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The ultimate Ottawa cycling guide

Bikes at the uOttawa campus. Photo by Jordan Schulz, used under a Creative Commons license.

With an expansive and growing network of routes, pathways and lanes operated by the city and NCC, and with a strong community base for it, Ottawa is very much a cycling city.

While it’s possible to bike through the winter — something more people than you think do in Ottawa — spring is definitely the most popular time of the year to hit the road. So, get the tires pumped up and have fun!

Additions or corrections? Please contact us.

May is Bike to Work Month

Sign up for Bike to Work Ottawa and log your commute to see the difference you are making in money saved and emissions reduced. There are also some prizes available to be won.

We’re looking for perspectives from you if you’re biking to work, or anywhere else. How’s the infrastructure in your area? Where are the missing links? Send us photos and/or any comments…

Maps and route planning

The City of Ottawa and National Capital Commission operate their own paths, routes, lanes etc.

  • The official biking network map is posted on the city’s website as a very large PDF download. You can also get a printed brochure at city client service centres.
  • You can also see stuff the City of Ottawa operates on geoOttawa, including recommended routes outlined in yellow when you enable the cycling network layer.
  • Here’s another city map (and dataset) for all trails, pathways and lanes for both the city and NCC, within the municipal boundary.
  • The NCC has a really useful map with over 800 kilometres of cycling, including its own trails as well as the City of Ottawa, Ville de Gatineau, Outaouais Tourism and Ottawa Tourism.
  • Bike Ottawa has a planner that can help you find a route based on your skill and comfort level.

Major routes

  • The Trans-Canada Trail is the major bike route from the west to central Ottawa. When people in Ottawa talk about the TCT, they’re referring to the Ottawa-Carleton Trailway, which runs along an old rail line from just outside Carleton Place, through the Stittsville-Kanata-Bells Corners corridor, where it ends near Moodie. Here’s a map showing its extent. Although it ends, there are routes nearby you can connect with to continue riding right into downtown Ottawa.
  • The NCC’s 236-kilometre pathway network is known as Capital Pathway. It includes individual routes like the Ottawa River Pathway, the Greenbelt Pathway West and Voyageurs Pathway. Read about it all here…
  • NCC: Cycling in Gatineau Park and the Greenbelt.
  • NCC: Cycling in The Greenbelt.
  • Richmond Road has on-road bike lanes between Carling and Ancaster Avenues. There’s also a multi-use pathway (MUP) in the Byron Linear Park along the same corridor, between Woodland and Golden Avenues.
  • Laurier Avenue offers a cross-downtown route via separated bike lanes between Bronson and Elgin Streets. The corridor continues with regular bike lanes across the Mackenzie King Bridge, north on Cumberland and then continuing east via either Stewart or Wilbrod Street. The lanes end in the east at Cobourg Street.
  • A continuous corridor with regular bike lanes on O’Connor Street begins at 1st Avenue, then switches to separated lanes that run from Pretoria to Laurier.
  • Bike lanes on Mackenzie King Avenue and Sussex Drive are widely used.

Bikes on transit

The city does quite a bit to encourage mode-mixing between biking and transit. Every year from mid-April to the end of October, over 600 buses are equipped with bike racks for the Rack and Roll program. You can also roll your bike onto the O-Train Trillium Line and (eventually) the Confederation Line all year round.

We asked the city for a list of Transitway stations that have bike parking and they sent this along:

  • Terry Fox
  • Eagleson
  • Innovation
  • Canadian Tire Centre
  • Carp Park & Ride
  • Moodie
  • Bayshore
  • Pinecrest
  • Queensway
  • Iris
  • Lincoln Fields
  • Dominion
  • Westboro
  • Tunney’s Pasture
  • Bayview
  • Carling
  • LeBreton
  • Mackenzie King (adjacent)
  • Laurier (adjacent)
  • Slater/Metcalfe (adjacent)
  • Slater/Bank (adjacent)
  • Slater/Kent (adjacent)
  • Albert/Metcalfe (adjacent)
  • Albert/Bank (adjacent)
  • Albert/Kent (adjacent)
  • Blair
  • St-Laurent
  • Jeanne d’Arc
  • Place d’Orléans
  • Trim
  • Millenium
  • Greenboro
  • Leitrim
  • Riverview
  • South Keys
  • Lycee Claudel
  • Smyth
  • Riverside
  • Pleasant Park
  • Billings Bridge
  • Heron
  • Walkley
  • Mooney’s Bay
  • Carleton
  • Hurdman
  • Baseline
  • Fallowfield
  • Strandherd
  • Nepean Woods
  • Longfields
  • Marketplace (adjacent)

A recent program saw bike racks installed at individual bus stops, as well. The city identified 50 locations in 2018 that were good candidates for some. They installed racks at 25 stops in 2018 and the rest are due shortly, in the first half of 2019. The city shared a list of their status. If you know one of these stops and have an update, let us know!

Get a bike

Here’s a few ideas where you can buy or rent a bike. (OttawaStart.com has not been compensated for any of these links, which are provided for informational purposes only.)

Cycling groups

More info