As we traveled through Atlantic Canada we would often ask people we met for beta on bike trails in their province. We often heard similar answer. “There’s a few trails here, but PEI has some amazing riding!”
This got us pretty excited for PEI until we would ask the following question; “What trails, where are they?”
The response every time was “I don’t know, I’ve never been.”
All of a sudden we found ourselves on the ferry towards PEI wondering if there was actually mountain biking to be had or if it was just mounts of potatoes.
Upon arriving we continued to ask about mountain biking with responses often being; “Yeah, I think you can ride here”.
It didn’t look good. It seamed that PEI having epic riding was more of a myth than anything.
That was until we were directed to Brookvale. We made the drive there from the north-eastern portion of the island where ocean met sand dunes, sand dunes met potato fields and finally flat potato fields met rolling softwood forest.
As we got closer to Brookvale, the hills continued to grow and the drive became slower as the van would bog down to 40km/h coming up the last hill before the trailhead.
We pulled into the parking lot to see old Tacomas with gate blankets and flashy Subarus with bike racks. A welcomed and familiar sight to any good trail network.
We went and checked out the trail map for the area. A blend of beginner to advanced single track linked together via dual track. Locals gave us some suggested routes for best flow and we got on our bikes and went.
Brookvale offered flowy ups and downs that featured lots of roots and turns. It felt like good old cross country riding. The trail was well broken in but not over worked. It was almost a bit refreshing to ride compared to some of the super smooth newer built trails.
Speaking of newer built trails, everyone at Brookvale told us about the newer Bonshaw trails. A section of fast, smooth single track just 20 minutes away.
We headed there next. The trail started with a long climb before turning down for some amazing and fast downhills.
From Bonshaw we heard about more trails. Some of the most technical on the island. Technical lines through big roots, steep climbs and descents. We check them out next and they did not disappoint.
So to all our friends in Nova Scotia that told us PEI was epic, but had never been… Well you are right. PEI is the Mecca of mountain biking in the Atlantic. They don’t brag about their trails though. They don’t wave giant flags. They just go out, build and ride for the pure love of single track. And if you make the effort to come ride with them, they are friendly, inviting and more then excited to show you what PEI has to offer.
But they are also okay with just getting out and riding by themselves. So maybe it’s worth the expense of getting over the the island. Maybe it’s not. The only way to know is to go. It is free to get to the island after all. You only pay to leave, and you just may not want to once you experience the trails of little flat PEI.