The Ottawa Bicycle Book
Les Harding is author of The Voyages of Lesser Men: Thumbnail Sketches
in Canadian Exploration.
As a devoted cyclist and former Ottawa resident, this reviewer wishes that The Ottawa Bicycle Book had been published a couple of years sooner. It would have been just the thing to tuck into his panniers.
Perhaps a bit expensive for only 85 pages, the book is designed for the average weekend cyclist. It is recommended for the resident or tourist who wants to see the nation’s capitol from a different perspective. The book is divided into four chapters, the first of which is a short, readable history of cycling in Ottawa. The second chapter deals with choosing and buying a bicycle. It provides the usual information about locks, lights, and helmets. The chapter concludes with a critical evaluation of Ottawa-Hull’s better bike shops, invaluable for anyone thinking of buying or seeking repairs. The visitor would be most interested in chapter three, which, accompanied by good maps, describes six bicycle tours. Useful information about historic sights and museum hours is balanced with tips about where to get a good ice cream cone along the route. Each tour is rated as to its relative difficulty and the likely traffic conditions to be met. Oddly enough, distances are not given. The last chapter is a useful resource list of addresses and phone numbers that might be of interest to an Ottawa cyclist. A word about the illustrations: they range from poor quality snap shots to intriguing turn-of-the-century advertisements and drawings.