The Joys and Sorrows of a Rail Trail

14 06 2016

Edmunston, NB, 62.92 km, 16.3 km/hr

We’ve spent the last 2 days on a rail trail. The Petit Temis is a 134 km rail trail running from Riviere de Loup, QC to Edmunston,  NB. It’s quite special because it crosses 2 provinces. Rail trails are tralls which follow abandoned railways and have been repurposed for recreational use, usually not allowing motorized vehicles of any kind.

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The best thing about rail trails is they are safe,  completely separate from traffic. It’s so refreshing to not have to worry about whether or not the vehicle coming up behind actually sees us.  They’re quiet,  it’s amazing how much noise there is on the highway. They can be beautiful;  bodies of water,  trees,  other plants of various kinds,  are right there. All those people rushing on the nearby highway often don’t even realize the trail is there.

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But they’re not perfect. Rail trails are often,  even usually,  surfaced with stone dust. When done well,  it’s an OK surface to ride on,  but only OK. It’s never as fast as asphalt; when it’s wet, there’s a fair bit of drag, making the ride more work than it ought to be.  They’re also difficult to maintain.  In the last 2 days we’ve dealt with wash-outs, fallen trees  (from both wind and beavers), loose gravel at intersections, mud,  water across the trail,  grass growing up the middle and one time the trail completely disappearing into a Tim Hortons parking lot.

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We made it to New Brunswick!

We’re happy to have made it to New Brunswick and are looking forward to seeing what this province is like to cycle in.  We’re also hoping for some better weather,  forecast has improved, maybe we’ll even camp tomorrow night.

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