Another hot weekend in the capital, and another cycling destination, this time going west. The last time we headed to the Old Mill pub in Ashton was two years ago, and about a week before they became a brew pub. In fact, I think they were brewing the beer and it was going to be ready for consumption a week later.

I don’t know why I thought it was an hour’s cycle. Maybe it’s because it had been two years. We set off just after 11 on Saturday morning. It was hot, not to muggy, with just a slight westerly breeze. My old logic was going to pay off: cycle into the wind, eat & drink, and then let the wind push you home.  That was the plan.

We hooked up with the Ottawa River pathway at Island Park, and followed it past the Britannia Yacht Club out to Moodie. Then we followed the path through the woods past the old Nortel campus. That path has seen better days. The only part of route that didn’t have a bike lane or paved shoulder was along Moodie, then when Moodie turns into Richmond, just until Hunt Club.

We stopped to refill our water bottles at the Esso at the corner of Richmond and Stonehaven. It was about noon, and the hot sun and exercise was making us thirsty.  From there we continued along Richmond to Hope Side Road, then followed that to Eagleson, where we turned left on a slight jig to go right onto Flewellyn. Just after we turned left onto Eagleson we heard an ambulance blaring down the road behind us. Not sure whether it was going to pass us, we pulled over onto the gravel shoulder. It turned left onto Hope Side Road, and left me stuck in the deep gravel, one wheel and one foot stuck under a couple of inches of what felt like quick sand. Thankfully, cars had been forced off the road and I had enough time to get my front one on the pavement and push really hard to get the rest of it out.

Flewellyn Road was repaved a few years back and was a great cycling road right after. I guess it’s been more than a few years now. About half way down, we experienced roadsnakes like I’ve never seen. They followed the exact path of a cyclist, about a metre in from the edge of the road. When I hit the first one, I was drafting NosyNeighbour. It felt like a speed wobble, but was amplified by the small tires of the folding bike.

We decided to take up the whole lane until we made it through that section. Another cyclist heading towards us was doing the same thing. And then a car came up behind us and I thought we three cyclists might get taken out in one big swipe. Thankfully the car saw the oncoming cyclist and slowed down to let him pass before he went by us.

There is a dip and a hill just before you get to Dwyer Hill Road. That hill used to kill me, but after our cycling in the Gatineau Park, it’s nothing. I figure now if I can see the top you just need to suck it up. On this ride, I also know it’s the only hill, and after the stop sign it’s about 10 minutes to the pub.

There is actually a sign at that intersection indicating three km to the Anglican Church in Ashton. This section of Flewellyn was the busiest. As we approached our turn off (it’s actually going straight but the road bypasses Ashton to the right), we could see cars coming up behind us. We had to let about half a dozen go by before we turned off.

It was 1:30 by the time we arrived and I was starving, having eaten only a bagel for breakfast. We were both thirsty too, ready to try some brew pub ale. I ordered the IPA, but ended up drinking NosyNeighbour’s session ale. He, of course, ordered bangers and mash, while I stuck with the lighter ploughman’s platter.

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My beer was so tasty we decided to split another pint. The waitress gave me a funny look when we ordered it. I’m sure she was thinking wow that woman is going to drink two pints and then cycle! When she brought it to our table, we split it into two. Then I told her we figured instead of ordering two half pints, we’d just split one.

Our route home from the pub is always the Trans Canada trail. Why risk traffic after a pint? It doesn’t take long to get to the trail. You simply continue along Ashton Station Road towards Hwy 7. After you cross the highway, it’s maybe 50m before you get to the trail. If you’ve reached Overpass Road, you’ve gone too far.

We didn’t see anybody on the trail until after Jenkins Road. It was hot and dusty, and the bikes will need another hosedown. The trail took us into a government parking lot in Bells Corners. We  took a left at the end of the path, then followed the road to the traffic lights,  going left again on Moodie. After crossing the 417, we went right on Corkstown.

The first clue that we should have taken the cycling path was the spandex-clad racers that came out in front of us shortly after we got onto Corkstown. Usually we follow it through to Carling and then return along the river pathway. After we passed the bike path, we wondered whether it was worth a try. I saw a couple of cyclist in the distance coming towards us, who then veered off to our right onto a path. We almost missed the entrance, which took us down a crushed stone path for a few meters and then joined what we later discovered is called Watt’s Creek Path.

What a great discovery! It runs behind the houses in Crystal Beach (yay! no traffic or stop signs) and takes you out to Holly Acres Road, where you cross and then follow through to Carling where the river pathway joins up. It was wide and smooth, unlike the river pathway along Carling.

Using a smart phone as a bike computer is great. NosyNeighbour has downloaded a bike computer app, so it means camera, bike computer and phone all in one. Our round trip was 86km, with an average speed of 19.6 km/h. Not bad for a really hot day with a couple of pints.

How hot was it? We both ended up with heat rash on our legs so no ride up to the Champlain Lookout today.

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