Two-wheel tour

Group of Pic­tou County cy­clists take in parts of three prov­inces, by way of a cou­ple of ferry cross­ings

The News (New Glasgow) - - FRONT PAGE - BY CAROL DUNN

When he de­cided he wanted to par­tic­i­pate in a cy­cling trip to the Mag­dalen Is­lands, Low­ell Jenk­ins hadn’t biked in many years. In fact, he didn’t even own a bike.

“I bought a new bi­cy­cle in the spring and spent the sum­mer train­ing,” said the 74-year-old Aber­crom­bie res­i­dent.

He had heard some of his fel­low curlers talk­ing at the Bluenose Curl­ing Club about a cy­cling trip they were tak­ing, and thought it sounded like fun.

So he and two oth­ers “in­vited our­selves along.”

The trip in­volved sail­ing across the Northum­ber­land Strait, bik­ing from the Wood Is­lands ferry ter­mi­nal to Souris and then tak­ing the five-hour ride on the MV Madeleine to the Mag­dalen Is­lands, where they would bike around the is­lands for two days and then make their way back home.

Jenk­ins and his five fel­low cy­clists re­cently re­turned from their ex­cur­sion, cy­cling more than 300 km dur­ing the five-day trip.

“I thought it sounded in­ter­est­ing and a bit of a chal­lenge. This be­came my Canada 150 project,” he said, adding that he spent the sum­mer train­ing “to keep up with the young­sters. The other guys are 15 to 20 years younger than I am.”

When he told his wife what he was plan­ning, he said she was sup­port­ive, but “in­sisted I needed my doc­tor’s per­mis­sion.” Luck­ily for him, his doc­tor is also a cy­clist and he re­ceived the physi­cian’s bless­ing.

Jenk­ins has had both hips re­placed and had also suf­fered a se­ri­ous heart at­tack. But af­ter the hip surgery, he was able to re­turn to nor­mal ac­tiv­i­ties such as curl­ing and play­ing golf. He also does wood turn­ing as a hobby.

Jenk­ins said 15 to 20 years ago he cy­cled to Char­lot­te­town to visit friends, “but did very lit­tle bi­cy­cling in be­tween.”

To pre­pare for the Mag­dalen Is­lands trip, he biked two to three times a week, trav­el­ling as far as a 50-km loop.

“My con­cerns were that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the guys and be a drag on their trip. In the end, I don’t think I was.”

He said he en­joys the soli­tude of bik­ing, but also liked be­ing with the group. “Just the ca­ma­raderie with the guys. It was a very in­ter­est­ing ex­pe­ri­ence – lovely scenery. It’s quite flat, quite windy.”

The trip’s orig­i­na­tors — Danny Roy of Thor­burn, Chris Hig­don of New Glas­gow and Marc Es­si­ambre of Stel­lar­ton — went on their first long-dis­tance cy­cling tour last year. The 326-km trip in­volved cy­cling in the three Mar­itime prov­inces.

This year’s ver­sion, which in­cluded Jenk­ins, Ian Gam­mon and Alan Gra­ham, be­gan on Sept. 6. Af­ter cross­ing the Northum­ber­land Strait by ferry, they biked to Bru­denell River and spent the night. The next day they en­coun­tered heavy rain and winds while mak­ing their way to Souris, where they would catch the ferry to the Mag­dalen Is­lands.

“It was rather nasty,” said Jenk­ins.

They stayed the night at Parc de Gros-Cap in Cap-aux-Meules, and then toured the south­ern part of the is­lands in windy but warm weather. “Ile de Harve Au­bert was very in­ter­est­ing with ar­ti­san shops and restau­rants. Ap­par­ently this is a world fa­mous des­ti­na­tion for kite surf­ing, but we didn’t give it a try,” he said.

On Satur­day, they toured Gross-Isle — a long, flat ride on a nar­row

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