Today I decided to mix it up. Instead of cycling out to the Aylmer Marina and back, or downtown via the Ottawa River Pathway then back along the canal and through the farm, we decided to do the Big Loop.

We started it by Island Park and the Ottawa River, which looks shallower and narrower every time I see it. The path was in good shape for the whole route. And the hill on the east side of Maitland wasn’t nearly as steep or long as I remembered it being the last time I cycled it about five or six years ago.

We strayed off the route a bit near the end of the path along the Rideau River. The path stops and dumps you onto a road, and you follow bike route signs to get back on. But I thought the continuation of the path was going to take us behind old city hall, so we returned to the road (Stanley) until we almost reached Sussex and saw a path running parallel to us. There were some beautiful old houses along the road, so it was definitely a worthwhile detour.

We took the advice of the route and crossed Sussex to visit the small park on the other side. I think my parents may have taken me there as a child, but I had no memory at all of the falls. So we stopped to have a look, then took the pedestrian bridge over the falls to the other side where the park continued. There were several memorials to fallen soldiers scattered throughout. Although I tried finding a route to avoid Sussex, we had no choice because we had to get over King Edward.  But once we had crossed I decided to take the first right, which took us to a road running parallel to the river, just behind the Mint.

I headed left, then noticed a path on the left. It was a short steepish climb, and dumped out back out onto Sussex! So we continued towards St. Patrick, got up on to the sidewalk at Major Hill’s Park, going right towards the bridge, but taking a left where the wall opens. That’s a nice steep hill to go down, and not UP!

When we got to the Portage Bridge, we contemplated taking the Quebec side to the Champlain Bridge, but settled on staying in Ontario. But instead of snaking back under Wellington to the Mill Street Brewery, we veered left on the path towards Pooley’s Bridge.

I haven’t been around there since the new condo went up on Lebreton Flats. I knew there was a path that followed the creek towards the Transitway. So that’s the direction we went. The path was somewhat overgrown, with no yellow dividing line. Suddenly one appeared at a fork in the path, inviting us to the right. Thankfully this was near the end of our ride and I wasn’t going too fast. Because the bomb blast looking rubble that had been on our right for a few minutes had eaten its way across the bike path.

We decided to continue on, carrying the bike down then up to the other side. Only to discover that the fencing blocked the path a few meters ahead. So we turned around and followed a detour path (that would have been the left fork, go figure!) and arrived again at Pooley’s Bridge. Looking to the left I saw a cyclist so we headed in that direction, but then NosyNeighbour took a right to pass by the ugly condo tower. Up close it looks a lot better, but that’s probably because you don’t see the rubble in front of it

We turned left at the Parkway and then rejoined the Ottawa River pathway just west of the War Museum.  By the time we got home, we’d traveled 42 km.

Enjoy the pics. Off to the Gatineau Park tomorrow!

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