Biking in Ottawa is a treat. With an extensive network of bike paths along the Ottawa River, the Rideau Canal and the Rideau River, there are plenty of green spaces to visit close to home on two wheels.
One of our favourite family-friendly spots is Remic Rapids on the Ottawa River. Accessible by bike path, it’s a special spot that’s only a few kilometres from Parliament Hill and has a character all its own. Ottawa sculptor John Ceprano has been creating the collection of Inukshuks for many years. Each spring he begins building with the stones that wash up in the area. And over the winter the collection he amasses—with the help of the public—washes away in the river.
Often photographed, the stones change every year. We love returning to Remic Rapids often to see how the Inukshuks are growing. Watch out for geese during the spring especially as the Ottawa River is home to a huge flock that grazes right beside the bike path and are not easily persuaded to share this path with cyclists.
On Sunday mornings from Victoria Day until Labour Day, the westbound lane of the Ottawa Parkway is closed to traffic which makes biking to Remic Rapids even more pleasant. When the Parkway is closed to traffic, there’s lots of room for serious road bikers, families with trail-a-bikes and little kids on tricycles and two-wheelers to share the space with each other.
When my kids were learning to ride their two-wheelers, we'd head down to the Parkway to practice riding. I'd run beside them and they'd ride, stop and keep going. Having more space for the kids to wobble and weave reassured me that people riding behind us could safely continue while we went at our stop-and-go pace.
After a visit to Remic Rapids that usually includes building some Inukshuks of our own, we hop back on our bikes and continue riding another two kilometres west to Westboro Beach for a swim in the river and a drink or an ice cream on the patio.
Where do you like to bike with your family? What are your favourite close-to-home rides?