Bike-touring on Prince Edward Island

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of March 6-12, 1997
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Bike-touring on Prince Edward Island

Bike-touring on Prince Edward Island
Question: My 12-year-old son and I want to travel around Prince Edward Island on bicycle. We love seafood. We will be there for two weeks, the last week of July and first week of August. Any tips on the best cycling routes?

Larry O'Neill
Ancaster, ON
[email protected]

Adventure Adviser: The summer I was 13, my dad and sister and I did a week-long "fish 'n chips" bike tour on PEI. Aside from the occasional nightmarish headwinds coming in off the water, a few days of off-and-on rain, and my sister's brief bout with stomach flu, the trip was a huge success.

We alternated between small inns (my sister's vote) and campgrounds (mine) and pedaled between 40 and 50 miles a day with fully loaded panniers. Our route took us from the ferry terminal in Charlottetown--or, rather, the Best Western next to the ferry terminal--north on Route 15, via the Oyster Bed Bridge to North Rustico and North Rustico Harbour.

Day two was a spin back over Oyster Bed Bridge, along the coast, past Brackley Beach, Stanhope-by-the-Sea, Tracadie, Mount Stewart, and Morell; we overnighted in St. Peter's Provincial Park, just outside St. Peter's Bay. From there, we pedaled Route 16 to Souris, a small town on the east coast, passing through Naufrage, Clearspring, North Lake, Elmira, and South Lake. To make this day's ride a bit shorter, you can skip riding around the eastern tip of the island (East Point, naturally) by taking a side road just past Sylvester Point; this'll take you right into beautiful downtown Souris. My flu-ridden sister opted for this route, while my Dad and I pedaled the long way around.

Day four: Souris to Montague, about two-thirds of the way down the east coast. On day five, you'll ride to Northumberland Provincial Park on the southern coast , via Lower Montague, Panmure Island Provincial Park, and Murray Harbour; we also took a considerable detour to Buffaloland Provincial Park--well worth it, I think. Day six was our last on the bikes, and we rode back to Charlottetown through Belle River on Route 1 and 1A, bucking headwinds and a good deal of rain. My dad, a photographer, took pictures of us crawling the last few steps to our car at the Best Western, tired and wet, but happy.

If you're looking to extend the trip, the obvious choice would be to pedal the west end of the island, toward Summerside, St. Eleanors, and if you're feeling ambitious, up to the island's northwest tip at Tignish. For additional route suggestions, pick up The Complete Guide to Cycling in Canada, by Elliot Katz (Sierra Club Books, $10.95).

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