One final challenge
Well, today was to be a victory lap of sorts – my very own ride down the Champs-Elysees (with the streets of Charlottetown subbing into the starring role). However, as fate would have it, such a ride was not to be.
This morning, I made my way out of Sackville on the Tantramar rail trail. The trail did have some rocks, but I had confidence in Tooby, my trusty back wheel inner tube which had served me well since Fredericton. But after all the hard work, Tooby was done, and no more than 5 km into my ride, he gave way to the load and the long haul. His replacement didn’t fare much better lasting around 3 km. Now, I was down to two patched tubes. The first didn’t even get started as it seemed apparent that it likely had a second leak
that I wasn’t aware of until I had fully mounted it on the wheel. So, it was upto my last patched tube. As I diligently watched for the next rock which might serve as a fatal landmine to my beleaguered bike, the tube semed like it would hold. But then, it happened .. the fourth flat of the day.
Looking to the skies, I wondered if this was really meant to be. I decided that it was. Calmly, I grabbed Tooby, patched him up, and gave him his second chance. Inflated to a point comfortably below maximum, I felt this time, it was going to hold. As I seeked out paved roads, I came across a couple walking down the trail. They pointed out that the 16, the main artery leading to Confederation Bridge, was only a few hundred metres down the trail. I had made it to the next stage.
Though the shoulder was a little narrow to start, it looked like the 16 would be a good choice for the time being (the man on the trail did say that it is often used by cyclists). After a few kilometres, I came to a traffic circle. There, I had two options: right to port Elgin and a small chance at more replacement inner tubes, or onward to the bridge. With confidence in Tooby’s renewed strength, it seemed the only choice was straight ahead; it was time for the bridge. As I veered back onto the highway, that is when the magic began. The shoulder opened up into a majestic avenue wider than the highway lanes themselves; trying to make amends for the past, the wind gave me a slight push forward; and, with all the powers aligning behind me, the hills acquiesced and tilted downward towards the promised land. It was a done deal; I made it to the bridge at a blistering pace. I had made it to Prince Edward Island.
The denouement to our day’s journey was decidedly less eventful. Though the PEI countryside proved to have more hills than expected, it presented no comparable obstacle to those that had come before. As I made my final stop in front of my weekend’s accomodation in Charlottetown, perhaps it was the wind, but I thought I heard my bike sigh. I looked back to my rear wheel, gave it a tap and said, That’ll do Tooby. That’ll do.
Distance: 119.8 km
Average speed: 20.1 km/h
Time on the road: 10.5 hrs. (8:50AM to 7:20PM)
Interesting note: If it were not for the slow going on the trail, I would have been well over 20 km/h for the day. As I approached Charlottetown, I made sure to get the average speed above the 20 mark for my last day.
Interesting daily tidbit
For my shuttle trip across Confederation Bridge (bikes are no longer allowed on), I was joined by a group of senior cyclists who had been cycling since May from Victoria. Very impressive. As they had been asked many times if their team had a cause, they had decided that they were cycling to Free the Geese. If that pops a little question mark above your head, don’t worry, it’s supposed to. Of course, they are blogging their journey as well. You can check it out here.
Tune of the day
Believe it or not – Joey Scarbury (written by Mike Post and Stephen Geyer)
This one is actually the theme song to The Greatest American Hero. It’s a nice uplifting tune and it actually makes no reference to the show title. As such, I felt it was kosher for my Canadian ride.
And a double dose for our final riding day…
We are the champions – Queen
We start with Queen, we end with Queen. Once I made it to PEI, this tune was a must. And truly, we are the champions. With you, my loyal readers, folllowing along, I did feel that I had a team of supporters help push me the whole way. Cheers.
Well, the riding is done. I will have an epilogue of sorts coming Monday or Tuesday to outline my activities here on the island, but until then, the ride blog is on mini-hiatus. Thanks for coming along … for the ride.