Suggested Listening: Hang on to the Night by Tegan and Sara
Total Distance Cycled: 1899km
Moncton, NB to Charlottetown, PEI: 155km
With the bike shop recommended to us by Mike to motorcyclist not open until 9am we opted to take advantage of the opportunity to sleep in and accept that we’d be getting into Charlottetown later than we would hope. Once we had everything packed up we took the few kilometer ride to the shop and I’m so glad we did.
The folks (Jim and staff) at My Bike shop Moncton were amazing. They dropped what they were doing to help us right away. For me all I needed was some air in my tires and some lube on my chain. In Shantel’s case they fixed her chain and got all her shifting in proper working order. Jim also gave us some details about a part of Shantel’s bike we might consider getting replaced. He unfortunately didn’t have any on hand and even called another shop for us – which also didn’t keep it in stock. Nonetheless he said we should be fine to carry on. On top of all this they didn’t charge us for the service! Shantel did pick up some cycling gloves (which they discounted for us) to keep her hands from burning more and we grabbed a few energy chews. Once the bikes were in working order we realized we were getting hungry so we ate our leftovers from yesterday and made our way to a Subway to get some food to go. Shantel ended up buying 5 footlong veggie subs.
With it now being 12:30pm we finally set off to Charlottetown. Leaving this late was definitely far from ideal, but with it being pretty much out of our control we just had to make the most of it. Taking the number 15 we had a nice wide shoulder most of the way which was nice given that the traffic was pretty heavy.
Around 40km before the bridge we pulled off to a rest area with a park and building. There we each ate another sub. Shantel went to ask two dressed up women going into the building what the special occasion was and one of them explained it was a funeral for her mother that lived to 102 years old. They asked us about our ride and before we knew it they gave us a $30 dollar donation. We both couldn’t believe it. Even when these two people had so much on their plate they went out their way to help us. It was a definite moral boost.
From there we continued on the 15 for a little while longer before turning onto the 985 where the view became quite nice. We sacrificed our wide shoulder on the 985, but there wasn’t much traffic.
Riding along the 985 we eventually found ourselves near the bridge and with the option to continue onto the Trans Canada or take the Cape Jourimain Nature trail. We opted for the trail which was definitely the wrong choice. It was awful for cycling and the mosquitoes were brutal. Fortunately it was just a few kilometer before we made it to the Cape Jourimain Nature Centre where we enjoyed a strawberry sorbet and waited for the shuttle to take us over Confederation Bridge.
The shuttle took about 20 minutes to get across to the island. We were officially on PEI! It was 7:00pm though and we were quickly running out of light. Here we faced the same reoccurring question: do we take the Trans Canada highway which was about 5km shorter, but had some hills and a very small shoulder or do we take the less direct unpaved Confederation Trail. On top of this 3 out of 5 of our lights had dead batteries. Ultimately the idea of riding on the Trans Canada highway with me only having a front light and Shantel only having a back light seemed too terrifying so we opted for the trail.
It took us about 7km on the trail to realize we’d be caught in total darkness if we stayed on it so I took a look at the map and noticed we could get off shortly and take the 225 almost the entire way. Meanwhile Shantel was keeping our contact Eliza (who we were put in touch with by an awesome woman named Emma we met at a Dizzy show in Hamilton) in the loop about our delayed travel. We won’t ever know if switching to the 225 was the right idea or not, but we do know for certain was that it was an extremely hilly choice. It was so hilly in fact that when we were making our way up a hill about 37km Shantel broke down and started crying. She had accepted before me that we weren’t going to make it to Charlottetown before dark and the idea of riding in the dark for the second day in a row (though this time with less lights) really weighed on her. After we accepted we had a terrifying and hilly ride ahead of us we pressed on. Wanting to take full advantage of the down hills I hit my highest recorded speed ever 58.2km per hour. I may have hit a faster speed last trip, but I had no way of recording it so I’ll never know. It was exhilarating and terrifying going so fast especially with the sun fading quickly.
Finally at about 10:30pm we had arrived. We were exhausted, hungry and felt gross. As we looked for the house Shantel noticed that we were told the address 16 Park St, but then corrected to 29. We road up a little further and it still seemed like we were in the wrong place. With 3% left on my phone I checked my Google Maps to notice we’d been directed to Park Avenue and not Park St. We both took a very heavy sigh and got back on our bikes to head the 3km to Park St. I couldn’t help, but wonder why a small city like Charlottetown would have streets a few kilometers apart with such similar names. There is literally a limitless number of possible names you could call a street. Why repeat Park?
By 10:45pm we made it to the real address and were greeted by Eliza. The folks hosting us were actually friends of Eliza and gone for the night so she was there to let us in. I think I apologized a million times for us being so late. Eliza seemed nothing but understanding despite having to work in the morning. It’s a real shame we hadn’t arrived earlier to enjoy dinner with her. Once we got in I noticed a sizeable board game collection and couldn’t help, but feel like being late meant we missed out on another fun opportunity. Meanwhile Shantel was excited to meet Bingo the cat, stretch, shower and pass out. Late night dinner for me was the second half of Shantel’s sub – putting my sub count at 3 for the day. Shantel literally ate spoonfuls of peanut butter. She didn’t seem to think it was weird, but I found it hilarious.
Exhausted and tired we called it a night after snacking a bit. Tomorrow we have to catch a ferry off the island and make our way to Antigonish. If we miss our ferry it could mean another late night so catching it is high priority. Let’s hope we don’t face any roadblocks along the way.