Where to Bike
The Bike Ottawa map page, pictured below, now has a range of superb maps to aid you in your cycling journey.
The OpenStreetMap-based route planner is especially helpful. The tab below the address bars links to the Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) data, enabling you to choose between a quicker, more stressful journey or a longer, less stressful one. Plans are now afoot to add winter route maps. You can read about the origins of this robust and comprehensive resource in this PDF.
Ottawa connects to the Québec-wide Route Verte, comprising the largest (5,000 km) network of bike routes in North America. Visit this link for full information in English.
Buy a Bike
You can buy used bicycles by clicking on this link to the relevant section at Kijiji.ca. Once there you can refine your search, and then order the results by price or posting date.
For a useful sampling of some local bike stores click on the image below, which leads to an interactive map of bicycle stores at yellowpages.ca. The map is not comprehensive.
Bike Sharing / Rental
The community owned-and-operated RightBike service has hubs throughout the downtown core. You can follow their remarkable progress on their lively Twitter feed @RightBikeOttawa. Cargo bikes (featured in this local news story) can be rented for $15 a day. Click here or on the image below for a map, membership rates and rental logistics.
For quick rentals in the heart of the city try Escape Tours and Rentals at 65 Sparks St, minutes from Parliament Hill.
The app-based Velogo (which took over the bankrupt Capital Bixi in 2014) “will be located at over 50 hub locations throughout Ottawa and Gatineau.” For an interactive map of existing (downtown) hubs, click on the image below.The Vélo Vanier program, run by the Vanier Community Service Centre, has a web page and a Twitter page providing basic information. Go here for a list of city-wide bike rental facilities.
Safety / Infrastructure / Advocacy
Throughout North American there’s a growing movement to establish serious cycle infratructure along the lines of the Netherlands and Denmark. From People for Bikes, here’s a terrific page of statistics regarding the benefits of recent US bike lane initiatives, which are clearly of relevance to the Canadian context. In his new book Walkable City urbanist Jeff Speck points out that the benefits of making a city bikeable are exponential and ultimately beyond measure:
Portland has spent roughly $65 million on bicycle facilities over the past several decades. That is not a lot of money by infrastructure standards—it cost more than $140 million to rebuild just one of the city’s freeway interchanges. Yet, in addition to helping to boost the number of bicyclists from near normal to fifteen times the national average, this investment can be expected to have created close to nine hundred jobs, about four hundred more than would have come from spending it on road building. But the real Portland story is neither its transportation savings nor its bikeway employment, but something else: young, smart people are moving to Portland in droves. According to Cortright and coauthor Carol Coletta, “Over the decade of the 1990s, the number of college-educated 25 to 34 year olds increased 50 percent in the Portland metropolitan area—five times faster than in the nation as a whole, with the fastest increase in this age group being recorded in the city’s close-in neighborhoods.
In August 2013 the Ontario government released a twenty-year vision (so far without funding) in the form of the Ontario Cycling Strategy. You can read the full document here (PDF), and read synopses by well-informed Ottawans here (with amazing photos of cycle infrastructure in the Netherlands) and here.
Thanks to strong local advocacy, Ottawa is becoming increasingly viable and renowned as a cycling centre. Citizens for Safe Cycling is a venerable organization advocating for a cycle-friendly Ottawa. Click on the image below for a link to their cycle and pedestrian collision map.
The local Bicycle Lanes Project has a web site with good information including a petition and a crowdsourced map for reporting ongoing bicycle/motor vehicle collisions and close calls. You can also keep informed on Hans Moor’s popular Urban Commuter site and Bike Ottawa Twitter feed. For more bike advocacy groups go here, and see the blog listed here. The community-based initiative Active & Safe Routes to School also promotes cycling.
Ontario’s first segregated bike lanes were added to Laurier St in 2011. Bronson St followed suit in summer 2013, and there’s a plan to make Main St. into a ‘complete street.’ The city cycling plan can be accessed here.
Click on the banner below to see the Complete Streets for Ottawa campaign, petitioning city officials to make bike-and-pedestrian friendly streets. (Tweet it here.)
Every Sunday morning from Victoria Day weekend to Labour Day weekend over 50 km of parkways in Ottawa and Gatineau Park are reserved for cyclists, in-line skaters, runners and walkers. Click here or on the image below for full information and an interactive map.
Rack & Roll
From April through October many OC Transpo buses come equipped with bike racks on the front. and they can be transported year-round on the O-train. Click here for details, and here for an instructional video.
Here’s a petition calling for the transformation of a disused railroad tracks into a bike/multi-purpose path from Gatineau to Wakefield. There’s also a movement to establish a non-motorized recreation rail trail for Lanark and Renfrew Counties on the old CP Rail bed (OVR). Visit the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail Facebook page for details. Click on an image to pin, or on the board title to see all items.
The CitizenCycle blog provides this extensive list of Ottawa bike clubs.
For an overview of walking advocacy in Ottawa go here. Scroll down for tweets and Pinterest boards advocating for cycle-friendly streets. And please use the buttons at bottom to share this page, especially via Facebook as I don’t use it!
Citizens4SafeCycling (@CfSC_Ott) January 16, 2015
slow ottawa (@slowottawa) January 07, 2015
slow ottawa (@slowottawa) December 12, 2014