Manotick Cycling Tour
Cycling to Manotick is a brilliant way to spend an afternoon.
by Dave Brown - Ottawa Citizen Aug 1, 2010
Photo of Watson's Mill by Jana Chytilova
One of the quaintest rides for the Ottawa cyclist is travelling to the surrounding towns, cities and villages. It's great to visit these places in the summer and fall months and if you happen to have an appreciation and love of cycling, all the better.
Depending where you start, you can count on a 25-kilometre ride each way, making it a very enjoyable distance for the day. Most of your ride will likely follow the picturesque Rideau River, where you'll pass many rest points at local parks. Bike paths, paved shoulders and bicycle lanes will be your road to the riches as you head south to Manotick.
If you're starting your journey from the north end of the city around the Ottawa River Parkway, you'll want to cycle through the Experimental Farm.
Those of you heading from downtown Ottawa are used to cycling along the canal all the way to Hogs Back, where you can jump on Prince of Wales Drive from there.
And those from the west end of Ottawa (depending on how west you are) have two choices. Just jump on the Pinecrest Creek Pathway until it becomes the Experimental Farm Pathway, then head south on Prince of Wales. Or you can take Woodroffe Avenue south until it meets Prince of Wales, bringing you close to the back door entrance of Manotick.
This route is really nice as it begins with a ride through forests near Algonquin College before leading you via paved shoulders, bicycle lanes and bike paths to your destination.
The whole reason we cycle in this beautiful city is to enjoy the landscape, and the cycle to Manotick does not disappoint.
After Prince of Wales crosses Hunt Club Road, you'll definitely want to stop at the Black Rapids Lock Station situated at a park on the Rideau River. Keep your eyes open as the entrance to the park is on your left and could be easily missed.
Park your bike, grab a beverage, take a rest, and enjoy feeling you're still miles away from suburbia. This is easy to do as you watch the boaters and canoers float along the Rideau.
And once on your bike again, you can do another seven kilometres, head past the Jock River Landing, and settle in at another park watching kayakers put-in on the Rideau as well.
OK, the traffic. It's a good thing you remember the previous Outdoor Life column about gas pedals and bike pedals and how to deal with vehicles safely.
Certainly years of cycling have taught you when and what to do as well. So, if you know Ottawa and Prince of Wales Drive, you'll know the paved shoulder basically comes to an end at Fallowfield Road.
This means this direct route to Manotick will have you on a busy road for six to seven kilometres with a narrow or non-existent shoulder. If this is too nerve-racking or if you're going with the family, then look up a route on www.mapmyrun.com or www.maps.google.com and replace these six to seven kilometres of highway riding with a route that will take you through residential streets.
The maps will show you how to get all the way to Jockvale Road, bringing you much closer to your destination.
Another option to keep you on bike routes is to turn west onto Fallowfield Road to take advantage of a two-metre-wide paved shoulder. You're looking at farmer fields for only two kilometres before you turn south on Woodroffe to its one-metre-wide paved shoulder.
From there, you meet up with Prince of Wales again, cycle along its paved shoulder for about one kilometre and then you're almost there.
Soon you'll come to Rideau Valley Road and turn left. You stay on this for three kilometres until it becomes Manotick's Main Street.
Welcome to Manotick. Lock your bike and go for a walk. Check out Dickinson Square, Watson's Mill, A.Y. Jackson Park, and visit any of the charming craft shops, pubs and eateries.
Your ride gave you your fill of fresh air, and Manotick residents will give you your fill of hospitality. Breathe it all in for as long as you have time, and then head home on your bike and reflect on a day well spent.Dave Brown is the publisher and editor-in-chief of Ottawa Outdoors Magazine www.ottawaoutdoors.ca. To offer suggestions, e-mail Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org. The Ottawa Citizen: www.ottawacitizen.com