the warmest and friendliest folks in ottawa

Jen Dykxhoorn, photographed in front of Raw Sugar on Somerset.

Some might call Jen Dykxhoorn a hard core all-season cyclist, and that might be true – but she’s also the coolest and kindest natured cyclist I’ve ever met! I first saw Jen last month cycling through Hintonburg on a wickedly snowy day wearing her vintage fur coat, a lovely scarf and her bike helmet, of course. She was sporting the most beautiful vibrant turquoise bike. I snapped and Instagramed her photo with a message that I needed to photograph her for loveOttawa. By the end of the day I had found her!

When I asked Jen if she had a favourite café to serve as a background for our photograph, she quickly offered up Raw Sugar Café. She loves its cozy atmosphere and wonderful shows, with hot toddys with maple whiskey that can warm any wintery day! (One of our favourites too!)

© dwayne brown studio  – the  loveOttawa  project

© dwayne brown studio – the loveOttawa project

What Jen loves most about Ottawa is how the city embraces every season. “The city actually blooms in the spring with tulips and enthusiasm, the summer is rich with music festivals and farmers’ markets, and most uniquely, the sparkles in the winter, embracing the snow and ice and buzzing with an abundance of winter fun.”

Not surprisingly, Jen also shared how she loves the bike paths along the canal and river – and the easy and adventurous bike commute she does each day. “Rather than sitting in traffic, or waiting on a bus, cycling gives me the freedom to move through the city and have micro-adventures every day.” She loves that cycling connects her to other fellow road-warriors, especially in the winter where only a few are braving the frost, ice and salt. “When stopped at a stoplight with a fellow winter cyclist, you invariably exchange pleasantries and find that you are connected to the warmest and friendliest folks in Ottawa.”

Jen also loves living in the interesting and lively neighbourhood of Wellington West. “Wellington West has everything: the best shops including beautiful boutiques like Victoire and Flock, many coffee shops and restaurants (including Macaron & Madelines and Absinthe), and of course, wonderful bike shops (like Tall Tree Cycles)!” Another favorite spot of Jen’s is Legend Records, where she loves hunting for musical treasures.

Ottawa really is a big city made up of so many small, connected and unique neighbourhoods – with an abundance of great places to shop, experience and hang out!

Thanks so much Jen for sharing – we can’t wait to see you back out there on the road!

For musings about bicycles, epidemiology, and life, you can look at Jen’s blog: and/or instagram: @lovelyoutlier  And if you’d like to learn more about safe cycling in Ottawa, Jen is a big supporter of the work of Citizens for Safe Cycling.