Every week, all summer long, Ottawa transforms parts of the city into magical car-free spaces. For 4 magical hours, cars disappear from some of Ottawa’s most scenic roads and cyclists, rollerbladers, runners, strollers, and runners with strollers can happily co-exist on the expansive roads. It feels like a taste of a different reality, so far from the norm where cars rule the road and all other road users are relegated to (if we are lucky) a narrow path. While I can (and often do) wax poetic about the glory of separated bike paths, often on the busy pathways, there is a little bit of tension between these aforementioned active transportation modes, where the fast ones mutter as they pass the slow ones, who glare at the speedy menaces disturbing their leisurely meander. But not for these sacred 4 hours.
Here, we can see “all the people, living life in peace” and we don’t even need to imagine. Because here, in this shared space, there is enough room for harmony. Here on the wide open roadway, the spandex can sail by, while the tots on their push-bikes and training wheels can taste the joy of travelling under their own power, going as fast and as far as their legs and hearts want to go. What freedom!
As you may be able to surmise, I am a big fan of communal moments where people come together to share the same space. It particularly makes me smile when everyone is being active and exploring the beauty of our own city.
When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race. -H.G. Wells
While I wholeheartedly agree with H.G. Wells, I would add and important addition. Not only do I “not despair” but I am filled with the most marvellous hope. Hope that we can do better and be better. This hope grows 12 times it’s size when I see a whole family on bikes, knowing that these kids are growing up with the best role models of healthy living. Parents like these rad dads and their daughters, enjoying a sunny Father’s Day ride.
As I rode down Colonel-By, the sun was shining, my wheels were spinning and I felt, to the tips of my toes, really truly happy.
Tiny, lovely observations
A few points from outside the mean of daily life; a sparkle that darts out of the standard deviation and dares to make life a tiny bit more beautiful.
– It you have not seen this yet, or if you are looking for the motivation to pull your bike out of the shed to cruise around your ‘hood, check out these happy dutch babies on bikes and remember the joy that comes with being King of the World
– Pedal go-carts. I’ll admit, I scoffed a little at first, but man are these fun! Bombing around a quiet subdivision on one of these is quite the hoot, particularly with your boyfriend riding in the trailer behind.