Pontiac Polka Route

  • 3 days loop from Ottawa
  • 307.5 km / 2793 m of elevation gain
  • Difficulty: easy, fast rolling gravel tracks and reasonnable elevation gain (about 1000 m for 100 km)

Find the Ride with GPS files and the photo gallery below

Words and photos:
Louise Philipovitch / Louise_philipovitch on Instagram

In May, a three-day weekend was coming with National Patriots' Day. With friends, we wanted to take advantage of it to go bikepacking. Opting for convenience, we were looking for existing routes.
We found what we were looking for on the Log Driver’s Waltz Bikepacking website. Initially, the Log Driver’s Waltz Bikepacking is an ultra-distance event of about 800 km in the Ottawa region. Alongside this Grand Depart, Eric and Jen, the couple behind the organization of this event, wanted to offer shorter alternatives to this route. Thus, they created 3 to 4-day circuits, all around the Ottawa area.

We chose the route titled Pontiac Polka, with a distance that seemed perfect for three days and smooth terrain. Eric and Jen took great care to thoroughly document their routes, indicating all the supply points as well as the “trail angels” who will very likely let you pitch your tent on their land if you ask them nicely.
Leaving Montreal on Friday afternoon and sleeping in Ottawa, we were able to start Pontiac Polka early on Saturday morning. Fortunately, the weather promised us a splendid sunny weekend. The first summer-like days after a rather gloomy spring. However, the flies were also present, forcing us to avoid extending our breaks too long if we didn’t want to become their targets.
The first day went perfectly. After taking the ferry, we arrived in Quyon where we unexpectedly stumbled upon a bike polo tournament, which seemed quite improbable in such an unusual and remote location. We continued on our way, making sure to stop for a dip in a lake, before ending our day in a tiny village where we took advantage of the municipal park to set up our camp and have access to drinking water.

The second day proved to be just as pleasant. Changing landscapes, a pause by a lake, rolling agricultural plains followed by dense forests, and an ice cream enjoyed in the shade from the scorching heat to top it all off. At the end of the day, we pitched our tents on the grounds of a vegetable farm. After setting up a gazebo to shelter us from the flies, the owner, Richard, explained that he and his partner, who co-manages the place, chose to use draft horses instead of tractors. We got back on our bikes for a final swim in the nearest lake at sunset.

We concluded this beautiful weekend on the third day after riding the last seventy kilometers to Ottawa, taking the time to stop at the general store, a convenience store with a storefront reminiscent of the best Westerns. Before parting ways, we celebrated by sharing one last ice cream. This delightfully summery weekend felt like a three-week vacation rather than just three days, as the languid pace and varied landscapes refreshed our minds.

The Log Driver's Waltz website with more 3 to 4 days routes: https://www.logdriverswaltz.ca/3-to-4-day-routes.html