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Ottawa? Talk to me.

2884 Views 15 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  Near north
So, a really cool job opportunity is available to me in Ottawa. The only issue seems to be that Ottawa looks flat as a pancake. Please... someone help me out here.

I absolutely love dirt road riding (on the cross/rando bike). Anything like that near by?

When it comes down to it, I just want to know that I can ride after work without to much of a hassle.

Thanks a ton.

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Some excellent single track in Ottawa at South March Highlands (Kanata Lakes), plus smaller areas here and there - Lots of hilly stuff in Gatineau, dirt road stuff there too if that's what you're looking for.
There's some Ottawa Cyclo-Cross blogs http:// websites to look at and Ottawa Mountain Bike Assoc lots of info....
Gatineau is a great place to ride plus in the winter, you can XC ski there too! :)
olapiquena said:
The only issue seems to be that Ottawa looks flat as a pancake.
It is.

But you do realize you're allowed to cross the river, right?
Ottawa is a great city! Yes, it's super flat but there are lots of hilly gravel roads across the river. Check out the Tall Tree Cycle blog to read about all the gravelly goodness of the Outaouais - they love it. They put on 4-5 fun rides per year that always include a lot of gravel. The Wheelers also put on a few similar events.
Sorry about the pancake comment, it was uncalled for.

Thanks for the Tall Tree blog. That's my kind of thing. Dude/Dudette even references one of my favorite home rides.

As for the mtb riding, what's it like? My original post was actually based on what I read on the OttawaMBA site. I just got a bit nervous that a lot of the rides were very short with little elevation. I must be missing something.

So, what's a typical afterwork ride like (km, evelvation, distance from town)? Do many folks who live in town ride during the week? Are the trails crowded? diverse?
Likewise for weekend type rides.

I really appreciate the input. It will help put the lady and I at ease.

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I think Ottawa is fantastic for cycling! I was going to link you to the Tall Tree blog but VVagabond beat me to it. There are a ton of cycling clubs in Ottawa... Ride with Rendall, Euro-Sports, The Cyclery, OBC, and many more... so I'm confident you will find a suitable group to ride with if you are so inclined. The OttawaMBA is primarily an advocacy and trail maintenance group (they are the local chapter of IMBA). They have a weekly social ride, and their members frequently plan other rides. They are generally gravitate more towards the social end of the spectrum. The trails they maintain (South March Highlands) are highly technical in nature but quite flat.

If you are looking for more "high-performance racing and training" type of rides, there are plenty of hills over in Gatineau park, although the "legal" Gatineau park trails are not at all technical. The best local off-road riding, in my opinion, is at Camp Fortune, which is situated in Gatineau park but privately owned (it is the local ski hill). In the summer time they operate both XC and DH trail systems. They host the local wednesday night XC race series every other week in the summer time.

Ottawa in general is a fairly active city. There are tons of cyclists out and about in the summer time, riding the Gatineau Parkway (road) loop, or just out on the bike paths with their families. When winter time comes, most hang up the bikes and get out the skis, skates and snowshoes. I hope you'll like it!
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Thank you so much for the really great comments. I think you hit the nail on the head.

Coming from a super tight, really diverse riding community I am just a bit freaked out having to 'make do'. It sucks to think about leaving but it's also super exciting to hear about the possibilities. The fiance likes to xc ski just as much as she likes to bike so... maybe Ottawa's for us!

Thanks again.

olapiquena said:
As for the mtb riding, what's it like?
Kanata Lakes is shield rock and lots of it. Plenty of slower tech spots that you'll ride a few times before you clean them dab free.

And bring bug repellent ...
HubbaMan said:
Kanata Lakes is shield rock and lots of it. Plenty of slower tech spots that you'll ride a few times before you clean them dab free.

And bring bug repellent ...
Yep. There's not much pure vertical to be had in the SMH/Kanata Lakes area, but there are a lot of short, steep ups and downs and some lovely technical trails. The trails look short on paper but average speed is pretty slow because of the tech so there's lots of riding there. The trails are well taken care of by OMBA. One of my goals in mountain biking is to ride Outback without dabbing. Camp Fortune, in Gatineau Park (about 20 minutes from downtown, 30ish from the west end/Kanata) has some of the nicest singletrack I've ever seen. Again not a lot of vert (3-400 feet maybe) but really technically challenging. There's a lot of gravel doubletrack and/or fire road in the park too. They allow bikes on most of that stuff. All the really good singletrack is off limits though and the NCC will ticket you if you ride it and they're pretty vigilant. There are also some wicked DH trails at Camp fortune, if you're into that kind of thing and Ottawa is not far from Bromont and Whiteface (~3hr drive to either). There are a lot of people into MTB, XC skiing, DH skiing and all sorts of other outdoor activities in Ottawa so you shouldn't have any trouble hooking up with like minded folks.
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thanks for all the recommendations.
You'll have lots of time to visit Gatineau but be sure to check out William Lyon Mackenzie King's estate. Our 10th Prime Minister was a bit of an odd fellow but he had great taste in real estate! :)
Ottawa was a great place to ride for the 31 years I lived there. The gatineau park is endless in the woods and is amongst the best road loop Ive found (although it is a short loop), but south of Ottawa is great for road riding too. Ottawa has a terrific riding community.

You should have no problem

Also, the road loop I talk about is closed to cars in the winter, and they groom it for skate skiing.
I'm curious where you are living now? I live in Chelsea (bordering on Gatineau Park), and I can assure you there are lots of really good gravel roads and single track on this side of the river.

Depending where you live, getting out on week nights could be a bit of a challenge, but very easy from the downtown area.
there aren't too many other places in Ontario that I'd rather live . . . lots and lots of riding to be had here. Kanata Lakes for tight technical single track - some of the most difficult in the province, Gatineau Park for excellent road riding, Gatineau Park for excellent mtn biking with elevation gain/loss on challenging single track - just need to know where to ride and keep it on the 'down low', Camp Fortune - technical mtn biking that's 'allowed', no end of gravel roads to ride on the Quebec side - rolly polly fun, close to other excellent riding - ie. Vermont, ubber fantastic and world class xc/skate/back country skiing. You won't be disappointed.

Give me a shout when you get in town.

I love Ottawa alway go there 4 or 5 times a year or more......... if it wasn't so dam cold and windy I might even live there, it's my favorite Canadian city! :)
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