Cycling in Charlottetown
Charlottetown is the perfect home base from which to begin and end your cycling adventures in Prince Edward Island. Whether you simply want to tour the city in a unique fashion, or want to make a day of it and explore the Island’s rolling hills, lush farmlands and postcard coastlines the capital city offers easy access to trails, rentals, and pro shops.
Follow the tips below and you’re sure to have a smooth cycling adventure!
Check out the Local Pro Shops and Bike Rentals
Even if you have your own wheels, it may well be worth it to visit one of the city’s pro shops for a tune-up or simply to bend the ear of staff that are cycling enthusiasts on the best trails for you.
And if you’ve arrived without your own bike, you can count on one of the local bike rental shops to take good care of you, whether you’re simply in search of a cruiser for the day, a guided mountain biking tour, or shuttle/delivery service across the Island.
Know the Local Laws and Stay Safe
Be sure you know PEI’s cycling laws before you head out on the road. Here are the main ones to keep in mind:
- Bike helmets are required by law on PEI, so be sure you’re wearing one that is properly fitted and while pedaling, regardless of whether you’re on the road or a trail.
- Cyclists are not permitted to pass cars on the inside. Though it may be tempting to come up beside a car while waiting at a red light or stop sign, cyclists should be in line with the traffic, toward the right-hand curb to allow motorists to pass.
- Keep your hands on the handlebars! There’s actually a law against no-hands cycling in the PEI Highway Traffic Act, so don’t be a show-off
- Don’t drink and ride. Though many people think of drinking and driving as an offence only applicable to motorists, it is equally applicable to cyclists. Leave the booze at home, or walk your bike home after you’ve indulged!
- The regular rules of the road for motorists also apply to cyclists - that includes stopping at red lights/stop signs, signalling when turning, and not going over the speed limit!
The PEI government also recently passed the one-metre law to help protect cyclists. The law requires a driver to keep that amount of distance between their vehicle and a cyclist when driving on a roadway. Props to safer roads for everyone!
Take a Looped Tour from Charlottetown
From Charlottetown, there are several day trip options for cyclists of every level. Beginners may want to stick to the Confederation Trail, so they can avoid traffic and turn back at any time, however there are sevearl looped trails for cyclists comfortable on the road and with the time to take a slightly longer jaunt beyond city limits. Ce
Photo Credit: Michael Wasnidge
Being surrounded by water, the weather on PEI can change fairly quickly. Always check the latest forecast before heading out and dress/prepare accordingly. No matter what the weather, be sure you slather the sunscreen on, pack light snacks and fill up your water bottle. It’s also wise to bring a paper map with you even if you’re using your phone to navigate, as some areas of PEI have poor/no cell reception depending on your carrier.
Experience the Confederation Trail
Built on the railroad trails that were fully abandoned by 1989, the Confederation Trail spans the Island from tip-to-tip. Repurposed as shared walking and cycling trails, this exploration corridor boasts over 400 kilometres of rolled stone dust trail with gentle gradients that never exceed 2% (up or down).
Charlottetown is an ideal base from which to explore the Confederation Trail, offering easy access to those without a car and options for hour-long, half-day and full-day trips that you’ll love.