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Kingston to Ottawa - Cataraqui, Great Lakes waterfront trial, something else?

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Kingston to Ottawa - Cataraqui, Great Lakes waterfront trial, something else?

Old 06-03-22, 07:31 AM
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dvdwmth
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Kingston to Ottawa - Cataraqui, Great Lakes waterfront trial, something else?

I'm looking for a route from Kingston to Ottawa and one option is ride north of Kingston to the Cataraqui trail. Only discussion of it on this forum is almost 10 years ago and many rail trails have been improved since then.

Im also considering the Great Lakes waterfront trail until I'm due south of Ottawa and then head north via roads, but the route that connects with the Cataraqui would allow me to follow part of the historic Rideau canal and pass through some interesting Canadian Shield terrain.

I will be travelling alone.

Is the Cataraqui ridable with a loaded touring bike (no fat tires)?

How busy is it? If you were to need help in the section without cel service will you likely encounter other users.

Are there other routes between Kingston and Ottawa that would be more advisable?

Are the towns along the st Lawrence nice or desolate and meth riden? I've heard some less than charming descriptions of a few of these places.

Last edited by dvdwmth; 06-03-22 at 07:40 AM.
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Old 06-03-22, 08:14 AM
  #2  
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I have limited advice other than to say perhaps you should post this in the "Eastern Canada" in the Regional Discussions section. Might get more feedback there.

This might be helpful too: Ontario by Bike
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Old 06-03-22, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
I have limited advice other than to say perhaps you should post this in the "Eastern Canada" in the Regional Discussions section. Might get more feedback there.

This might be helpful too: Ontario by Bike
I think there were about 6 threads in the whole eastern canada section. Regardless i need info from people who know touring. I've found sites that describe the route but descriptions have to be taken with a grain of salt. When the Guelph to Goderich trail was about 3/4 finished, a person with the organization told me in a forum it was ridable. I was on a mountain bike and I couldn't ride the last quarter of the trail because the trail was still so rough.

I have learned that there is a Rideau Canal route that goes through Perth. Apparently the town is nice and the route well established. There is an annual event that takes this route and it seems to be a fairly well know trek. In the absence of any other information I think I'm leaning this way. Hopefully a few people here have done Kingston to Ottawa who can shed some light on aspects that can't be seen on a map.
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Old 06-03-22, 10:00 PM
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Geez, I'm trying to remember....I did Ottawa Kingston and back, but holy bananas, back in something like 88?
More recently (2 summers ago) I did Kingston to more or less Montreal, going along the st Lawrence route, and it was pretty nice. Some bits very pretty near the 1000 islands area, and the rest was fine traffic wise (most people take the 401)

So the waterfront trail stuff is good, but the direct route Ottawa Kingston I have no recollection, not overly busy I don't think, and pretty enough.

Sorry, I'll have to check out the cataraqui trail info.
I get being skeptical about trail conditions, I too have been on stuff that was tough and slow, so yes, you want to get some recent good info.
There got to be some reliable info out there.
I'll be curious to hear what you find out, and will share if I find any.

Ps, is funny what jogs memories. Kingston to Ottawa I recall going along near marshy area, and a whole group of horse flies took off after me, pursuing me for kilometers. I had to really haul ass to keep ahead (no speedo bike computer then) but I clearly recall looking back and like out of a cartoon, seeing them frantically chasing me in a group. Plus the sound of them whacking into my helmet over and over--my first helmet btw, so a novel thing.

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Old 06-03-22, 10:08 PM
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I knew a guy who for years used to do this two day event, Ottawa-Kingston one day, return the next. All roadies in teams, can't recall the name of the event, but it's route must be findable.
good luck finding stuff
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Old 06-03-22, 10:21 PM
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Cycling the Rideau Canal: Kington to Cataraqui Trail to Ottawa
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Old 06-04-22, 05:46 AM
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Hey dvd guy, I have some comments, but first, have you toured before, are you 20 or 70, do you ride much, how wide are your tires, how many klicks do you realistically expect to do, which leads back to if you've ridden a loaded bike before?

I'll wait for your responses
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Old 06-04-22, 02:44 PM
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Check out Rideau Lakes Cycling Tour put on by Ottawa Bicycle Club for possible routes Kingston-Ottawa
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Old 06-04-22, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Hey dvd guy, I have some comments, but first, have you toured before, are you 20 or 70, do you ride much, how wide are your tires, how many klicks do you realistically expect to do, which leads back to if you've ridden a loaded bike before?

I'll wait for your responses
Early 50s. 38x700 tires, road tread. Mostly aiming around 80/day. My longest ride ever was 120 but I was crushed. Had to rest the next day. Ive done short tours over a couple days but I was loaded with more than i needed to get a sense of what longer tours would be like. Did 70 today and I was tired but ok now, and i have at least a month more to train. I feel i have an adequate understanding of the training i need to do for a week tour. Been biking my whole life.

I've seen the links in the other posts. They were useful but im looking for some subjective opinions. I'm leaning toward the St lawrence route now, partly because I'm interested in its historical importance. I also prefer civilization over the wilds.

Last edited by dvdwmth; 06-04-22 at 09:28 PM.
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Old 06-05-22, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by dvdwmth View Post
Early 50s. 38x700 tires, road tread. Mostly aiming around 80/day. My longest ride ever was 120 but I was crushed. Had to rest the next day. Ive done short tours over a couple days but I was loaded with more than i needed to get a sense of what longer tours would be like. Did 70 today and I was tired but ok now, and i have at least a month more to train. I feel i have an adequate understanding of the training i need to do for a week tour. Been biking my whole life.

I've seen the links in the other posts. They were useful but im looking for some subjective opinions. I'm leaning toward the St lawrence route now, partly because I'm interested in its historical importance. I also prefer civilization over the wilds.
Again, no personal experience of that cata trail, I've done similar rail trails near Montreal where some are well maintained, lots of people, others are rougher and more remote, but I have a fair amount of experience touring in isolated places and am comfortable with varying terrain with 45mm+ tires and taking care of things on my own if need be.
You also said you'd prefer towns etc, so your leaning to the waterfront trail seems like a good choice.

I recall now that a good section of dedicated bike path follows parts of the 1000 Island Parkway. It's a very pretty section, being a bike path is nice.
This starts at Gananoque, 35k from Kingston, don't recall how many klicks the separate path is.
After the "waterfront trail" just follows the old Highway, and for me it was pleasant. Navigation is straightforward, basic map reading skills.
I found the towns along the way to be fun to go through, as you say, historically interesting. Certainly don't recall thinking meth labs ever, but then I was biking in day etc.
The idea to go north somewhere looks reasonable. Probably about 80k up to Ottawa, so you just need to plan the 1st and 2nd night out of Kingston. 3 days to Ottawa looks reasonable.
Look at Google maps for distances between towns and have sufficient water and food for inbetween places.

Sounds like a nice trip, is this a go and return also trip?
Ps, I always recommend a mirror, it just makes for a more relaxing (and safer) ride to easily know what's coming up behind you.
Btw, we stayed in cheap motels Kingston to Montreal, but campgrounds must be around. Really comes down to daily distances.

Last edited by djb; 06-05-22 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 06-05-22, 06:44 PM
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Just one way. I don't have time to do both. I'm actually starting in Ajax, likely staying in Cobourg, then Sandbanks Park, then to Kingston, and onward as described.

Since I started this thread I've learned more about the towns along the St Lawrence. Brockville looks like a nice place and I think there is a camp site in town. There is a great viewpoint that looks out at the river.

My concern now is that the routes from the St Lawrence to Ottawa that have come up so far using various planning sites look like 100km of straight roads through farmland or brush, which I've had enough of from biking Southwestern Ontario. There is the option of going from brockville to smith falls and then to Ottawa. Might add a day though.

I sure know a lot more about the Ottawa valley than when I started out. I hadn't even considered how educational just planning a bike tour would be.
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Old 06-05-22, 08:36 PM
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Gotcha on the ajax etc. We camped for nearly 20 years at sandbanks, nice place. From campground to Picton to ferry to Kingston is about 80k, did it once, brought my bike camping and visited a friend in Kingston for a few days and bike back.
I remember Brockville being a nice town.
Re from st Lawrence straight up to Ottawa, I've only done it either on motorcycle or car from Ottawa, and a really really long time ago, like 40 years, so no real memory, but yes, could very well be pretty bland.
Glad you're enjoying the research aspect.

After this trip, you'll get a much better idea of what stuff you never used, or what stuff you would have liked to have had.

PS grew up in Ottawa, biked in it as a kid, but didn't really do bike touring near it.
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Old 06-09-22, 08:08 PM
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Trying to upload picÖ wonít allow me.. no enough posts
was going to show the routes used on the Rideau lakes tour

As for the riding between rockport and brockville .. lots of fun.. great trails along the old highway 2 .. some nice look outs and good pub rockport

Good camping right in brockville .. st lawrence park.. and some nice trails riding through town Great fish and chip in brockville..donís downtown near the water Also done a lot of riding north.. like u said farm land.. but I like that Ö good get away from the city


riding along highway 2 between morrisburg to Cornwall also really great and lots of camping near long Sault.. might be a little east but it is supposed to be nice coming north from there into ottawa .. done the drive and itís relaxing .. on my list to ride it this summer

Last edited by Dman1234; 06-10-22 at 04:55 AM.
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Old 06-09-22, 08:12 PM
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Try looking up Rideau lakes tour .. that pic might come up
show multiple routes taking u through the back ways
also the is a old rail bed that is a trail.. think in runs into Prescott area all the way up to Carleton place and then almonte
I have been on it from just north of smiths fall to almonte

crushed gravel .. loose flat and easy to ride.. not hilly.. but not great for road tires.. nice not having to think about traffic
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Old 06-09-22, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
Again, no personal experience of that cata trail, I've done similar rail trails near Montreal where some are well maintained, lots of people, others are rougher and more remote, but I have a fair amount of experience touring in isolated places and am comfortable with varying terrain with 45mm+ tires and taking care of things on my own if need be.
You also said you'd prefer towns etc, so your leaning to the waterfront trail seems like a good choice.

I recall now that a good section of dedicated bike path follows parts of the 1000 Island Parkway. It's a very pretty section, being a bike path is nice.
This starts at Gananoque, 35k from Kingston, don't recall how many klicks the separate path is.
After the "waterfront trail" just follows the old Highway, and for me it was pleasant. Navigation is straightforward, basic map reading skills.
I found the towns along the way to be fun to go through, as you say, historically interesting. Certainly don't recall thinking meth labs ever, but then I was biking in day etc.
The idea to go north somewhere looks reasonable. Probably about 80k up to Ottawa, so you just need to plan the 1st and 2nd night out of Kingston. 3 days to Ottawa looks reasonable.
Look at Google maps for distances between towns and have sufficient water and food for inbetween places.

Sounds like a nice trip, is this a go and return also trip?
Ps, I always recommend a mirror, it just makes for a more relaxing (and safer) ride to easily know what's coming up behind you.
Btw, we stayed in cheap motels Kingston to Montreal, but campgrounds must be around. Really comes down to daily distances.
What other tours do you recommend if starting from Montreal for a beginner?
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Old 06-10-22, 04:44 AM
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Originally Posted by Frenzen View Post
What other tours do you recommend if starting from Montreal for a beginner?
I'd recommend starting a new topic thread on this, more people will see it and you might get other ideas.
I'd be happy to give suggestions there, or at least discuss options and whatnot.
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Old 06-12-22, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Dman1234 View Post
Trying to upload picÖ wonít allow me.. no enough posts
was going to show the routes used on the Rideau lakes tour

As for the riding between rockport and brockville .. lots of fun.. great trails along the old highway 2 .. some nice look outs and good pub rockport

Good camping right in brockville .. st lawrence park.. and some nice trails riding through town Great fish and chip in brockville..donís downtown near the water Also done a lot of riding north.. like u said farm land.. but I like that Ö good get away from the city


riding along highway 2 between morrisburg to Cornwall also really great and lots of camping near long Sault.. might be a little east but it is supposed to be nice coming north from there into ottawa .. done the drive and itís relaxing .. on my list to ride it this summer
Thanks. Very helpful info.

Your other post mentioned gravel and not great for road tires, but my tires are 38mm and very robust. I frequently ride a section of the Guelph to Goderich trail which is crushed gravel and have absolutely no trouble. Its rough terrain that or loose, soft surface that becomes more of a problem but I'm quite experience in various types of terrain.
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Old 06-12-22, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Frenzen View Post
What other tours do you recommend if starting from Montreal for a beginner?
What djb said. You'll get much more info and it will keep both or our threads clean.

Whatever you're thinking, you will have to be specific about fitness, gear you own (panniers? Bikepacking? trailer?), whether you want wilderness or between urban areas, time available, when you want to travel, camping or hotels, carry your stuff or supported, etc..

Have you tried Ride with GPS or Komoot for route planning/discovery? I just discovered their usefulness for discovering routes and they are great. I find Komoot easier if you are looking to use it for free (i bought the downloadable world map though) and ride with GPS better for ride tracking and cycle computer use.
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Old 06-12-22, 07:06 PM
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I think I've finalized it. Barring some future discovery, I will ride to Belleville, then north to either Smith Falls or Perth, then to Ottawa. Smith Falls has a camp site and the route is shorter but Perth looks nicer. Will probably opt for the camp site option.

Im really looking forward to both these destinations. In fact, Sand Dunes park, Kingston, the St Lawrence, the Canadian shield area, Ottawa, and the possible train Journey back home, have all been on my wish list for some time. Some for years.

Starting to get excited. My bike is dialed in and working well, have almost all the gear I wanted (I'm weirdly excited about the ultralight camp chair arriving tomorrow), navigation sorted out, and I'm starting to feel fit again. Need to pin down a date and then hope all my campsite destination are available.
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Old 06-12-22, 07:20 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdwmth View Post
I think I've finalized it. Barring some future discovery, I will ride to Belleville, then north to either Smith Falls or Perth, then to Ottawa. Smith Falls has a camp site and the route is shorter but Perth looks nicer. Will probably opt for the camp site option.

Im really looking forward to both these destinations. In fact, Sand Dunes park, Kingston, the St Lawrence, the Canadian shield area, Ottawa, and the possible train Journey back home, have all been on my wish list for some time. Some for years.

Starting to get excited. My bike is dialed in and working well, have almost all the gear I wanted (I'm weirdly excited about the ultralight camp chair arriving tomorrow), navigation sorted out, and I'm starting to feel fit again. Need to pin down a date and then hope all my campsite destination are available.
Sounds good. The sand dunes part of sandbanks is a cool place, the dunes are about a 30 min ride from the camping area of sandbanks, but the whole area might be worth a day off if you feel like it. Lots of fun memories going to the dunes area with the kids.
​​​​​​
in any case, like you say, you'll see lots of stuff on this trip, and will be fun. Again, campgrounds are nice for the showers, especially after a stinking hot day. When we did Kingston to Montreal we had some stonkers heat wise. Those days is nice hitting a AC gas station and buying cold drinks like gatoraid.

Have fun, if you haven't ridden loaded much, if possible, try some shorter days at first.
Get back with info on how things went.
Cheers
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Old 06-12-22, 07:24 PM
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Originally Posted by dvdwmth View Post
Thanks. Very helpful info.

Your other post mentioned gravel and not great for road tires, but my tires are 38mm and very robust. I frequently ride a section of the Guelph to Goderich trail which is crushed gravel and have absolutely no trouble. Its rough terrain that or loose, soft surface that becomes more of a problem but I'm quite experience in various types of terrain.
you will be fine with those tires
I can not recall but I am pretty sure you have heard that camping on the lock system is a great option and I believe itís free Ö there is space in Merrickville and just outside of there in Burritis rapids that is really nice Ö even warm water and shower in the later.. if you want real fancy u can rent a yurt and crash in comfort ? $$$
enjoy
Let us know what you think
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Old 06-16-22, 08:19 AM
  #22  
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Originally Posted by Dman1234 View Post
you will be fine with those tires
I can not recall but I am pretty sure you have heard that camping on the lock system is a great option and I believe itís free Ö there is space in Merrickville and just outside of there in Burritis rapids that is really nice Ö even warm water and shower in the later.. if you want real fancy u can rent a yurt and crash in comfort ? $$$
enjoy
Let us know what you think
I didn't know this actually. Good to know. I'll look into.

I have actually reconsidered my route though.
I almost swerved into the side of a transport truck the other day. I was on a short 3k stretch of road between an urban bike path in Guelph and the Guelph to Goderich trail. It's not a great road since there are short sections with no paved shoulders at all, just gravel with pot holes and a crumbling, raised edge to the asphault, and it can get somewhat busy. Still, I've ridden it many times and never really felt concerned.
This time though, there was transport truck behind me, so i moved to the gravel since there was no room for the truck to pass, and after he passed i wanted out of that situation but needed to swerve a bit to get up on the lip without crashing, and there was another truck right behind it. I missed the sticking out parts by about a foot, but it was pure luck. I'm sure you all know that feeling of a vehicles air displacement, and you know it was way too close. I've always been very proactive in keeping myself safe in traffic, and i have decades of experience doing so, and even experience as a downtown bike courier, but i completely failed to do so in this situation. Not the first time this year either. If i had miscalculated that lip and tipped over i would have been popped like a grape. Or i could have been hit by the mirror and gone under the wheels. I'd rather fight a bear. At least I'd be nourishing some wild thing instead of being a pile of mush for some poor soul to shovel off the road.
I'm a dad and my kids are still youngish so I'm staying off the roads as much as possible. It upsets me on so many levels that this is still the reality of riding a bike, especially in the age of global warming, but clearly we don't matter as far as highway management goes.
Time to get one of those Lidar things companies like Garmin are selling now.

Sooo, looks like its the rail trail north of kingston to Perth or Smith falls. I'll just throw the family in the car some weekend and DRIVE to belleville.

Of course if anyone knows a road with a proper, continuous, SAFE, shoulder between Bellevile and Smith Falls/Perth, that might be doable, but i haven't been able to find one.
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Old 06-16-22, 10:03 AM
  #23  
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I hear you, that type of situation is unnerving, we've probably all had them....
but.....and a big but.... Seriously, having a good mirror would have given you the heads up on this.
It's our responsibility to be aware of what's coming, what's behind, and a good non wide angle mirror, gives you the edge of the time to at a glance assess what's going on
I've toured back in the day without one, but close to 30 years figured out how a mirror was so much more relaxing, cuz I knew what was going on.

This isn't a lecture, but a serious recommendation of getting a non convex (wide angle) n mirror that allows you to judge distances properly of rear incoming traffic. Wide angle ones put the approaching vehicles too small and with a lot less time to judge their approach.

As soon as I got a mirror, it was so much more relaxing.

I'm a big fan of the helmet or sun glasses mounted Take-a-look model. Used to be at MEC but no longer.
There are loads of mirrors on the market, so please consider trying some out in a store.

I've toured a lot, and would never ever ride without one. I ride all year in Montreal and always appreciate the few extra seconds of heads up.

And yes, you do get used to traffic touring, but as a courrier you know the deal of situational awareness, I know you know that as an urban rider.

As you say though, we owe it to our families and ourselves to use the tools available to reduce the risk on the road, and a good mirror is the top thing in my books.

Again, not a lecture, but a strong strong recommendation.
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Old 06-16-22, 01:33 PM
  #24  
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I'm looking for a mirror that works with trekking bars. The ones I've found so far are bar end mounts.

You should check out the Lidar sensor by Garmin. Forgot whats it called. There is a youtube review that is pretty amazing. Depending on the cost I may also acquire one of these.
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Old 06-26-22, 07:29 PM
  #25  
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I picked up a mirror off Amazon. It was a good suggestion.

In case anyone is curious:
https://www.amazon.ca/Hafny-Handleba..._d_rp_1_i&th=1
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