Once again, we started the day with an excellent breakfast provided by Jim. We ended up eating in his and John’s room on the 17th floor, but I did get a picture of the view from the common room where we ate breakfast yesterday and a picture of the room.
Jim once again graciously sent us off on our bikes and remained behind to clean up after breakfast. We met downstairs at 10 o’clock, decided to check our tire pressure and found it lacking in some cases. Some of us filled up with the pump that John brought with him and others headed over to the bike pump and repair station near City Hall. Those of us that remained behind caught up and we stopped at Tim Hortons for a morning coffee. Probably at least half an hour later we got back on our bikes and headed towards MEC. The time we spent relaxing over our coffees foreshadowed how we would spend the rest of the day – short relaxing rides, stops for shopping for last-minute items for the trip, a stop at the donut shop, Suzie Q, recommended by Heather from BikeOttawa, a very long lunch and a walk to Byward Market.
It was nice to see a bridge built to accommodate cycling infrastructure on Somerset.
This marking makes it very clear to drivers that cyclists are meant to take the lane and to stay out of the way of the potentially opening doors of parked cars. We all felt very safe here and the drivers were very courteous. Heather told us that this small experimental area is working well.
I like to see when someone has clearly thought about colourful but inexpensive ways to make streetscapes more interesting. A couple examples that I have seen in Ottawa include wraps around traffic light control boxes and painted untility boxes. It makes for a fun, and inviting streetscape. I thought I had taken a picture of the wrap on the traffic light control boxes but I can’t seem to find it. But here’s one of the utility box I spotted.
On our way to MEC I kept noticing these odd white sculpture/fire hydrant looking things so when we left Susie Q through little Park that had one, Nelson and I went over to have a look. It appeared to be made out of marble and to be public art and not a functional hydrant. I find these types of things, while not necessarily to my personal taste, make for a more interesting streetscape, which can encourage one to linger and can spark conversation.
As we continued, it started to spit a little bit of rain, but it was still very pleasant to ride and once we got to Sparks Street we stopped at Brixton’s British pub for lunch. We started on the patio but eventually had to grab our food and run inside as the rain began to come down quite heavily. Even once the rain stopped we stayed there long enough to allow John and Jim to join us after their separate adventures today.
Eventually we headed out in three groups. Rani, Nelson and I decided to try to explore the path down by the river behind the Parliament buildings. None of us were really sure where to go and when we found a long, sweeping hill we sped down it to arrive at a beautiful, newly paved switchback complete with paint markings that was fenced off. No one felt like turning around and riding straight back up the 150m descent we had just made.
I’m sure you are all familiar with the phrase “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas”. Well, we decided, “What happens on the bike trail, stays on the bike trail”. So I’ll just say that someone suggested that perhaps we could squeeze around the end of the fence and carry on because “with the painting complete on the pavement it must be fine around the corner.”
So with lots of laughter and feeling quite rebellious, we manhandled our bikes around the edge of the fence. We then travelled east to come to another fence which was completely impossible to circumnavigate so we turned around and headed west, past the first fence which we had squeezed by, to find another fence which was also impossible to get by. The Ottawa River flooded earlier this year and washed out the path along this section of the Ottawa River. Heather told us that they will not be making temporary repairs to it and are spending some time planning how to repair it in a way to prevent it from being damaged in future high water situation. Did someone push Nelson into that pothole? Did someone take off their socks and shoes and try to climb the fence? My lips are sealed. In the end, we returned around the edge of the fence we had originally sneaked around and cycled back up the hill to the Parliament buildings.
When we arrived back at the parking lot at the residence, we ran into John, who was on his way to meet Jim, who was waiting at the Beaver Tails stand in the Byward Market. We tagged along and let David and Dayle know where we were heading. They also headed over. Some of us had shawarma for dinner, some of us had Indian food and some of us had Beaver Tails. We cut through the Rideau Centre on the way back so Rani could get some sunscreen at Sephora. She knew exactly what she wanted so Jim and Nelson and I waited outside the store for her. John and David and Dayle headed directly back to the residence. As we left Sephora, Rani noticed a Victoria’s Secret store. We had been talking about needing new sports bras earlier, so we took the opportunity to go shopping. Nelson and Jim abandoned us at that point.
Once we got back to the residence, the seven of us got together for a quick meeting in the common room, to make sure we were all on the same page for setting off on our first long day of riding tomorrow. While we had our meeting we were able to enjoy a little bit of a sunset over downtown Ottawa. It was the perfect end to a fun relaxing day.