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Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter


Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter


Vol 10, #10 - 24/01/13 -  Champions of Change

E-mailed without cost or obligation to more than 1500 bicycle advocates around the world.


Velo Cape Breton is the Island wide voice of cyclists, working for better cycling in our great Island. We have made significant progress since our formation in 2004.  Visit our website that will introduce you to some of our activities.   If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to contribute to this eNewsletter,  please contact us at (902) 562-8137 or


Joining VCB is a proof of support to the community development and advocacy work done by the hard working volunteers of this club.  Your $10. will go a long way.  It's your 2013 legacy to the rising generation.  To join click here.


Help us make Cape Breton Island a better place to live!


In this Edition

-  Editorial

-  Rides Captain Corner

-  Heads Up!

-  Indoor Training

-  After the Dutch, the Danes, Now It's The Germans

-  52-WBC

-  Be Prepared

-  Donation



"Mastery, is the mysterious process during which what is at first difficult becomes progressively easier and more 

pleasurable through practice." -   George Leonard who, in his fifties, became a fifth-degree, black belt Aikido master






Despite the snowstorm, hardy cyclists and supporters gathered at the Dobson Yacht Club last Saturday night to enjoy a potluck meal and celebrate the winners of the Velo Cape Breton Bicycle Association awards for 2012.  Eight awards were given out based on nominations from the members and the board of directors.


The “Bicycle Friendly Establishment” award went to Bean Bank Cafe & Catering of Sydney. Since Suzanne Annesty opened the Bean Bank Café, her efforts at making this community a better place to live has been complemented by her un-conditional support and contributions to Velo Cape Breton and its membership.


The choice of the “Best Chapter” award was not an easy task with nine Chapters running for the prize.  At the end, Chéticamp Chapter distanced itself by its leadership, the engagement of its members and volunteers towards the cause of cycling.  Michel and René Aucoin made the distance to receive the award.


The “Commuter of the Year” award went to Shelley Johnson who gets her cycling fix two to three times a week commuting by bicycle the 25km distance to work to North Sydney all the while displaying the best practices of cycling.  Her “addiction” to enjoy life at its best after her victory over a bout of cancer is an inspiration to many in the community. 


The Participation Award, as nominated by members of Velo Cape Breton, went to Paul MacDougall.  Not only his presence at the regular rides and events, but his support to novice cyclists, his numerous contributions to the life of Velo Cape Breton made a positive impression on the Jury.


New this year is the “Cycling Family” award to celebrate the parental support which plays such an important role in enhancing physical activity in the family at a young age.  The award was attributed to Shauna Barrington and Chad Munro of Mabou who have demonstrated to most the characteristics of supportive parents.  They have taken all opportunities to involve their two daughters Nila (7) and Elize (4) on rides and cycling events in an educative, sociable, fun, friendly and respectful manners.  


This year, Chrissy Smith of Glace Bay got the “Most Improved Cyclist” award.  Only in her second year cycling Chrissy has been selected on the Nova Scotia Youth Development teams for Cycling and Triathlon.  Fully supported by parents Colette and Bill, she completed her first full tour of the Cabot Trail last summer.   Chrissy is a vibrant example of dedication and perseverance for her peers and us all.


The “M-3” or "Most Motivating Member Award”  goes to these person who by their encouragement, example, good words, moral support, have inspired others and helped them to develop their true potential, reach unexpected goals or simply discover a new and fun way to explore beyond their borders.  Louise McKenna’s write-up about Michael Gillis impressed the Jury.  She writes:  

“ When David and I heard about the Lobster Roll Relay we wanted to participate, but were a bit reluctant because we were not seasoned bicyclists who participated in “official” organized biking events.  But once Michael heard we were interested, he encouraged us to go biking with others from our ski group. We even named ourselves “The Downhill All the Way” team.

Once we were committed, I wanted to ride the whole 100 kms even though the most I had ever ridden before was maybe 60 kms.

Michael just “happened” to start the Lobster Roll Relay with me, and we chatted and enjoyed the ride as the kilometres rolled by. David, meanwhile, reached each check point far ahead of us, but Michael continued to match my pace. And in his quiet, supportive way, he enabled me to complete the 100 km rally.  It was such a thrill for me - the highlight of my summer - and I would never have done it without his help. I know I am not the only one who has benefited from Michael's extraordinary level of motivation. “


The “Volunteer of the Year” or the President’s Choice award was attributed to the Velo Cape Breton Cycling Ambassadors in recognition of their outstanding contribution the the mission of the Association in their various communities.   Art Spencer,  Charlene Wadden,  Chris MacInnis,  Colette Smith,  Danielle MacKinlay,  Deby Johnston,  Errol Jamieson,  Hannah MacDonald,  Katie Boutiller,  Jimmie Campbell,  Lonnie Jones, Mabel Jamieson,  Michel Aucoin,  Micheline Guillot,  Shelley Johnson and Stan Wadden, individually and as a team are a vibrant example of dedication and social engagement for all.


Congratulations to this year’s champions of change!



Note:  Pictures will be added to the Gallery shortly






by: Micheline,


Needless to say that cycling my 30 minutes outdoors at -14°C to stick to my commitment on the 52-Week Bike Challenge was not too bad after all.  I spent more time deciding what to wear than the ride itself. 


The ride was mostly on dry  pavement; tires were gripping well on the little snowdrifts and were not really a source of concern.   


After 45 minutes, the freehub ratchet was not engaging so well so, not to be in trouble away from home, I called it a day.


First time in that temperature range.  Same for all outdoor sports or activities, well dressed up does it.  All the rest are accessories to the fun and safety but should not be neglected.  Quite an experience.    


There's a well written article on theMEC website.






A pre-schedule was presented at the Potluck. 


Apart from several "week" and "weekends" rides for all levels, there's is an increased number of signature events, instruction, socials, and information for all.  Check the VCB website regularly for up-to-date info on upcoming stuff 


-  VCB will be at several Health Fairs this winter and spring.

-  For four weeks in a row, we will be at the Cape Breton Farmers Market for bike clinics on bicycle maintenance and basic repairs.

-  CBRM Bike Week in early June - commuter breakfast, clinics, rides, rodeos, awards.

-  CAN-BIKE instruction programs in Sydney and Port Hawkesbury in June and again in September

-  Camping and cycling weekends.

-  Musselfest in Englishtown & Lobster Roll Relay celebrating the maritime culture.

-  Across the Highlands MTB Challenge 10th Anniversary from the Gaelic College.  (registration opens today

-  Tour of the Cabot Trail in 4 Days.  Pre-registration required

-  Tour du Lac Bras D'Or.  Info  Pre-registration required.

-  Bike & Brunch on Isle Madame, Century rides in Chéticamp 

-  Century rides in Chéticamp.

-  10th Anniversary of the Recovery Ride around the Cabot Trail

-  NS Cycling Summit,

-  Going the Distance for Diabetes.


Hope this make you dreaming...  However, if you're interested in the Tours, a good preparation starts with a pre-registration.  It's filling fast...





source:  RoadBikeRider



I'm having trouble reconciling these three training principles:

  • Start the year with 8-12 weeks of base training at low intensity.
  • Ride the trainer if the weather is bad.
  • Go hard on the trainer because it's too boring to do long, slow distance.

I agree that it's boring to spend hours on the trainer at a low heart rate. But how much interval-type training can I do without jeopardizing my aerobic base? I thought the hard stuff was supposed to come later. -- Rob C.



This is one of the most contentious issues in training.

Many authorities say that to build an aerobic base and increase capillaries in muscles, you need 2-3 months of








Holland and Denmark are beacons of cycling due to policy decisions made in the 1970s and of course there is an awful lot we can learn from them, but more recently, Germany is showing what can be achieved.


According to an article on the website of the European Cyclists’ Federation, Germany’s national cycling plan, introduced in 2002, currently aims for 15 per cent of all journeys to be made be bicycle by 2020. That goal may already have been overtaken nearly a decade early, with 2011 figures from Mobility Panel Germany revealing a 14.5 per cent modal share in that year.






by: Shelley Porter, Coordinator of the 52-WBC


Good morning, 2012 52 Week Bike Challengers.  It's -14°C today and feeling like -35°C. 


I’m slowly recovering from the flu that flattened me down for almost a week.  When I did my last B52 ride, it was in mild weather, along the shore of Sydney Harbour and into Petersfield Park. The water was flat calm and it was a perfect day to test-drive my new MEC winter cycling gloves and Stanfield's long-johns (under the winter cycling tights and shorts!). I usually bike two mornings per week, do a weight/yoga workout two mornings, swim on Saturday mornings, and run Friday (short) and Sunday (long, like 10 miles - which is short if you're Peter Hanna but long if you're me!). 


I can easily say the cycling mornings are my favourite. There is something about getting into that seat and heading off down the road that makes you feel carefree, optimistic, and yes, even young. OK, so maybe not when the windchill is -35°C, but, you know, mostly.


We had 16 Challengers originally, and my most recent countdown email got 8 responses. I know several people had injuries or other challenges and had to drop out.  At Year end, we were 10 finishers,  so let's count'em down again.


Shelley Johnson, Peter Hanna,  Gerard Moss,  Pat MacDonnell,  Jimmie Campbell,  André Gallant,  Bill Devoe,  Micheline & Jacques and myself





" A good half of the art of living is resilience."  ~ Alain de Botton






Environment Canada has issued a travel warning due to low temperatures and slippery road conditions.


They suggest that anyone travelling in the current icy conditions should ensure they have the following:

  • Shovel
  • Blankets or sleeping bag
  • Extra clothing including hat and gloves
  • 24 hours worth of food
  • De-Icer
  • Rock Salt
  • Flashlight with spare batteries
  • Road Flares or Reflective Triangles
  • Full gas Can
  • First Aid Kit
  • Booster cables


I looked like an idiot getting on the bus this morning!







Father O'Malley answers the phone.


'Hello, is this Father O'Malley?'


'It is!'


' This is the IRS. Can you help us?'


'I can!'


'Do you know a Ted Houlihan?'


'I do!'


'Is he a member of your congregation?'


'He is!'


'Did he donate $10,000 to the church?'


'He will.'



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