One: Bixi operates in Ottawa/Gatineau! How long has this been going on, and why didn't I know about it?
If you don't know Bixi, it's a public bike-share system, where you pay by credit card to sign out one of their beautifully-designed bikes. I discovered this when a woman I work with arrived at our venue for a reading tonight on one of their bikes; there's a stand near where she lives in Gatineau. They're hard to miss. Distinctive. Sturdy but not, somehow, unlovely.
The idea is that you get a membership, or you pay by the hour, to take one of their bikes from a self-serve, solar-powered stand. Then you truck around doing whatever you need to do, and drop it off at any of their locations (doesn't even have to be the one you left from.) How cool is that?
The other thing I've learned is: if you're heading south along the canal after dark, you have two choices: Queen Elizabeth on the west side of the canal, or Colonel By Drive on the east side.
Take Colonel By. I had never before realized how much of a difference it makes to be travelling beside a road and going in the same direction as the cars in the nearest lane. If you're heading in the opposite direction, those buggers are blinding. Then you can't see the pedestrians in front of you because of the glaring retina-burning headlights, and you run a nasty risk of hitting them. Plus, for some reason, there are more joggers and pedestrians on the Queen Elizabeth side. Or at least there were tonight, when it was still about 35 degrees Celsius at 9:30 PM.
Oh, and thanks to Sari for this link, which she sent me after the last post about skirts and bikes... I spent the weekend in Toronto, and damn if there aren't a lot of gorgeous people on bikes in that city. Including a great many well-dressed women in skirts.