Tip to Tip

St Edward resident Randy Allain completed his first ever tip to tip bike ride across PEI on Sept. 20. A goal the 54-year-old sent for himself two years ago after switching from running to biking following knee problems. Melissa Heald photo

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Completing a tip to tip bike ride across PEI was one item on Randy Allain’s bucket list.

Now the St Edward resident can checked that one off the list.

On Sept. 20, leaving North Cape at 6:38 am, Mr Allain biked nearly 258 kilometres across PEI by highway, pulling into East Point on the other side of the Island approximately 12 hours later, a time that includes brief pit stops along the way.

His total biking time was 10 hours 30 minutes 32 seconds.

Mr Allain set the goal of biking across PEI two years ago. An avid runner, the 54-year-old had to give up running because of knee problems, but still wanting to remain active, he switched over to biking.

“Once I got into the biking a bit, I thought I should do a tip to tip,” he said.

Mr Allain began training, receiving help from West Prince native Paul Dalton, but he never felt the time was right for him to attempt a tip to tip bike ride.

Even with a determination to complete his first tip to tip this year, Mr Allain still wasn’t sure he was going to do the bike ride until two days before he made the decision he was going.

“I didn’t have a plan, I just trained whenever,” he said.

But Mr Allain said he was well prepared for the trip.

“You have to make sure you are hydrated, you drink lots and make sure you eat enough,” he said. “Every 30 minutes I was eating half a granola bar and every hour I was making sure I was drinking a water bottle.”

Biking Route 2, the first leg from North Cape to Miscouche, which took three hours, Mr Allain felt strong.

He did consider using the Confederation Trail at some point, but said he liked the challenge of biking the highway.

“You have to be careful of the traffic... You have to be aware what is going on, potholes and everything, because you are at the mercy of the drivers,” he said.

His wife Marie was his support crew, along with her two sisters and Mr Allain’s own sister, driving ahead to meet him at planned pit stops along the route.

The second leg, from Miscouche to Winsloe, was the hardest part, particularly from Kensington onwards said Mr Allain.

“Lots of hills,” he said. “I knew there was hills and I knew there was going to be lots of climbing, but I didn’t imagine it was going to be like that.”

Climbing the hills was only part of the challenge.

“It was just as bad coming down the hills because I didn’t want to go to fast because of traffic, potholes and I didn’t want to lose control of the bike, so I was braking a lot coming down,” he said. “I just took my time coming down the hills, which meant I had to work hard going up the hills.”

But Mr Allain never gave up. Two and half hours later after he left Miscouche he arrived in Winsloe, where he had a 20 minute break before getting back out onto the road, heading for St Peters in Kings County.

Mr Allain was on schedule and doing great when his back wheel experienced a flat tire eight kilometres from St Peters.

“It was my first flat tire ever since starting my biking career,” he said.

Taking over an half hour to fix the flat, Mr Allain was concerned his tip to tip might be coming to an end even after he got the tire back into place.

“I was running with 105 pounds of air, but when I got the flat I went down to 100 pounds, so it was less and the wheel didn’t roll as good after that, but I wanted to make sure I got to the end,” he said.

With two and half hours remaining in his trek, Mr Allain stopped at the St Peters Information Centre following the flat, charged his GPS device, fueled up and got back on the road again for the final leg, heading for East Point.

Instead of going the Souris way, Mr Allain opted to go through North Lake, taking Route 16.

“I did my homework and my buddy told me it’s easier to go on the north side,” he said. “There’s no shoulder, but there’s less traffic and no hills.”

Mr Allain admitted the last 25 kilometres was tough.

“Mentally I was there. Physically I was there, but it seemed every kilometre was longer and longer,” he said.

Climbing one last small hill, Mr Allain could hear his wife and the others cheering him on as he pulled up to the East Point Lighthouse.

“It was a great feeling,” he said, adding the experience was rewarding and he’s very proud of his accomplishment.

Mr Allain is hoping his achievement will inspire others.

“I set a goal and I set out to do it, I knew I was mentally strong enough,” he said. “Being positive, have a plan, do your homework and just do it and achieve it... Anybody can do it. If you told me two years ago I could bike tip to tip, I would probably say no.”

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