Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance, 08 Nov 2021 11:32:16 +0000en-us<![CDATA[Volunteers send bikes to Cuba from Eastern Ontario, with sweat and love]]>, 08 Nov 2021 11:32:16 +0000by Ish Theilheimer

Carleton Place, ON: A large group of volunteers gathered by a nearby barn on a late October weekend to stuff 530 used bikes into two shipping containers bound for Cuba.

The shipment was the culmination of six months of effort by dozens of volunteers across Eastern Ontario. The project, called Cubacan Bikes, was  organized by Bill Ryan, who has made and donated thousands of baseball bats he has made to Cuba over the past decade and got to know people in government there.

Ryan, who lives near Carleton Place and was raised in Eganville and graduated from Opeongo High School, was impressed by the support he found for the project. "You go to your family, your friends and neighbors and they show up for Cuba." he said. "It is so satisfying to see so much support for people they don't know and will never meet."

The bikes were collected over the course of six months, despite the pandemic, from throughout Ottawa and eastern Ontario. In addition to Ryan, there was another Renfrew County  element to the story. OVCATA (Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance) actually got the ball rolling. I personally suggested doing it, and OVCATA steered more than 100 donated bikes from the Ottawa area to the project.

Word of the project spread through the news media and online, and Ryan found himself flooded with donations.

While Bill and his wife, Nora, travelled hours to and from and around Ottawa - up to 80 km away, another volunteer scoured Kingston - 120 km  in the other direction - and local rural areas. Donated bikes were brought to a barn belonging to a neighbour of Ryan's where they were prepared for shipping. Many needed refurbishing and new parts or tires, and all had their pedals and front tires removed and handlebars turned for shipping.

Meanwhile, Ryan looked high and low for a company that would provide containers and ship to Cuba, not easy during these times of supply chain disruption. He finally found a company that could supply and ship two containers. Total cost of shipping, parts and spare tires sent as part of the shipment was about $13,000, or about $25 per bike, with the bikes set to arrive in Cuba in late November. It might sound pricey, but it compares well with the cost of sending a small package to Cuba, which can be a lot more than $25. The estimated value of the donation was almost $118,000. Bike tires, alone, in Cuba can sell for up to $100 at this point. Ryan says dozens of people, including many bike donors, contributed to raise the total needed.

Once they arrive, they will be received, owned and distributed by the CDRs - neighbourhood watch/civil defence groups organized across Cuba by the government. The CDRs are headed up by Gerardo Hernandez, a member of Cuba's national assembly. Hernandez is a national hero in Cuba as a member of the "Cuban Five" - secret agents arrested and imprisoned in the US who had been working to stop terrorist threats against Cuba. Ryan made bats to commemorate "The Five" and got to know Hernandez while he was still serving time.

Ryan is pleased with the project but he says, "The one thing I learned was not to do it again. I got lucky finding the barn. If [barn owner] Rick hadn't helped, I would have been in big trouble.

"The one big advantage doing this project was that funding came much easier," he says.  In the past, he and his wife, Nora, raised most of the money themselves or paid out of pocket for donating bats and other items. "I should point out that none of the donations were used for expenses such as mileage to do pickups. The guys all donated their time and even the tools we used to get the job done."

<![CDATA[Home]]>, 30 Sep 2021 10:24:38 +0000Welcome to the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance - OVCATA.

We got together in 2016 to speak for you, if you're a cyclist or Active Transportation (AT) enthusiast in the Ottawa Valley, and to enhance your riding and AT experience.

We take a collaborative and educational approach and work with everyone in our rural community. As a result of this work and the surging popularity of active transportation, gigantic strides have been made since we were formed. In this time:

- Renfrew County and the municipalities within it have created hundreds of kilometres of hardened shoulders on their roads.

- The County has joined with neighbours to create the multi-use Algonquin Trail on the abandoned CP rail line. When complete, it will enable active transportation travellers to cross Canada and avoid Highway 17 completely and boost tourism locally.

- OVCATA created the Bike Bank, to offer bikes to anyone who needs one in Renfrew County.

- We've mapped cycle routes all over the Ottawa Valley.

- OVCATA has taken part in and created dozens of events and rides, including the two signature bike rallies of the area, The Tour de Whitewater and the Tour de Bonnechere, as well as smaller local events like the Tour de Poutine.

- We've advocated to local government and the Province for safety for all road users and educated widely.

If you want to know what's happening locally and add your voice for Active Transportation, please join OVCATA.

<![CDATA[Donate]]>, 28 Aug 2021 8:37:19 +0000OVCATA is a volunteer-run organization, with annual expenses of up to $4,000. We use the money for running our Bike Bank -which costs, on average, more than $20 per bike for each of the more than 100 bikes we've given away in 2021, as well as for event organizing, managing a website, advertising, organizational registrations, office supplies and such. We hope you feel as we do that we're getting a lot back for having OVCATA as an organized voice for active transportation. Please participate and donate to help build a strong voice in the Valley for active transportation and cycling.

<![CDATA[Bike Bank reaches 100-bike milestone]]>, 16 Jul 2021 10:02:49 +0000PEMBROKE: A few months after coming up with the idea, volunteers with the Bike Bank are celebrating because, together, they have collected, restored and given out 100 bikes in Renfrew County to people who needed them.

The Bike Bank was set up by the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) out of concern that a lot of people who really could use a bike just can't afford one. Bike Bank receives requests for bikes and offers of used ones ones through its website, Donated bikes are thoroughly restored and checked for safety, and then they are matched up with people who ask for them and, in most cases, delivered to their doors, and it's all done by volunteers.

"I recieved bikes for my two older children," said Amanda Fraser, of Renfrew. "My children are disabled and I was able to teach my 11-year old daughter how to ride a bike this year. I am grateful for the bikes it gave her a chance at learning to ride and my son too. My daughter is grateful and has been riding all summer practicing around the house.  It gives her some independence and something to be proud of herself for."

Bike Bank is the brainchild of OVCATA Co-chair Pat Krose, of Forester's Falls. "We know how important bikes are to people. They get you where you want to go and make you feel good and healthier in the process," she says. "We are just a small group, about ten people altogether who do most of the work, and the logistics of getting it going were a bit complicated, but it has proven to be very worthwhile, both for those getting bikes, and also those giving them away, knowing their bikes will be valued by their new owners."

OVCATA's other co-chair, Ron Moss of Pembroke, is also one of Bike Bank's two main mechanics. He works closely with Adam Yantha, of Yantha Cycles, and a couple of other volunteers who do a lot of picking up and delivering of bikes. "I'm very pleased with the number of kids we've helped, both individually and through the Pembroke Boys and Girls ClubOVCATA volunteers Bob Peltzer, Pat Krose, Andy Kalnins, Larry Warden, Ish Theilheimer, Debbie Fiebig, Ron Moss and Debbie Macdonald discussing their Bike Bank at McRae Park in Eganville.. We expected to give out a lot of kids' bikes. But we were also a bit surprised by the strong demand for adult bikes." More than half the bikes distributed have been for adults, with lots of women requesting bikes. "Cycling may be less widespread in our rural area than in urban ones, but the demand for bikes shows how important bikes are to people here too."

(In the photo, OVCATA volunteers Bob Peltzer, Pat Krose, Andy Kalnins, Larry Warden, Ish Theilheimer, Debbie Fiebig, Ron Moss and Debbie Macdonald discussing their Bike Bank at McRae Park in Eganville.)

A Renfrew man who received bikes for his family from Bike Bank wrote, "Getting bikes donated to me helped me find new ways to bond with my daughter and wife," he told Bike Bank. "It gave us new places to go and explore and allowed us to feel good doing it, instead of driving vehicles. We use our bikes at least twice a week together. I personally try to ride mine at least 30 minutes a day for the exercise and to take a break from working at home. The Program is great, it helps people who can’t afford bikes get a new way of transportation and exercise.  I’ll definitely be returning my bicycles if I upgrade and finding any other way to donate when possible. Thanks so much for helping us find new ways to spend time together."

Kyla Sullivan, of Wilno, is a big Bike Bank fan. She wrote, "My son Benjamin has grown a lot since last summer and we knew that his old bike would no longer be a good fit. We wanted to give him the opportunity to ride a bicycle and exercise with his family, especially during COVID. I’m happy to say that he has been riding it regularly on our street and he definitely takes pride in its care. We were so impressed by the quality of the bike, and the time taken by the bike bank volunteer to deliver it. I was touched when I saw the BB volunteer take out a cloth and even give it one last polish right there on our driveway before encouraging Benjamin to try it out. It made his day and mine. Thank you very much for making the experience feel empowering. It was apparent to both of us that not just time, but a lot of love goes into the program."

Bob Peltzer, another OVCATA director,  lives on Lake Clear, where he has refurbished the majority of Bike Bank's bikes. "We use a 20-point checklist to ensure all bikes are safe and in good condition," he says. "Finding parts, with the supply chain stretched by the pandemic, has been a challenge."

To date, Bike Bank has cost about $2,000 in parts and insurance. "That works out to almost $20 per bike," says Ron Moss. "We're hoping to raise some of that money from local service clubs and the rest from local people." You can make a donation in support of Bike Bank here.

To offer a bike, send an email to To request one, go here and fill in the online form.

Bike Bank is now winding down for the season, as its volunteers need time to get out and ride and the number of requests and donations, which was quite heavy in Spring, is tailing off. It is still accepting requests and offers, but the volunteers expect less activity until next Spring.

<![CDATA[BIKE BANK APPLICATION (at this link)]]>, 11 May 2021 5:32:54 +0000Our intention is to get bikes to those who need them but who for whatever reasons may not be able to afford one right now. We began distributing our refurbished bikes in early May. If you would like to apply for a bike, please fill out the application found below.

The Bike Bank has a limited number of bikes and it may not be possible to fulfill all requests.

<![CDATA[OVCATA launches Bike Bank so everyone can ride]]>, 27 Apr 2021 10:36:27 +0000Do you, or does someone you know or love need a bike but can't afford one? If you're in or near Renfrew County, contact  


Bike Bank was set up by OVCATA - the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance - to make sure everyone who needs a bike can have one.
Bikes are important. They can get you to work, school or shopping for free. Riding makes you feel good, and it doesn't pollute.
So if you need and can't afford a bike, or someone you know does, please ask for one by using the online application. Tell us what size is needed, where you live, and anything else that will help us.

If you want to donate a bike or volunteer with Bike Bank, please email

We're a small volunteer group based in Renfrew County.   We're also working with people near Ottawa collecting bikes to ship to Cuba. If that interests you, let us know please and we'll pass the info along.

Some people say they want bikes because they're hard to get from bike shops. If you can afford a bike but can't find one at a shop you know, we suggest trying other shops or looking online at sources like Kijiji or Craig's List or one of the big box stores, which definitely have low-cost bikes. Our program is for people who can't afford bikes. We are NOT selling bikes and we don't want to compete with bike dealers. They support us and we support them. Also, some people are asking about bike loans. We're not set up for this. We're a very small group of volunteers working hard to keep up with local need!


Here's some more information about Bike Bank's launch:

The Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) is launching a unique new service to enable everyone in the Valley who needs a bike to have one. Volunteers working with Bike Bank collect and recondition used bikes and get them to people in need of them.

OVCATA members are collecting bikes from the OPP, individuals, bike stores, waste sites and other sources and putting them in working order for donation to anyone who asks for one.

"Young or old, a bicyle can transform someone's life," says OVCATA co-chair Pat Krose, of Forester's Falls. "A bike can give you a sense of independence and freedom and make you stronger, healthier and happier. For the people who need and want a bike but can't afford one, we hope the Bike Bank will fill an important need."

People who want a bike simply need to contact OVCATA, and volunteers will determine what kind and size of bike is needed and arrange for delivery. Initially, contact is being done through community agencies.

Bikes will be stored at various locations around the County. Yantha's Cycle in Pembroke came forward to offer the Bike Bank's first storage location, as well as technical support and advice, and used parts.

"To succeed, the Bike Bank will need lots of local support and participation," says Ms. Krose. OVCATA is asking for donations of bikes and for volunteers who can help pick up, repair, store and deliver bikes. "We also need new helmets for all the kids who get bikes, and we are hoping local merchants and service clubs can help with this need. Individuals can contribute too by making cash donations on our website - WWW.OVCATA.CA."

In Pembroke, the OPP delivered 34 unclaimed used bikes to OVCATA that had been warehoused for several years. "Some are in good shape, but most need work," says Ms. Krose. "Fortunately, we've got some good people who love bikes working on them."

To get or give a bike, or to get involved as a volunteer, email

<![CDATA[Join]]>, 26 Apr 2021 7:11:03 +0000<![CDATA[Eganville Routes]]>, 17 Mar 2021 9:00:51 +0000These routes all have parking access in or near the village of Eganville

The Bonnechere Blast Past the Bonnechere Caves 32 kms, paved, gentle hills

Eganville Gravel Grinder 50 kms, Mix of gravel and paving, steep hills

Eganville 1 Hour Workout 18 kms, paved, a few hills

Monarch of the Mountains 100 kms, paved, many steep hills including the Foymount Challenge

Tour de Lake Clear 51 kms, paved, hills including 1 long steep climb

<![CDATA[Bonnechere River Watershed walking, paddling and cycle routes]]>, 16 Mar 2021 8:10:05 +0000The Bonnechere River Watershed Nature in Your Neighbourhood Guide is a collaborative initiative of the Ottawa River Institute and the Bonnechere River Watershed Project, with funding support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

We have designed this guide to help you enjoy and appreciate the Bonnechere River watershed and its natural highlights, while offering opportunities for physical activity at the same time. We have provided links to other relevant information, drawing in particular on the Valley Explore portion of the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association web site. We welcome comments and feedback, which can be directed to either sponsoring organization (or ).

The Bonnechere River travels 145 km from its source in Algonquin Park to the Ottawa River at Castleford. Its course includes two large lakes and long calm stretches that are interspersed with rapids and waterfalls. Historically, log drivers built wooden chutes around these obstacles. Mills followed and later, hydroelectric dams were built at some of these locations. The term ‘chute’ is still widely used around the Bonnechere to refer to major rapids and waterfalls. In this guide you will see references to ‘chutes’, numbered from the ‘First Chute’ near the mouth of the river, and upriver to the ‘Fifth Chute’ in Eganville.

<![CDATA[The Bicycle Garage: A Guide For Bike Riders ]]>, 04 Feb 2021 12:21:08 +0000The American e-bike company Murf has put together a huge and comprehensive list of links to useful sites of interest to cyclists including safety, maintenance, riding tips and much much more.

<![CDATA[County municipal leaders and staff hear how Petawawa is becoming a Bicycle-Friendly Community "one bite at a time" ]]>, 21 Nov 2020 6:48:54 +0000PETAWAWA, October 29, 2020: Petawawa's public works director, Dave Unrau, told a Zoom meeting full of Renfrew County municipal reprentatives and Active Transportation  advocates that any community can become a Bike-Friendly Community (BFC) if the community gets involved and takes it "one bite at a time."

The fourth annual general meeting of Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) was held online via Zoom due the pandemic, which enabled many to attend who might not have been able to otherwise. Elected people and staff from at least ten Renfrew County municipalities attended.

"We are thrilled that so many municipal people could attend," said OVCATA's co-chair Ish Theilheimer. Mayors or reeves of at least seven municipalities - Killaloe-Hagarty-Richards, Madawaska Valley, McNab-Braeside, North Algona Wiberforce, Pembroke, Renfrew, and Whitewater Region, took part, as well as councillors and staff from several others. "Dave Unrau gave an inspiring and information-packed presentation that laid out a do-able roadmap for everyone who attended."

Mr. Unrau emphasized that the things this town has done represent, "One municipality's dream. Every municipality has its own opportunities and challenges," but moving forward is "Very important for creating safer streets, a healthier environment, healthier people, mental health, health for seniors getting out, less greenhouse gases. The more bikes on the road and the more people we can get walking, the less pavement we have to build."

Petwawa's BFC story began with a 2011 masterplan for sidewalks and a community committee set up to look at safety and traffic connected with transportation to and from two local schools. A Safe School Travel Working Group "morphed into an Active Transportation Committee with representatives from the public, schools, the OPP the town, the district health unit and others.

"I have found that everyone I talked to will take the time to talk to you. All you have to do is reach out," he advised. "If I gain in the Town of Petawawa, that also supports Pembroke and Laurentian Valley."

In 2017, Petawawa received provincial funding that enabled the town to create an Active Transportation Plan and to upgrade the Algonquin Trail to include a twinned trail suitable for all users. The Plan calls for paved shoulders on all new road construction. Other items on its list include bike valet service at public events, educational opportunities, and encouraging people to bike to work.

"You've got to eat the elephant one bite at a time," Mr. Unrau said, acknowledging the complexity of attaining BFC status. He said Petawawa's plan focuses on five E's - education of drivers and cylcists and pedestrians, encouragement, engineering, enforcement and evaluation, with a sixth E too: equity. "We've got to make sure that whatever we build and the education around it is available for everyone."

Mr. Unrau recommends that other communities, "Start really simple. Start the conversation, engage stakeholders, inventory existing infrastructure - there is a lot to celebrate, and create a community-wide Active Transportation plan." He pointed to funding sources available including the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), the Investing in Canada Program (ICIP), and Green Communities Canada.

Mr. Unrau's talk and presentation are available online here.

At the meeting, Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance elected four directors for two-year terms: Debbie Fiebig, Ron Moss, Debbie Roach-MacDonald, and Ish Theilheimer.

<![CDATA[Fall is a great time for cycling in the Ottawa Valley. ]]>, 26 Oct 2020 2:44:53 +0000Fall is a great time for cycling in the Ottawa Valley. Renfrew County offers amazing choices for cyclists as the autumn colours blaze and the heat and summer traffic diminish.

There are lots of great local bike routes to choose from that mostly use quiet, township or County roads. For beginners level, there are fairly level and newly repaved roads like Fouth Chute Road from Eganville to the Bonnechere Caves, the Old Barry's Bay Road from Barry's Bay to Combermere, or Queen's Line in Whitewater Region. There are numerous rides of moderate difficulty, like the trip from Eganville to Killaloe via Crimson Maple and Ruby Roads, or the newly paved roads in Whitewater country on the Beachburg Peninsula. And there are spectactularly scenic routes for the expert in the hills of Foymount, Brudenell, Letterkenny, or the Kartuzy or Paugh Lake Roads out of Barry's Bay.

For a taste of what's available, members of OVCATA (Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance) have been posting some of our favourite routes online. Routes on the site range from short and sweet to long and tough, and OVCATA enourages riders to share their own favourite routes for posting online.

Renfrew County boasts an expanding network of rail trails. The new Algonquin Trail, on the former CP rail line, will ultimately connect from one end of the County to the other. At this point, it is open for riding between Pembroke and Petawawa and between Renfrew and Arnprior and beyond to Pakenham, Almonte, Carleton Place and Smiths Falls in Lanark County. The K&P trail from Renfrew to Calabogie, and beyond there, to points south in Lanark County and beyond is a great adventure.

Mountain biking opens up a whole different range of fall cycling possibilities, with publicly available trails in many areas. The Beachburg Off-Road Cycling Association maintains a wonderful set of trails, with information on its website. Forest Lea trails, near Pembroke, have been established by volunteers working with the Ministry of Natural Resources.

<![CDATA[Petawawa Bike-Friendly Communities champion to speak to OVCATA AGM]]>, 26 Oct 2020 2:41:41 +0000Bike-Friendly Communities is the theme of the 2020 annual meeting of Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA), which takes place online only via Zoom technology on Thursday, October 29 at 7 p.m. Guest speaker, Dave Unrau,  knows a lot about the subject. Dave is Director of Public Works in the Town of Petawawa as well as an active volunteer with OVCATA.
Dave, who wasn't an active cyclist before becoming involved in the process, has spearheaded the process of making his town bike-friendly.

The Town officially started the journey in December 2017 when the Town

received funding under the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program. There was, however, a lot of cycling activity in the community, with many young families and

the Garrison Petawawa.  Through the initial funding program and with

partnership from Green Communities Canada,  Clean Air Partnership, Share the

Road, Renfrew Country Health Unit, OPP, County of Renfrew, RCDSB, RCCDSB and

other stakeholders the Town has been able to accomplish many things including:

- Completion, with provincial funding help, of an Active Transportation plan

- Construction of paved multi-use pathway (MUP) paralleling the Algonquin Trail

- A multi-use pathway constructed along Civic Center Road

- Hardened shoulders throughout the Town for any new road construction

- A Share the Road Canada bicycle-friendly community workshop was held in Petawawa, which has been designated a bicycle-friendly community.
- Establishment of the Safe School Travel Working Group

- Education and encouragement programs in area schools.

"There are many reason to start creating a more friendly active transportation network, from a healthy community to reduced GHG," says Mr. Unrau. "But through the pandemic it reinforced the fact that it is the right decision when the MUP's were full (properly distanced) and enjoying healthy living."

"The cost to implement this strategy is minimal and is more about creating a culture for the community."

Municipal and County staff and political leaders from across Renfrew County have been invited and many will be attending. To receive a meeting invitation and a link to the meeting, members of the public can send an email to

<![CDATA[Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety for All Ages]]>, 21 Oct 2020 9:57:39 +0000Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety for All Ages

In the age of COVID, more and more people are choosing activities that get them out of the house and into nature. Walking, Running, and Cycling are hobbies that have increased in numbers since sheltering in place started.

But bicycles and pedestrians don't come with airbags.

This is why it's critical for everyone; drivers, walkers and bikers alike - to learn about proper safety measures and rules of the road.

Lots of great tips, rules and resources here.

<![CDATA[Round Lake - Wilno Hills Way of the Crosses]]>, 07 Sep 2020 4:26:35 +0000Round Lake – Wilno Hills Way of the Crosses

This is an approximately 70 km route suitable for bikes with 32mm or wider tires. It is over a mix of paved and gravel roads and through cottage country and wooded areas along the edge of Algonquin Park. The gravel roads were well maintained but wash-boarded on some hills. Traffic is light to non-existing along most sections BUT ALWAYS exercise caution as the entire route is open to and used by motor vehicles. There are some short but steep hills on the gravel sections.

The Wilno Hills were settled by many immigrants from Poland and they brought with a strong Roman Catholic faith. Look for the many crosses and shrines that are found along this section of the route. Please respect them and all private property.

Parking and an excellent starting point is at the boat ramp park just off Highway 60 on Krantz Road. This is on the Bonnechere River just upstream from the north end of Golden Lake. Please obey the ‘No Parking’ signs and park where you will not block the people using the launching ramp.

Click here to download the route as a GPX file


  • From the park on Krantz Road head to Hwy 60 and turn left to cross over the bridge. On the other side look for Chapel Road to your left and make the turn. The quaint Deacon Chapel can be seen on your right. You only ride a short distance before you turn right onto Old Bridge Road which will take you to Traymore Road a few hundred metres ahead.
  • Turn left onto Traymore Road. In a few kilometers Traymore Road will make a sharp left BUT you want to stay straight ahead on what looks to be the same road but what is now named Red Rock Road. You will follow this road as it winds along Round Lake.
  • Watch for where a new re-routing of Red Rock Rd. called the Red Rock Diversion veers to your right, There is a fenced off portion of the original Red Rock Road on your left and a passage way through this fence that you can walk your bike through to stay on the less well traveled Red Rock Rd.  OR you can go a very short distance on the Red Rock Diversion and take the cross over road on your left.
  • When you come to Round Lake Road (County 58), turn left. This is a busy road but you will only be on it for about 3 km. Watch for Gunns Road, a gravel road on your right.
  • Turn right onto Gunns Road and follow it as it snakes its way alongside the Bonnechere River to the intersection with Basin Depot Road.
  • Turn right onto Basin Depot and then Left onto Paugh Lake Road crossing the bridge over the Bonnechere River.
  • Paugh Lake Road will twist and turn towards Paugh Lake as you eventually leave the heavily wooded section and encounter a few residences along the way. Look for Wilno Road N. on your left and the first of many crucifixes at that crossroads.
  • Turn left onto Wilno Rd. N. and follow it to the T intersection where Wilno Rd. N makes a sharp left turn. Make the left turn and stay on Wilno Rd. N. to the intersection with Scenic Road.
  • Scenic Road will be on your left. Turn left onto Scenic Road.
  • Scenic Road is, well scenic and mostly a straight and hilly ride to the intersection with Simpson Pit Rd.
  • Turn left onto Simpson Pit Rd. a mostly downhill ride on smooth pavement to the intersection with Mask Road on your right.
  • Turn right onto Mask Road and stay on it crossing Round Lake Road (County 58). Mask Road will end at Hwy 60 a short 2 km ride back to your starting point.
  • Turn left onto Hwy 60 with its partially paved shoulders and ride app. 2 kms back to Krantz Rd.

Turn left onto Krantz and remember where you parked.

<![CDATA[Balaclava Mill Run]]>, 02 Sep 2020 2:34:24 +0000This is a beautiful 51 km ride through farm land and wooded countryside. You begin at the abandoned mill in Balaclava with parking at the boat ramp across the road. Please be careful to not block the ramp or to park in such a way as to prevent people with boat trailers from parking. The old mill is dangerous and private property. STAY OUT but take all the pictures you like.

Timing for the ride is between 2 ½ and 3 hours with 255 metres of climbs overall.

It is suitable for all style bikes with paved roads on the entire route unless you decide to take the shortcut.

Download a GPX navigation file here:


From the parking area TURN RIGHT onto Scotch Bush Rd. and continue to the junction with Hwy 132 in Dacre. Note the beautiful old church on your left as you come into Dacre.

TURN RIGHT onto Hwy. 132 and proceed to junction with Hwy. 41. TURN RIGHT onto Hwy. 41.

You will ride a short distance on Hwy. 41 to the junction with the historic Opeongo Rd. TURN LEFT onto The Opeongo Rd. (County 64). Along the way look for signs of the original Opeongo settlement road that will appear and disappear into the foliage.

About 5 ½ kms along the Opeongo Rd. you will see the gravel Constance Creek Road on your right. This is a shortcut that will take you back, crossing Hwy 41 and continuing to Scotch Bush Rd. where you can turn right and ride back to the parking area.  

Continue on the Opeongo Rd. to the junction with McGrath across from now closed Breen’s Store. TURN RIGHT onto McGrath Rd. and enjoy your ride through rolling hills, farm and wooded lands.

At the junction with Hwy 41 TURN RIGHT and ride on Hwy 41 to the intersection with Grattan Rd. (County 22). TURN LEFT onto Grattan Rd towards Hynford.

At the Hynford intersection TURN RIGHT onto Scotch Bush Road for the last leg of your ride back to the parking area at Balaclava.

<![CDATA[Tour de Kamaniskeg]]>, 21 Jun 2020 3:07:04 +0000This route is app. 53 kms and is suitable for road and all other bicycles. There is a smooth, hard packed gravel section on Kamaniskeg Lake Rd. The route starts in Barry's Bay but there are two other parking areas where you can begin the ride. The written directions and gpx file begin at the Barry's Bay location.

Download the GPX navigation file here:

Things to see along the way:

            Zurakowski Park in Barry's Bay is a memorial to legendary aircraft test pilot and engineer who flew fighters and bombers for Poland, France and Great Britain in WWII. He is closely associated with the Avro Arrow project and the memorial features a large scale model of the aircraft he flew as well as the story of his amazing life.

            On the Old Barry's Bay Road across from the junction with Vistula Rd. stands the The SZARE SZEREGI Monument (Grey Ranks). This monument commemorates the 11,000 Scouts and Guides who worked in the Polish resistance and who fell during the Warsaw uprising or lost their lives in Nazi concentration camps during the occupation of Poland (1939 - 1945) It is a heart breaking yet uplifting tribute.

            Further down the road is Crooked Slide Park featuring a rebuilt log slide at this beautiful waterside park. Here you will find restrooms and a great swimming hole.

            In Combermere a short distance off the route is Madonna House Lay Apostate and Pioneer Museum. Madonna House is a community of catholic men and women dedicated to continuing the work of Jesus Christ. The Pioneer Museum is built from hundred-year-old hand-hewn logs. Inside there are authentic items donated by generous individuals that tell the story of pioneer life in the Ottawa Valley.

Combermere has a couple of locations where you can buy water, drinks, a full meal or snacks. Cyclists love to support local businesses!


Parking at the beginning of the route can be found at  Zurakowski Park in Barry's Bay or across the street at the old train station. Alternate starting points with parking are at Crooked Slide Park on Old Barry's Bay Rd. and at the lakeside park in Combermere just west of the bridge on  Hwy 62 / Combermere Rd.

From Barry's Bay ride east on Hwy 60 / Opeongo Line to the junction with Old Barry's Bay Rd. just past the Tim Hortons. TRUN RIGHT onto Old Barry's Bay Road for the app. 19 kms ride to Combermere. Be sure to visit the  SZARE SZEREGI Monument and Crooked Slide Park if you have not done so before.

At the junction with Hwy 62 / Combermere Road TURN LEFT onto Combermere Rd. Across the bridge is the short side trip to Madonna House and the Pioneer Museum.

Follow Hwy 62 / Combermere Rd. out of the village to the junction with Kamaniskeg Rd. on your right. TURN RIGHT onto Kamaniskeg Rd. and a beautiful ride along the lake and Madawaska River to the junction with Siberia Rd.

TURN RIGHT onto Siberia Rd. / County 69 and follow it towards Barry's Bay where the name changes to Dunn St.

(If you would like a bit longer ride with some hills you can take an alternative route not long after crossing over the Madawaska River bridge on Siberia Rd. Look for River Road and the sign for the Madawaska Kanu Center on your right. Turn Right onto River Road. This road's name will undergo a sea change to become Kartuzy Rd. without you knowing it. Follow the dips, turns and hills to the junction with Bleski Rd. where Kartuzt Rd. will make a sharp LEFT TURN. From here you are a short distance back to Siberia Rd. where you TURN RIGHT onto Siberia Rd. just outside the Village of Barrys Bay. This detour is not mapped or included in the GPX directions)

Follow Siberia Rd / Dunn St to the junction of Dunn St. and Opeongo Line / Hwy 60 you TURN RIGHT onto Hwy 60 for the short ride back to Zurakowski Park.

<![CDATA[Eganville Gravel Grinder]]>, 16 Jun 2020 10:45:05 +0000Eganville Gravel Grinder 50 Km Suitable for mountain bikes, fat bikes and bikes with good gearing and wider tires.

Download the GPX navigation file here:


Start at the parking lot at Legion Field on Foran St. just off Hwy 41 in Eganville near the Shell gas station. From Foran St. TURN RIGHT onto Hwy 41 and ride the short distance to County 512/ Foymount Rd. at the Shell gas station.

Turn right onto Hwy 512/Foymount Rd/County Rd 512  1.5 km

Continue to follow County Rd 512 to junction with Sand Rd. which is straight ahead. (512 makes a left at this junction but you want to go straight onto Sand Rd.)

Continue straight onto Sand Rd  4.7 km

TURN RIGHT onto Silver Lake Rd

Head northwest on Silver Lake Rd   450 m

TURN LEFT onto Risto Rd   4.1 km

TURN RIGHT onto Budd Rd

Head northwest on Budd Rd toward Corrigan Rd   1.0 km

TURN LEFT on Corrigan Rd toward Cormac Rd  7.9 km

(Corrigan Rd. is all gravel and quite hilly and beautiful)

TURN RIGHT on Cormac Rd toward Silver Lake Rd   3.8 km

TURN RIGHT onto Silver Lake Rd

Head northeast on Silver Lake Rd   11.6 km

(Silver Lake Rd. starts off as gravel and is fairly flat at first but there are more hills as continue on. It becomes paved about half way to your next turn.)

TURN RIGHT onto Corrigan Rd  (Very sharp right turn)

Head southwest on Corrigan Rd toward Budd Rd   2.5 km

TURN LEFT onto Budd Rd   1.0 km

TURN LEFT  onto Risto Rd   4.1 km

TURN RIGHT onto Silver Lake Rd   450 m

TURN LEFT onto Sand Rd toward Hwy 512/Foymount Rd/Renfrew County Rd 512

4.8 km

CONTINUE STRAIGHT onto Foymount Rd/County Rd 512   1.4 km

TURN LEFT onto Summerville Dr. which is the back way into Legion Field and the parking area.

<![CDATA[Monarch of the Mountains 100 km]]>, 15 Jun 2020 3:22:36 +0000This is a route which we hope you will find both challenging and a great ride through countryside that was once the summer stomping grounds of the gangster, Al Capone. His hideaway was just outside of Quadeville on Letterkenny Road and maybe thinking of him chasing you down that road will motivate you through the steep climbs that you will find along the way. 

This route also includes the challenge of the Foymount Hill, a 14 degree climb of 186 metres in just under 2 1/2 kms. Overall you will climb a total of 1153 metres over a distance of app. 102 kms.

Kauffeldt's Store in Quadeville should be open by 9am if you need drinks or other refreshments. There is a rest stop with a toilet on Letterkenny Road at Gorman Lake. You will also pass the hamlet of Foymount twice on this route. Foymount was once the home of CFS Foymount a radar installation that was part of the Pine Tree Line a Cold War early warning system to detect Soviet bombers. It was decomissioned in 1974 but the Hamlet still survives and is the highest settled point in Ontario.

There is a great scenic lookout on the Opeongo Rd. at the top of the hill just after you make the turn from Hwy 512 on the return leg of the route. There is a kiosk that tells of the geology of the area and describes the Bonnechere Gabin which you will follow and cross as you ride the route back to Eganville.


Head east on Foran St toward Hwy-41

Turn right onto Hwy-41 and ride to junction with Foymount Rd/County Rd 512

Turn right onto Foymount Rd/County Rd 512 and travel to where the route makes a sharp left turn after passing the township garage

Turn left to stay on Foymount Rd/Renfrew County Rd 512 and ride app. 20 km to Cormac where you will see Saint Anne’s RC Church off a side road on your right and the steep climb of the Foymount Hill ahead on County 512

Climb the Foymount Hill! 187 m in 2 kms and 14% max grade

Head west past the flashing light at the top of the hill  and stay on Foymount Rd/County Rd 512 past Foymount to the junction with Quadeville Rd/Renfrew County Rd 515

Turn left onto Quadeville Rd/Renfrew County Rd 515 and ride to app 17 kms to Quadville where you will see Kaufman’s General Store at the intersection. It is your last chance to refill your water of buy an energy boosting treat before hitting the legendary hills of Letterkenny Rd.

Turn right at intersection at Kaufman's General Store and continue straight onto Letterkenny Rd. You will shortly pass Al Capone’s Canadian Hideaway. It is not marked and it is private property so you will just have to use your imagination.

You will now ride about 18.5 kms through a number of tough climbs and some great scenery. This road is nicely paved with smooth asphalt. Towards the end as you come down a nice downhill glide you will see Gorman Lake on your right where you will find a portable toilet and a place to swim or rest. Ahead is the junction with Opeongo Rd. which is also called County Rd. 66 in this location.

Turn right onto Opeongo Rd./County 66 and ride to the intersection known as Brudenell where Opeongo Road continues straight ahead through the intersection but is now County Rd. 512 and becomes the Foymount Rd for some strange reason known only to the road naming gods. Whatever you call it you will stay on Foymount Rd/Renfrew County Rd 512 for about 10 km.

Pass Foymount (again)

At the flashing light turn right onto Opeongo Rd / County Road 64 (Remember to look for the kisok and scenic lookout at the top of the hill)

Stay on the Opeongo Rd to the intersection with McGrath Rd. Turn left onto McGrath Rd

Head north on McGrath Rd. for about 12.1 km to the intersection with Hwy 41.

Turn left onto Hwy-41 and ride 3.8 km to the Village of Eganville where you will Turn left onto Foran St. and finish your epic 102 km ride.

<![CDATA[Bonnechere Blast]]>, 13 Jun 2020 1:41:02 +0000This is a 2 hour ride through gentle hills and farm land. Along the way is the quaint village of Douglas, home to the Douglas Tavern, site of the Ottawa Valley's best St. Patrick's Day parade and celebration. Further along is the 4th Chute of the Bonnechere River with its scenic falls, old mill site and home of world renowned Bonnechere Caves.

Download the GPX navigation file here:


Begin at the parking lot at Legion Field on Foran St. just off of Hwy 41 near the junction with County 512. Plenty of parking there as well as a splash pad in the summer and a farmer's market on Friday evenings.

From Foran St. TURN RIGHT onto Hwy 41 then LEFT onto Melanie St. Go a short distance downhill and TURN RIGHT onto 4th Chute Rd.

Follow 4th Chute Rd. until it becomes Scotch Bush Rd. Stay straight ahead on Scotch Bush Road to the intersection with Hynford Road in the bustling metropolis of Hynford. TURN LEFT onto Hynford Rd. and continue to the intersection with Stone Rd. TURN LEFT onto Stone Rd. Stone Rd. will become Queen St. a short distance ahead in Douglas.

In Douglas look for the Douglas tavern on your left as well as a convenience store on your right. Both are nice place to reward yourself with a beverage or a treat.

From Queen St. TURN LEFT onto 4th Chute Road for a lovely 6 km. Ride to the Bonnechere River and the location of Bonnechere Caves. Feel free to stop and take a picture of the boiling waters or take a short walk down the southern bank of the river for a view of the old mill dam site. The caves offer a great tour at a modest price and you may even be lucky enough to see Cave Man Chris lurking about.

Just past the bridge over the Bonnechere you will TURN RIGHT and follow 4th Chute Rd. back to Eganville. As you enter the village look for Melanie St. on your left and TURN LEFT onto Melanie St. A short climb up the hill takes you back to Hwy 41 where you TURN RIGHT onto 41 and then LEFT onto Foran St and the parking area.

<![CDATA[Eganville 1 Hour Workout]]>, 12 Jun 2020 2:23:59 +0000Begin your ride at McRae Lookout Park on Grist Mill Road in Eganville. It is a scenic location with easy parking. You will see some parking meters there but these are just for donations. Please feel free to deposit a few coins to support this community built and funded park.

This is ride through the rolling hills of the farm country around the Village of Eganville. All roads are paved and traffic light although Augsburg Road can be a bit busier in the early evening.


From the park cross over the bridge onto John Street. Ride towards the intersection and make a short RIGHT then LEFT turn onto Water Street. Stay on Water Street as it becomes Augsburg Road all the way to the churches at Augsburg.

At Augsburg TURN LEFT onto Silver Lake Rd and ride to the intersection with Sand Rd. TURN LEFT onto Sand Rd. (If you want a longer ride you can ride ahead on Silver Lake Rd. to the junction with County 512 (Foymount Rd.) and turn left onto 512 and follow it back to where it rejoins the route)

Sand Road ends at the junction with County 512 (Foymount Rd.) just outside the Village of Eganville. Stay straight ahead from sand Rd. onto 512 all the way to the stop sign at the Shell gas station at the intersection. TURN LEFT onto Hwy 41 through the village and look for the SHARP RIGHT TURN back onto John Street. Follow john St. across the Bonnechere River to Grist Mill Rd and Mcrae Lookout Park on your RIGHT.

Download a GPX Navigation File:

<![CDATA[Tour de Lake Clear]]>, 11 Jun 2020 7:05:21 +0000Tour de Lake Clear

This is a 52 km ride with 1175 metres of elevation gain. All roads are paved and there is one very difficult hill no matter in which direction you ride the route.

Parking is available at Legion Field located on Foran St. just north of the junction of Hwy 41 and County 512.

Click here to download the tour as a GPX file


Leaving Legion Field via Foran St. TURN RIGHT onto Hwy 41 a smoothly paved road with some shoulder paving. Procede south to McGrath Road and TURN RIGHT onto this tar and stone chip paved road. The road has mostly soft rolling hills through wooded andd farm lands.

At the junction with the historic Opeongo Road, TURN RIGHT onto Opeongo Road. The road is also a stone chip and tar paved surface with little traffic. However after passing the Sebastopol Historical and Heritage Society building you will encounter the most serious climb on this route as you ascend Planunt’s Mountain.

For those looking for a different starting point there is PUBLIC PARKING at Opeongo Field next to the Sebastopol Historical and Heritage Society. Also there is a public swimming area at lake Clear a short bike ride down Wieland Shore Road. (No vehicle parking in that area)

Continue on The Opeongo Road to the junction with County 512 (Foymount Rd). There is a beautiful photo and information kiosk just before this junction at the crest of the hill with a panoramic view of the Bonnechere River Valley.

TURN RIGHT onto County 512 (Foymount Rd.) and continue down the long and steep Foymount Hill. CAUTION! This is a steep downhill grade in this direction and you should carefully limit you speed. At the bottom of the hill is the settlement of Cormac and St. Anne’s Catholic Church. It is the site of the annual pilgrimage to the shrine of Saint Anne.

Continue on County 512 (Foymount Rd.) to a T intersection just before the Village of Eganville. TURN RIGHT to continue on County 512 to the junction with Hwy 41 where you will TURN LEFT to return to Foran St and Legion Field and few metres away.

<![CDATA[Killaloe-Brudenell-Foymount-Cormac-Rochefort-Killaloe]]>, 11 Jun 2020 6:13:30 +0000This is a 45 km route. It is hilly but very rideable for intermediate and experienced riders, full of great sights and remarkably rideable considering it goes over Foymount. Points of interest:

- Start in Killaloe, which is picturesque and full of great stores and services.
- Old Killaloe with its historic mill and general store
- It's mostly up from there to Foymount, but none of the hills require advanced strength, and the wind is often behind you.
- Foymount itself is worth the turnoff and the ride up the hill into the former Canadian Forces base for the view from Ontario's highest populated point.
- The ride down Foymount is thrilling, with wonderful views, but the pavement is poor - go slowly and carefully.
- The beautiful village of Cormac is a great place for a break, with its historic church and ballpark. The old store is a nice place to relax.
-The Cormac-Rochefort road is one of the Valley's most beautiful, with old farms, vistas and more down than up going back to Rochefort corners.
- Once you get back to County 512, it's more down than up back to Killaloe.

<![CDATA[Tour de Golden Lake]]>, 11 Jun 2020 6:10:21 +0000About 55 km and takes about 3.5 hours. Killaloe and Golden Lake are both good places to start it. Beginning in Golden Lake, go west on the County Road (what number?) to Killaloe. Turn right on County 512, and go through Killaloe, crossing Highway 60 and going about 8 km on the paved shoulder to Tramore. Right on Tramore Rd about 3 km, right again at the T, about 8 km to Highway 60. Cross the highway onto McNee Drive, and go about 1 km along the lake, then turn right onto Hwy 60, about 5 km. to Island View Drive. Right on Island View to Highway 60 (about 2 km), then right a few hundred metres into the village of Golden Lake. There are a few tough hills (one long but not too steep one coming out of Ruby, two steep but not long ones on Tramore Rd.). Suitable for intermediate and experienced riders.

Points of interest:
- Pikwakanagan First Nation
- beautiful historic farms
- pictureseque Killaloe, full of stores and services
- Tramore's one-lane bridge
- Golden Lake, which has two restaurants
- restaurants in Deacon

<![CDATA[August 30: TBC - Tour de Bonnechere, Eganville]]>, 01 Jun 2020 10:09:01 +0000The Tour de Bonnechere (Eganville, Ontario, Canada) is a timed self supported road ride that celebrates cycling in the beautiful Ottawa Valley. Challenge yourself to ride the short course (60k) in 2.5 hours or the long one (100k) in 3.5. This is not a race! Enjoy riding with like minded people at whatever pace you choose. A scenic family ride (18k) makes its way to Bonnechere Caves and back. Join us for our famous pot-luck BBQ and party afterwards! All proceeds support local charities.

For more information and to register!

<![CDATA[Algonquin Trail Report - May 2020]]>, 29 May 2020 7:23:26 +0000Reports on the usage of the Algonquin Trail on sample days in May, 2020, by Ron Moss, Secretary, OVCATA

<![CDATA[Citizens partner with County and OPP to make trails work for all despite pandemic - OVCATA]]>, 03 May 2020 2:35:52 +0000<![CDATA[Great cycle routes in Renfrew County]]>, 02 Apr 2020 11:26:43 +0000A group of riders from Deep River have compiled a great collection of relatively short cycle routes in various parts of Renfrew County.

Laurentian Valley


Davis Mills

Green Lake Rd



Whitewater Region

Foresters Falls


Bonnechere Valley

Fourth Chute

Lake Dore

Douglas Dacre


Green Lake

North Algona Wilberforce

Green Lake

Golden Lake

Laurentian Hills

Chalk River

Admaston/ Bromley

Douglas Dacre



<![CDATA[Walking, biking, ski and other trails in Renfrew County from OVTA]]>, 02 Dec 2019 12:22:13 +0000Walking, biking, ski trails and canoe routes in Renfrew County from OVTA

<![CDATA[Active Transportation is growing in the Ottawa Valley ]]>, 01 Dec 2019 5:37:17 +0000EGANVILLE: Active Transportation is alive and very well in the Ottawa Valley was the message that came through loud and clear at the annual meeting of OVCATA - the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance on November 23 at the Eganville Legion. At the meeting, members heard that public and government interest and recognition is growing, the number of local people and visitors walking, riding and otherwise getting around on their own power is growing, and OVCATA is growing too.

Jennifer Murphy, Mayor of Bonnechere Valley Township and outgoing Warden of Renfrew County attended the meeting as a speaker and actively took part in all its discussions. So did Mark Johnson of Gearheads, the Petawawa cycling and sports store that donate the $5,000 e-bike to OVCATA this year that was raffled off at the meeting.

The winning ticket belonged to Norman Mathurin of Renfrew, whose daughter Katarina bought it for him for Father's Day.

"Active Transportation has made such an important impact in our communities for tourism, infrastructure, and promoting and supporting whole life healthy lifestyles," Warden Murphy told the meeting. "In Renfrew County, we have been busy increasing infrastructure, and seeking opportunities to gain funding and work with the Province to support Active Transportation. "

She outlined the development of the County's Active Transportation Policy since 2014.

The first paved shoulders were installed on County Roads 26 and 51 in the Petawawa area in 2003.  As of the end of 2017, the County had hardened shoulders on 180 km of roadway and over 220 km by the end of 2019. "That represents approximately one quarter of the County 820 km road system."

She said the County has budgeted $150,000 each year for the last number of years for hard-shouldering, but that it is sometimes able to access special funding for to do more than that.

Ms. Murphy reported on recent developments with the Algonquin Trail (the former CP Rail line). "The trail is a great example of another project that along with partners has developed an award winning backbone for all kinds of Active Transportation activities," she said. Warden Murphy reported, with enthusiasm, on discussions with provincial cabinet ministers indicating that some of the funding budgeted for four-laning highway 17 will be used to improve the trail in order to get cyclists off Highway 17.

Ms. Murphy and the group discussed concerns that have arisen over motorized vehicles on the trail. Dirt bikes, she told the group, are prohibited. OVCATA members at the meeting agreed that without better public notice and enforcement of rules, the trail will deteriorate rapidly and become less attractive to visitors and local people.

Local municipalities can benefit greatly by embracing Active Transportation, Ms. Murphy said. She pointed to her township's new paving, with hardened shoulders, of the Fourth Chute  Road. "Active Transportation is probably the reason we got the grant (to pave the road)," she said.

At the meeting, OVCATA members reported on outreach they have been doing to local municipalities, encouraging the setup of committees on Active Transportation in each municipality. OVCATA members have been in contact, so far, with Petawawa, Renfrew, McNab-Braeside, North Algona Wilberforce, Bonnechere Valley, Killaloe Hagarty Richards, Madawaska Valley, Laurentian Valley and Whitewater Region and the City of Pembroke.

OVCATA members Ron Moss, Bob Peltzer and Andris Kalnins reported on plans for the new year, including promoting rider safety on the Algonquin Trail and at the Tour de Whitewater and helping organize the Tour de Bonnechere and other events. Treasurer Debbie Fiebig reported that the e-bike raffle raised $2,632 for the organization, which now has approximately $3,700 in the bank.

New members of OVCATA were acclaimed at the meeting for two-year terms, including Andris Kalnins (McNab-Braeside), Patricia Krose (Whitewater Region), Jason Ng (Pembroke) and Bob Peltzer (Bonnechere Valley).

<![CDATA[OVCATA launches municipal outreach campaign]]>, 16 Oct 2019 12:31:44 +0000County Warden Jennifer Murphy to keynote annual meeting November 23

In fall, 2019, OVCATA members are talking Active Transportation (AT) with local municipal councils and staff, and the response they are getting so far has been "excellent."

Last June, OVCATA reps Ish Theilheimer, Ron Moss and Bob Peltzer met Renfrew County's Operations Committee in Palmer Rapids. There, they were encouraged to directly contact municipalities. So far, there have been productive exchanges with Petawawa, Pembroke and McNab-Braeside, and County Warden and Bonnechere Valley Mayor Jennifer Murphy has offered to keynote OVCATA's annual meeting at the Eganville Legion, which starts at 1 p.m. on Saturday, November 23.

"The response we have had from municipal representatives has been excellent," said OVCATA Secretary Ron Moss. "Staff and elected people have been most interested in what we've had to tell them, and in many cases, they simply hadn't had much information before about what it takes to get more people, both locals and visitors, riding, walking and getting around on their own steam, however they like, in their municipalities."

Petawawa civil engineer Dave Unrau has been in contact with OVCATA as his municipality develops its plans. The municipality has been developing a system of bike lanes and transportation routes intended to get people to work and school and to ease congestion on main arteries like Petawawa Boulevard and to take advantage of the new Algonquin Trail. Already, the municipality has twinned the trail, making one lane available to non-motorized vehicles only.

"It has been a great experience developing our plan and meeting all the stakeholders including Council, residents, parent school councils, school boards, special interest groups, merchants, etc.," says Mr. Unrau.  "The feedback has enabled the Town of Petawawa council to focus on priorities and create a network that serves the needs.  The funding made available through the Federation of Canadian Municipalities along with collaboration with developers has advanced the plan’s priorities quicker than anticipated.  There is a lot more to do, but the Town has embraced Active Transportation and I look forward to continuing with the enhancement and education so everyone feels safe."

With urging from OVCATA, the City of Pembroke has established an AT working group. The Algonquin Trail runs the length of the city, and getting users to use it conveniently to get to work, school, business and shopping presents a real opportunity, as well as a challenge in an era of budget cutbacks from central governments.

McNab-Braeside, which got approximately 70 participants in its innovative Tour de Poutine in August. This month, its Council established a committee to study and report on AT. Whitewater Region has AT on its agenda too.

OVCATA has established good rapport with Renfrew County's recently-appointed operations director, Lee Perkins. Mr. Perkins has shared the County's 20-year plan with OVCATA, and the Operations Committee, which invited OVCATA to present in June, has asked for input.

The County of Renfrew’s Director of Public Works and Engineering, Lee Perkins, has considerable experience with AT from his work in large centers elsewhere in Canada.  Currently, he points out, the County’s Asset Management plan identifies $150,000 to be spent yearly on hardened shoulders, preferably a 1.0 metre wide.  "With a number of scenic rides within the County of Renfrew borders the movement of adventure tourism has been coming to the forefront," Mr. Perkins says.  "Meetings with the OVCATA on a more regular basis, sharing of planned projects and identifying key bicycle routes have allowed the County to plan ahead and request further funding for strategic infrastructure." 

In recent years,  the County has extended projects to include AT lanes on high profile bicycle routes including County Road 52 (Petawawa Boulevard), County Road 1 (River Road) and  County Road 21 (Beachburg Road).  Mr. Perkins notes that, "Increasing the paved shoulder width on roads not only provides safety for bicyclists, it also gives all residents and visitors an opportunity to become more active; i.e. rollerblades, skateboards, walking and jogging, indeed sharing the road with the motorized public. 

"Meeting and working with the OVCATA has been a pleasure," he says.  "Working with people who are so passionate about an issue is why I choose Public Service. I hope to continue the relationship far into the future."

<![CDATA[October 6, Chalk River: Kitchissippi Run 2019 (2019/10/06)]]>, 24 Sep 2019 12:14:13 +0000The fall colours promise to be beautiful as the routes wind their way through the Petawawa Research Forest once again! There are many races to choose from- Full Marathon,  1/2 Marathon, 10km and the 5km, or hop on your bike for a 42km Bike Ride, 21km Bike Ride and of course the family 2km!!! 

Info and registration here

<![CDATA[OVCATA salutes Tour de Whitewater success, setting records for participation, activity]]>, 07 Aug 2019 12:47:37 +0000The records that this year's Tour de Whitewater set show how important cycling can be as a generator of community health and spirit, and also economic activity.
Members of the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA), which helped with, and received support from the event, feel the Tour provides a great example for other communities. On August 18, it's Eganville's turn, with the Tour de Bonnechere expected to attract hundreds of riders.

"The people of Westmeath have much to be proud of," said OVCATA President Ish Theilheimer. "Dozens of volunteers made it a great event, and the Tour clearly did a lot for its community."
After the rides, there was a "Bike and Brew" barbecue social featuring entertainment and local craft beer, cider, wines and spirits that entertained hundreds of people through the afternoon.
"It was definitely a record-setting year for us, with 435 riders registered with 416 riding," said Tour de Whitewater Chair Cathy Williamson.  This year, a record number of local people took part.  Approximately half the riders were from Renfrew County, of which 80 came from Whitewater Region, with another 84 from Ottawa and 108 from Toronto, Waterloo, Kitchener, Sault Ste. Marie, Mont Tremblant and other towns. "The numbers show how many people locally are cycling and also the economic potential of cycle tourism."
There were six different rides ranging from 10 km to 150 km. About $13,000 was raised to begin building an 'Active Living Rest Station' in Westmeath, after $870 was given to the Whitewater District Recreation Association (WDRA) and $870 to OVCATA.  "We hope OVCATA will organize an education plan to assist motorists and cyclists to learn the rules and rights of the road," she said. "The one concern we heard in the community was that cyclists were all over the road upsetting drivers. Lots of education is necessary so that both groups learn to respect the rights of each other." In the photo to the right, Ron Moss and Pat Krose of OVCATA accept $870 donation from Tour de Whitewater Chair Cathy Williamson.
OVCATA activists took part in planning sessions throughout the year, advised on routes and set out and retrieved markers for them.  "We were really pleased to help," said OVCATA's Secretary Ron Moss. "We are very thankful for the support we received, and we expect to plough that money back into promoting safe, active transportation and cycle tourism in the County."
"We will continue to encourage people to care for their own health and well-being through active participation in events like the Tour.  Thanks so much to all who participated in the cycling and in the Brewfest party afterwards.
Next year, tour organizers are planning a family ride that will cost less in hopes of attracting more young people.

<![CDATA[The Ottawa Valley is a cycling paradise]]>, 07 Jun 2019 10:25:29 +0000<![CDATA[Eganville: Bonnechere Cycling Group - Wednesdays]]>, 27 May 2019 1:45:37 +0000Meets at 5:30, Wednesdays, at the Tourist Information booth in Eganville.

Facebook page

<![CDATA[Wednesday tours with Deep River riders]]>, 27 May 2019 1:40:16 +0000These daytime tours take one to three hours and are open to anyone.

Info: Lois hagberg AT>

<![CDATA[Renfrew County Council to lead on Active Transportation Month activities in June]]>, 27 Apr 2019 2:55:39 +0000PEMBROKE: The County of Renfrew is working with local activists to promote Active Transportation Month in June, 2019. At its April 24 meeting, County Council heard from Ish Theilheimer, co-chair  of the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance

(OVCATA)  about four planned activities on which the County is taking leadership.

The activities include the Silver Chain Challenge, the online competition between counties and municipalities to see whose residents can log the greatest distances biked, walked, or run. Mr. Theilheimer met with the county's emergency County of Renfrew Emergency Services director Mike Nolan and OVCATA activists Chris Hinsperger, Kathy Eisner, and Ish Theilheimer go over plans for Active Transportation chief Mike Nolan last January and later with Warden Jennifer Murphy to brainstorm about how to build on the success of that to get more people moving on their own power in the month of June.

The first activity will be a mass County Council bike-and-hike event on the Algonquin Trail immediately following the May 29 Council meeting.

"Mike Nolan and Warden Murphy were unbelievably enthusiastic about getting the political leaders  involved," said Mr. Theiheimer. "Getting them out there on bikes or in walking shoes will help them understand the benefits, the fun, and the issues involved with active transportation.

The event will begin at Algonquin College with bikers and hikers heading west. The trail, in that section, is complete to Petawawa, so participants can go up to 40 km. there and back if they chose. OVCATA will make loaner bikes available, both to politicians and to others who want to participate. Anyone can take part. The event will start around 3 p.m.

Another activity for the month is the Mayor's Challenge. Warden Jennifer Murphy has challenged each of the mayors in the County to organize community bike-and-hike events on dates of their own choosing to see which mayors can get the most people out moving.

The final activity of the month is Community Seniors' Bike-and-Hikes. County and OVCATA are encouraging municipalities, through their recreation staff and committees and local seniors' organizations, to organize events specifically for seniors in June.

Mr. Theilheimer encourages people who want events in their municipalities to contact their own township council members and staff as soon as possible, since June is not far off. OVCATA too will be contacting municipalities across the County and offering help and support for local events.

"Active Transportation benefits everyone in terms of better physical and mental health, less pollution and less road use," he said. "It's great to see people like Warden Murphy, Mike Nolan and County Councillors taking the lead in promoting it."

In the photo, County of Renfrew Emergency Services director Mike Nolan and OVCATA activists Chris Hinsperger, Kathy Eisner, and Ish Theilheimer go over plans for Active Transportation Month before the Council meeting.

<![CDATA[Gearheads donates elite E-bike for OVCATA raffle]]>, 18 Apr 2019 11:49:00 +0000PETAWAWA: Many people don't know what an E-bike is yet, but some lucky person is going to win one in a November raffle organized by the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA).

The bike, a a Specialized Turbo X e-bike worth more than $5,000 donated by Mark and Margo Johnson, owners of Gearheads in Petawawa, is being used to raise money for the OVCATA's activities promoting cycling, walking and other non-motorized transportation. Tickets for the raffle cost $5 and will be sold at Gearheads and by OVCATA at events like the Tour de Whitewater and Tour de Bonnechere and by OVCATA members. One thousand tickets were printed.

"Mark and I are both passionate about the business and we are very proud to be a part of this community," said Margo Johnson, who has owned the store with her husband since 2017. "We love biking, skiing and the outdoors. Plus we are taking care of our health and showing our kids how important it is to stay active even as an adult."

E-bikes are electrically assisted bicycles. Gearheads and OVCATA see e-bikes see them as helpful to getting people to overcome reluctance to ride. "E-bikes offer the opportunity to improve your overall strength throughout your body," said Margo. "Whether you are a long-time bike rider or someone brand new to our favourite hobby. Everything from steering, pedaling and balancing an ebike, promote stronger and healthier muscles, bones and joints. Specialized turbo/ebikes allow you to go further, faster as you rediscover the joy of cycling. The e-bike provides just the right amount of pedal assistance in any situation.

OVCATA's co-chair, Ish Theilheimer, and its secretary, Ron Moss, welcomed the donation. "The people at Gearheads are visionaries," said Ron Moss. "They have been leaders in active transportation for years in Renfrew County. We are so thankful for their generosity."

OVCATA plans to have e-bike demonstrations around Renfrew County to encourage their use. "The e-bike is a good way to get people onto bikes who were hesitant," said Moss.

A prime goal for Gearheads is "to make Renfrew County a hub of outdoor tourism in Ontario as a part of the Active Transportation Network," Margo Johnson says. "The network already provides a myriad of opportunity for cyclists of all ability to explore this incredible region in both built up and natural environments. We are also hopeful that encouraging active transportation will have a positive impact on the overall health of the community and encourage families to take part in these activities together, promoting life long habits for children to keep active and engaged in a healthy lifestyle."

<![CDATA[Volunteering at OVCATA - there's a place for you]]>, 15 Apr 2019 12:16:48 +0000Volunteers are what make OVCATA work.  If you can spare a full Saturday , an hour on a Friday evening, or perhaps just some time in your home working on some project, OVCATA needs you.  Some positions require interaction with the public, some involve a bit of exercise and movement on your part, and some require a bit of screen time.  But whatever your skillset, whatever your interests, whatever your time budget, there is a place for you.

Here are some current needs and the people to contact if you can help:


Membership Coordination.

We are a growing organization with new members being added all the time, especially with summer coming up.  Our Membership Chair is looking someone to assist in the maintenance  , updating, and  management of our membership database.  This would be of particular interest of someone with experience in working with spreadsheets and data files.  Ideally the person would have access to a computer and internet connection.

Contact Andy Kalnins flatrapids AT

Webpage Management

We try to keep our Webpage current, informative and interesting, and our Webmaster would love an enthusiastic partner.  This would be of interest to someone  with Web Page management and writing experience with access to a computer and internet.  This also could be of appeal to someone with enthusiasm willing to learn about this process.

Contact: Ish Theilheimer   ish AT

Selling Raffle Tickets

OVCATA is very excited to be having an autumn raffle for a Specialized E-Bike generously donated by Gearheads in Petawawa ( .  If you as an individual, as a member of an organization, as a business owner, or in some other affiliation would be interested in selling books of tickets for this premier fundraiser of the year it would really help us reach our goals. Contact Ron Moss  rmoss AT


Pembroke Connect

Pembroke, Ontario  Friday May 10th and Saturday May 11th

OVCATA will have an information booth set up on the Friday afternoon and all day Saturday to talk to the public about the organization, sign-up new members, and to sell tickets for the OVCATA fundraising draw.  No experience is needed, just a desire to inform the public and to be enthusiastic.

Contact Ron Moss  rmoss AT


Krista Johnson Memorial Run

Pembroke Ontario Sunday June 9th

The run organizers are looking for bike riders to assist and sweep runners and walkers in both 10km and 21.1 km events.  The start time is 8:00 a.m. and participation time requirements of riders are flexible but the event could run to noon to ensure that all participants have safely crossed the finish line,

Contact Ron Moss  rmoss AT

Tour de Poutine

Red Pine Bay, Village of Braeside, Township of McNab Braeside.

June 15th

The event organizers are looking for people to help set out and take down the route signs, ride with participants and sweep, and to assist in the interactions at the OVCTA Booth.  The event will be starting at 9:00 a.m. and run until about noon.

Contact Andy Kalnins flatrapids AT


Tour de Whitewater

Saturday July 6th, Westmeath

The event organizers are looking for people to help set out and take down the route signs, ride with participants and sweep, and to assist in the interactions at the OVCTA Booth.  The event will be starting at 9:00 a.m. and run until about noon.

Contact Ron Moss  rmoss AT


Tour de Bonnechere, Eganville

Saturday, August 17th

The event organizers are looking for people to help set out and take down the route signs, ride with participants and sweep, and to assist in the interactions at the OVCTA Booth.  The event will be starting at 9:00 a.m. and run until about noon.

Contact Ron Moss  rmoss AT

<![CDATA[Highway 17 rumble strips could have fatal consequences - OVCATA]]>, 04 Apr 2019 8:23:31 +0000April 4, 2019
A plan to install rumble strips on Highway 17 between Chalk River and the Nipissing boundary could have fatal consequences, warns the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA). 

The road is the only route for trans-Canada cyclists, with no alternative roads available. Rumble strips, OVCATA warns, will force cyclists to ride in the main part of the heavily-travelled roadway.

 "We are very concerned about the absence of safe and suitable infrastructure for cyclists in the absence of any alternative roads or trails," wrote OVCATA co-chair Ish Theilheimer and Secretary Ron Moss in a letter to transportation minister Jeff Yurek.

"Should MTO proceed with imprinting rumble strips on the existing pavement edge then cyclists are forced to travel on the travelled portion of the pavement of Highway 17," they wrote. "Cyclists will be left with the only place of travel on the driven portion of the highway developing a very dangerous and unsafe environment considering the traffic volume, the number of large transport trucks and the speed limits. We caution that this environment as proposed by MTO, sadly, could ultimately lead to fatalities should any of the motorized vehicles become in contact with any cyclist."

OVCATA is urging the Province to ultimately upgrade the abandoned former CP Rail line now known as the Algonquin Trail, but in the meantime, the installation of rumble strips, the group says, could create real problem.

"The Algonquin Trail could provide safer alternatives for cycle and active transportation travel. In the interim, travel is necessary on Highway 17, so we are requesting the installation of paved shoulders, as well, if rumble strips are installed to make the road safer. Without paved shoulders, rumble strips are an invitation to disaster."

The letter points out that the kind of infrastructure it recommends has been recently constructed by MTO elsewhere, such as on Highway 17 west of Nairn Centre. 

INFO: Ron Moss  - 613 638 3881

<![CDATA[2018 a big year for Active Transportation in Ottawa Valley]]>, 04 Apr 2019 8:16:10 +0000RENFREW, November 24: Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) members gathered in Renfrew for an annual meeting to celebrate a busy and very successful year. The organization was founded two and a half years ago to be a voice for cycling, walking and other self-powered transportation enthusiasts.

Membership in the organization has grown quickly, from 180 last year to 433 now, and local governments have cooperated in many ways to enhance cycling and walking safety and opportunities in the County.

"We're here because Active Transportation matters," said OVCATA co-chair Ish Theilheimer. "The more people we can get moving themselves around on their own power and out of cars, the better we'll all be. People will be healthier and happier. Governments will spend less on health care and road-building. And, of course, every kilometre not driven in a private vehicle is a positive step toward preserving our very-much-endangered environment."

"We have many people to thank for our progress," said Theilheimer. He singled out Yantha Cycles for the donated bike, the Westmeath District Recreation Association for the donation of funds from the Tour de Whitewater, the Government of Ontario for funding programs OVCATA ran, and the County of Renfrew, as well as Whitewater Region and its former Mayor Hal Johnson for meeting space. He conveyed greetings from MPP John Yakabuski, who had hoped to attend and with whom OVCATA's table officers met in September. Mr. Yakabuski has been a supporter of OVCATA from the outset, he said.

OVCATA Secretary Ron Moss reported on a range of accomplishments and activities over the past year. One of his many involvements has been heading up planning for the Voyageur Cycling Route, which will provide cross-Canada cycle tourists with a safe east-west route from North Bay to Ottawa. A big part of this plan involves the Algonquin Trail (former CP Rail line), which OVCATA has been a strong advocate for and which is now moving toward completion.

He also reported on OVCATA's involvement with the Tour de Whitewater, based in Westmeath, and the Tour de Bonnechere, based in Eganville. Organizers of both events have asked OVCATA to become a partner next year and to take a lead organizing role, and OVCATA activists have responded positively.

Kathy Eisner reported on the Renfrew County Seniors Active Transportation program, which she organized on behalf of OVCATA with funding help from the Ontario Ministry of Seniors Affairs. Through the program, OVCATA visited seniors in ten Renfrew County Communities to promote cycling and walking and discuss the obstacles that keep seniors from participating more in these healthful activities. The funding helped pay for the publication and distribution of safety information, safety armbands, and a "Seniors on the Move" bumper sticker to promote awareness and encourage participation.

One of the ways OVCATA grew in 2018 was by raffling off a bike donated by Yantha Cycles in Pembroke to new members and existing ones who put in for the draw. A total of 222 people entered the raffle. The winner, announced by Membership Chair Eric Price, was Shirley Beatty, of Pembroke.

A new Board of Directors was acclaimed by the meeting, including Debbie Fiebig, Patricia Krose, Ron Moss, Eric Price, Andris Kalnins, Pat McGregor, Bob Peltzer, and Ish Theilheimer.

<![CDATA[Deep River Mountain Bikers]]>, 26 Oct 2018 10:19:21 +0000We are a group of some 20 retirees who meet, usually at 8 am, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, at the Deep River waterfront (Centennial Rock) to ride mountain bikes off road for 2 or 3 hours. We have been at it for more than 20 years and tend to gain membership each year as more people retire from work than from biking. We are mainly male but do have some female members. In recent years we have split into two groups: the Heart Smarts and the Brain Deads, the pace being reflected in the name.

We avoid pavement and tend to use off road paths such as ski or snowmobile trails. Most of us use full suspension bikes to smooth the riding encountered on rocky rooty paths. Our biking days tend to alternate between east and west of town and we usually finish for coffee at the Bean House around 10:30 to 11:00.

As we get into October and lower morning temperatures, we tend to meet later than 8 am or even in the afternoon. Once or twice a year we, especially the Brain Deads, will undertake longer rides, possibly on snowmobile trails and hydro transmission access roads that include a stop at Rolphton for a late but hearty breakfast before the return trip to Deep River.

To contact us try Walter Benz, a BrainDead, at 613 584 2215 or David Thompson, a HeartSmart, at 613 584 4007.

<![CDATA[OVCATA meets with Ontario's new transportation minister - our own MPP John Yakabuski]]>, 18 Oct 2018 10:54:17 +0000by Ish Theilheimer

PEMBROKE, Sept. 7, 2018 - The four table officers of the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) - Pat Krose, Ron Moss, Debbie Fiebig and I - met with Ontario's new transportation minister, John Yakabuski, for a pleasant and positive hour-long talk about Active Transportation (AT) in Renfrew County and throughout the province.

It is a real opportunity for our organization that our MPP is the minister, and especially so because our MPP is outgoing, friendly and knowledgeable. He has also been on our email list since the beginning and has gone to bat for us on issues with MTO in the past, so he didn't need a lot of coaching.

Our agenda was simple: a couple of local issues, a couple of provincial issues, and an invitation to speak at our annual meeting this fall. We covered all the issues and a whole lot more and got a Yes on the annual meeting, if we can find a weekend that works for him.

I took no notes and hope not to misrepresent what was said, but the Minister (or John, as most of us know him) said some important things today. Here is some of what I recall:

- AT, he said, is very important in terms of the biggest impending health issues with the aging of the baby boomers. It can lessen the impact, and therefore the cost to the health system, of problems like obesity and heart disease.

- There will be less provincial money for municipalities for AT to the cancellation of cap-and-trade, but budgets have not been set yet.

- John spoke of the importance of hard shoulders on highways and the economics of building them. He talked about how the extra costs of creating them can be compensated to a great extent, if not fully, by lower road maintenance and extended life of the road, as well as by increased safety. He comprehends the importance of continuing to develop of a provincial cycling network of highways with hard shoulders and appropriate signage.

- Remarkably, John said that a lot of MTO's budget is likely to be taken up by transit in the Toronto area because, as the province's business centre, it is vitally important to "get cars off the road." This is certainly a value we share with him, and this value can positively affect policy regarding AT.

- One of our most positive discussions was about the role of the MTO in educating drivers, cyclists and walkers about road safety and how that role can be expanded at little cost.

- We had good discussions about the Algonquin Trail (former CP rail line), Highway 17, the need to get cyclists off that highway, and the possibility of MTO funding development of the Trail, from Matawa to Chalk River, for that purpose. We also discussed the difficulties of finding a cycling route on Highway 148, between the "Quebec turn-off" and Pembroke's city limits, where road construction is underway with no cycling routes planned because provincial commuter cycling funding that might have brought the Algonquin Trail to standard is not now available due to the new government cancelling that program, which was paid for under the cap-and-trade system.

- We talked about how attitudes have changed toward cycling on roads. John recalled cycle trips from Barry's Bay to Killaloe as a youth where he and his friends simply assumed they would get off the road when cars approached because the prevalent attitude at the time was "they don't belong on the road." Now, he said, public view have changed greatly but, as he said, "Old attitudes die hard."

- John invited us to submit a letter detailing or policy suggestions to him as Minister, and also to other Cabinet Ministers with related portfolios such as health, seniors, tourism and recreation.

Overall, it was a very positive meeting that left the door open to lots of future contact, and we're thankful to John for doing that.
- Ish Theilheimer is co-chair, OVATA

(In the photo, from left: Ish, Pat, Debbie, Ron, and the Hon. John Yakabuski, MPP Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke)

<![CDATA[Pedestrian safety tips]]>, 10 Jun 2018 1:37:38 +0000Basic advice for safe walking:

- Whenever possible, cross the street at a designated crosswalk or intersection.

- Increase your visibility at night by carrying a flashlight and wearing retro-reflective clothing.

- It's safest to walk on a sidewalk, but if one is not available, walk on the shoulder and face traffic.

- Avoid distractions such as electronic devices that take your attention off the road.

Here's some detailed pedestrian safety information from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario

New rules at pedestrian crossovers and school crossings

As of January 1, 2016, drivers - including cyclists - must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard.

These new rules do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is present.

Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk can drivers and cyclists proceed.

There are four types of pedestrian crossovers in Ontario. Three of them are new designs. See Q9 below.

It is up to both drivers and pedestrians to keep everyone safe on Ontario roads. Learn more about how to stay safe as a pedestrian and as a driver.

For pedestrians

It is up to both drivers and pedestrians to keep everyone safe on Ontario roads. Learn more about how to stay safe as a pedestrian and as a driver.

  • Cross only at marked crosswalks or traffic lights. Don't cross in the middle of the block or between parked cars.
  • Make sure drivers see you before you cross. If the driver is stopped, make eye contact before you step into the road.
  • Wear bright or light-coloured clothing or reflective strips, especially at dusk or when it's dark.
  • At a traffic light:
    • Cross when traffic has come to a complete stop.
    • Begin to cross at the start of the green light or “Walk” signal, where provided.
    • Do not start to cross if you see a flashing “Do Not Walk” symbol or the light turns yellow.  If you already started to cross, complete your crossing in safety.
    • Never cross on a red light.
  • Watch for traffic turning at intersections or turning into and leaving driveways.

For drivers

Pay special attention to pedestrians as you drive. Here are some tips to follow:

  • Always look for pedestrians, especially when turning.
  • Watch for children. Drive slowly and cautiously through school zones, residential areas, or any other area where children could be walking or playing.
  • Watch out for Community Safety Zone signs that indicate areas where public safety is a special concern, including the possibility of encountering pedestrians.
  • Be patient, especially with seniors or pedestrians with disabilities who need more time to cross the road.
  • Drive carefully near streetcar stops with islands or zones for passengers getting on and off. Pass them at reasonable speeds, and always be ready in case pedestrians make sudden or unexpected moves.


Drivers will be fined $150 to $500 and 3 demerit points for offences at pedestrian crossings, school crossings and at crosswalks where there are traffic signals. The maximum fine for running a red light - a practice that puts pedestrians at risk - is $200 to $1000.

Fines are doubled in Community Safety Zones, near schools and public areas. These areas are clearly marked with signs.

For parents

Show your children how to cross a road safely. Teach them to:

  • Stay to the side of the road, walking as far away from traffic as they safely can
  • Stop at the edge of the sidewalk, and look both ways before crossing the road
  • Take extra care on roadways that have no curbs
  • Watch out for blind corners (for example, a car coming out of an alley may not see a child pedestrian about to cross).

New Pedestrian Safety Changes - Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What is the new law for pedestrians?

Q2: Why are cyclists included with cars in this law?

Q3: Why did the province make this change?

Q4: Where does the new law apply? Not apply?

Q5: What is the difference between a pedestrian crossover and a crosswalk? Are they different?

Q6: What is a school crossing?

Q7: Does the law apply province wide?

Q8: What are the penalties?

Q9: Are there any new types of crossovers where this law will apply?

Q1: What is the new law for pedestrians?

As of January 1, 2016, drivers - including cyclists - must stop and yield the whole roadway at pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a crossing guard.

These new rules do not apply to pedestrian crosswalks at intersections with stop signs or traffic signals, unless a school crossing guard is present.

Only when pedestrians and school crossing guards have crossed and are safely on the sidewalk can drivers and cyclists proceed.

Q2: Why are cyclists included with cars in this law? 

Cyclists must follow the same rules as drivers and may face the same fine as drivers – the new law requires cyclists to stop and yield the whole roadway to pedestrians and school crossing guards before proceeding.

Q3:  Why did the province make this change?

This new law is intended to make roads safer for school children, pedestrians and school crossing guards.  Pedestrians, school children and school crossing guards are among the most vulnerable road users. The new law responds to recommendations related to pedestrian safety in the Chief Coroner’s Report on Pedestrian Deaths released in 2012 and also to numerous requests from municipalities and safety organizations.

Q4: Where does the new law apply?  Not apply?

Applies at:

Does not apply at:

  • All pedestrian crossovers.
  • School crossings and any location where a school crossing guard is present.
  • Crosswalks – with or without traffic signals or stop signs – unless a school crossing guard is present

Q5: What is the difference between a pedestrian crossover and a crosswalk?

The new law applies at all pedestrian crossovers, not at crosswalks, unless a school crossing guard is present.

Pedestrian crossovers are identified by specific signs, pavement markings and lights; some have illuminated overhead lights/warning signs and pedestrian push buttons.

diagram of a pedestrian crossover. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crossover on a four-lane roadway. Two large white X marks appear on the roadway in the two lanes approaching the crossover. The crossover is marked by two sets of double white bars which run across the roadway. Two rectangular signs with a large black X and the word “pedestrians” in black on a white background are installed at the crossover on each side of the roadway – underneath, there are two signs with the message “stop for pedestrians”. Two rectangular amber signs with a black X marking are installed over the roadway, one for each direction of travel. There are two round amber lights near the inside edges of the rectangular amber signs. Pedestrians are crossing the road. Cars and a bicycle are stopped at the crossover. They must wait until pedestrians are on the sidewalk across the road before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road. There are 3 new types of pedestrian crossovers (see Q9 below).

A crosswalk is a crossing location usually found at intersections with traffic signals, pedestrian signals or stop signs. A crosswalk can be:

  • the portion of a roadway that connects sidewalks on opposite sides of the roadway into a continuous path; or,
  • the portion of a roadway that is indicated for pedestrian crossing by signs, lines or other markings on the surface of the roadway at any location, including an intersection. 
diagram of crosswalks at an intersection with traffic signals and pedestrian signals. The image shows a four-way intersection of two two-lane roadways. There are two traffic signals for each direction of travel. There are four crosswalks which link the corners of the intersection.  Each crosswalk is marked by two parallel white bars that run across the roadway. There is a pedestrian signal at each end of every crosswalk. Cars and bicycles are stopped at stop lines marked by white bars on one roadway. Stopped cars and bicycles are facing a red light. Pedestrians who face a lit-up “walking person” symbol in white on the pedestrian signal are crossing the roadway. When this symbol is not lit up and the orange hand symbol is lit up, pedestrians are not allowed to enter the crosswalk. Cars and bicycles proceed through the intersection when the traffic light they face turns green.

Illustration of crosswalks at an intersection with traffic signals and pedestrian signals

Q6: What is a school crossing?

A school crossing is any pedestrian crossing where a school crossing guard is present and displaying a school crossing stop sign.

diagram of an example of a school crossing. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crosswalk on a two-lane roadway marked by two sets of double white bars which run across the roadway. Two rectangular signs with black symbols of two school children crossing on a fluorescent yellow green background are installed at the school crossing on each side of the roadway – underneath, there are two fluorescent yellow green signs with the message “school crossing” in black. A school crossing guard is showing a school crossing stop sign to cars and bicycles stopped at the crossing. Children are crossing the road. Cars and bicycles must wait until the school crossing guard and children crossing the road are on the sidewalk across the roadway before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until children, school crossing guards and all pedestrians have completely crossed the road

Q7: Does the law apply province wide?

As of January 1, 2016 the new law applies province wide to all pedestrian crossovers, school crossings and other locations where there is a school crossing guard.

Q8: What are the penalties?

Drivers and cyclists may face a fine in the range of $150-$500 – drivers may also face 3 demerit points. Fines will be doubled in community safety zones.

Q9: Are there any new types of crossovers where this law applies?

Yes. In response to requests from municipalities for more options for pedestrian crossovers, road authorities may choose to install one of the new types of crossovers.The law also applies at these new types of pedestrian crossovers.

diagram of a pedestrian crossover. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crossover on a two-lane roadway. A ladder crosswalk, consisting of many white parallel bars between two perpendicular white outer lines, runs across the roadway. A yield to pedestrians line made of white triangles with the bottom points facing the direction of approaching traffic appears on the roadway in each direction of travel before the crossover. These lines look like shark teeth. There are two rectangular signs with a black symbol of a person crossing from right to left on a white background installed at the crossover: one on a pole on the side of the roadway and another one above the roadway facing approaching traffic. There is a rectangular flashing light above the sign on the side of the roadway and underneath a sign which reads “stop for pedestrians”. The signs and light are also installed on the other side of the crossover, but the black symbols show a person crossing from right to left. Pedestrians are crossing the road. Cars and a bicycle are stopped at the shark teeth lines. They must wait until pedestrians are on the sidewalk across the road before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road

diagram of a pedestrian crossover. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crossover on a two-lane roadway. A ladder crosswalk, consisting of many white parallel bars between two white outer lines, runs across the roadway. A yield to pedestrians line made of white triangles with the bottom points facing the direction of approaching traffic appears on the roadway in each direction of travel before the crossover. These lines look like shark teeth. A rectangular sign with a black symbol of a person crossing the road from right to left on a white background is installed at the crossover on the side of the roadway. There is a rectangular flashing light above the sign and a sign underneath which reads “stop for pedestrians”. The signs and light are also installed on the other side of the crossover, but the black symbols show a person crossing from right to left. Pedestrians are crossing the road. Cars and a bicycle are stopped at the shark teeth lines. They must wait until pedestrians are on the sidewalk across the road before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road

diagram of a pedestrian crossover. The image shows a mid-block pedestrian crossover on a two-lane roadway. A ladder crosswalk, consisting of many white parallel bars between two white outer lines, runs across the roadway. A yield to pedestrians line made of white triangles with the bottom points facing the direction of approaching traffic appears on the roadway in each direction of travel before the crossover. These lines look like shark teeth. A rectangular sign with a black symbol of a person crossing from right to left on a white background is installed at the crossover on the side of the roadway. There is also a sign which reads “stop for pedestrians” under that sign. The signs are also installed on the other side of the crossover, but the black symbols show a person crossing from right to left. Pedestrians are crossing the road. Cars and a bicycle are stopped at the shark teeth lines. They must wait until pedestrians are on the sidewalk across the road before they proceed.

Drivers and cyclists must wait until pedestrians have completely crossed the road

Recommended for you

<![CDATA[Mondays through October: Introduction to road riding, Petawawa]]>, 04 Jun 2018 1:05:06 +0000 Learn to ride in a pace line, learn proper safety and etiquette and get riding tips to increase your efficiency and improve your experience.

** Must have a helmet and a drop handlebar road bike

meet at Gearheads parking lot at 6:30 p.m.

<![CDATA[OVCATA promotes active transportation for seniors with provincial support]]>, 01 Jun 2018 7:27:39 +0000COBDEN, May 17, 2018: The Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) will be encouraging Renfrew County seniors to get out cycling and walking, with help from Ontario's Ministry of Seniors Affairs. OVCATA is receiving $10,300 from the Ministry to fund the project Renfrew County Seniors' Active Transportation (RCSAT).

The project will offer education, encouragement and coaching to seniors across the County by working with existing seniors' groups affiliated with the Renfrew County and District Active Aging Network (RCDAAN).

"In particular, we want to focus on perceived barriers to participation," said the project's coordinator, Kathy Eisner. "We'll be holding education sessions indoors and group walking and cycling events outdoors.  Experienced facilitators from OVCATA and RCDAAN will teach and encourage safe participation at events across the County. Through these organized activities, seniors will gain the knowledge and experience to continue safe cycling and walking individually or in groups."

This project will promote cycling and walking as social and enjoyable ways to be active throughout the senior years. It will engage seniors in discussion about perceived  barriers to participation in walking and cycling, looking at what keeps them from these activities and what seniors need to overcome these obstacles

Under the program, OVCATA will hold or participate in approximately 30 events in communities throughout Renfrew County in May and June that will give seniors opportunities to participate in group walking and cycling activities.  At each event, information about healthful and safe participation will be presented. There will also be an opportunity to socialize over refreshments and to provide feedback to the organizers.

"Through these organized activities seniors will gain the knowledge and experience needed to continue safe cycling and walking individually or in groups," said Ms. Eisner. "And we expect to have a lot of fun!"

Seniors will be encouraged to join with all local residents in tracking their walking or cycling during the month of June through the Silver Chain Challenge, the annual competition between Renfrew County and Lanark County -

All participants will be invited to participate in community rides organized by OVCATA or in which OVCATA is a partner, as well as the sessions tailored to seniors that will be offered through local seniors' groups.

In addition, a report on senior participation in Active Transportation based on participation data collected, identified perceived barriers and feedback from seniors will be prepared and made available to municipal and county councils.

OVCATA's members hope the project will promote age-friendly community development by giving seniors opportunities to present ideas for improving cycling/walking infrastructure in their communities. These ideas will be included in the report available to the municipalities and county.

They want to keep the activities focused on the safety and well-being of seniors. "Promoting activities that can be carried on with little or no equipment through the senior years will provide long-term benefits in terms of health and well-being," said OVCATA co-chair Pat Krose. "We also hope the project will help break the isolation found amongst rural seniors through the social inclusion found through these accessible group activities."

More than 300 seniors are expected to participate in events with the project.


In the photo, OVCATA members from all over Renfrew County met in Cobden for a ride and to announce the Renfrew County Seniors Active Transportation on May 17, 2018. From left: Ole Hendrickson (Morrison's Island), Chris Hinsperger (Eganville), Andy Kalnins (McNab), Kathy Eisner (Golden Lake), Ish Theilheimer (Golden Lake), Bob Peltzer (Bonnechere Valley), Debbie Fiebig (Admaston), Pat Krose (Whitewater), Dave Fleming (Cobden)

Information: Kathy Eisner 613-757-2223 AT

Volunteers: Debbie Fiebig,

<![CDATA[Most Saturday & Sundays 100 kms Cycles from Arnprior]]>, 01 Jun 2018 2:15:41 +0000<![CDATA[Join OVCATA - Win A Bike]]>, 01 Mar 2018 4:02:09 +0000Until Labour Day, 2018, all new OVCATA members and all existing members who fill out an entry form have a chance to win a brand new kid's mountain bike from Yantha Cycle worth $400 and other cool prizes.

<![CDATA[Allumette Island]]>, 13 Feb 2018 3:29:54 +0000Mostly flat rides, courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group

<![CDATA[Westmeath - LaPasse]]>, 13 Feb 2018 3:28:21 +0000Farm country rides, courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group

<![CDATA[Local cycle routes win big with December provincial funding!]]>, 27 Dec 2017 8:34:04 +0000Cycling and active transportation will take a big step forward with the announcement on December 4 of provincial funding for Renfrew County, Lanark County, and eight local municipalities through the Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling (OMCC) program.

The County of Renfrew took the lead in coordinating a joint application with seven municipalities in the County, with most of the funding intended for use in developing the former CP Rail line, known in Renfrew County as the Algonquin Trail.

"We are truly delighted with this news," said Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) Co-chair Ish Theilheimer, who approached Renfrew County Council on March 29 along with OVCATA's secretary Ron Moss. "We told the Councillors about the program that day, and they went right to work on taking advantage of it, pulling together a joint application, which is never easy. Their efforts will bear a lot of fruit."

The County of Renfrew applied for the OMCC funding and included a funding request jointly and on behalf of the seven municipal partners for a complex, multi-year commuter cycling program involving the Algonquin Trail. The program is intended to create commuter cycling links between rural and urban areas like Arnprior, Renfrew, Petawawa and Pembroke.

OVCATA is collaborating with Discovery Routes Trails Organization, which is based in North Bay, to connect the Voyageur Cycling Route, which crosses Canada from west to east and currently extends as far east as Mattawa, to Ottawa, tracking through Renfrew and Lanark County.

"We are thrilled that the Ottawa Valley Rail Trail Committee recognizes the opportunity that the trail provides for a variety of users and has considered cyclists as primary users of the facility," said Jennifer McCourt, of Discovery Routes. "Planning a route that is safe and convenient for cyclists is a top priority in the development of the Voyageur Cycling Route. The announcement of the funding supporting cycling infrastructure makes sections of the rail trail a viable option for the Voyageur Cycling Route."

The biggest obstacle to this has been the stretch of Highway 17 between Mattawa and Petawawa. Provincial officials and cycling advocates like Discovery Routes and OVCATA have been discussing whether the Algonquin Trail could be surfaced to accommodate cycle traffic, which would resolve major safety and traffic concerns from having cyclists on Highway 17 and also boost tourist business in all the towns along the line. Discovery Routes is conducting a feasibility study to determine best routes thru Renfrew County, which might include some other sections of the Algonquin Trail.

"Trails like the Algonquin Trail have played important roles in revitalizing small towns in many parts of Canada and the U.S.," said Theilheimer. "And they can also play an important role linking our local communities and getting more people onto bikes and more cars off the road."

Lanark County received funding for three significant projects:
- Adding a gravel and stone dust base to the Ottawa Valley Recreation Trail (OVRT) (the old CP line, as it is known outside Renfrew County) between Montague and Mississippi Mills

- Adding decking and railings to the former railway bridge in Pakenham on the OVRT, and

- paving 17.3-km of shoulders on both sides of County Road 43 between Perth and Smiths Falls.

"All of these projects have the potential to entice commuters to embrace cycling to work," said Lanark County CAO Kurt Greaves. "OMCC is an opportunity for Lanark County to see some of the carbon tax funds reinvested for the benefit of our community."

Across Ontario, 120 municipalities will receive funding from the province for new bike lanes and other cycling infrastructure. Total program funding is $93 million, an increase from the $42.5 million announced earlier this year. This investment is part of Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan and is funded by proceeds from the province's cap on pollution and carbon market.

Locally, Renfrew County  received $372,360, Lanark County  got $548,290, Petawawa  received $90,771 and Admaston Bromley, Arnprior, Greater Madawaska , Laurentian Hills, Laurentian Valley, Pembroke, Renfrew, Whitewater Region, and Mississippi Mills  each got $25,000.

The above photo was taken (thanks to County of Renfrew!) at the official opening of the Algonquin Trail in Renfrew, December 19, 2017. In the photo are:

Front row: Peter Emon, Renfrew Reve; Jennifer Murphy, Renfrew County Warden; Bob Sweet, Renfrew County chair of the development and property committee; Cheryl Gallant, MP for Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke, Greg Tatan Renfrew County ATV Club, Walter Stack, Arnprior Reeve.
Back row: Terry Vaudry, Snow Country Snowmobile Region Club; Steve Osipenko,  acting commander with County of Renfrew Paramedic Service; Anthony Hobbs, Forestry and Trails Technician with the County of Renfrew; Craig Kelly, director of development and property for the County of Renfrew; Melissa Marquardt, Marketing Coordinator with the Ottawa Valley Tourist Association; Bill Jamieson, Sno Goers Snowmobile Club; Jason Davis, County of Renfrew Forestry and Trails manager; Debbie Fiebig,  Treasurer of Ottawa Valley Cycling Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA); Jim Inglis Whitewater Sno Goers; Ron Moss, Secretary of OVCATA.
<![CDATA[Education is key to bike collision prevention - OPP Sergeant]]>, 21 Dec 2017 8:45:25 +0000

RENFREW: Forty two cyclists were in collisions reported to the police in Renfrew County, and one was killed, between 2012 and 2017, according to figures compiled by the Ontario Provincial Police.

Sgt. Rob Guty, of the Renfrew Detachment, addressed a meeting here on November 2 of the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA), offering detailed analysis of accident reports collected over five years. Most of the collisions, he said, happened in built-up areas like Petawawa, Pembroke, Renfrew and Arnprior. The only fatality, however, happened on Highway 17 near Petawawa.
Drivers, he said, are learning to be respectful of cyclists, but the process takes time. "Education is the way to go," he said. "There is new legislation that concerns drivers and cyclists, and everyone needs to learn about it."
Some of the most important changes include:

- The new one-metre passing law. The penalty for not leaving a minimum one-metre passing distance can be up to $500 for drivers who contest their ticket by going to court. Upon conviction, two demerit points will also be assigned against the individuals driver record.

- "Dooring." The new penalties for improper opening of a vehicle door (for driver or passenger) are a set fine of $300.00 upon conviction and 3 demerit points. The total payable fine is $365.00
- Allowing cyclists to use intermittent flashing red lights. Red flashing lights were previously not allowed under the Highway Traffic Act even though the majority of cyclists were already using rear lamps that produce intermittent flashes of red light to make themselves more visible to others.

"The cyclist is at a big disadvantage in the event of a collision," said Sgt. Guty, so it's important to take every possible opportunity to educate drivers and cyclists.

OVCATA members engaged the Sergeant in animated discussion about safety and about how to inform the public of the new law. "One of the things we'll be looking at in future, as a result of Sgt. Guty taking the time to speak with us, is advocating for more educational efforts from the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario and doing more as an organization ourselves," said OVCATA chair Ish Theilheimer.

In the photo at the top left, Peter Hageraats (standing) and Ron Moss of OVCATA talk cycling safety with Sgt. Rob Guty of the Renfrew OPP. The three maps show locations of bike collisions in Petawawa, Pembroke and Arnprior reported to the OPP between 2012 and 2017.

<![CDATA[OPP to share bike collision stats at Renfrew OVCATA meeting]]>, 28 Oct 2017 11:06:08 +0000The OPP in Renfrew County have been collecting statistics on cycling collisions that they will be sharing with the public at a November 2 meeting of the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA) at 7 p.m. at the Rocky Mountain House restaurant in Renfrew (409 Stewart St.).

As a result of a discussion at the organization's annual meeting in October, OVCATA contacted the OPP the Renfrew detachment of the OPP to find out how safe, or dangerous, cycling is in the County. In response, the detachment has pulled together research by the OPP that summarizes and analyzes all reported vehicle collisions with bikes from 2012 to 2017 in Renfrew County. There were 42 in all.

The OPP will have one of their knowledgeable members at the meeting to discuss the research findings and their implications with OVCATA members.

"We are delighted with the research the OPP have done at our request and at his willingness to share the information with the public," said OVCATA co-chair Ish Theilheimer. "We expect that this information will lead to some really interesting discussion, and also further action in the interest of public safety."

<![CDATA[Free Renfrew County bike map]]>, 12 Oct 2017 4:24:33 +0000The Ottawa Valley Travel Association (OVTA) is publishing a first-ever bike map of Renfrew County, and OVTA has offered to mail a copy to any OVCATA member who asks. To get one, click here to send your mailing address to OVCATA, and we'll forward it to OVTA. 

Please send Renfrew County bike map

<![CDATA[OVCATA Co-chair's report for 2017 - a lot accomplished in Year 1]]>, 11 Oct 2017 11:09:50 +0000October 4, 2017

OVCATA Co-chair's report

by Ish Theilheimer

OVCATA's first year was a big one. Here are some of our accomplishments. Since our launch, we have:

- signed up 185 members.

- successfully lobbied the Ontario government regarding upgrades to Highway 148, Highway 41 and Highway 17

- helped OVTA develop a Renfrew County bike map and helped sponsor it

- worked with Whitewater Region on plans to hard-shoulder roads in the municipality. Currently participating with Whitewater Region as active transportation representatives in the First Impressions Community Exchange (FICE) with partner community being the Town of Arnprior

- had representatives meet with other local municipal councils including Pembroke, Petawawa, Renfrew, North Algona, and Laurentian Valley

- organized or participated in rides and events in Barrys Bay, Eganville, Pembroke, Renfrew, and Westmeath including fund raising events like the Pembroke Rotary Ride for Kids and the Kim Armstrong Turkey Trot

- met with Renfrew County Council in March, 2017, and liaised on an ongoing basis with County staff regarding the 2017 capital works plan and proposed hardened shoulders. In response, the County's construction of hardened shoulders in 2017 constructed went well beyond expectation.

- launched a website that lists rides, routes and news about active transportation

- participated in meetings regarding the Algonquin Trail (former CP line) development

- sponsored the Silver Chain Challenge in 2017

- organized and got funding from MTO through its Road Safety Community Partnership Program for the Renfrew County Cycling Safety Outreach Project in 2017. Through it, we distributed thousands of safety bumper stickers and rack cards.

- took part in the Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit in Kemptville (2016) and Carleton Place (2017)

- entered into partnership with Discovery Routes, the North Bay-based organization spearheading the campaign for a cross-Canada cycling route passing through the Ottawa Valley

- worked with OPP on cycling safety promotion.

<![CDATA[Same road, same rules, same rights]]>, 26 Sep 2017 2:58:08 +0000In 2017, OVCATA, with help from the Ministry of Transporation of Ontario, has produced these safety info cards for cyclists and motorists, as well as bumper stickers,  and has been distributing them at events throughout the Ottawa Valley. Please contact at if you would like to receive some to distribute.

<![CDATA[A Brief Guide to Safe Cycling and Group Riding]]>, 06 Sep 2017 11:04:23 +0000by Dave Fleming

In a nutshell: ride a dependable bike, obey the traffic laws and be courteous to others.

1) Your bike.  Before every ride check your tire pressure, make sure brakes and gears are good to go and chain lubricated.  Ensure that the saddle and handlebars are correctly positioned.
- Many cyclists use a mirror on the bike, eye glasses or helmet.
- It's a good idea to have a flashing red tail-light and a white front light especially in the evening or on foggy days.
- Bring a spare tube, patching kit, pump and basic tools. ( Don't forget the tire levers like I once did!)
- Wear bright clothing and an approved helmet. Most cyclists do these days.
- Bring I.D., health card, and perhaps a cellphone.
- Fill your water bottle and bring a snack if the ride is a longer one.
2) Traffic laws and cycling calls
- Obey stop signs, red lights and yield signs.
- Signal turns to other drivers and cyclists.
- Ride two abreast only when safe to do so. Single file is better on busy or narrow, winding roads.  Stay as far to the right shoulder as practicable.
- Use bike lanes or paved shoulders when available ( don't we wish...)
- Since the 1930's cyclists have used traditional calls and signs:
- "Car back" - vehicle coming from behind
- "Car up" - vehicle ahead
- "Hole" or "Bump" - point down at hazard
- "Loose" or "Gravel" -point down and waggle fingers
- " On your left" -when passing another cyclist ( don't pass on the right, as a rule)
- " Slowing", "stopping" - extend arm downwards, palm back.
- "All clear" - when safe for group to cross intersection or enter roadway
3) Group Ettiquette
-  Be aware, obviously, of others around you. Use a shoulder check and signal your intention when changing position.
- When following another rider, don't overlap his or her wheel. If wheels touch, the following rider will often crash.
- When stopping to regroup, don't loiter all over the corner or road, obstructing traffic.
- Try to ride at a steady, comfortable pace. Don't race ahead like " Johnny Rebel" leaving the others scrambling to keep up. ( Unless, of course, you're in the Tour de France on a solo breakaway over the Galibier Pass!)
- Learn how to ride in an echelon* - a great way to overcome a long, windy stretch of road. This kind of teamwork can be one of the joys of group cycling.
*In the future, we plan to have a cycling workshop on drafting and echelon riding.
For further information and safety tips checkout these links:  (The passion of cycling)
www. ( Bike Ottawa) ( Be safe, be seen video)  (group riding video)  (group empathy)
Dave Fleming is an OVCATA member who lives in Cobden and still rides the Peugot PX-10 he bought 50 years ago.
<![CDATA[Preserve green PPJ cycloparc]]>, 29 Aug 2017 10:16:40 +0000<![CDATA[Cycling fatalities - investing in road safety can produce many benefits]]>, 15 Aug 2017 1:57:55 +0000by Ish Theilheimer

One June 28, outside Perth, Ontario, Chris Smith, 49, was killed while biking to work, as he did every day, on Highway 7. As is so often the case in these tragedies, the focus seemed to be on the rider and why in the world he'd want to ride such a busy highway.

This is like looking the wrong way through a telescope.

By biking to work, Chris Smith was doing a lot of good for our community, our province, and our world. First of all, he was exercising his legal right to ride on all Ontario roads, except for freeways and a few other exceptions. Like a tractor, a farm wagon or any other slow-moving vehicle, he had a right to be there, and drivers had a legal obligation to slow down behind him until it was safe to pass.

By biking to work rather than driving, Chris Smith was saving the province and his municipality money. Fewer cars on the roads mean roads last longer. And more people on bikes instead of cars means a healthier population, with lower rates of heart disease, diabetes and other serious ailments that require expensive treatment, paid for with tax dollars.

He was also saving a lot of money personally. Car travel and parking are really expensive for low- and middle-income people and a burden for everyone. It's a lot cheaper to travel by bike than by car.

It goes without saying, as well, that Chris Smith added no pollutants to the air and made no contribution to climate change. He also set a positive example for his community by doing so, inspiring lots of others, adults and youth, to ride.

His death could put a real chill on that, and with some reason. Survey after survey shows that people like to ride and that more of them would if they felt safe doing it. Simply having the law on one one's side isn't enough. Cyclists need infrastructure - paved shoulders, routes, signage, signals - to be safe.

Cycling has become mainstream. People want to ride, and people also want to do what they can to solve climate change. Many people would like to save the expense and stress of driving or even taking public transit. They can't, however, because the infrastructure is just not there to make them safe.

Ish Theilheimer is co-chair of OVCATA. He lives and cycles near Golden Lake and Killaloe.

The Province of Ontario recently announced a $50 million fund for cycling infrastructure under its Climate Change Action Plan. It is a good thing the provincial government is beginning to recognize the need, but this amount is a drop in the bucket in terms of protecting the lives of people like Chris Smith who bike to work or school.

What is needed is a commitment to hard-shoulder all provincial highways, with some sort of priorities for which get treated first. Municipalities and counties should make the same kind of commitment. Hard shoulders not only save cyclists lives, they reduce motor vehicle and pedestrian accidents. Several studies and Ontario counties have found that they pay for themselves in the long run in reduced maintenance.

Lower-cost measures can also help protect people like Chris Smith. Public education aimed at both drivers and cyclists, will make our roads safer.  Signage alerting drivers to the presence of cyclists will help.

There is a "critical mass" element to encouraging cycling. Once enough people are riding, drivers become more aware and more people are encouraged to get out of their cars and onto bikes. For the public to really reap the possible rewards, provincial, county and municipal governments need to make the investments that have been proven to save lives and money.

<![CDATA[Lake Dore]]>, 15 Aug 2017 9:18:14 +0000Rolling, scenic ride , courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group

<![CDATA[Osceola]]>, 15 Aug 2017 9:15:57 +0000Rolling and flat rides in farm country, courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group

<![CDATA[Rankin]]>, 15 Aug 2017 9:10:44 +0000Nice farm country rides, courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group

<![CDATA[Pembroke south]]>, 15 Aug 2017 9:07:25 +0000Mostly flat rides, courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group

<![CDATA[Alice]]>, 15 Aug 2017 9:04:21 +0000Moderate level rides, courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group

<![CDATA[Petawawa]]>, 15 Aug 2017 9:01:08 +000037- and 47-km. rides, mostly flat, courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group

<![CDATA[Douglas loop]]>, 15 Aug 2017 8:57:15 +0000A 35-km. easy-level ride, courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group

<![CDATA[Fourth Chute (Bonnechere Caves)]]>, 15 Aug 2017 8:53:16 +0000A 32-km. moderate-level ride, courtesy of Deep River Wednesday cycle group.

<![CDATA[Ottawa self-guided tour routes]]>, 14 Aug 2017 5:47:07 +0000Great Places to Cycle: Ottawa 
- New Rural and Urban Self-Guided Routes - 
Make Ottawa a must visit destination on the top of your list this year. Not only is it the epicentre of Canada 150 celebrations, but it is a truly a great place to explore on two wheels. New this year and now available with online mapping and downloadable PDF's are a series of 16 self-guided rural and urban routes, enough to keep you spinning across the city for days on end.
Within the city boundaries not only lies the busy downtown core, but also small villages, expanses of farmlands and areas of natural beauty that are tailor-made for bike visitors, and now connected on 9 of the new routes that take in the best of Ottawa's rural charm. Having assisted in the development of these routes, we know riders will not be disappointed!
 A sample of the routes includes the 46km Carp and Country Debunker route, touring through popular ride area with stops at the Herb Garden, Diefenbunker, winery and cafés. The Out A Way 100k loop takes in all the sites stretching from historic Phiney's Point overlooking the Ottawa River, to Fitzroy Harbour and conveniently starts and end in North Kanata. Discover and enjoy the delightful settings and local vintages on the Rail Trail and Winery Ride 23km loop. Or explore the rural farmlands and Rideau River on the 56km Manotick South and West loop making time to explore and rehydrate at one of the many patios in Manotick's vibrant town centre. Start points are easily accessible from downtown with a short drive or ride out from the core, or by using the bike racks on city buses.
Add to your stay a ride on one of the more urban routes, like the classic 13km downtown tour taking in Little Italy, the River and Rideau Canal, or the longer Big Ottawa Loop and Ottawa River and East Farmland routes each around a 30km ride.
There are plenty of bike rental options in the city, as well as guided tours available on a variety of routes. Make sure to incorporate stops and stays at the now 70 certified bicycle friendly businesses in Ottawa, all a part of the Ontario By Bike Network.
<![CDATA[Routes]]>, 14 Aug 2017 5:42:47 +0000

<![CDATA[Stafford-Laurentian Valley loop]]>, 23 Jul 2017 2:41:40 +0000<![CDATA[New provincial cycling funding could be used in Renfrew County - OVCATA]]>, 16 Jun 2017 7:27:14 +0000

CARLETON PLACE, June 1: Cycling and active transportation advocates are urging County and municipal politicians to take advantage of new provincial funding available to encourage people to get out of their cars and onto bikes.

Local delegates to last week's Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit in Carleton Place were enthused with the details they heard about the new $50 million Ontario Municipal Commuter Cycling Program, which has an application deadline of August 18.

Funding for the program comes from the province's Climate Change Action Plan, and it is being invested in commuter cycling networks and installation of more cycling facilities. Although much of the funding is directed at urban needs, there is also a stream of funding for smaller municipalities (population less than 15,000), under which there is annual funding of up to $25,000 available per municipality on a first come, first served basis, with the Province paying 80 percent of project costs.

Municipalities may also pursue funding partnerships with third parties, including other municipalities (upper, lower or single-tier), indigenous communities, conservation authorities and municipal service agencies.

Under both streams, funding is to be used for capital investments in new commuter cycling infrastructure and enhancements to existing cycling infrastructure to better support commuting cyclists. It cannot be used to support low frequency or temporary cycling infrastructure.

"Infrastructure such as hardened shoulders and signage that would help get kids to school or employees to workplaces might be considered," said Ish Theilheimer, co-chair of the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance (OVCATA). "So might bike racks, route signs, and other facilities that encourage everyday cycling."

One of the highlights of the Summit for local delegates was the workshop on the Voyageur Cycle Route, a trans-Canada cycle route being planned with leadership from the Discovery Routes, a non-profit alliance from the North Bay area. They have successfully completed a route for cyclists travelling across Canada that extends from Sudbury to Mattawa, and now they are working on identifying and bringing together the needed resources and municipal partners to complete a route to Ottawa.

Delegates from Renfrew County participated in a workshop session going through maps, looking at route options, and listing the attractions, facilities and services along each route.

PHOTO: Delegates to the Eastern Ontario Active Transportation Summit in Carleton Place look at maps and make recommendations for the path of the Voyageur Cycle Route through Renfrew County. From top left around the circle: Melissa Marquardt (Ottawa Valley Travel Association), Stephanie Hessel (Ontario's Highlands Tourism Organization), Laura Brisson (County of Renfrew Emergency Services), Dave Unrau (Town of Petawawa), Ron Moss (Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance ), Kathy Eisner (Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance), Donna Maitland (Mattawa-Bonfield Economic Development Corporation).

<![CDATA[OVCATA publishes safety rack card with MTO support]]>, 09 May 2017 12:13:16 +0000OVCATA has produced a rack card outlining safety rules and responsibilities for cyclists and drivers, with funding from Ontario's Ministry of Transportation of Ontario (MTO). The cards will be distributed at community rides and other cycling events, as well as at supporting businesses.

<![CDATA[Renfrew Pinnacle Pedallers]]>, 05 May 2017 6:06:50 +0000Renfrew Pinnacle Pedallers

A group based in Renfrew that rides on Sunday mornings and other times too.

<![CDATA[Arnprior Cycling group]]>, 05 May 2017 6:01:58 +0000About the blog:

The Arnprior Cycling blog informs interested cyclists about cycling rides/routes from Arnprior to Renfrew and Pembroke in the west; and to Pakenham, Almonte, and Carleton Place in the east; Bristol, Norway Bay, and Quyon to the north; and south to Calabogie and Mountain Chute. Distances ridden vary depending on the time of year, the weather, and whether we’re in training mode.

About the cyclists:

We started out as two guys (both new residents of Arnprior) riding to Storyland; then, to Braeloch Road, up and back; and then beyond to Thompson Rd and River Rd. All told in those days, our rides were in the 50-60 km range; and that was the way it remained for a few years until we gradually learned more about the many excellent back road (circuits) in the area.

By the late nineties, our core number had grown to six, with usually three regulars and occasionally four or five riders on any given weekend. These days there is a pool of some thirty plus cyclists who might choose to join us on one or both of the weekend rides.

For all that, we are just avid cyclists. We are not an organized ‘group’ per se. We are not a club. We are not affiliated with any club. We do not race nor time-trial. We ride both Saturdays and Sundays throughout the cycling season. We pay no dues, no membership, no insurance; we are not a constituted body. Still, we have a name. We call ourselves the mafia (men against flab in Arnprior), but we welcome women cyclists, too. We had the name early on before we had the benefit of a female point of view. We’ve  been riding the roads of McNab-Braeside, Horton, and Mississippi Mills and  surrounding area since 1990. Our motto is–we ride to eat.

About the rides:

As a rule, we start the cycling year in late March/early April, with 50-75 km training rides on Saturday and Sundays. By the first of May, we are riding about 150-200 kms per weekend. By the end of May, we are riding 200-300 kms per weekend. All of this is in preparation for the annual June, Ottawa Bicycling Club, Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour–a 360 km circuit from Ottawa to Kingston, and back.

After the RLCT, we reduce the weekend mileage but ride enough to maintain a high level of fitness. Most years, we cycle until Thanksgiving, more or less.

What to Expect-Why We Ride

We ride for health and fitness, the camaraderie and the coffee, the repartee, the fresh air–the smells and sights of the countryside. We ride, also, I think, to improve our bike handling, our fitness and our health. As a general rule, we do not ride to race, although there are times when we go hard or sprint.  And, since we are a diverse group in age and fitness and commitment to training, the group dynamic requires flexibility on everyone’s part. Regardless, we always regroup and try to remain a cohesive unit for the most part.

As for the weekend rides, they are a pleasant mix of pace, distance, and routes to suit most recreational riders. Oh, we like hills, too. If you race or are a ‘Club” rider, you may find our rides of little interest and no benefit. There are lots of competitive clubs/organisations catering to those with this interest.

For an overview of training, please, please see these links: and

<![CDATA[Gearheads' rides]]>, 05 May 2017 12:17:47 +0000Gearheads in Petawawa organizes several weekly rides.

<![CDATA[Help Sprocketman fly! Online cycling advocacy music video]]>, 04 May 2017 2:52:07 +0000A super-hero has been created to speak - and sing - for all cyclists. He's called Sprocketman, and he's the hero of Critical Mass, which may be the worlds' first  online cycling advocacy music video.

OVCATA's Ish Theilheimer and friends from Stone Fence Theatre have launched the video as part of a crowdfunding campaign to raise money so we can make a full-length musical comedy that I wrote about Sprocketman and put it online. The video was recorded last spring in Petawawa, with numerous OVCATA and community volunteers.

The crowdfunding campaign, on the website Indiegogo, went live on May 2. It can be seen at 

The show is a spoof of Superman, featuring the super-hero Sprocketman, his alter-ego, the mild-mannered reporter Mark Rent, and a cast of characters familiar to anyone who has ever loved Superman. Sprocketman has a mission to promote cycling and protect cyclists. When cyclists are in trouble, he appears, using his super power to magically fly in on his bike.

So please visit the site and check out the song. It's at

<![CDATA[RIDE OF SILENCE 2017]]>, 25 Apr 2017 12:41:02 +0000RIDE OF SILENCE 2017

OVCATA members are invited to participate in the 2017 Ride of Silence to be held on Wednesday May 17 commencing at 7:00 p.m. The slow-paced ride will commence at the Petawawa Civic Center and continue along Petawawa Blvd. to Riverside Park in Pembroke. The ride is approximately 13 km and should take around one hour to complete. Please see the attached Ride of Silence information. The local Pembroke Petawawa ride will be in memory of people who have lost their lives while out cycling such as the following:

Harry Beck September 6, 2006

Kevin Malott September 10, 2012

Krista Johnston October 18, 2012

The Ride of Silence will also commemorate those who have been hurt because of collisions with vehicles while riding.

Should you wish to participate please contact Ron Moss by email at

OVCATA members who wish to conduct their own Ride of Silence in their community are asked to notify Ron Moss of the planned rides details.

<![CDATA[Please join and share OVCATA's Facebook page. ]]>, 22 Apr 2017 3:42:55 +0000Please join and share OVCATA's Facebook page.

<![CDATA[OVCATA thanks Renfrew County Council and asks for more commitment.]]>, 22 Apr 2017 3:37:53 +0000OVCATA thanks County Council and asks for more commitment. In March, a delegation from OVCATA made a presentation to Renfrew County Council asking for the County to support the Silver Chain Challenge, declare June Bike Month, and up its budget for active transportation.

“We're falling behind,” Ish Theilheimer, one of the group's directors, told councillors, according to the Pembroke Observer . “Other areas are putting a lot of money into active transportation. We've got to step it up to meet that competition.”

Click here for the MYFM radio posted a report on the delegation.

The delegation received friendly response, with Warden Jennifer Murphy and other councillors making it clear that they support the active transportation. Since then, the County's Health Committee has recommended that County participate in the Silver Chain Challenge.

<![CDATA[Voyageur Discovery Route Funding a big step toward trans-Canada cycle route.]]>, 22 Apr 2017 3:34:27 +0000Voyageur Discovery Route Funding a big step toward trans-Canada cycle route. The dream of a cross-Canada cycling route that goes through the Ottawa Valley took a big step forward this month with the announcement of $237,400 in Trillium funding for Discovery Routes Trails Organization for expansion of the Voyageur Cycling Route.  Over the next three years, Discovery Routes will demonstrate how cycling route designation and relatively minor changes to the built environment in support of cycling can increase the frequency of cycling for daily transportation and recreation leading to more active lifestyles. In 2016, OTF provided seed funding to mobilize local government and road authorities to begin to invest in the existing transportation network to better support cycling using the Voyageur Cycling Route to galvanize inter-regional partnerships. Building on the momentum created by the efforts, signage and wayfinding aids will be implemented and the Voyageur Cycling Route will be launched along operational sections from Deep River to Sudbury East. The cycling route will be expanded into southeastern Ontario to connect communities in a continuous cycling route through Renfrew and Lanark counties to the nation's capital where a gap exists in the developing provincial cycling network. The route will also be extended to the west to connect with the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail within the City of Sudbury. With the objective of increasing cycling rates in rural communities across the project area, bicycle use and individual physical activity rates prior to route implementation will be compared to use following the sectional launch of the Voyageur Cycling Route.

In months to come, OVCATA will be working with Discovery Routes and local municipalities to discuss routes, signage, promotion and related issues.

<![CDATA[Community Rides in communities across Renfrew County this spring]]>, 22 Apr 2017 3:31:27 +0000To promote cycling, the Silver Chain Challenge and cycling safety, and to introduce itself, this year OVCATA is launching a series of Saturday or Sunday morning community rides. In each community, there will actually be two rides, one starting around 8:30 for experienced riders, and a family ride starting at 10. The rides will start and end at the same place. The plan is to end at 11, enjoy some refreshments and talk cycling. A real bonus is that Ontario's Ministry of Transportation is sponsoring the rides, paying for publicity, free bumper stickers that promote the 1-metre rule, and other safety literature. Please spread the word and come out. Here's a list of places and dates planned so far, with tentative start and end points:

May 7 - Eganville - Legion Field

May 28 - Renfrew - Ma Te Way Park

June 18 - Barrys Bay - Zurakowski Park

June 25 - Petawawa - Petawawa Civic Centre

July 1 - Downtown Pembroke Summer Medley Festival   (See Events list, below)

July 8 - Tour de Whitewater - (See Events list, below)

We are still working on including Arnprior and Deep River in the list. Check out for latest details.

<![CDATA[Silver Chain Challenge relaunches in June, 2017]]>, 22 Apr 2017 3:21:23 +0000June marks the 4th year of the Silver Chain Challenge, that friendly competition between Renfrew and Lanark Counties to see who can log the most kilometres of active transportation in the month of June. This year, the County of Renfrew has come on board as an official sponsor.

It's fun and easy to log your klicks. Every time you cycle or hike in June, go to and record the details. Data from the two counties is tabulated, with allowances for differing populations and geography. Last year, Renfrew won, but it was close! Please join the fun.

<![CDATA[Adopt a Road]]>, 17 Apr 2017 9:28:48 +0000OVCATA is seeking hands-on volunteers to assist with the adopt a road program in Laurentian Valley Township. As part of an OVCATA municipal outreach initiative this group will volunteer to take part in a roadside litter pick up to be conducted on Thursday April 27 or Friday April 28.

One of those days will be designate as an alternative date should inclement weather be encountered.

An adopt a road agreement will be set up by the work program leader Ron Moss. The Township provides garbage bags, gloves, safety vests and road signs if required.

This initiative is to display to the Township of Laurentian Valley that OVCATA members appreciate riding on their municipal roads system by actively taking part in collecting litter from the roadside.

Any member wishing to volunteer are asked to notify Ron Moss by email at


Ron Moss

Eric Price

If any member who wishes to set up similar programs in any other municipality are asked to contact to Ron Moss.

<![CDATA[Make your municipality a Bicycle-Friendly Community ]]>, 17 Apr 2017 7:33:06 +0000An invitation from the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance

Make your municipality a Bicycle Friendly Community    
There are many good reasons for municipalities of all kinds and sizes to become Bicycle Friendly Communities. Getting people out of cars and onto bikes promotes good health in the community while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing pollution, traffic congestion, and road maintenance costs.
Becoming bike-friendly is also great a great way to boost local business. There is widespread and growing interest in cycle tourism, and cycle tourists have attractive demographics for business people. They take frequent day and overnight trips. In Quebec, for example, spending by cycle tourists on La Route Verte is estimated at over $134 million annually, not including spending within the bicycle trade. Another example: In 2014, 124 cyclists were surveyed in the Niagara Region. They stated that on average, they spent $1,060 over a 3 day holiday and, on average $148 per person every day, excluding accommodation. Calculated within this figure is food and beverage accounting for 61% of spending, retail purchases including wineries 27%, and attractions 12%.
 o help make more communities bike-friendly, the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in Canada launched the Bicycle Friendly Community Award (BFC) program. It provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling. In addition, your municipality may be eligible for funding for the creation of commuter cycling networks under Ontarios Climate Change Action Plan.

So far, 30* Ontario communities have been awarded either Gold, Silver or Bronze BFC status.

Achieving BFC status does not happen overnight.  It took several years for the Lanark County municipality of Mississippi Mills to be awarded BFC status. Every journey begins with the a first step, or by rolling a first metre. Communities are evaluated after completing a thorough application and are judged by how they respond to questions under five categories often referred to as the Five E's (see next page):

ENGINEERING - Physical infrastructure and hardware to support cycling. Does your community have a comprehensive, connected and well-maintained bicycling network? Is bike parking available throughout the community? Is there a policy that mandates accommodation of cyclists on all road projects?

EDUCATION- Programs that ensure the safety, comfort and convenience of cyclists and fellow road users. Is there a community-wide Active and Safe Routes to School program that includes bicycling education? Are there bicycling education courses available for adults in the community? Does your community educate motorists and cyclists on their rights and responsibilities as road users?

ENCOURAGEMENT - Incentives, promotions and opportunities that inspire people and enable them to ride. Does your community have an up-to-date bicycle map? Does the community celebrate bicycling with community rides, Bike to Work Day, or media outreach? Does the community host and major cycling events or rides? Is there an active bicycle advocacy group in the community?

ENFORCEMENT - Equitable laws and programs that ensure that cyclists and motorists are held accountable. Do law enforcement officers receive training on the rights and responsibilities of all road users? Does your community have law enforcement officers or other public safety officials on bikes? Do local bylaws treat cyclists equitably?

EVALUATION & PLANNING - Processes that demonstrate a commitment to measuring results and planning for the future. Is there a specific plan or program to reduce cyclist/motor vehicle crashes? Does your community have a current comprehensive bicycle plan? Is there a Bicycle Advisory Committee that meets regularly? Does your community have a bicycle program manager?
A community must demonstrate achievements in each of the five categories in order to be considered for an award. The BFC application is a great self-assessment tool, as communities see where they can improve in each of these categories.

*30 Communities in Ontario are Bicycle Friendly Communities
: Toronto, Ottawa

Silver: The Town of Blue Mountains, Burlington, Guelph, Hamilton, Kitchener, Pelham, Peterborough, Waterloo

Bronze: Ajax, Grimsby, Halton Hills, London, Kingston, Markham, Milton, Mississauga, Mississippi Mills (New in 2016), Newmarket, Niagara Falls (New in 2016), Oakville, Oshawa, Richmond Hill, St. Catharine's, Thorold, Thunder Bay, Wasaga Beach, Welland, Windsor

In the next few months, members of the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance will be contacting municipalities in Renfrew County to discuss how they can make their communities Bicycle-Friendly. For information, please email

<![CDATA[New hardened shoulders in Renfrew County in 2016]]>, 27 Dec 2016 6:34:32 +0000From a news release from the County of Renfrew:

Active Transportation Sees a Leap Forward on County Roads


Savings Translate Into Increased Road Paving

PEMBROKE, ON: In 2016 the County of Renfrew was the benefitted from favourable pricing for hot mix paving products used in the roadwork portion of the Capital Works Program. As a result, the County’s Public Works and Engineering Department was able to extend a number of projects to take advantage of the tender prices, thereby enabling the advancement of some projects that otherwise would have been undertaken in 2017 and beyond.

The extended projects enabled the County to complete an additional 11.6 km of roadwork beyond their planned projects. Further, the projects which were extended included an additional 9.8 km of paved shoulders to support active transportation along the County’s roadways. Originally, the County had budgeted for 5.8km of hardened shoulders as part of their continuing commitment to add active transportation features to roads as budgets and project parameters allowed.

Chair of the County of Renfrew Operations Committee, Councillor Michael Donohue said “By adding 15.6km of hardened shoulders this year, the County of Renfrew has moved forward in both providing residents with infrastructure benefitting our community in terms of Active Living, and attracting an ever growing and diversifying tourism community. The investment in hardened shoulders delivers a message of ‘share the road’, while increasing the longevity of the roadway. Paved shoulders decrease maintenance requirements by preventing the breakup of the road edge by large vehicles.”

It is also to be noted that even with the extended project limits, the continued changes in asphalt cement prices throughout the year, from the date of tendering to the date of construction, resulted in a further cost saving to the County’s roadwork program of approximately $306,700.

For More Information Please Contact:

Steven Boland               Director of Public Works and Engineering, County of Renfrew                613-732-0087

Michael Barber              Media Relations/Grants Coordinator, County of Renfrew                         613-735-7288

<![CDATA[The Algonquin Trail - tell municipal councillors you support it]]>, 02 Dec 2016 10:57:39 +0000We are concerned that there may be a few isolated by vocal individuals who oppose the trail and could slow down the progress of development. It's important for municipal people, and especially County Councillors, to know that keeping this historic trail in the public domain for public use has broad public support.

<![CDATA[OVCATA's vision for cycling in Ontario ]]>, 02 Dec 2016 4:07:51 +0000Alliance outlines its vision in response to MTO's Discussion Paper on Cycling Initiatives under the Climate Change Action Plan

This fall, the Ministry of Transportation of Ontario held extensive consultations on its CYCLE ON strategy. OVCATA members attended sessions in Ottawa and Kingston.

In addition, MTO circulated a Discussion Paper on Cycling Initiatives under the Climate Change Action Plan and invited citizen input on it. OVCATA's response to this paper provides a good summary of the kind of actions for which our Alliance is pressing the provincial planners and politicians.

The paper asked what infrastructure should be prioritized to make cycling in Ontario safer and more convenient to support commuter cycling between residential communities, major transit stations, employment areas and other destinations travelled to on a frequent basis.

OVCATA wrote, in response, that all provincial highways should have hardened shoulders, both for cycling safety and for the other benefits derived: lowered maintenance costs, greater safety for motor vehicles, extended road life. The shoulders of all highways being resurfaced should, routinely, be hardened.

Building a provincial network of highways with hardened shoulders will take time. Priority should be given to hardening shoulders of those segments of provincial highways that pass through urban areas, This will enable residents to cycle safely to shopping areas, work or school; and to access public services such as libraries, hospitals, parks and recreation facilities by bicycle. Painted bicycle lanes and standard “share the road” signage should also be installed.  A province-wide inventory should be done to identify these “urban” segments of provincial highways, using an inclusive definition of “urban” area such as that employed by Statistics Canada (i.e., a population of at least 1,000 and a density of 400 or more people per square kilometre).

In general we recommend that MTO place focus on low-cost measures that will be most effective in encouraging commuter cycling. These include

1. Rigorous enforcement of the Highway Traffic Act, especially  speed limits and the 1-metre rule. Currently, speeding of up to and in excess of 20 km/hr above limits is routinely tolerated, which makes cycling risky and scary.

2. Development, in coordination with counties and municipalities, of cycling routes.

3. Prominent signage identifying cycling routes and educating drivers and cyclists about road safety.

4. Widespread and prominent public education, both for drivers and cyclists, about cycling and driving safety.

The paper asked for evidence that could demonstrate the impact of cycling infrastructure investments on the number of cyclists and on GHG emissions. 

OVCATA responded that the Province should designate and promote a certain day each month (e.g., the first Monday) as “Ontario Bicycle Day.” On that day, volunteers in communities around the province would count the number of cyclists passing a particular point over a given time period.  Data would be sent to the MTO, which would track trends and publicize the results through outreach to media and local cycling groups.  Trends would be calculated on a per capita basis (size of community) as well in absolute numbers.

Regarding cycling infrastructure that would best support commuter cycling, OVCATA replied that local cycling networks require well-identified cycling routes and lanes, where possible. As with commuter cycling between residential communities, identification of routes, prominent signage and widespread public education should be top priorities. ALL public buildings, including federal and provincial offices, schools, colleges, universities, hospitals, and transit stations should have bike parking.

<![CDATA[Please share info with other users]]>, 02 Dec 2016 4:06:33 +0000If you have a map, a guide, a picture, or simply information on a really good ride or hike or an update on road or trail conditions, please share this info with other users. You can do so right here on the OVCATA site.

You can add your ride to the site by clicking here.

You can add your event to the site by clicking here.

And if you have a link, article, photo, video, screen shot, or whatever, we can easily post it. Please email your contribution to

<![CDATA[Join an OVCATA municipal committee]]>, 02 Dec 2016 4:04:06 +0000Help make your municipality bike-friendly

OVCATA is forming local municipal committees to approach and work with local municipal councils. Our experience has been generally very positive working with municipalities and the County. It is extremely helpful if we can provide them with information they need to make decisions that will make our communities friendly to cyclists and all forms of active transportation.

With that in mind, we are forming committees of local people to approach their municipal councils to get them talking  about active transportation and becoming bike-friendly communities. The Share the Road Cycling Coalition has had considerable success helping municipalities through their  Bike Friendly Communities program.

Based on Share The Road's information, OVCATA is developing the following information for these committees to share with municipal councils.

Make your municipality a Bicycle-Friendly Community
There are many good reasons for municipalities of all kinds and sizes to become Bicycle Friendly Communities. Getting people out of cars and onto bikes promotes good health in the community while lowering greenhouse gas emissions and reducing pollution, traffic congestion, and road maintenance costs.
Becoming bike-friendly is also great a great way to boost local business. There is widespread and growing interest in cycle tourism, and cycle tourists have attractive demographics for business people. They take frequent day and overnight trips. In Quebec, spending by cycle tourists on La Route Verte is estimated at over $134 million annually, not including spending within the bicycle trade. In 2014, 124 cyclists were surveyed in the Niagara Region. They stated that on average, they spent $1,060 over a 3 day holiday and, on average $148 per person every day, excluding accommodation. Calculated within this figure is food and beverage accounting for 61% of spending, retail purchases including wineries 27%, and attractions 12%.
To help make more communities bike-friendly, the Share the Road Cycling Coalition in Canada launched the Bicycle Friendly Community Award (BFC) program. It provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling. In Canada, the Canadian Automobile Association (South Central Ontario) is the major sponsor of the program, with additional support coming from Trek Canada.
So far, 30 Ontario communities* have been awarded either Gold, Silver or Bronze BFC status.
Achieving BFC status does not happen overnight.  It took several years for the Lanark County municipality of Mississippi Mills to be awarded BFC status. Every journey begins with the a first step, or by rolling a first metre.
Communities are evaluated after completing a thorough application and are judged by how they respond to questions under five categories often referred to as the Five "Es":
ENGINEERING - Physical infrastructure and hardware to support cycling. Does your community have a comprehensive, connected and well-maintained bicycling network? Is bike parking available throughout the community? Is there a policy that mandates accommodation of cyclists on all road projects?
EDUCATION- Programs that ensure the safety, comfort and convenience of cyclists and fellow road users. Is there a community-wide Active and Safe Routes to School program that includes bicycling education? Are there bicycling education courses available for adults in the community? Does your community education motorists and cyclists on their rights and responsibilities as road users?
ENCOURAGEMENT - Incentives, promotions and opportunities that inspire people and enable them to ride. Does your community have an up-to-date bicycle map? Does the community celebrate bicycling with community rides, Bike to Work Day, or media outreach? Does the community host and major cycling events or rides? Is there an active bicycle advocacy group in the community?

ENFORCEMENT - Equitable laws and programs that ensure that cyclists and motorists are held accountable. Do law enforcement officers receive training on the rights and responsibilities of all road users? Does your community have law enforcement officers or other public safety officials on bikes? Do local bylaws treat cyclists equitably?
EVALUATION & PLANNING - Processes that demonstrate a commitment to measuring results and planning for the future. Is there a specific plan or program to reduce cyclist/motor vehicle crashes? Does your community have a current comprehensive bicycle plan? Is there a Bicycle Advisory Committee that meets regularly? Does your community have a bicycle program manager?
A community must demonstrate achievements in each of the five categories in order to be considered for an award. The BFC application is a great self-assessment tool, as communities see where they can improve in each of these categories.

*30 Communities in Ontario are Bicycle Friendly Communities



The Town of Blue Mountains

Burlington (Moved up from Bronze in 2016)










Halton Hills






Mississippi Mills (New in 2016)


Niagara Falls (New in 2016)




Richmond Hill

St. Catharine's


Thunder Bay

Wasaga Beach



<![CDATA[Your Alliance needs you]]>, 02 Dec 2016 3:58:38 +0000We have been busy on your behalf since we founded the Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance last spring, and we've achieved some significant things. As a result of our work, hardened shoulders are being installed on newly paved sections of roads such as Highway 17 and Grants Settlement Road in Whitewater Region. Whether you're a cyclist, hiker, paddler or other non-motorized traveller, we are speaking and planning for you and your family.

Although we are an all-volunteer group, it costs money to do this work - incorporation expenses, office expenses, online fees, and so on. So far, these expenses have all come from the pockets of a few activists. Next year, we hope to organize events and projects like route marking. All these things cost money. So please make a contribution via PayPal. Any amount helps. It's all about building critical mass. Click here to make your contribution.

<![CDATA[Share the Road Cycling Coalition wants to hear from you]]>, 14 Nov 2016 3:02:38 +0000

Share the Road Cycling Coalition
Building a bicycle-friendly Ontario

You can help move cycling forward by taking part in two important online surveys
We want to hear from you this month and there are two important ways for you to share your insights on cycling; (1) commenting on the Ministry of Transportation's Discussion Paper regarding commuter cycling and the Climate Change Action Plan, and (2) participating in Share the Road's stakeholder survey. This edition of our newsletter includes details on how you can participate in both. It also includes Share the Road's draft "Status Update on CycleON Action Plan 1.0", which recaps each of the 28 actions outlined in the first CycleON Action Plan.

As the days get shorter and the weather a little cooler, people across the province may be thinking about putting their bikes into storage, but cycling remains actively on the agenda. So much so, that you will be receiving two newsletters from us this month (it will be worth it, stick with us).  Check out the details below and watch for our upcoming Ontario Bike Summit Call for Proposals.
- Jamie Stuckless, Executive Director

What's Happening - Your Input is Needed

Provincial Feedback
The Ministry of Transportation recently posted a Discussion Paper to the Environmental Registry asking for feedback on proposed initiatives to improve commuter cycling through the Climate Change Action Plan. Comments will be accepted until Nov 30.
Visit the Environmental Registry>>
Stakeholder Survey
We have launched an online stakeholder survey to inform our advocacy priorities and recommendations for CycleON Action Plan 2.0. We absolutely need to hear from you. Please take 20 minutes and share your insights.
Complete the survey>>
<![CDATA[MTO Public Consultation on Cycling Program]]>, 03 Nov 2016 2:39:41 +0000Please review and comment on the Ontario government's plans to promote cycling.

[le français suit l’anglais]

Dear valued partners,

Ontario's Climate Change Action Plan (CCAP), released on June 8, 2016, committed to creating a cleaner transportation sector in Ontario, in part by promoting cycling.

The Ministry of Transportation is ready to do its part to support the CCAP by implementing a number of initiatives that support reductions to transportation emissions. These initiatives will be funded by proceeds from the province’s cap and trade program.

Through a discussion paper posted to the Environmental Registry, we are seeking your input on a proposed plan to implement actions identified in the CCAP to improve commuter cycling networks. 

We encourage you to review the discussion paper, accessible through the Environmental Registry or the Ministry’s Cycling Strategy web page and provide your comments by November 30, 2016. We look forward to hearing from you.

Jill Hughes, Director

Transportation Policy Branch
Ministry of Transportation

777 Bay Street, 30th Floor

Toronto, ON M7A 2J8

Tel: (416) 585-7177

Chers partenaires,

Le Plan d'action de l'Ontario contre le changement climatique (PAOCC), rendu public le 8 juin 2016, s’engage à créer un secteur des transports plus propres en Ontario, et ce, notamment en faisant la promotion du vélo.

Le ministère des Transports est prêt à faire sa part pour appuyer le PAOCC en mettant en �uvre un certain nombre d’initiatives qui contribuent à la réduction des émissions liées aux transports. Ces initiatives seront financées grâce aux recettes provenant du Programme de plafonnement et d’échange de l’Ontario.

Dans un document de travail mis en ligne sur le site du Registre environnemental, nous sollicitons votre avis sur un projet de plan visant à mettre en �uvre des mesures identifiées dans le PAOCC en vue d’améliorer les réseaux cyclables pour les navetteurs. 

Nous vous encourageons à prendre connaissance du document de travail, qui peut être consulté sur le Registre environnemental ou sur la page Web du ministère consacrée à la Stratégie de promotion du vélo et fournir vos commentaires d’ici le 30 novembre 2016. Nous avons hâte de savoir ce que vous en pensez.

Jill Hughes, Directrice

Direction des politiques du transport

Ministère des Transports

777, rue Bay, 30 Street, 30étage

Toronto,ON M7A 2J8

Tél.: 416 585‑7177

<![CDATA[Stolen Norco]]>, 05 Oct 2016 6:44:47 +0000

A Norco Challenger 18” mountain bike was stolen from my North side PMQ yesterday. I was wondering if you  would be able to post a picture of it on your blog to give a heads up to other riders that if they see an uncommon or new face out riding with this particular bike that they could maybe send me a heads up. It was purchased from Gear Heads and we are not even done paying for it yet.

I have attached a picture for your viewing pleasure,

LS Jeremy Minto

CDU 2 NCO, 2I/C, 2 Field Ambulance

Canadian Armed Forces / Government of Canada / Tel: 613-687-5511 Ext 3345

CDU 2 NCO, 2I/C, 2er Ambulance de Campagne

Forces armée canadiennes / Gouvernement du Canada / Tél. : 613-687-5511 Ext 3345

<![CDATA[Vloroute Voyageur / Voyageur Cycling Route would connect Northeastern Ontario]]>, 01 Oct 2016 12:16:50 +0000September 27, 2016
Participants of a four-day mobile workshop along the proposed Véloroute Voyageur / Voyageur Cycling Route agree that Northeastern Ontario is a great place to cycle.  A group of six experienced cyclists from around the Province participated in the four-day ride last week to evaluate the new route’s tourism and recreational potential.  The riders were accompanied daily by local advocates, politicians, municipal staff and project proponents who were interested in learning how the Voyageur Cycling Route stacks up against long-distance cycling routes in other jurisdictions. The mobile workshop was hosted by Discovery Routes Trails Organization in partnership with the Voyageur Cycling Route Working Group and supported by seed funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

The event kicked off in Mattawa on Monday and wound up in Warren on Thursday, with riders cycling 200-km of the Voyageur Cycling Route.  Daily activities included workshops with presentations by local Voyageur Cycling Route partners as well as experts on cycle tourism and infrastructure. The workshops were followed by sectional rides ranging from 45 to 55km each day.  These rides included sections of the Voyageur Cycling Route with the greatest potential for market readiness including: Mattawa to Bonfield; Bonfield to North Bay; Sturgeon Falls to Monetville; and Monetville to Warren.

Once completed, the Véloroute Voyageur/ Voyageur Cycling Route will support cycling tourism for exploration across 380-km of rugged Northeastern Ontario connecting over 15 local communities from the Ottawa Valley to Sudbury’s eastern border with connections to major cycling routes across Ontario including the Great Lakes Waterfront Trail and Quebec’s La Route Verte.  The route follows the passage of the Voyageurs 400 years ago along three Canadian Heritage Waterways and shares 192-km of the Trans Canada Trail between North Bay and Sudbury. With the Trans Canada Trail connection across Canada due to be completed by 2017, the first phase of the Voyageur Cycling Route is scheduled to launch next year.

Guest speaker Anne-Marie Forcier of Amplitude Tourism Consulting provided an overview of cycle tourism and the potential of the Québec market citing the example of Vélo Québec’s Le Grand Tour Desjardins, an annual cycling tour attracting 2000 riders and introducing new cycling destinations to the large network of 250,000 Quebec cyclists.  “The Province of Québec embraced cycling as a way of life years ago and today cycling contributes $1.2 billion annually in spending in Québec. These cyclists are hungry for new places to ride and Ontario is just beginning to recognize the potential,” said Anne-Marie.

Marlaine Koehler, Executive Director at the Waterfront Regeneration Trust joined the western leg portion of the workshop. The Great Lakes Waterfront Trail celebrates over 1600-km of connected trail that is expanding rapidly into Northern Ontario along Lake Huron. Koehler agreed with the experienced riders’ overall assessment of the Voyageur Cycling Route, stating that the route has the potential to become a signature ride in Ontario. The rugged terrain, pristine natural spaces and stunning scenery that defines the Northeastern Ontario landscape will attract adventure seekers to the route.

Discovery Routes is a not-for-profit organization that promotes the use and development of trails in Northeastern Ontario in support of better health, tourism, strong communities, and environmental appreciation and protection.  Discovery Routes is a volunteer partnership of community leaders, economic developers, environmental stewards and locally-based action groups.   


For more information contact:

Jennifer McCourt, Executive Director                                     

Discovery Routes Trails Organization                                                                                 

ph. (705)472-8480   cell (705)499-6653    

<![CDATA[Ottawa Valley Rail Trail Facebook page]]>, 24 Sep 2016 5:25:37 +0000Ottawa Valley Rail Trail Facebook page

Learn what's happening in discussions over the former CP Rail trail and get involved in ensuring it's made available for safe use for everyone.

<![CDATA[Alliance responds to Minister Del Duca, presses for public education]]>, 23 Sep 2016 12:38:49 +0000OVCATA has replied to Transport Minister Steven Del Duca, who informed the Alliance on July 27 of the decision to build partial bike lanes on newly repaved sections of Highway 17 west of Petawawa, with the following letter:

September 23, 2016

Stephen Del Duca
Minister of Transportation

cc: Eleanor McMahon, MPP

John Yakabuski, MPP

Dear Minister:
We are writing in response, with apologies for delays, to your letter of July 27, 2016  regarding cycling on Highway 17 between Chalk River and Petawawa, and paving plans for the section of highway. We are appreciative both of your letter and your actions.

As you may have seen in local media, we find your Ministry's response to our concerns a good first step toward resolving safety concerns of the many cyclists who must use this highway to travel across Canada. The width of the lane to the right of the buffered paved shoulder your Ministry is building in the sections in question constitute a definite improvement, but it does not conform with provincial policy for a road with the amount of traffic the highway has, so really, the move can only be considered a good first step. In our opinion the paved shoulder should be 1.2m or greater. Anything less is not acceptable in regards to the safety of active transportation users. We hope you are considering widening these lanes or investing in the CP rail trail alternative in the near future.

In the meantime, it's important that drivers and cyclists be educated so as to reduce risk and enhance safety. We believe highly-visible, frequent signage alerting drivers to the presence of cyclists on this highway is needed. Also needed is signage that will direct eastbound cyclists away from the highway onto regional roads at the Paquette Road intersection outside Petwawa.

We do appreciate your significant response to our concerns regarding this highway, and we look forward to opportunities to engage with you in future sessions to plan for maximum safety for all users of all the province's roads.

In particular, we would like to ask your ministry, in conjunction with the OPP, to take responsibility, in consultation with stakeholder groups, for the development of comprehensive public education campaigns to educate motorists and cyclists on safety issues. Last year, your government introduced a new law with many new requirements of which the public is poorly informed. It should not be the responsibility of citizens' groups to do the kind of massive educational effort needed to foster safety and understanding. We believe a comprehensive educational campaign including signage, public service announcements, inclusions in provincial and municipal mail-outs and training sessions is needed, and we would like to be involved in discussions on how to make such a campaign effective.

Thank you for your action.

Ish Theilheimer
Co-Chair, Ottawa Valley Cycling and Active Transportation Alliance

<![CDATA[Petition for cyclists and hikers in national parks]]>, 23 Sep 2016 12:24:36 +0000

Petition to the Minister of Environment and Climate Change

  • Canada should promote hiking and biking as a means of travel because of the health benefits and the reduced environmental impact relative to other forms of transportation;
  • The mandate letter of the Minister of Environment and Climate Change commits to promoting ecotourism industries and reducing Canada’s emissions;
  • Cycle tourism is an increasingly lucrative global industry and Canada’s tourism industry could benefit greatly from an increase in cycle tourists;
  • Current fee structures for camping at national parks may be prohibitive for some cycle tourists leading them to camp illegally without paying or choose another country to travel;
  • Other jurisdictions like the states of California and Oregon have created “hiker-biker sites” at state parks which consist of a campsite set aside for people arriving by bike or backpackers arriving by foot that do not require advance booking and cost only a small fee.
We, the undersigned, Citizens of Canada, call upon the Minister of Environment and Climate Change to create hiker-biker sites at all national parks and encourage the provinces to implement hiker-biker sites at all provincial parks.
<![CDATA[Cycling routes in Lanark County]]>, 23 Sep 2016 12:33:29 +0000Cycling routes in Lanark County from Ontario by Bike

<![CDATA[Cycling routes in Renfrew County]]>, 23 Sep 2016 12:31:01 +0000Cycling routes in Renfrew County from Ontario by Bike

<![CDATA[Partial lane for cyclists on Hwy 17 west of Petawawa ]]>, 23 Sep 2016 12:27:41 +0000This article from the Pembroke Observer, September 8, 2016, shows what the Alliance is capable of accomplishing.

<![CDATA[Rides]]>, 18 Aug 2016 2:54:52 +0000<![CDATA[Bike Bank]]>, 18 Aug 2016 2:54:52 +0000<![CDATA[Events]]>, 18 Aug 2016 2:54:24 +0000<![CDATA[Contact]]>, 17 Aug 2016 2:26:54 +0000OVCATA is a volunteer-run organization.

Our email address is

<![CDATA[News]]>, 25 Jul 2016 2:22:38 +0000<![CDATA[Blog]]>, 25 Jul 2016 2:22:38 +0000<![CDATA[Resources]]>, 25 Jul 2016 2:22:38 +0000