Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Biking: Osgoode Pathway Review

Sun was in the forecast, with high 20's for the temperature.  Also, it was Sunday.  So really a perfect day to take our new bikes out for a good ride, break them in so-to-speak.  The Mister has been riding his to work for the week, so clocking 30k a day means his is already broken in, but I really needed to get out on mine.   The difference between this new Escape RX w  and my old Town and Country KHS is tremendous!  it is soooo light.  It really begged for a longer ride.
Luckily, while googling random ottawa info, I came across a page describing the Osgoode Pathway.  It starts not far from our house and is a solid 20k to the village of Osgoode on a former rail bed.  There is a cafe in town that does brunch, so it seemed like a great Sunday morning trek.

The signage is easy to spot and there is a parking lot at the pathway entrance.  USE IT!  We rode from home along Albion Road and Leitrim Road.....NEVER AGAIN.  The roads are so bad on the way there, I honestly wondered if I was going to make it.  The shoulders are slanted and chunky, but riding close to the white line is taking a huge risk as the road is in terrible shape and very narrow.  My hope is that as Findlay Creek grows, the municipality will no longer be able to ignore the condition of Albion Road south of Lester.
The beginning of the trail:

Check out how lovely and flat it is!!  The trail is also wide and sparsely populated, which meant we could ride side by each and actually talk to one another!  That was a huge bonus.  The few folks we did encounter were friendly and courteous - no Tour de Francers here!   At times the canopy of trees almost touches above and other times they spread out to reveal scenic rolling famers fields.

quiet, calm and peaceful.

This trail stays remarkably flat and straight the entire way, thus is perfect for novices hoping to add some kilometres to their ride.

Is it also clearly marked with kilometre markers and signs indicating the Red Dot Cafe!  I had already checked them out online to ensure that they were indeed open and we did not need to bring food with us other than some granola to nibble.  Brunch was our destination and it looked like we were among many with the same idea!
20k later and here we were.

The tricky part was, that once we were at the Main street in Osgoode, we didn't see any sign of the cafe and I had assumed ( bad, I know!) that it would be fairly evident where it was from all the signage on the actual path.  For no good reason, we decided to ride along the main road to see if we could find it.  Eastward somewhat, we became a bit confused as we seemed to be running out of town!  Luckily, we were so close - tucked in a strip mall and overwhelmed by a grocery store - was our cafe.  They have a small outdoor patio, the food was varied and plentiful, the staff friendly and thank Fate - they had Keith's on tap!!!!
I am thrilled we found this trail practically in our own backyard.  Ottawa is so full of surprises and I love that there are so many opportunities to get outside and get some fresh air.  My only reservation is that the connections to these destinations are fraught with difficulty - many of the main roads in South Ottawa are dangerous to bike and awful to run with the onslaught of construction vehicles and unending cars.  I hope the future sees more thought towards building streets that can accommodate more types of transit than just the car, so that getting from point A to point B can still be enjoyable.