[ This is part one of a three part series of my weekend bike tour to Manotick, Osgoode and North Gower. ]

I knew when I started Tour de Branch that there would be some longer rides. Post-amalgamation Ottawa is, after all, big. Really big. So big that the “Welcome to Ottawa” sign that you pass coming into the city on Highway 416 is a good 30 mins from any evidence of a city. That said, I’ve been looking forward to venturing out a bit further to see Ottawa’s more rural areas. I plotted a 100 km loop connecting Manotick, Osgoode and North Gower with an overnight camping trip at Rideau River Provincial Park built in. I checked and double-checked the weather, packed my bags, loaded the bike, and headed out around lunchtime on Saturday.

My first destination on the route was Manotick, about 20 km from home, and I headed out of town along the same route as my trip to Ruth E. Dickinson: South along the Nepean Trail to Colonnade Road, then through Tanglewood Park to Hunt Club. I cycled south though the Greenbelt on Woodroffe Avenue, was passed by many road cyclists (the fully loaded bike is not fast!), and arrived in Barrhaven.

From Woodroffe Avenue, I turned left onto Strandherd Drive and crossed the Vimy Memorial Bridge, then turned south and followed River Road out of town. This area, known as Riverside South, is growing rapidly with new developments popping up all around. I felt pretty safe on the wide paved shoulder and would use this routing again for future rides.

I continued along River Road for a spell, then made a right turn onto Bridge Street to cross the Rideau River and arrive on Long Island.

Once across the bridge, it was a quick left turn to find the library, which backs onto South River Drive Park and is just a few steps from the Rideau River.

COVID-19 is still happening, and this branch is currently closed to the public. I admired the art, took a little refuelling break at the picnic table around the corner, then set my sights on Osgoode Branch.

Eleven branches down, 22 to go.