Cycling Prince Edward Island

It’s a few months late, but our photos from PEI are now up on Flickr. Perhaps it’s also time to write a short recap of our trip.

Biking around PEI was a fantastic way to spend a holiday. I had been warned about API Call Errorhills by Marilyn, but only had problems with them the first day. It turns out that the central part of the island is quite hilly, and without topo maps, we stumbled into the worst of it the first day. It was a brutal day, as we also couldn’t stop because it was a part of the island with few services. Unfortunately, while there are frequent towns on the map, many of them only have a couple houses, and no stores or hotels.

After that first day, we wound up in a lovely coastal town, and concluded that we should try to bike along the coast as much as possible from there on out. This worked pretty well for us, as the coastal routes were much flatter and more manageable, at least along the API Call Errorsouth coast. We also quickly got into better shape for climbing the hills that we did encounter.

Traveling by bike is quite different from traveling by public transport, and different again from traveling by car. Like with a car, we could get to small, out of the way places. But because it takes all day to go distances that cars travel in well under an hour, it’s not handy to run errands elsewhere. Having seen some lovely pictures, we decided to spand a couple nights in API Call ErrorMalpeque Harbour. Unfortunately, since our tourist map listed a restaurant there, it didn’t occur to us to ask. On arrival, we found one of the major inconveniences of PEI is just how seasonal the tourist industry is. There is essentially no shoulder season, summer services open on the July 1 weekend and not a day sooner. So the restaurant was still closed.

Luckily, the place we were staying did have a kitchen, so we just needed to procure groceries. After a couple of phone calls, we managed to get a taxi out from Summerside to take us to the nearest town to stock up. All in, it only cost $60 for the round trip, so it wasn’t too bad…probably still cheaper than eating in a restaurant for two days would have been.

Then came the hard part. The north coast turned out to be hilly and had a lot of traffic. Rather beautiful, though. Happily, there were some reprives, as we biked through two sections of PEI National Park. Because there was a parallel road inland, and you have to pay to drive on the roads through the park, there was virtually no traffic. The hills were more manageable, and there was gorgeous scenery in a API Call Errorrugged, coastal kind of way.

All in all, it was a great trip. We learned a few things for future bike trips. Perhaps most importantly: when you’ve been riding all day, it’s well worth spending money to have a comfortable place to sleep. We carried a fair bit of heavy camping gear with us, and only ended up camping two nights. Next time, I’ll skip the tent and sleeping bags, and just plan on sleeping in a bed every night. We also learned that Kathy should really just get a better bike. We rented one for her, which ended up being the men’s model of the same bike she has at home. While it performed okay, it is a cheaper bike and had trouble shifting gears on hills. But I think it’s definitely something we’ll do again. Maybe not every holiday, but certainly some of them.

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