Bonnie Munday, Editor-in-chief
“I have no idea what I’m getting into.” That’s what I said to family and friends after I signed up for a cycling trip of 350 kilometres from one end of P.E.I. to the other. On a whim, and at a time when I needed an emotional boost, I had registered for the trip with a tour company called Two-Wheeling Women. It would be with 12 women I’d never met. A deposit was required, so there was no backing out.
I’d never done a ride that was longer than a few hours. Last summer, my first-ever cycling season, I did my first charity ride: the one-day 100K Ride for Karen. It was tough, so finishing that was an amazing feeling. When I signed up for the P.E.I. ride, I guess somewhere in the back of my mind was the thought that I might get that rush again-if I could finish it.
But six consecutive days in the saddle? In unpredictable Maritime weather? With potentially strong ocean winds along the route’s coastal roads? What if I was super-slow compared to the others? Would the group even be friendly? Might I get there and want to come home by Day 2?
Here’s how it turned out: The ride was tough in terms of weather and wind. Leg-burning, butt-aching tough. (Yes, P.E.I. does have hills.) But there were oysters, mussels, lobster and fish & chips-consumed with not a bit of guilt, since we were burning calories in the four digits every day. And those coastal, rural roads? Gorgeous. I was not slow compared with the group, and it wouldn’t have mattered if I had been: The organizers, Jacki and Beth, made sure nobody got left behind, and that everyone felt good about what they’d achieved each hour of each day. The people of P.E.I. were unbelievably friendly and helpful. And the other women on the trip? The nicest, most fun and laid-back group I could hope to spend a week with.
It was such a rush I felt a bit guilty that there wasn’t a charitable element, that I was doing this just for me. (I’ve signed up for two charity rides to take place in mid-August and September: Tour for Kids and Ride for Karen.) So I decided to donate $350-one dollar for every kilometre-to a P.E.I.-based charity headed up by Chef Michael Smith called The Village Feast, which contributes to causes including a P.E.I. food bank and the building of a school cookhouse in Kenya.
Here’s what others on the BH team challenged themselves to do this summer: