Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. – Henry David Thoreau
Dan and Hannah hear voices.
Really? Are you two serious about biking the 273 kilometres (about 175 miles) of the Confederation Trail from one end of Prince Edward Island, Canada to the other in three days? Though you biked 24 and 22 miles last weekend, do you have any idea what it means to bike 70 miles one day, 60 the next, and finish with 45 more?
The answers are yes, yes, and no. But it’s a dream of ours and we think we’re ready. We won’t know until we try, will we?
I like your sassiness and your optimism. Let me tell you I’m pulling for you kids!
So faithful readers, we are told that it’s our butts more than our knees that will feel the pain from such long distance biking. A local bike shop owner clued us into the healing qualities of Bag Balm. We will apply it before, during, and after our ride to relieve any chafing and soreness.
A cross country ski instructor has his skiers lay down, legs extended, for 20 minutes every few hours to recharge their bodies. We can do that. We have all day to do 70 miles. The cliché is true, it’s about the journey. There is no rush to get to that night’s B and B. After breakfast, we have 12 hours of daylight to complete our daily goal since, in June, the sun sets after 9P on Prince Edward Island . We want this ride to be more than chalking up miles; we want it to be about the people of PEI we meet.
All winter, we’ve been working out at the Coastal Fitness gym in Kittery, Maine three to five times per week. We elevate our heart rates and build endurance on recumbents, treadmills, and ellipticals. Will that be enough? We shall see.
I’ve learned from a Confederation Trail blogger that there are no hills on the trail. It is a former railway bed so there is no grade above 2%. That sounds very doable.
So some questions that remain:
You two are not backpackers, you wouldn’t sleep in a tent unless you lost a bet, and you would never share close quarters with others at a hostel, shelter, or lean-to. So where are you staying?
True, true, and true. Truth be told, we are soft. We have no interest in roughing it. Picture this. Each night after a day on the trail, we will have a warm shower followed by a fine red to toast this day and the next. That night we slumber in a queen bed. Come morning, breakfast will be served before another day in the saddle.
How will you have a car waiting for you at the end of your ride?
Our friend Bill from New Brunswick, Canada will follow us in his car to the east end of the island (East Point). We will park our car there; then load our bikes on his car and drive with him to the other end of the island (North Cape).
What if it rains?
It rains. We suck it up and deal with it. Heavy rain? We pause. Light rain we pedal and thank our lucky stars we have the health, the time, the wherewithal, and each other to make this trip. Ponchos will be our fashion statement.
How will you take all your gear?
We have panniers, saddle bags for our bikes; we’ll wear no backpacks. We’ll line the panniers with plastic in case of rain. Dressed in bike shorts, dry-fit shirts, and bike shoes, we’ll have light clothes to change into each evening. It’s only three days.
What will you do for food?
Breakfasts will be at the B and B each morning. We plan to stop each noon in a pub to be served a recreational beverage and a tasty sandwich. Evenings we’ll order take out (Hannah’s partial to Chinese while I love anything with tomato sauce), and just chill at the B and B.
Will you take your laptop to record the days’ events for the over60hiker blog?
My phone will be my entire photo-journalism toolkit. I’ll use the Siri and voice recognition software on my iPhone to record my impressions and observations and take still pictures and videos throughout the day.
How is Hannah’s leg?
She says she’s 96% of normal. Of course, normal for Hannah is off the charts for most others eligible for Medicare. Walking downstairs is a little slow going, but all in all, she’s been exercising all winter and recently biking our country roads with no pain.
What have you done to prepare your bicycles?
Each bike has been tuned up and a new chain installed. We have spare tubes and extra water bottles. We’ve purchased a dual bike pump for our tires.
In the end we are interested to see just how resourceful we are. We’ll rely on our problem-solving and people-meeting skills to deal with any issues.
We learn the ropes of life by untying its knots.
I’ve never made a mistake. I’ve only learned from experience.
Thomas A. Edison