Often, when I cycle through Ottawa, I wonder how people from elsewhere figure out where to cycle. A paper map is one source, Google maps another one, but that is about it. The NCC has put out signs to point to side streets or to show the name and direction of a path, and the City of Ottawa has put up some signs here and there, but there is little else. If you have never been to Ottawa before, and you plan to cycle, it can be daunting.
It is probably part of the growing pains of a ‘bike friendly’ city, where we are building the infrastructure, struggle with sharrows and miss a lot of safe links between otherwise nice paths. I am a strong believer in developing Ottawa as a cycling destination. The potential is there with lots of destinations within cycling distance, an increasing number of bike lanes, quiet neighbourhoods and the NCC’s multi-use pathways. But, on the ground it is hard to figure out where to go.
It is a problem that Maria Rasouli decided to do something about. But not by putting up signs. She decided to set up a company called Escape Bicycle Tours to tour people around, so they won’t have to take a look on a map at every corner and every fork in the road. Customers also know they will be cycling a safe route. Bonus: Maria takes you past the Governor General’s visitor’s centre and passes the Museum of History in Quebec to show how to find them and visitors can come back on their own. Read more here!
If you are visiting Ottawa and want to spend a day cycling, Maria is your woman. It is also great to send your visiting mother-in-law away for a day.
You may want to check out her website for many more options: www.escapebicycletours.ca