Confederation Trail Park, Rochford Street, Charlottetown, PE, Canada
Where to start
Technically, the trailhead begins in the town of Tignish, but a more feasible option is to start mid-island in Charlottetown. Its bicycle shops can offer advice on everything from renting equipment to hiring shuttle services. Regardless of where you start, riding west to east is your best bet if you want a nice tailwind to help you along.
What to expect
The trail was built on PEI’s old railway. Because of this, the route never exceeds a gradient of more than 2%, and has long sweeping turns with subtle hills. Sometime you’ll need to ride on the road, but it’s scenic the whole way – after all, it’s PEI. In recent years, more signage has been added to the trails to help travellers out.
Take what you need
Rainwear, sun protection and bug repellant are your friends along this trail. In terms of outfitting your bike with panniers and racks, the gear you need will depend on how much distance you plan on covering, and whether you’ll be camping or bunking down at local B&Bs.
Not all bikes are made the same
A hybrid bicycle is ideal for this trail. Something more speed-oriented, like a road bike, is unnecessary and won’t perform well on this type of terrain. Because there aren’t any extreme gradients, a bike with seven to eight gears is all you need. And because the trail varies from loose or packed gravel to pavement, a tire that will accommodate all three is perfect. If you typically ride 700C tires, it might be best to switch to something like 700×28 or wider.
Don’t skip out on sleep
Keep in mind that almost all accommodations are off the trail. Map out your stops depending on how much distance you plan to cover and the approximate time it’ll take you to get from one town to the next. There are lots of campgrounds spread throughout, but call ahead to see if you need reservations. Most of them are located on beaches, so bring your swimsuit.
Along the way, you’ll have the chance swing off the trail to see some of PEI’s attractions, and at the end of the tour, make sure to snap a parting shot at the East Point Lighthouse.