Thursday, October 20, 2022

Slow Rolling with Adele - Ottawa During Peak Foliage

After a pandemic hiatus, Adele and I are back at our annual Canadian cycling adventure, this time we visited Ottawa! 

The hotel allowed us to bring our bikes inside our room.

Like our previous adventure during Canadian Thanksgiving weekend, the foliage was spot on. We based ourselves at a downtown hotel for 3 nights, 3 minutes from the Parliament building and the Ottawa River Trail.

This photo says it all about our 4 days of riding - color everywhere.

Ottawa is one of the few places in Canada where I encounter black squirrels. Coming from grey squirrel country, it's a highlight of my visits to Ottawa. Sensing my excitement, Adele would often shout, "black squirrel alert!"

Ottawa (Ontario) and Gatineau (Quebec), divided by the Ottawa River, is bike path heaven. One path links to the next plus the Victoria Bridge provides segregated pedestrian and bike path lanes for easy crossing.

I chose a few loops - no more than 31K or 20 miles. Easy to accomplish, sightsee along the way, plus Adele had been slowing down in recent years. It was the perfect mileage for laughing, backtracking because we took the wrong turn...
...Or to gawk at the explosion of autumn colors.

More black squirrels, of course. Or an amazing stone stacking display along the Ottawa River.

We couldn't go wrong with any route.

It wasn't all about cycling. We ate at a 5-course tasting menu restaurant, shared wine and dinner at an Italian restaurant, and burgers at a local brewpub-type place, all meticulously researched by Adele. Our typical symbiotic relationship with traveling: she picks out accommodation and foodie spots; I concentrate on where to pedal.

Of special note: we also went to see Leonard Cohen's movie, Hallelujah - wonderful, by the way. I had misgivings because the theater wasn't in the best part of town, but they made special accommodation to store bikes in the back of the theater.

Cycling in Gatineau Park had been on my must-see list. Beautiful colors, of course, and the cycling paths were hilly. We walked a couple hills, but generally the route was doable.

Purple asters were blooming everywhere, a highlight in Canada as well as in Vermont.

Last day, east of Ottawa as we left to travel home. We pedaled about 12 miles, a portion on the Prescott Russell Rail Trail, looping back on dirt roads, wine tasting at a vineyard. I'm always pedaling with bottles of wine in panniers on any adventure with Adele.

Interestingly, downtown Ottawa (capital of Canada) was eerily quiet. According to a local store owner, most government offices were closed during the pandemic and are slow to reopen. Though it also seemed to contradict the amount of construction going on almost everywhere - some of it vast like new highways, commuter rail lines, and multistory buildings. 

I know our adventurous cycle touring days are most likely over, but we've found a meaningful solution, basing ourselves in one place for fun exploration. We are still adventurous, whether that's eating, slow rolling, walking, or stopping to watch black squirrel antics.


  1. Those trees along the river, bordering the path - beautiful!

  2. Fantastic Annie! Beautiful fall trees and color, great riding trails and roads, and how wonderful to have a dear friend to share it with.


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