Ruth E. Dickinson

On my short staycation, I’ve been enjoying a routine of quiet mornings at home followed by slightly more energetic afternoons. After Sunday’s successful venture into the greenbelt to see Bells Corners, I was very eager to head back out and try a new direction. Southward to Barrhaven it was!

While I normally prefer circular routes, I was eager to complete this ride before supper time and opted to head out and return along the same route. From my home in Central Park, I cruised through a very empty Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada campus, crossed Baseline Road at the Loblaws Plaza and made a beeline for the Nepean Trail. This route has quickly become one of my favourites for bypassing traffic along the Merivale triangle and main strip. It follows quiet residential streets and includes shared pathways running behind the commercial buildings on Merivale.

View of the pathway entrance at the end of Birchview Drive. This route bypasses the traffic along Merivale Road.

I emerged from the pathway on Colonnade Road, crossed Merivale and made a quick turn onto Woodfield Drive to connect on to the pathway at Tanglewood Park. Many people were taking advantage of the gradual lifting of restrictions on park activities and enjoying tennis and basketball. The pathway leading from Tanglewood Park passes behind the houses on Downsview Crescent and Benlea Drive. The trees along the path were very lush and I found myself thinking I’d uncovered a secret garden in the city.

From the lush pathway, I made a left turn onto busy West Hunt Club Road, where there are bike lanes running along both sides of the road. I turned left at the intersection to turn south onto Woodroffe Avenue and begin my journey into the greenbelt. Much like on West Hunt Club, I felt relatively safe riding along the Woodroffe bike lanes, though cyclists might prefer the multi-use path on the eastern side of the road. Before I knew it, I was out of the greenbelt and approaching Barrhaven near Fallowfield Station.

At Fallowfield Road, I turned right and proceeded along the road past the Park-and-Ride, then crossed at the intersection to join a pathway that runs along the southern side of Fallowfield Road, then dips southwest along the rail line and Transitway. This path runs through a few new developments, and many families were out and about on scooters and bikes. At Longfields Station, I turned right to pass under the station and shortly emerged on Holitman Drive, then Foxfield Drive, and finally Malvern Drive, where Ruth E. Dickinson Branch is located.

I pulled up to the library and had a nice chat with the two employees overseeing the outdoor returns area as they gracefully allowed me to take photos. We speculated that Fitzroy Harbour is going to be my biggest challenge for the project, “but at least there’s camping”.

Masked customers were pulling up and dropping off materials that had been out on loan since mid-March. Once dropped in the boxes, the items will be held for a 72 hour quarantine period. The library is co-located with the Walter Baker Sports Centre and John McCrae Secondary School, and I was glad to spot another bike repair station near the entrance.

After saying my farewells, I hopped back on the bike and headed home along the same route. I’m feeling optimistic today — I arrived home feeling like I could have cycled a bit further, and am more confident that I’ll be able to complete this challenge as intended.

Three branches down, 30 to go!