Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Adventure Day: Cavendish

Trip distance: 50 km
Time in saddle: 3:30

(Bram writing)
We were feeling pretty recovered after a day and nights rest, so we implemented our plan to visit Cavendish Beach. Our hosts at the campsite gave us some tips on avoiding e worst of the traffic and hills, so we had a bit of a roundabout but largely pleasant ride to get to the park. We've been joking around a little that the islanders are not very original when it comes to names: on the way to Cavendish, we passed through South Rustico, Rusticoville, and North Rustico ( narrowly missing Anglo Rustico) as we rounded Rustico Bay.

The ride north was mainly downhill. That was actually more nerve racking than an uphill climb would have been, because we knew right away that the ride home was going to be harder. Oh, and there was a 30 km/h tailwind on the way put that we were hoping would die down before our return. When we left camp it was very cool and cloudy, which made for a comfortable ride.

We snuck in to the park through North Rustico Harbour, which has a pedestrian connection to the larger park area. From there, we took the coastal drive. It has a dedicated, paved bike path! The first such path we have seen in PEI. It was a welcome change of pace, and even the hills didn't seem so bad when we didn't have to deal with traffic.

After meandering our way along the coast, we set up on Cavendish Beach proper. Lori flaked out on a towel while I wandered with my camera. Unfortunately, the rain which had been threatening all morning decided to drop in on us not long after we arrived at the beach. I stuck it out for as long as I could, but my camera gear is not weatherproof (and neither is Lori). We made our way off the beach to shelter and decided to pick up our adventure once the rain died down.

We took a different route back out, slipping into the town of Cavendish in search of lunch. After a couple of stops we pulled into Chez Yvonne for turkey sandwiches, turkey soup, and a Caesar salad. The turkey was quite well done, and the salad (requested with less dressing) was solid.

Our trip back to camp was more on the major highway, and the highway was also full of tourists driving. It got to the point that we could predict where a vehicle was from by how much room they gave us when passing:
Quebec license plates got very cozy with us, zooming by with inches to spare.
Ontario drivers have a slightly larger personal space, but still tend to crowd in tight. We didn't see as many American plates, but they mostly fit in the same category.
Other maritime provinces are pretty good, giving half a lane or so.
And the Islanders (with few exceptions) pull all the way over into the other lane to give us as much room as possible. They were also the ones most willing to slow down and putter along behind us on steep hills when it was not possible to pass safely. Thank you Islanders! Your bike etiquette is excellent.

As we retraced our path back up the hills that we left in the morning, a strange thing happened: they didn't seem so steep climbing back up. We were convinced we'd have to get off and push for some parts of the return trip, but we made it through with aplomb. True to our hopes, I think the wind also quieted so we were not facing a nasty headwind on the uphill treks.

Perhaps the most amazing thing is that we took a casual 50 km (FIFTY KILOMETERS) ride to check out the local scenery and it wasn't a big deal for us. When we were training in Winnipeg, 50 kilometers (fifty FLAT kilometers) was what we did for our long endurance rides.

We are awesome.

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