Kelly’s write up of cycling Prince Edward Island during our cross Canada cycle trip in Autumn 2016. Michael’s write up of exploring Prince Edward Island by bicycle will be published soon (ish).
The Confederation Bridge
It’s not cheating if you are forced to take a shuttle! With that being said, I’m glad we weren’t allowed to cycle the 14km bridge from New Brunswick to Prince Edward Island (PEI). Not only is the bridge busy, we discovered that the bridge has only 2 lanes, a few sharp inclines and a small hard shoulder. The cycle would have been horrible! So we would actually start cycling Prince Edward Island, after this huge bridge!
We waited for the shuttle at the visitor centre for 45 minutes. Left to just stare at the long bridge, disappearing into the horizon. Eventually the shuttle did arrive. We some how managed to squeeze our bikes into the bus, and away we went.
Cycling Prince Edward Island
As soon as we started cycling Prince Edward Island, we discovered the confederation trail. With a bit of hesitation, we hopped on it to see what it’s like.
It seems like a lot of cyclist tourists completely avoid jumping on the trans Canada trail. In provinces like New Brunswick, I can sort of understand this, and, in the Prairies, well it just doesn’t exist. However, jumping on these bike trails (when you can) means getting off the busy highway, seeing some unspoilt country and camping in peaceful places, instead of next to a busy road. So what, you might get a bit of dirt in the chain. That’s going to happen anyway. Suck it up!
The Confederation Trail (part of the Trans Canada Trail) in PEI is awesome! It’s might be a compacted gravel road, but it’s much flatter than the highways and main roads, has picnic spots every couple of kilometres and is very quiet. We loved it and jumped on it whenever we could.
The Green Gables
PEI is tiny in comparison to other provinces. You could easily cycle across the island in a day. We decided to take 4 days to explore the island a bit. First stop, Cavendish and the Anne of Green Gables house (which Michael was just ecstatic about).
From the shuttle it was 20km on the bike trail and 20km on the main roads, and we were on the other side of the island. The bike trail was awesome, but as soon as we got off the bike trail, the rolling hills started. After Fundy, these hills were nothing, but they were unexpected. Everyone had told us PEI was flat – such lies!
People had warned us that after September everything in PEI starts to shut down for the season – they weren’t wrong. As we approached Cavendish we noticed lots of “shut for the season” signs. Even PEI national park had shut up for the season – including the campground where we had planned to spend the night.
For this reason, we thought the Green Gables were going to be quiet – boy, were we wrong! Suddenly there were people everywhere. It felt strange being surrounded by so many tourists. We spent an hour or so checking out the house and grounds – and visiting the only café opened for miles. Then, headed off the check out Cavendish and the national park and find somewhere to camp.
Cavendish is a coastal national park with lots of sandy beaches and dune systems. It actually reminded me a bit of the beaches back home in Western Australia. The only downside was that it was far too cold to go for a swim.
Finally we found a picnic site to camp at and set up for the night. The following morning we followed the coast for a bit, hoped on a hilly main road, then the bike trail, and made it to the province’s capital, Charlottetown.
We decided to spend two nights in Charlottetown, just because we could! There was only another 2 weeks left of the cycle trip, and we were getting lazy. Waking up late, having short cycle days and just chilling out at coffee shops, bakeries and breweries.
Charlottetown is cute! There are also several bakeries, coffee shops, breweries, COWs with their supposed, “world’s best ice cream” and a superstore. We kept ourselves busy!
The ferry to Nova Scotia (our home for the winter)
The following morning, we woke up early, with the aim to get an early start and avoid the rain. It turned out I completely underestimated the distance, and on top of this we had a strong head wind. Who said cycling west to east had fewer headwinds? I’m sure we’ve had more headwinds than tailwinds. Anyway, we made to the ferry in time, had lunch and enjoyed a smooth sailing to the next and final province, Nova Scotia.
Cycling Prince Edward Island was short, but really enjoyable. I definitely would recommend it, as well as the island’s Confederation bike trail.
Next on the agenda: cycling the mountainous, Cabot trail! 3 mountain passes, lots of cold, wet weather and hopefully some beautiful views. And then onto Halifax for the winter!