A Tricky Challenge
The Province’s short sighted decision to NOT pave full shoulders on Highway 7 has always been a huge detriment to cyclists all along its Ontario spanning route.
I’m not saying that they should be added just for the benefit of cyclists, but there are established and tested engineering reasons why full shoulders have significant benefits and, in the long term, greatly decrease the costs associated with all roads in climates that include real winters (much of the research on this was initially done in Sask and Alberta).
Of course, like many things infrastructural, the payback period for the additional upfront expense is much longer than any single governments term in office. Decades longer. So, ain’t never gonna happen with the current breed of Canadian politician we’re growing these days.
Ooops... sorry. Little carried away there. Back to the subject at hand. Bike touring.
Continuing to Ottawa rather than heading back down to Lake Ontario is is the next logical step in riding up here to PTBO. But, given that 7 is only for the death defying, a reasonably direct, paved route is tricky. Directly to the North of 7, there is a whole lot of nothing, including roads and especially services, so a single route that serves both camping and motel/hotel/B&B tourists seems unlikely.
There’s plenty of camping north of 7 as long as you have the foresight to stock up on supplies during the day and expect to cook in camp. Motelling is the harder of the 2, so let’s start with that.
Day 1 - 95 km: Much the same as the paved route back to Trenton. Rolling drumlin fields, farmland. The one motel in Tweed. Services.
Day 2 - 123 km: Looong day. A nice stop in Tamworth, good bakery the last time I was there and a fabulous bookshop. Then a huge jump through the wilds of the Frontenac Arch. Very remote feeling, although there is a general store in Parkham and a number of resort and fishing camps and cottages at Crow Lake (campers take note, you might be able to swing an overnight spot with a little bit of persuasion). Just past Bolingbrooke Rd., (Mayberly to the north on 7 has a restaurant and store in an emergency) you’ll find yourself on the Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour Classic Route, and the ride from here into Ottawa is well documented by decades of ride reports from that much loved ride.
Choice of many motels in Perth. Plenty of services, restaurants, a brewery, nice coffee shop next to the park, etc...
Day 3 - 78 km: Rideau Lakes Classic Route into the city, or pick your own. Lots of east-west concessions, all of which have been Streetviewed. Ottawa; great food, great bike shops, great cycling infrastructure. Take a day off and ride the Gatineau Park Loop unloaded.