Part 2: Best Tips for Biking the PEI Confederation Trail
Last summer, our family biked the Eastern half of the Confederation Trail in PEI, going from Elmira to Tignish (140km).
This year, I decided that we were going to go back and finish biking the Western half of the Island! So we did another 140km over 4 days.
Here’s how, and our analysis of the trail.
Our first step was to reread my blog post from last year! It is full of a ton of great information about what to pack and things to do before you even set out.
These really are the best tips!
When we left off biking last year, we stopped in the community of Breadalbane, almost directly north of the bridge (and incidentally where my great aunt lived!)
We came across the bridge to PEI, headed north to Breadalbane, and picked up the trail there, where we had left off.
Once again, we had my parents as our roadies, dropping us off and picking us up at the end of our biking. Plus, they let us use their van because it has a trailer hitch for the bike rack!
We could not have done it without them!
Here is our 4 day route:
Day 1: Nova Scotia to PEI via the bridge, then straight to Breadalbane. We biked from Breadalbane to Summerside (32km)
Day 2: To make it easier to go home at the end of the trip (ending up closer to the bridge) we started at mile marker 0 at Tignish and headed to the centre of the Island. Tignish to O’Leary = 44km.
Day 3: O’Leary to Northam = 34km.
Day 4: Northam to Summerside = 32km.
Total: Approximately 142KM
This year, I improved our equipment, by buying a few packs for my bike including a handlebar holder for my phone. This way, I could easily take pictures, and text my dad to pick us up!
This came from the Loonies and Toonies store in Kentville!
And, I got a crossbar pack from Walmart to hold the map and first aid kit (which we did end up needing a band-aid or two).
How We Ranked the Sections
Who said PEI was flat???
There are a LOT of hills in the western half of the Island! Long, slow grades that seem to go on forever! Of course, this means that there were a few downhills, too, but the up hills are easier to remember!
Tignish to O’Leary: Loose gravel, and lots of hills. This was by far the toughest section of the trail! Once you hit Lauretta, it becomes easier and there is more shade.
O’Leary to Northam: Easier biking with fewer hills. Compact gravel. This was the most scenic section, going through bogs and forest.
Northam to Summerside: Mix of up and down hills. Compact gravel. There were quite a few places with amenities at the major junctions. Not much shade or interesting scenery.
Summerside to Breadalbane: Packed gravel. Because this region has a higher population density, there are a lot of major roads to cross. Quite industrial with major farm operations. Little shade. Lots of amenities, including a great ice cream Frosty Treats in Kensington!
Overall, the Western half is hilly. The eastern half is more at sea level, and we found had lovely scenery along the water. If you had to make a selection, we love the trail around St. Peter’s most of all!