Ruth and I have been looking forward to today for a while. Victoria Day is a special day in most parts of Canada, not just because it is Queen Victoria's birthday, but because for most places it is the official start of summer and warm-weather activities.
For gardeners Victoria Day marks the first weekend when frost is not usually a factor, at least in most places in southern Canada. It is also the weekend that marks the opening of the Ottawa parkways to bikes and non-motorized means of transportation and its closure to motor traffic on Sunday mornings.
These bike days, sponsored by Alcatel-Lucent, will now go on every Sunday morning 0900-1300 hours, until the Labour Day weekend in September. We try to quadracycle the Colonel By Drive on as many weekends as we can, as it is an easy way to get downtown. We also meet lots of interesting people on the way, most of whom stop to ask us about our Rhoades Car!!
There are always lots of interesting ways of getting around, too. Today we saw:
* roller skiers
* wheel chairs
* baby carriages
As was the case last year, we were the only quadracycle out there.
We left home at 0835, to get us to the start line at the south end of the Colonel By Drive in time for official opening at 0900. We took Hunt Club Road up to McCarthy, which is a quiet connector street. Hunt Club is a busy thoroughfare, but it has a pretty good bike lane on most of the section we need to traverse and so it is easy to mix with the cars there. It isn't that busy at 0835 on a Sunday, either!
We then took McCarthy to Walkley through the backstreets to Hog's Back (Brookfield Blvd) and onto the start of the Colonel By Drive. We were there at 0904 and already it was busy with cyclists and skaters out on the road, even though the morning was still pretty cool. The Alcatel staff members who man the barriers, were great as usual, and made sure we had room to get the width of the quadracycle through the sawhorses.
The run up to town was fairly quick, except for all the questions we had to answer whenever we stopped! We don't mind talking to people about the quadracycle and showing how it works - lots are interested!
Of course once downtown we cut through the University of Ottawa and proceeded up to Laurier Avenue. Ruth has a favourite Second Cup coffee shop there that she likes to visit. This time she elected for an espresso. We met a summer student there who asked about the quadracycle. He was in town for a summer job while attending Memorial University in St John's the rest of the year.
Once Ruth's coffee was done we headed back through the campus to the Colonel By Drive once again. The crowds had increased but it was still not busy yet. It will get much busier once the weather warms up a bit. After a break we cleared at the south end and made our way back home via the same route. All in all the trip took just under 3 hours, including all the stops and we logged exactly 30.0 km on the GPS. We oiled and wiped the quadracycle down before putting it away.
One thing that always amazes me is how much positive feedback we get on the quadracycle. Everywhere we went on the Colonel By and on the streets people waved, smiled and gave us thumbs-up. We had several motorists pull up and tell us that they loved our bike. There just seems to be something about the quadracycle that seems to bring out the most positive responses from people. Maybe it is the price of gas these days? Altogether we have probably had more than 5000 positive responses from people versus a total of three negative responses. Maybe we will see more quadracycles on the roads soon?
Have a look at our complete photos from this trip in our gallery.
Price of gas locally today $1.244
Total quadracycling for 2008 so far - 105.1 km