Bicycling in Ottawa

You need not be an expert cyclist to enjoy bicycling in Ottawa.

This capital-city-of-Canada offers the cyclist a broad range of recreational biking paths, along with a maturing , and still developing, cycling culture which usually means that biking on Ottawa’s streets is, for the most part, safe and convenient.  Ottawa offers the bicycle rider over 170 kilometers of bike paths. Rural routes abound, as do urban routes, many paralleling Ottawa’s Rideau Canal, the Rideau River, and the Ottawa River.

It is a bike culture here for sure.

Bicycling along one of Ottawa's many cycle paths.

Bicycling along one of Ottawa’s many cycle paths.

Ottawa has “Citizens For Safe Cycling”, whom are – and this is a quotation from their own website – “a not-for-profit incorporated, independent, membership-based organization founded in 1984. It is a voluntary association made up of cyclists like you who work for better, safer, environmentally-friendly cycling in the Ottawa area. CFSC is directed by a volunteer board whose members are experienced and committed cyclists and run by a broad base of active volunteers, several of whom are long-term cycling instructors. The organization promotes greater bicycle use and enjoyment, cycling safety and awareness, bicycle route and road conditions that are safer as well as more pleasant, and an overall increased respect for cyclists in the public domain.”

As an Ottawa cyclist, why not get involved? Visit CFSC on the web at:

The City of Ottawa supports and promotes cycling as well, and publishes an Ottawa Cycling Map, and easy guide to the vastness of Ottawa’s cycle paths. For your own copy of of the Ottawa Cycling Map visit the City of Ottawa website here:

Ottawa really is supportive of cycling, as are local businesses. They have collaborated to close portions of some of Ottawa’s streets on specific days through the summer to make them a very pleasant, and car-free haven for cyclists, roller bladers, joggers and strollers. These routes are selected to provide a very pleasant environment in which to cycle as well. These road closings  for bicycling in Ottawa normally take place Sunday mornings from late May through mid-September each year.

Street Closings For Cycling In Ottawa

For example:

  • Ottawa River Parkway (Ottawa): The westbound lanes, located on the south side of the Ottawa River and west of downtown, are closed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., from Vimy Place (Canadian War Museum) to Carling Avenue. (5.5 km)
  • Colonel By Drive: Both lanes, located on the east side of the Rideau Canal, are closed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., from the Laurier Bridge to the Hogs Back Bridge. (7.6 km)
  • The Rockcliffe Parkway: Both lanes, running along the south side of the Ottawa River just east of downtown, are closed from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., from the Aviation Parkway to St. Joseph Boulevard in Orleans. (8.4 km)

Information supplied by the NCC –

Bicycle route sign when bicycling in ottawa

Mountain Biking Around Ottawa

Come on out. Doesn’t matter if you’re riding a trike, mountain bike, high speed racer, cruiser, whatever. The idea is to get out on the Ottawa streets and enjoy a bike ride.

If the mountain bike is your forte, and you want to do some off-road riding, not far outside of Ottawa is the Gatineau Park. Visit the park and visit a different Canadian Province, as well as enjoying some of the 90 kilometers of official trails within this conservation park. It is open for mountain biking from May 15 to November 30. This substantial network of trails, the use of which is shared with hikers, is for beginner to intermediate mountain bikers. For info on Gatineau Park Mountain Biking visit the website and follow the links. –

Serious Mountain Biking Around Ottawa

Ottawa cyclists that are into serious, thrill seeking mountain biking, can avail themselves of the facilities at Camp Fortune. They claim “The gnarly, sloped trails on Skyline are not for the faint of heart. Bikers get race-ready for the Ontario Cup DH and Quebec Cup XC and DH on the Camp Fortune brand of downhill madness. Tune up your skills from 5 pm to dusk, Wednesday nights.”

Get info on Camp Fortune Mountain (literally) Biking here: – Follow the links on the page.

Bicycle clubs in Ottawa

If you want to enjoy meeting like minded Ottawans, consider joining one of Ottawa’s bicycle clubs listed here.