a peek inside the fishbowl

02 May, 2018

Bike goals 2018

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Ottawa

I’ve declared – at least to my image in the mirror this morning – that this is going to be the summer of cycling. Of all the “active” things to do in Ottawa, this is in my top three, right after walking to the pub and hiking in the woods. ;)

Have you seen the new Bike Ottawa interactive cycling maps? You can access them all right here. If we are serious about making Ottawa a bike-friendly city, this is definitely a step in the right direction. Biking is cheap, healthy, and good for the environment. As a city, we need to do everything we can to make it as safe as possible and get more people out there. The more people who bike – and talk about biking – the more people will try it for themselves.

This really interesting article in the New York Times got me thinking more about cycling as transportation, not recreation. To summarize: A new study shows that “people often overestimate the time required to commute actively, a miscalculation especially common when someone has secured a parking permit near the office.” Mark, who commutes to work on his bike from May-November, agrees. He’s talked to a lot of people who say it would take too long to bike to work/downtown. In fact, their end of the conversation often goes like this:

“I WISH I could bike to work. Sigh.”

Well, you probably can! What if you tried biking to your work on a weekend to see what it’s like in terms of distance and time? (Hint: use the Bike Ottawa maps to plan your route.) If it works, you’re set.

Surprisingly, it takes Mark LESS time to bike than it does to bus or drive. As an added bonus, he also gets to reap the benefits of biking e.g. extra time to decompress that you can’t get while stuck in traffic. Also, he doesn’t need to hit the gym or watch what he eats in the summer because he’s burning so many calories.

I would love to ride my bike to work. The distance is no problem, the route is fine, but there is no comfortable place to change there. The office washrooms are less than ideal. I suspect this is the issue for many.

Here’s my bike, parked at my workplace, one of the rare times I’ve ridden it there:

My Bike

Last summer Mark and I cycled to Stittsville just for the heck of it, and it was a very positive experience. I am a middle-aged woman of average fitness and I spent a lot of time worrying whether I could do it or not… and I did! You can read about that trip and see some photos here. Highlights included an extremely flooded pathway and a lovely lunch at Quitter’s Cafe but the most notable thing about our adventure is that we biked to Stittsville from Westboro almost entirely on bike paths. (!) There was almost zero traffic! It was positively thrilling to find out that we can do this.

My preferred destination involves food, so this is a big factor in choosing a destination for summer 2018. Maybe this is the year we bike to Alymer. Or Carp. I’ve heard good things about Alice’s Village Cafe so maybe that’s going to seal the deal. Hmm.


2 Responses to "Bike goals 2018"

1 | Natalie Robichaud

May 2nd, 2018 at 3:07 pm


Come to Aylmer Andrea. The bike paths are great and will take you all the way into old Aylmer where there are many nice places to eat.

2 | Pamela

May 2nd, 2018 at 4:23 pm


You would love Alice’s
Put it on your list.

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  • andrea tomkins: I'm happy to have the one tent! This particular site wasn't big enough to accommodate two tents, even two smaller ones. The view at this site was love
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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (18) and Sarah (16). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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