Leaving Kingston, the city traffic and noise is quicky left behind as you cycle north on Montreal Road, crossing Hwy 401 and following an old escarpment towards the hills of the Frontenac Arch.
When you reach the hamlet of Battersea about 26km from the Kingston waterfront, you'll want to fill up your drink bottles and grab a snack at the general store. There aren't any services for the next 30km (Elgin).
North of Battersea, you're into the classic Canadian Shield features of the Frontenac Arch as the road climbs and descends, twists and turns through granite rock cuts, around ponds and through stands of white pine.
Approaching Jones Falls, the route turns left (north) onto Sand Lake Road. If you want a pleasant and scenic diversion, remember this turn so you can come back to it, but continue on the Battersea Rd (Road 11) a little further and take the right turn at Lock Road, signed for Jones Falls. There's more information about Jones Falls on the Delta: Jones Falls route. When you've got enough pictures, finished your snack/meal, and are ready to continue, make your way back to Road 11 and the Sand Lake Road turn to go north.
When you reach Cty Rd 15 and cross it into the town of Elgin, you'll find a grocery store and other services. From here the hills are much more gentle and the route becomes quite flat.
Follow the mapped route from Elgin on Cty Rd 8 to Cty Rd 42, turn right for a short stretch and then left to continue on Cty Rd 8 across flat farmland through Chantry, around Bellamy Lake, to Toledo.
In Toledo, follow the route to Jasper, where you'll find a gas bar at the turn that has drinks, snacks and a washroom.
From Jasper, follow Cty Rd 16 as it trends gently downhill all the way to Merrickville on the Rideau River. Merrickville has full facilities including many restaurants and coffee bars. For a nice rest stop, visit the park on the riverside and watch the boats transit the hand-operated lock on the Rideau Heritage Waterway.
To continue our route, follow Main St E out of town. Traffic may be somewhat busy if it's a peak time in the summer. Watch for the left turn onto Cty Rd 23 or "River Road" and all the traffic will quickly vanish as you settle into a relaxed pace along this road that goes all the way to Kemptville. There are a few places where the road swings right away from the river and you need to turn left to regain the river route.
Approaching Kemptville, you'll come to a T-stop at Cty Rd 44 at Becketts Landing. Turn left to cross the bridge over the Rideau River and bear right to continue on Cty Rd 5 past Rideau River Provincial Park and on to Ottawa.
Kingston downtown (or reverse the route and start in Ottawa!)
A mix of everything!
The entire route is fairly quiet and paved. Any bike will do the job, although touring or road bikes are preferred for this distance and terrain.
Notes and Cautions
There are some lengthy stretches with no services. Be prepared to be self-sufficient with drinks, snacks and a repair kit.
This transit route roughly follows the Rideau waterway from Kingston to Ottawa. The first 40 km of this route can be quite challenging as you climb up and over and around the rocky features of the Frontenac Arch. After that, the route is fairly flat with nothing more than the occasional gentle hill.
The route generally follows the Ottawa Bike Club's "cruise" route for their annual Rideau Lakes Cycle Tour, held in June.