Did you know that the Bixi, Montreal’s public bike system, now has stations in the Nation’s Capital? But this isn’t news at all because the pilot study in Ottawa-Gatineau was launched over a month ago, some time in early June.
I was in Gatineau last weekend and took the opportunity to do a run across town documenting each of the four bixi locations. 50 bikes are deployed in downtown Gatineau (Vieux-Hull and Civilizations Museum) and Ottawa (National War Memorial and ByWard Market at York & Dalhousie). By contrast, the Bixi Montreal website states that no less than 300 stations and 3000 bikes were planned for.
If the Ottawa-Gatineau Bixi project goes ahead, a pass bought in any of the Bixi-served cities would serve in the other, a Bixi employee told me at one of the stations. Currently, this isn’t the case, because the 6,000-odd Bixi subscribers in Montréal would probably be flooding the nascent Ottawa-Gatineau system.
If you happen to be in Ottawa-Gatineau this summer, here is a suggested run from the Bixi website:
1. Head for downtown Ottawa for a free “Noon on the Bridge” concert.
2. Take a break at lunchtime, and get a breath of fresh air, by pedalling along the Rideau Canal or the Ottawa River.
3. After a spectacular show at the National Arts Centre, go out for a bite and a drink in the ByWard Market.
4. Ride across the bridge for a get-together with friends in Vieux Hull.
5. On a Sunday morning, start your day by indulging in brunch in the ByWard Market; then, visit the Canadian Museum of Civilization.
If you are a Canadian government employee working in Ottawa-Gatineau, it is also a very good idea to use the Bixi to get you from one federal building to the other.
Here is a map that I made on Google Maps:
View Bixi Ottawa-Gatineau (projet-pilote 2009) in a larger map