Ciclovia, Ottawa Style Since 1970


A group from New Jersey cycling along the canal.
A group from New Jersey cycling along the canal.

Since 1970 Ottawa (or more precise, the National Capital Region) organises Ciclovias. The name Ciclovia was invented later, and originates in South America. Ottawa simply calls it Sunday Bikedays. A number of Canadian cities followed around 2011, so Ottawa really set the standard for Canada a long time ago. The NCC organises about 13 Ciclovias a year, between Victoria Day (late May) until Labour Day (early September).

The principle is the same: close a bunch of roads for motorised traffic and allow people to cycle for a few hours. While ideally people cycle every day, many people prefer to cycle on the 50 km or so car free parkways on Sundays only. It is a great training ground for kids, where parents can teach their kids the rules of the road, to stay along the curb and stop at intersections. It is good for skill development too.

Seniors and spandex

One also sees seniors (even a few on an e-bike lately), sporty types in spandex, women on Dutch bikes with baskets, the odd tandem, a roller blader and other means of human powered transport. All in all great to watch. Too bad there is virtually no place to stop for coffee, a light lunch or beer for that matter. I mean, what better way to spend a Sunday morning than watching people of all stripes cycling by.

1000 an hour

For the fun of it I counted cyclists for ten minutes on Colonel By around 11 am, just south of Pretoria Bridge: 160, which makes 1000 an hour. Here are a few sunny pics.

Great backdrop on Colonel By in Ottawa South.
Great backdrop on Colonel By in Ottawa South.
Just a nice picture in Ottawa.
Just a nice picture in Ottawa.
Bixi Bike
Bixi Bike.
Serious training for the big world.
Serious training for the big world.
It was not really the intention, but this is a raised bike lane more or less, although Ottawa bike specialists know it is a Multi Use Pathway (MUP).
It was not really the intention, but this is a raised bike lane more or less, although Ottawa bike specialists know it is a Multi Use Pathway (MUP).
Great set up: e-bike, with wheels, storage and space for crutches. A safety vest to top it off. Are you determined or what?
Great set up: e-bike, with wheels, storage and space for crutches. A safety vest to top it off. Are you determined or what?
Roller skies even, for those who can't wait for winter.
Roller skis even, for those who can’t wait for winter.
Ah, beautiful Dow's Lake.
Ah, beautiful Dow’s Lake.
Yes, this is also on Colonel By, near Carleton U. Who wouldn't want to cycle here?
Yes, this is also on Colonel By, near Carleton U. Who wouldn’t want to cycle here?
The view from the bike path on the Arboretum.
The view from the bike path on the Arboretum.
Crappy racks at Hartwell Locks, even for a tricycle.
Crappy racks at Hartwell Locks, even for a tricycle.
This woman dragged her bike up the stairs, needed help. When I asked why she didn't use the trough, she said she is left handed (so am I). Several people mentioned they can't get a bike up the trough because of lefthandedness. I never even considered it an issue. Funny he?
This woman dragged her bike up the stairs, needed help. When I asked why she didn’t use the trough, she said she is left handed (so am I). Several people mentioned they can’t get a bike up the trough because of lefthandedness. I never even considered it an issue. Funny he?
Traffic jams at the Hartwell Locks, my favourite spot, as there is always something to see.
Traffic jams at the Hartwell Locks, my favourite spot, as there is always something to see.
For tandems, the trough turned out to be a godsend.
For tandems, the trough turned out to be a godsend.
One of those heavily used diagonal 'desire lines', while the official path is a 90 degree angle.
One of those heavily used diagonal ‘desire lines’, while the official path is a 90 degree angle.
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