How to Ride a Bicycle in Ottawa

Ottawa prides itself on being a bicycle friendly city. Boasting almost 236 km of bicycle and recreational pathways, one would be hard pressed to disagree. People can be found riding around the city daily regardless of the time of year as it presents both a healthy and fun way to commute.

Rather than being inside a car where it is difficult to experience the full gamut of sights and sounds while sight-seeing, bicycling allows a more authentic and intimate touring experience. Anyone who plans on visiting Ottawa and enjoys bicycling should consider this step by step guide. Outlined below is information pertaining to where one can bike, where one can obtain a bicycle as well as safety rules that must be obeyed to ensure a safe experience.


  • 1

    Where to Ride?

    The city of Ottawa has done an excellent job of creating and maintaining bicycle trails known as the Capital Pathway System near naturally beautiful and scenic areas. This system provides an abundance of choice for anyone regardless of what they are looking for. Some of the most popular trails in the city include Colonel By Drive and the Ottawa River Parkway for those looking to be close to the water, Gatineau Park for fitness enthusiasts, as well as Rockliffe Park for those looking to ride in the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods.

    During the summer, the city has designated “bike days” every Sunday morning where designated roads are left car-free for bicyclists, inline skaters and joggers. For more information, click here.

    If you are concerned about getting to the trails you desire, the OC Transpo public bus system offers many buses with bicycle racks. For a step by step guide on using the OC Transpo, click here. If you plan on driving, there is ample parking available near most major bike trails. See trail maps for Ottawa and Ottawa-Gatineau (include designated parking) below.

    Cycling Capital Map

    Ottawa-Gatineau Cycling Map

  • 2

    Bicycle Rental

    For those visiting from out of town or anyone interested in riding and needing to rent, Ottawa offers affordable and reliable options. The city’s main providers, RentABike and Bixi offer various rates depending on need as well as trail maps. Bixi has become extremely popular with tourists as a staple in many cities world round including London, Melbourne and Toronto.



  • 3

    Mountain Biking

    For mountain biking enthusiasts, the city of Ottawa and its surrounding areas has a wide range of trails, hills and designated areas for people of all skill level and courage. A list of the trails near the area can be found here.

    For those with less experience, please ride on trails suited to your skill level and ride with others.

  • 4

    Rules and Safety

    When riding a bicycle on pathways, trails or roads with others in the general area it is always important to ride defensively and cautiously. A well summarized list of the city, trails and general bicycling rules can be found here.

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    Have Fun!

    Bicycling is a great way to spend time with friends and loved ones and wonderful exercise for all. Please enjoy everything Ottawa has to offer bicyclists safely and responsibly.

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