Every summer, tourists from around the world descend upon Prince Edward Island in order to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life, and to enjoy a slice of country living.
However, it seems that each year many of them seem to make the same mistake:
They spend their time on vacation the same way they spend their time at home: rushed, stressed, and dissatisfied.
Why is that?
It seems to me that people simply forget to slow down. They forget that they’re on Island time now, and that things just happen at a different pace here.
So how can people get out of that busy, stressful rut?
It’s simple. Grab a bicycle.
There’s no better way to relax and unwind than on a bicycle, and Prince Edward Island is the ideal place to do it.
And so, in that spirit, we’ve created for you a list of the Top 5 Reasons to Explore PEI by Bicycle, which are certain to inspire.
Reason #1: The Island's Incredible Scenery
Anyone even remotely familiar with Prince Edward Island already knows that it is an incredibly gorgeous place, however, its beauty shines even brighter when you explore the Island by bicycle.
As Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables wrote about PEI, “you never know what peace is until you walk on the shores or in the fields or along the winding red roads of Prince Edward Island in a summer twilight.”
And while that held true even in Montgomery’s day, it remains just as relevant today.
My favorite memories of Prince Edward Island all revolve around the scenic beauty of the great outdoors, whether it be climbing on the rocks in Sheep Pond, watching the sun rise at East Point, or exploring an old wood road in the Glen.
All of these things seem so simple, and in fact it is their simplicity that makes them so wonderful; yet they all would have been missed had I not chosen to explore by bicycle. Moving under pedal power gives you the chance see that which would otherwise have been missed in the car, and allows you to truly experience what the Island has to offer.
Reason #2: The Island's Slow Pace.
There are plenty of times in life when things moving too slowly can be a problem. I think of traffic jams, slow internet, or even the mail!
But during your vacation on Prince Edward Island, you should always remember that a snail’s pace is something to be sought after.
When riding a bike on PEI, you permit yourself the time to enjoy things at a leisurely pace.
Look around you – Islander’s naturally take it slowly.
We didn’t even lift prohibition until 1948, and canned pop is still a radical new idea here! It only makes sense that a leisurely ride on a bicycle is ideal for Island life.
All of those people who speed down the main road, who race to catch the bridge or boat, are missing out on an entire dimension of their vacation.
The mantra on the Island is "don’t speed up here; slow down".
A bicycle is a beautiful way to do just that, and to enjoy the Island the way it was meant to be enjoyed.
Reason #3: The Confederation Trail
No discussion of cycling on PEI would be complete without a shout out to the magnificent Confederation Trail.
Built after the removal of the Island train system in the late 1980s, the Confederation Trail is Prince Edward Island’s contribution to the Trans Canada Trail system. It spans the entire length of the Island, and offer hundreds of kilometers of groomed, crushed gravel trails.
Best of all, the trail is entirely flat with almost no changes in elevation whatsoever, thanks to its train track heritage.
The Confederation Trail offers a safe, accessible, and scenic way to get around the Island, and includes stop at many (if not all!) of the Island’s towns and villages.
An experience not to be missed, the Confederation Trail is a must-do for any cyclist on Prince Edward Island.
Reason #4: The Opportunity to Explore
Some experiences simply cannot be replicated. I think back to my many runs and rides in Rollo Bay in the early morning, waiting and watching as the sun comes up over the horizon.
The calm surf rolled inwards at my side, and the cool sand still held shadows of the previous dew. Seals and gulls made their presence known, and at the right hour even the eagles could be spotted in their nests.
For anyone who rides a bicycle, you already know the feeling that I am trying to describe as I type these words. It is that feeling of discovery, of experience, that you can never find on the side of the highway or through a rear-view mirror.
It is a feeling of self-satisfaction, of self-knowing, that comes from those early morning rides through a breaking dawn.
The Island is rife with opportunities like these, but they exist only for those willing to seek them out, and a bicycle is that key component that permits such a pursuit.
Reason #5: The Island's "Hidden Treasures".
On that note, I’ve chosen to conclude this article by emphasizing the multitude of “hidden treasures” that the Island offers, that are only available by bicycle, or by straying from the beaten path.
Some of them are somewhat obvious, such as the famous “Roaring Springs” at Harmony Junction, or the waterfall on the Hermitage Road.
But others, innumerable and marvelous, are still waiting to be discovered. Those vista views, those setting suns, those wild waves; all of those snapshot moments in time that exist only for an instant before they disappear. They exist not on the roadways or in the city centres, but in the hedgerows, hay fields, and at the high tides.
It is a bicycle, and the adventurous spirit that so often accompanies it, that will lead you to their discovery, and I am certain that you’ll never once regret leaving the car parked where it is.
To learn more about cycling opportunities on Prince Edward Island, to explore a large variety of different routes and experiences, or to book a guided tour of any of the places pictured or described, visit our home page and discover why Red Rock Adventure Company is the Island's leader in guided bicycle tours.