Ontario resident and BicycleTouringPro.com reader, Kristina Domsic, spent six days bicycle touring around Canada’s Prince Edward Island. The following is my interview with Kristina about her experiences on the road, the things she learned while on her first bicycle tour, and her tips for others wishing to travel by bike.
Kristina, where did you go on your bicycle tour and how many days you were on the road?
I went on a bike tour of the eastern part of Prince Edward Island, Canada. The trip took 6 days, starting and ending in the provincial capital, Charlottetown. Major stops along the way included Prince Edward Island National Park, St. Peter’s Bay, Souris and Georgetown, as well as a few provincial parks.
What was your biggest fear when planning or preparing for your trip by bike? And how exactly did you overcome that fear?
My biggest fear was that I wouldn’t be physically prepared for the exertion of cycling each day, for a planned distance. But at the same time, it felt necessary to plan out distances, since my partner and I knew we only had so many days until we needed to get back to the daily grind.
We overcame this by doing a trial trip about a month before heading out to PEI (Prince Edward Island). For the trial tour, we planned a 3 day trip that we knew was possible, but would be difficult. I learned a lot through that trip! Not only about what distances I was capable (or not capable) of cycling, but also about some new gear (such as a more comfortable saddle, and clip-in pedals) that I should purchase before heading out on a longer trip. Since my partner was generally stronger and faster than me it also helped us work out the kinks of how to best divide the weight of our gear and just with getting comfortable cycling together.
What was the thing you liked MOST about your bicycle touring experience?
I loved the feeling of accomplishment of powering myself through this journey – especially when it rained on us 4 out of 6 days!
When you’re powering yourself to travel each day, you put a lot of thought into what your body and soul really needs – what sights are worth seeing? What food do you want to fill your tummy with so you’ll feel satisfied but also able to keep on pedaling? And that was only amplified by the rain! It was so fulfilling to know we were prepared to overcome any weather that got in our way!
What was the thing you liked LEAST about your bicycle touring experience… and how did you think that aspect of your travels could be improved upon in the future?
This tour was really just too short. I think the next time I plan a big trip I’d like to be on my bike long enough to feel my body really adjust to it and feel really comfortable with the cycling.
What one piece of information inside “The Bicycle Traveler’s Blueprint” helped you the most in preparing for your bicycle tour?
It was really helpful to read through the various packing lists that were provided. By comparing the packing lists of a few different people I was able to feel more confident about what I really needed, and what I didn’t really need at all.
Name three things you learned from your bicycle tour:
1. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you set your mind to it – 6 months ago I had never biked further than to the grocery store and back. Now I feel like I could travel the world on my bike!
2. It’s good to be prepared for any weather. With a good layering system of clothing and waterproof bags (or covers), you’re pretty much good to go! You can bet that the next time I tour I’ll be bringing my rain pants.
3. Prince Edward Island is a great place for beginner cyclists. It felt really safe and welcoming. There are often bike paths, lanes or wide shoulders available on any route, the people were lovely, the sights were gorgeous, and the food was unbeatable!
Do you think you’ll conduct more bicycle tours in the future?
Yes, I will definitely bike tour again! My partner and I are considering a trip to Europe to reconnect with our family histories in Italy and Croatia. Another place we’re dreaming about is New Zealand – seems like it would be a great balance between seeing something totally new and different while maintaining some familiarities like language. Hopefully both those trip will happen for us in the future!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is planning their first bicycle touring adventure?
My biggest piece of advice is to do a trial tour! No matter what your worries are, giving yourself a test (of probably at least 2 nights) will give you a chance to figure some of those things out and give you a great confidence boost before you get too far away from home.