It was a slightly chilly and overcast Saturday morning and I was itching to head out a bit farther today. I decided on Blackburn Hamlet as a little prelude to the Orléans branches. If I could make it there and back, the two eastern-most branches wouldn’t seem so out of reach.
From my home in Central Park, I ventured out across the farm and headed for the canal crossing at Hartwell Locks, then turned left to join the Rideau Canada Eastern Pathway toward Dow’s Lake. From there, I eventually turned right on Clegg Street to ride through Old Ottawa East toward Saint Paul University.
From Main Street, where there was a physically distant farmers’ market taking place just next to the Green Door restaurant, I turned right onto Lees Avenue and proceeded through the uOttawa Lees Campus. There was a minor detour here for path repairs, but I was able to find my way back to the pathway before taking a bridge across the Rideau River to join up with the Rideau River Eastern Pathway.
From here, I took a quick left to proceed toward Tremblay Station. This next segment (from the train station, across the Belfast Road bridge and onto Coventry Road) was through a very industrial area, but despite my initial apprehensions, the bike lanes were well marked and I had ample space to feel comfortable. I passed St-Laurent Shopping Centre, then turned south east along Cyrville Road.
Cyrville Road has an LRT station near the Queensway overpass. There are a few condos nearby, but otherwise this is a fairly low density and mostly industrial/commercial area. On the plus side, there’s a marked bike route that alternates between a bike lane on the road and a dedicated raised lane. At Innes Road, I turned left at the Costco and proceeded through a commercial area in my own lane. This route was a bit bumpy.
After the commercial area ended, it was smooth sailing up a slight incline to the turnoff for Blackburn Hamlet.
I followed Innes Road into Blackburn Hamlet, where it was a quick ride through town to the library, which is located in a strip mall along the main drag.
Blackburn Hamlet branch, like most of the branches, is closed at the moment due to COVID-19, although in the “normal times” it would be open on Saturday mornings. I made another mental note to return once restrictions loosen.
After looking around, I was feeling a bit tired and decided to pick up some lunch at the Subway in the next plaza over. This was easy enough, and I enjoyed a picnic lunch in Bearbrook Park with the dog walkers.
After a brief moment of respite in the park, I hopped back on the bike for the return journey. I stuck to the same route up until just past Tremblay Station, where I turned left and ventured south along the Rideau River Eastern Pathway rather than heading back to Old Ottawa East. This was a nice alternative, and featured many segments of shaded pathways.
From the pathway, I turned onto Heron Road at Vincent Massey Park, then continued to Baseline Road for a brief moment before making an off-road detour into the Central Experimental Farm. I have become a very “Baseline Averse” cyclist. I don’t think this was intended as a pathway, but given how well-used the path was, I wouldn’t be surprised if others have been avoiding Baseline for years now.
It was a quick cycle across the farm, and before long I was home and feeling much more confident about the 50 km days to come.
Six branches down, 27 to go.