Ottawa to Wakefield

One weekend in June I cycled to Wakefield QC and back.  This trip deserves recognition for being my longest ever trip at approximately 35km each way.

To begin, my traveling partner TC and I did some minor web research to prep for our trip.  I owe large credit to GoBiking.ca for their clear directions and helpful tips.  However, this did not stop us from taking a wrong turn on St. Joseph, nor did it stop me from lodging my front tire gracelessly into a railway track at the end of the most dangerous hill.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

After packing our rucks with camping gear, protein bars, extra clothing and bottled water, TC and I were on the road by 6:00pm.  We experienced minor delays on St. Joseph Blvd due to my superior map reading skills, but once we started in the right direction it was smooth sailing cycling.

We navigated some pretty major hills (ones that put Sommerset to shame), but the sights as we left the city made it worth the slow haul on my three-gear.  Traffic was pretty minimal and we frequently had drivers stop to ask if we were lost/needed directions/were out of our minds to be cycling in the middle of nowhere with 100-year-old bikes.

By the time we reached Chemain de la Riviere the sun was starting to set.  Although we thought far enough ahead to bring bike lights, we urban dwellers forgot how dark it can get in the countryside.  Needless to say, the last few kilometres were completed in darkness. By the time we reached Wakefield we had been biking for three hours and we were pooped.  Our plan to pitch a tent in the Gatineau hills was spoiled by the darkness and we ended up making camp on the side of a road near a cemetery.  Thankfully, a generous local we met at a bar offered to let us pitch in his back yard where we enjoyed beer on-the-house, homemade breakfast, a morning swim and a tour of the village.  Wakefield is nice like that.

Bicycle adventurers.
 
Our Route
 
 We started in Ottawa and crossed the Alexandra bridge (beside the Museum of Civilization). Once over the bridge we turned left on Rue Laurier and then right on Rue Montcalm.  The next turn should have been a right at St. Joseph Blvd, however I suggested that we hang a left at the traffic circle instead (we figured out our mistake pretty soon because St. Joseph comes to a dead-end this way).  The rest is easy breezy.
 
St. Joseph Blvd actually turns into Route 105, which we were on for a good 90 minutes or so.  This is where, for the next 90 minutes, we passed signs reminding us incessantly that we were still in the town (village?) of Chelsea.  This road follows the river and you pass places like Peter’s Point and Kirk’s Ferry.  Finally, just as it was getting dark, we veered right on Chemain de la Riviere.  This quaint little road takes you along the river, right into the heart of Wakefield
 
Chelsea, again.

Helpful tips, from one amateur to another:

1. Chelsea is large. Seriously, you will be passing signs that read Chelsea for something like 90 minutes.  Never get your hopes up that you are almost out of Chelsea, because chances are you will be wrong.

2. Biking in the dark is not as fun as it sounds.  Give yourself enough time to get there during daylight, otherwise things can get a little sketchy.

3. Not all locals you meet in a bar will be the beer-sharing, breakfast-making, hospitable types.  Use discretion and stay safe.

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