by Mallory Brennan
Last spring I booked a number of flights for work and, as a result, started getting targeted ads for all the airline sales. So when a tremendous deal popped up for flights to Charlottetown (PEI) I booked flights for September, put the dates in my calendar and promptly forgot about it.
Then summertime arrived. That’s when I work at Rainbow Camp, an overnight camp for 2SLGBTQ+ youth. This year was our first summer back in person since 2019, as well as our first time running a full summer of camp. This was also my first summer as co-director (shoutout to my amazing co-director Cal!). September was the last thing on my mind.
All of a sudden, my trip was three days away and all I had planned was my flights. No accommodations booked, no routes planned, no rental bicycle booked, no meal plans, no list of things I wanted to do, none of the stuff I would usually prepare in advance. Then all of a sudden it was the day before my flight and still nothing… The night before I left I hastily booked a rental bicycle and booked accommodations, picking places that seemed like a reasonable distance apart. Everything else I could make up as I went along, right?
Five Random Observations Post Trip:
- I’d forgotten how much I love the freedom of multiple day solo trips. I could wake up whenever I felt like it, stop for rests whenever I felt like it, spend hours reading, eat when I felt like it and basically do whatever I felt like. (It helped that I “planned” my route conservatively so I was never in a huge rush to get to my destination!)
- Rail Trails are not all flat. I knew this in advance but somehow forgot. Cue several hours of slogging along the trail, feeling like you aren’t going anywhere until you see a cyclist going the other way with a grin on their face and you realize you’ve been slowly going uphill for the past several hours.
- The roads in PEI are excellent for cycling. I did about ⅔ of my trip on the Confederation Trail and the rest on minor highways. Things I noticed about the roads:
- There were large paved shoulders on most roads
- Cars were clearly used to seeing cyclists and gave me lots of space
- There was signage for cyclists as well as for motorists
- I much prefer my own bicycle over my rental bicycle. While I considered bringing my bicycle, I opted to rent a bicycle and panniers for the week instead. While it was a perfectly serviceable bicycle, I prefer mine. (I own a fancy touring bicycle that was a graduation gift the first time I graduated university so to be fair, the bar is high.)
- I enjoy having a baseline level of fitness (and possibly youth on my side) that allows me to pick up a rental bicycle, carry all of my stuff (including camping equipment!) and spend five days riding without any training. While I didn’t do any super long distances (my longest day was 70km), I also did absolutely ZERO training and in fact, hadn’t ridden a bicycle at all in the 12 months prior to this trip.