It seemed like a good idea at the time. It was early September, the boys were re-installed in college, the weather was glorious, we had taken the week off work and it was my birthday week. What to do with all those gifts? For us,the answer was to grab a mini holiday in Prince Edward Island (before coming home to paint the exterior of the house…well some of it….that’s a story for another day).
The first thing we did after checking into the hotel, was to rent a couple of bicycles. We wanted to see “if we still had it” – we used to do quite a bit of cycling before children and dog. The plan was simple; one day on the Confederation Trail – ride out to a cafe for a lovely lunch, then back to the hotel. Just one day, to confirm that cycling was back in our lives.
Here are lessons I learned (or was reminded of) while cycling that day:
1. Listen Closely to People with Experience. The chap at the rental shop said that my proposed itinerary was “…doable. But eat a hearty lunch before the return. And prepare for some headwinds in the afternoon.” I thought that was an endorsement of my plan….but now see it might have been more of a warning.
2. Read Carefully. Suffice to say, if the place is called “Hillsborough”, there may be some rises in your future. (one in particular was 500 meters up, up, up)
3. Accept That Every Free Downhill Coast Must be Earned First….By an Uphill slog.
4. Be Prepared. After a 40 km ride, we found the destination cafe was closed! The Information Centre across the road was also closed! And the one other couple we saw, and approached for advice…didn’t speak english. Luckily I had thought to pop a couple of apples and a piece of cheese in my pack before leaving. That was our only fuel between breakfast and dinner…a 10 hour span.
5. When Faced With an Uphill Battle, It Can Be Managed one Small Bit at a Time. “If I can just get to the next driveway…..”
6. From Time to Time You Will Smell A Skunk. PEI has lots of skunks….enough said.
7. Downhill is Fast, Fun and Unpredictable.
8. Just When You Think You Can Take Your Feet Off The Petals And Coast a Bit…You Will Face a Headwind.
9. Maintain Focus And Keep Your Eyes on Your Goal. For me, it was the complimentary glass of wine promised by the hotel at 5pm. (and we made it in time!!)
10. Don’t Take Things Too Seriously. A good sense of humour will carry you through.
Admittedly, we took on a little too much of a ride for the first one in years. And for sure, it was a bit grueling in parts. But the weather was stunning, the scenery was beautiful, we had each other and, frankly, no other choice but to finish the ride. So, we did it! (Must more fit than we thought) Next up…..to purchase a couple of snazzy new bicycles of our own.