Toronto to Ottawa on a Bicycle
03 May - 07 May 2008
This is about how I made it from Vaughan (that's just north of the
GTA) to Ottawa on my mountain bike in 5 days. That's approx. 450km,
which is approx. 90km per day. I was pretty lazy with the camera so
there are only a handful of photos, but hopefully at least the motel
information you will find useful if planning the same trip.
As always with my trips I didn't do any planning, and as always
(save one time) it worked out ok anyway.
Started from Dufferin & Rutherford in Vaughan (or Maple
according to some or Richmond Hill according to others).
This turned out to be pretty unpleasant. Started raining 10 minutes
after I left the house, and by the evening it was pooring so badly I
felt like I was in a cold shower with my clothes and shoes on. It's
probably why I didn't get very far - only to Oshawa.
Tried to find a motel in the phone book, but it turned out to be a
big pain without a map of Oshawa, and when I finally had the brains
to call the place I realised it was out of business anyway.
I normally avoid staying at hotels (too expensive for what you
actually get) but it was getting dark and I didn't feel like
peddling through the water any longer so I turned back to the last
hotel I saw on the road - the Comfort Inn (605 Bloor St W, Oshawa -
125$). Place was nice and clean, but I fail to see why it cost
double what a nice and clean motel would cost.
The day cleared up and I got some help from the wind blowing in my
back so I covered a decent distance. Got as far as Brighton - a nice
quiet place. These photos I think are all from that day.
For some reason I found that bullocks, cows, and horses are very
interested in me. When I would pass a bunch of them they would all
stare intently. If I stopped they would come closer and stare a few
minutes more. I didn't even do anything, just sit there. Here's one
Later the same day I was going on a small road (nothing like a
highway, I got a bit lost) and came across these structures. From a
distance they looked like old houses falling over, but from up close
they looked like some child's failed attempt at building houses. It
may look like I didn't hold the camera straight, but that's mostly
an illusion since the things are on a hill. They really are't
straight! And they don't have a foundation either. I wish someone
would tell me what the purpose of building them was:
The motel wasn't bad. Clean, but no phone for some reason.
Presqu'ile Beach Motel on 243 Main St W, that's on Highway 2 - 65$.
Another nice day. This is where my face and hands started to turn
red. You can get burned just as easily when it's cool as when it's
hot, as long as the sun is shining at you for enough hours in a row!
This little pony was too cute to not photograph. It was lying on the
ground when I got there and got a bit scared as I approached. I
don't know if that's his mother or not:
Got to Kingston this day. Didn't go into the city, just stopped at
the first motel on the way, turned out to be ok. Welcome Traveller
Motel, 3100 Princess St - 55$
This is where I turned away from the 401 (I've been going within 10K
of it up until now). Instead of following it further east than I
needed I took highway 15 north. Turns out there isn't much between
Kingston and Ottawa about there :)
It's a mix of mostly farmland, some 'untouched' land (forests,
hills), and very small towns. Unless you have food with you I
recommend you eat as soon as you see a place you like, because it
may be hours before the next place to eat.
By the end of the day my face and the top of my hands have been
burned completely. I don't even know what would be a way to avoid
that - maybe a straw hat and biker's gloves.
Stopped for the night at Smiths Falls - the biggest town between
Kingston and Ottawa. It also happened to be right in the middle
between them. Best Inn Motel on 241 Lombard St (it's the first motel
as you enter the town from the south on Highway 15). The 50$ it cost
me is just another piece of evidence to that price doesn't reflect
hotel quality. I liked it.
Easy day. Though the wind turned against me it was weak, and the
distance turned out to be smaller than it looked on the map. Or
maybe it was the excitement of getting to the destination.
The only interesting thing I remember on the road is that the
'Welcome to the city of Ottawa' sign was up about 10-20K before the
actualy city :)
Stayed at the first motel I called from the phone book (it started
to rain before I got a chance to call another). I strongly recommend
that you do not stay at the
Richmond Plaza Motel. There've been some junkies upstairs yelling
until late in the evening and starting early in the morning, the
room is very small, it's expensive (93$) and to top it all off there
was a syringe and a rubber band in the bathroom. I thought that
maybe they provide a clean syringe for the junkies who inevitably
end up spending the night there, but the syringe was used! Yes, it
had dried blood on it, and it was right on the counter in the
bathroom of the room I payed 93$ a night for.
There are lots of motels to choose from in Ottawa. The one I stayed
at the next day wasn't that far away (Prestige Inn Hotel - 215
Montreal Rd), reasonable walking distance from Parliament. It wasn't
very pretty but for the price (60$) it was a great deal, considering
Here are some photos I took of Ottawa the following day. I don't
know what that animal is - it's too pretty for a rat and too small
for a beaver - I've seen 3 or 4 of them in Ottawa, one in the Rideau
Canal. And did I mention it was the Tulip Festival? If you're there
that time of the year go to the Commisioners Park, there are lots of
pretty tulips there to look at.
Oh, I almost forgot my workhorse! This is a photo from a couple of
years ago but it hasn't changed since:
General points of interest:
- There won't be a lot of traffic (first because you're by the
401 where all the traffic is and later because there's nothing
there) so the ride isn't bad that way. You may have to go off
the road a few times to let trucks through, but that's rare.
- I think May might be the best time of the year for doing this
(except maybe October). Though the sun is high the temperature
is quite good. In fact i had to wear a coat most of the day
despite the sun (it's cooler when you ride).
- Unless you know a way to prevent it, be prepared to get badly
burned by the sun. I lost a layer of skin on my face and the top
of my hands. it doesn't hurt though.
- You don't need to be extremely fit (look at me :)), just be
dedicated. Five days for 450 kms isn't so much. You can ride
like me all day for 10km/h or do the same distance in quick fast
bursts of speed.
In conclusion: I had fun, used a lot of my muscles and little of my
brain, got away from everyday life troubles and returned perfectly
relaxed. Everyone should do something like this once a year.
- Small backpack
- MapArt Ontario Road Atlas
- A list of motels (names, directions, phone numbers) off this
page or with the help of the yellow pages
- Tools for fixing the bike just in case: (2 wrenches for the
wheels, flat screwdriver, cross screwdriver, a spare tube, air
- Good raincoat
- Notepad, pen, camera
If you have questions for me, please use this
Other trips of mine.