The rest is fairly flat but the scenery is excellent. The pavement is far from perfect at some places but its much better then highway 105.

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