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How Johnny learned how to fix a bike tire

April 22, 2017

My summer between school years in the Niagara Brewing program I had spent out working for a brewery in Prince Edward Island. Never having travelled east of Montreal, brewing allowed the perfect opportunity to explore someplace new. That Canada Day, feeling a bit homesick I decided to plan a long distance bike trip (not always the simplest of tasks when you hadn’t ridden anything more than down the block most your life). The route began with a 100km stretch from Charlottetown to a ferry terminal on the northern peninsula of the island. This would then lead to the Magdelen Islands (or ‘Isle-de-la-Madeline’) an offshoot of Quebec just north of PEI. Not too unlike my own situation, the island seemed displaced from its home, far out on the eastern coast. The only reason I knew this island existed, was because of a beer I had enjoyed years earlier while in Montreal, Corps Mort by A L’Abri De La Tempete - a barley wine that can actually contain traces of smoked herring, due to malt used in the beer being smoked at a historic local smokehouse. The beer also carries with it a slight salinity, due to the coastal climate and the breweries position right along the water's edge. It’s a unique tasting beer, and one fully formed by the terroir of where it comes from -- and I was determined on this trip to try it at its source. Now the thing about lengthy bike trips, especially to a novice, is you don’t always know what to expect. And you certainly aren’t prepared for what to do when you get one flat tire, let alone two. A mix of small accidents and a lack of oversight surely should have derailed the trip at several points along the way. Somehow though, through a mix of coincidence, serendipity, and overly kind random strangers my plans stayed on course. New friends were made, and somehow on the last day of my trip I was able to bike over the island to visit the brewery on waters edge. I met with the brewers, explored their facility, and tried a whole range of their beers that could only be sampled or purchased on site. So far away from home, in someplace all very new, the beer was something very familiar that I felt I now understood a whole lot more. Along with how to change a bike tire.



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