#OttawaBramptonOdysseyCycle – Train Travel Day to Ottawa

I had a relaxing morning since the the bike and suitcase were packed yesterday and dropped off last night. I just had to pack my day pack and catch the 13:20 train from Union Station to Ottawa. It was my first time traveling by VIA Rail and it was so civilized – no security, quick boarding, lots of leg room and a timely departure.

Michael drove to David and Dayle’s then dropped the three of us at Rani’s house. Rani then drove us to Toronto. We had plenty of time until we arrived at the traffic jam for the Spadina ramp on the Gardner. The Yonge, York, Bay ramp is being rebuilt and there was a Blue Jays game on.

It took about the same time to drive from Brampton to this point as it did to get the rest of the way to Union Station. Rani’s brother was waiting for us right in front of Union Station to take the car when we arrived.


After stopping to have the Information Booth attendant take our picture, Rani bought lunch – the rest of us brown-baggged it – and we joined the line to board the train. A few minutes later the line started moving. A couple pictures on the platform, a couple at our seats and the train was off, precisely on time.


At a few places in Toronto, Pickering and Bowmanville, David and I were able to recognize places that we will be cycling on the return trip. We each spent time putting the routes in RidewithGPS, which helps us to learn the routes and, along with Google Streetview, get an idea of road size and surface. I have paid the subscription price, of $6US for the month, so that I can get turn by turn verbal navigation of the route, without using data. I tried it on the last couple Brampton Community Rides that I led and it worked well. John and Jim did an amazing job scouting the route and providing us with paper maps: fold-out overview maps and detailed ones in a 3-ring binder, which were an excellent basis for creating the routes RidewithGPS, but I find it much easier to use my phone than the paper maps. The paper maps with their highlighted routes actually take me back to my childhood when my dad would write off to the oil companies for free maps and create his own personal TripTik. Of course, this was long before GPS and Google maps.

At times we traveled as fast as 153kph as measured by MapMyRide!

We arrived in Ottawa right on time, walked out of the station, and, a few minutes later, boarded Ottawa Transit for a 15 minute ride to the University of Ottawa where we are staying.

As we walked across the campus and through the parking lot in front of the residence building there was the rest of our group, along with the trailer, having just arrived themselves. It took them much longer driving, than it took us on the train, due to heavy traffic through Kingston and the fact that they did a little bit more route scouting.


We unpacked a few things, checked in and headed out for dinner.

Here’s the view from my room.


We had dinner in the Byward Market at Zak’s Diner. It was reasonably good and served quickly.


Byward Market is lovely in the evening.


Then we walked past a couple fun signs and a maple leaf painted on steps leading up behind the Chauteau Laurier.

Crossing the street to take our picture on the steps with a maple leaf painted on them I spotted bike traffic lights.


Lock One of the Rideau Canal and the Chateau Laurier.


Then we walked over to the Parliament Building to discover a bike gears light show displayed on the front!


We walked down Metcalfe Street to Spark Street then down the west side of the canal to capture some twilit buildings with reflections before heading back to the residence. It was a wonderful day.


Tomorrow we have meetings and a bike tour of local cycling infrastructure.

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About Lisa Stokes

I am a stay-at-home mother of four whose hobbies include photography, quilting and cycling. I have recently started to advocate for better cycling infrastructure in my community. I am photographer and librarian at the Brampton Quilters' Guild. I build and maintain a community ice rink in my local park.
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