Ô CANADA ! - That’s about the first thing you are about to hear, when coming to the land of hockey, never-ending winter, beavers and of course maple syrup ! I have no idea if there was ever any study conducted to find out who would be the nicest and most proud of themself, nation on the planet - but if there was, Canadians would win the podium incontestably !
Right after the end of my second internship in France, I hoped on the plane to Warsaw, had like 3 days to pack my stuff, say hi & goodbye to all my friends and family and start another chapter ! This time, I was going the furthest I have ever been - to Ottawa, where I was accepted as an exchange student by Translation Faculty of uOttawa that had a special agreement with Linguistics Department of University of Warsaw. Say hello to the new adventure !
This time I didn't think of taking my bike with me. Well actually I had no bike, so ... problem solved. I had to leave my beloved Cobra behind, I mean, sell it of course ;) Her place belonged in France and I needed all cash to have a comfortable start on Canadian soil (this solution seemed legit at the time). Not hard to guess what was my very first purchase when I came to Ottawa! A BIKE! That was an easy one ;) SO I bought my trek bike at Cycle Salvation (ad vocem - in Canada all what’s sustainable is GOLDEN - meaning that buying the second-hand, used bike you were doing a good deed, by supporting local communities. They would sell only refurbished models, fully recycled delivered directly by citizens - you read that right, all their stock was based on donations, the only new parts were usually the chain, the gears - but also a last resort kind of solution). The bike I could afford at the time cost 100 bucks and it was fair deal even though at the beginning it felt super-rusty and most importantly - INCREDIBLY slow. But as long I had my most efficient, cheap and comfortable way of transport - I was happy and safe !
My semester started almost right after I came, so I would not get to cycle and explore much outside of the city. When the first snow appeared in early December it would freeze the whole region and keep it hard until the end of my Canadian experience - early April of 2017. But before it happen I kept commuting to uOttawa every single day and it was AWESOME. There were cycling paths EVERYWHERE, which was super practical - you would get a part of the regular road for cyclists only ! And there was police on the bikes and those really cute bike stands! (in the picture). How cool is that ?! (newbie fascination ;))
Beginning of the season, just before leaving Ottawa I still wanted to try out some of numerous cycling trails. I had a chance to borrow a road bike from a Polish friend living on the outskirts of Ottawa and I really wanted to speed a bit on the local paths! I chose to follow the Capital Pathway - a part of The Great Trail - a dense network of cycling/walking paths making it possible to cross the entire country on the bike (or jog, swim or paddle - you name it !). The entire project has been started in 1992 and is almost finished (was planned to be ended up by 2017 on the occasion of 150th anniversary of Canada). It’s 24,000 km long and crosses all 13 provinces, which makes it the longest cycling path in the world. To my unpleasant surprise, most of the paths was still covered in solid snow or flooded - making it impossible to pass and continue the ride. That was it for my discovery cycling tour ;( ! TBC...