Ottawa, the capital city of Canada, is located in the province of Ontario. It is the fourth largest metropolitan area in the country. Ottawa borders the province of Quebec, separated primarily by the Ottawa River (Quebec is situated on the western side of the river, whereas Ontario is situated on the eastern side).
Considered the political center of Canada, Ottawa is home to various research, cultural, and educational centers, as well as many art and national museums.
If you’re thinking of exploring Ottawa by electric bike, this article will help guide you and answer all the questions you need to know before embarking on your trip!
E-biking rules in Ottawa
The city of Ottawa both permits and encourages e-bike riding! E-bikes are allowed on most roads and highways where traditional bicycles are permitted, with a few exceptions.
This includes certain provincial controlled-access highways, such as Ottawa’s Queensway; municipal roads where bicycles are banned under municipal bylaws; and municipal roads, bike paths, bike trails, or bike lanes where e-bikes are expressly prohibited. As well, keep in mind that bicycles and e-bikes are not permitted to ride on any sidewalk in Ottawa.
Additionally, e-cyclists should know what the speed and motor limits are for electric bicycles per provincial standards. To operate an e-bike in Ontario, e-bikes must have:
- A maximum assisted speed of 32 km/h (20 mph)
- An electric motor not exceeding 500W
- Maximum weight of 120 kg (264 lbs)
- Fully operable pedals
- A battery and electric motor are securely fastened to the bicycle frame
- A minimum wheel width of 35 mm, and a minimum diameter of 350 mm
- Two independent braking systems apply force to each wheel and are capable of bringing the e-bike to a full stop within 9 meters from the point at which brakes were applied
Learn more about the provincial and city rules!
Read also: Best known electric bicycle brands in Canada. And, Rules & regulations for traditional and speed e-bikes in Canada.
If you are taking your e-bike on the OC Transpo—which is the city’s public transit system—here are a few things to know. First, some buses will have bike racks where you can place your e-bike on. If you have a folding e-bike, you may be able to bring those on board, but be sure to consult the transit operator first!
If taking the O-Train, each train has a bicycle loading zone (indicated by a green bicycle decal on the floor) located on the first car of the train. You can then hold your bike in the Cooperative seating area. Find out more information about bikes on the OC Transpo here!
Is Ottawa e-bike friendly?
Yes! Ottawa offers a wide range of recreational pathways, expert trails, and mountain biking options for cyclists. Over 800 km (497 miles) of multi-use pathways will lead you to the city’s various parks, waterways, attractions, restaurants, and more.
To view the complete list of cycling lanes and routes, visitors can either download The Official Cycling Map for Ottawa-Gatineau or view the online, interactive GeoOttawa Online Mapping Tool (where you can toggle the “Cycling” layer on to view the routes).
If you’re interested in taking an e-bike tour while visiting Ottawa, the company Ottawa Valley Adventures offers three types of guided tours: the Afternoon Tour – Letterkenny Loop, Madawaska Kanu Centre – Kamaniskeg Lake Loop, and the Canadian Classic – Algonquin Park Gate to Gate. The cost for tours ranges from $100 – $150.
While there are no e-bike specific maps for charging stations in the city, Engage Ottawa offers a mapping tool where you can locate various Electric Vehicle (EV) charging stations in the city. View the mapping tool here!
For bike parking in the city, cyclists have several options to choose from! The City of Ottawa includes bike parking at:
- City-owned parking lots and garages
- Bike racks at numerous Transitway and LRT stations
- Bike racks at City of Ottawa Client Services Centres, community and recreation centers, and parks
- Permanent bike racks along streets
- Three seasonal bike corrals as part of the Bike Corral Program, are located on MacLaren at Bank, Second at Bank, and Wellington West at Fairmount (each corral holds up to 12 bikes)
- Secure bike parking at OC Transpo’s Greenboro, Strandherd, St-Laurent, and Fallowfield Stations
Read also: Here is why e-bikes are really cool. And, How to select the best city e-bike (with examples)?
Find more information about bike parking in Ottawa on the city’s webpage here!
Lastly, if you are looking to rent your e-bike, check out Ottawa E-bike Rental, Ottawa Valley Adventures, Escape Tours & Rentals, and Scooteretti!
How is the weather and city traffic in Ottawa? Is it fun to ride an e-bike in Ottawa?
In terms of city traffic, rush hour periods are between 7AM – 9AM and 3:30PM – 5:30PM each day. During these times, most downtown streets prohibit parking and stopping in order to improve the traffic flow. For optimal cycling, however, we recommend avoiding riding during these times if possible!
According to experts, the most pleasant biking weather in Ottawa is between March and May. This is when temperatures begin to get warmer, and the spring season brings flora and fauna into bloom. Events like the Tulip Festival also take place during this time.
While summertime (June to August) is the warmest and most popular time of year for tourism, accommodations get booked up quickly and rates go up in price, so be prepared for a pricier stay and more crowds if visiting during this time.
Fall (September – November) is also a popular time of year to visit due to the continuing festival season, but keep in mind that temperatures tend to drop quite low in October and November.
We recommend avoiding visiting in winter (December through February) for a bike trip, since this region sees significant snow, ice, and below-freezing temperatures.
Read also: Can electric bikes get wet? And, Can I ride an e-bike in winter?
Don’t forget that there are plenty of things to do and see in the city of Ottawa! Be sure to check out popular sites such as Parliament Hill, the Rideau Canal National Historic Site, Canada Museum of Nature, Notre Dame Basilica, Hog’s Back Falls, Peace Tower, and Carp Farmer’s Market.
For more activity and sightseeing recommendations, check out Trip Advisor! Visit Booking.com if you would like to book a room.
Ottawa city landscape, the best type(s) of e-bikes to ride in this city
While most of the landscapes in Ottawa are primarily flat, the region does become hillier towards the Quebec and Gatineau Hills region of the city. As such, if you are planning to primarily stick to recreational routes in the flatter regions, a city cruiser or commuter e-bike will work for you.
However, if you are planning to take more advanced routes such as hills, unpaved trails, and mountain biking trails, consider an eMTB (electric mountain bike) or hybrid e-bike for optimal safety!
Read also: How much elevation / altitude can electric bikes climb? And, Can electric bikes go up steep hills?
Where can I buy an e-bike in Ottawa?
There are a number of online and physical stores where you can buy your e-bike from!
For online-only, Pedal Easy offers a handful of e-bike options; Pedego Electric Bikes – Ottawa sells various e-bike models and offers free shipping; and Epic Cycles sells many e-bikes direct-to-consumer as well!
For other options, Teslica sells e-bikes online but also has a physical location in Ottawa; Scooteretti offers the option to buy an e-bike online and pick it up at a physical store, and Gazelle E-bikes carry their own brand of e-bikes which can be browsed through online and found at the Scooteretti store!
Read also: Why are electric bikes so expensive? And, Does it make sense to buy the cheapest electric bicycle?
Where can I repair an e-bike in Ottawa?
There are a few locations in Ottawa where you can seek out repair services! This includes Pedego Electric Bikes – Ottawa, Scooteretti, and Velofix. There are also a number of bike repair stations located in the city, where you can administer basic repairs like manual tire pumping and tube replacement. Learn more about the locations of these repair stations here!
Where can I recycle e-bike batteries in Ottawa?
If you would like to recycle your e-bike battery while in Ottawa, the Canadian Call2Recycle program is your best bet! Through this online hub, you can find various locations in the city where you may be able to recycle your battery. Locations listed on the website include Home Depot #7158, Staples, The Source, Rexall Herongate, and Rexall Billings Bridge Ottawa.
Read also: Check out Canada’s best travel destinations by electric bike.