You are here

VCB eNews Vol 11, #32 - Cycling With Potholes. And Cars.

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. Check our Facebook page,  Follow us on Twitter


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


In this Edition

-  Editorial: Cycling With Potholes. And Cars.

-  Rides Captain Corner, Shelley Johnson

- SPAR Road Bike Lane Opened

- And the Good News for Active Transportation in CBRM Continues!

-  Loose Chain Links

-  Bike Buy and Sell

-  About That Funny



". . . in cities like Amsterdam and The Hague, up to 70% of journeys are made by bicycle.” – BBC newsmagazine, 2013-08-07


EditorialCycling With Potholes. And Cars.

I love tea, and all the ritual that goes with it. Recently, I discovered a tea blend called “Amsterdam Licorice”. It’s quickly become one of my favourites, not only because of its sweet fragrance but for its name, so evocative of an old European city rich in tradition and full of cyclists. Isn’t the image of the carefree, trim, efficient Dutch cyclist something each of us has aspired to at one time or another, jauntily spinning along a smooth road on a sunny afternoon, easily navigating traffic while all the while looking like Audrey Hepburn circa 1960. 

OK, so maybe not if you’re a man, but you get my meaning. We wait for that warm Spring weather and fling our leg over the crossbar, eager to get our “knees in the breeze” and our tires on the pavement. I was pedalling downtown this past week, on my way to one of our Bike Week events and found myself in circumstances that seemed more like London after the Blitz than Amsterdam any time: the pavement in most of the lane I was supposed to be cycling at my safe distance from the “curb” within was a field of potholes, some of which seemed to be anti-tank-ditch-worthy (to keep with the WW2 references).

Fortunately, I was riding a sturdy bike with front suspension so I was not concerned with losing my balance or having a tire “redirected” (which is a fancy way to say it went one way while the rest of the bike and you went the other). My concern was, I was sharing this road with motor vehicles. Motorists and cyclist alike were weaving amongst the holes and hazards, trying to avoid damage to ourselves and our conveyances while making the best time possible toward our various destinations. Staying upright and moving forward required that I avoid the worst potholes, meaning I couldn’t stay very close to the side of the road, at least not consistently. 

So how to stay on my course, and avoid being struck by a motor vehicle or just being a hazard to “navigation” myself? Very quickly I thought back to the CAN-BIKE courses I attended last year. “Ride in as straight a line as possible” – this was a real challenge, but I used the bike’s design and strength to go through some areas I would have had to avoid on my skinny-tired road bike. It’s also important to be visible, which I dress for with reflective and brightly coloured clothing. I did my shoulder checks carefully with each turn and lane change. I find it’s helpful to signal assertively, and make eye contact with drivers if safely possible. If a driver adjusts their speed and/or trajectory after you’ve signalled, you’ve done your job of communicating your intent and they are adjusting to accommodate your next move. Make your move smoothly and keep your word: don’t change your mind after you’ve signalled and do something else. 

We talk about traffic “flow” and that is what it should be like to travel with it: flowing smoothly like a river on a fine summer day, even if a few potholes make a riffle here and there. Know your place in the road, ride smoothly, communicate with other road users, and you can flow with the river, even with potholes, with cars, driven by people. People like you. It might even be the river Amstel, and drivers could mistake you for Audrey Hepburn . . . unless you’re a man. But you get my meaning.



by: Shelley Johnson,  Rides Captain, VCB Cycling Ambassador


We came.  It rained and we conquered!  The 2014 Lobster Roll Rides are now in the books.  Despite the foggy and wet conditions, participants rode right along over a 50 mile course.  There were several flats along the way, but the cheer remained jovial and tight knit among participants.  Geoff MacLellan, the Minister for Transportation and Person of Honour for the LRR,  spoke about proposed changes of great importance to cyclists regarding the proposed Grand Lake Road and the 125 Highway overpass.  Of noteworthy mention was 11 year old, Greg MacDonald, a grade 5 student who rode in his third Lobster Roll Ride.  Congratulations Greg on your magnificent ride!  Participants were treated to delicious lobster rolls and great food at the Pit stops. Thank you to all the volunteers who assisted in this event.  Your efforts helped to make for a successful well organized event.  Thumbs up!


Here’s what’s coming up: 


Join the Ambassadors as they cruise through the streets of Sydney and surrounding area.  Take a short summer evening spin and enjoy the sights through Open Hearth Park and let the rest of the evening ride take you where ever the Ambassadors decide to roam.  This event is open to all members as well as the public ($2.00 non members)

Meet Thursday on June 19th at Deleski bike park at 6:15 pm. 


Come on ladies!  Come out and enjoy a ride with other female cyclists.  Learn about cycling tips and make new friends.  Will meet Tuesday June 24th at Noelle’s Country Market 6:00 pm.  Bring your bike and your helmet.  The rest is just FUN!


The Englishtown Mussel Festival is back!  Set aside Saturday, June 28th. from 12:00 to 4:30 pm.  Ride your bike around St. Anne’s Bay.  A full day of activities, run, bike, music, good food, social, etc. organized by the local Community.

There's a 5-10k run that  starts at 9:30.   Cyclists start at noon.

The bike ride start at noon from the Community Hall in Englishtown for a relaxed jaunt around St. Ann's Bay (45km) for all levels of riders....  or a ride to Clucking Hen for lunch and return (20km).    A fundraiser for the Community Hall.  Registration only $10.

This ride is open to all.  I mean ALL...  from experts to novices,  from singles to families.  Come on and get carried along with lots of good people that will make your ride shorter and really a treat!  Pit stop along to way to refuel, support vehicle sweeping just in case...

Note:  A shorter ride is available to families with young children.  How about riding the 2km sandbar, take a break on the beach, throw rocks in the water, continue on the dirt road on the left to the end of Jersey Cove and ride back to the ferry for less than a 10km ride?  An adventure the whole family will remember for a long time.  Event is Pit supported.


Just when you thought that your summer was sizzling right along and couldn’t get any better, here comes a ride that will simply be a must do for you!  Ride your bike back to our mining roots and check out the town of Glace Bay with Ride Leader, Cycling Ambassador, Stan Wadden who will take you on a 30km journey.

The town ( Glace Bay) formerly was independently incorporated from (1901–1995). Following the formation of the Dominion Coal Company in 1893 the coal mining industry expanded significantly with the opening of several new mines (a total of 12). In 1894, the government gave exclusive mining rights to the Dominion Coal Company. Small communities grew up around the mines and by 1901 they came together to form the Town of Glace Bay. At the time of incorporation, the population was 6,945. Prior to amalgamation in 1995 it had been the province's fourth largest urban area and was the largest populated town in Nova Scotia. Today there is no coal mining activity in the Glace Bay area. Come and learn more.  Additional information maybe obtained at

Meet at the Cape Breton Miner’s Museum at 12:45 for a 1:00 pm start on Sunday, June 29th.

Keep busy and stay active!

Shelley Johnson  

Rides Captain and Cycling Ambassador


SPAR Road Bike Lane Opened

Members and supporters of Velo Cape Breton to very pleased to join Cape Breton Regional Police and CBRM officials, including Mayor Cecil Clarke, for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new SPAR Road bike lane last week:


And the Good News for Active Transportation in CBRM Continues!

 CBRM Release
For immediate release
June 18, 2014

CBRM Council welcomes news of pedestrian and cycle overpass


June 18, 2014

SYDNEY, NS - Cyclists and pedestrians will have a safer path through one of Sydney’s busiest intersections.

The provincial government has confirmed they will construct an overpass over the 125 highway to connect downtown Sydney and the Grand Lake Road multi-use trail at the Mayflower Mall. The overpass is part of the municipality’s Active Transportation Plan, but its future was in doubt as the province was opposed to constructing it.

Late Wednesday afternoon, Mayor and Council received confirmation from Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal Minister Geoff MacLellan that the overpass will be built.

The information we have from the Minister is that the province will build and maintain the overpass,” said Mayor Cecil Clarke. “We are working with the province now on our obligations for snow clearing and upkeep.”

I’m very pleased that the province has reconsidered this project and it will proceed,” he continued. “We had considerable concerns about pedestrian and cyclist safety at one of our busiest intersections in the CBRM.”

The province is proposing converting the existing intersection to a roundabout. The overpass will ensure cyclists and pedestrians can avoid navigating the roundabout.

I want to thank Minister MacLellan for his proactive approach for dealing with this challenge. This is the type of engagement the CBRM Council has been looking for from the Premier and his colleagues,” said Clarke.

CBRM estimates the cost of the project at $1.5 to $1.8 million

For more information:

Christina Lamey

 Office of the Mayor 
Cape Breton Regional Municipality


And More Here:



Gizmag always has the best bike news:

I've been trying to come up with something like this myself, but was thinking more along the lines of the microchips used in pets:

Walk a Mile in Her Shoes
Not cycling but please consider supporting this very worthy cause, funds go to our local Transition House for abused women and children:

Hello Friends,

On Saturday, June 21, 2014 there will be a “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” beginning with registration between 8-9:00, an opening ceremony at 10:00 and the Walk-a Mile” all starting at 10:30, Ortona Drive (Victoria Park). The walk is supposedly for men, “Man Up”, with supporters along the way. Many will be wearing “ladies high-heels”, some will wear running shoes painted pink, others will simply be there to support the cause.

I am not usually a person who collects for causes, but I believe this is a very legitimate, needy organization and needs to become more acknowledged. I would like to ask your support, either with a donation (tax receipts issued if over $20), or by participating in the walk. Peter will be walking and I will be there supporting everyone!

I would like to name our team to reflect my fiddling friends, Velo Cape Bretoners, gardeners and neighbours “together we can! Or strength and support” and you can reply to me or register by email to

Violence against women and families is devastating and more common than most realize. Over 50% of relationships involve intimate partner violence and family abuse. Please help us help these victims escape the trap they feel, the hopelessness they experience when they leave all to attempt survival.

Some have pointed out that men wearing high heels for a walk is stereotyping, and there is some merit to that opinion. However, the “raison d'etre” is to raise awareness about the serious issue of violence against women and families. For more information visit

Will you join us on Saturday, June 21, or commit to a pledge? This is the first of its kind in Cape Breton but it is a popular annual even in a variety of cities across Canada.

Thank you for your participation. Hope to see you all there on Saturday.


Catherine Gallagher




Wanted: Old “touring” bike for a display at a local business. Willing to pay a reasonable price. Contact Janet Dawson at The Bobbin Tree in Sydney. 902-539-0575


About That Funny

A farmer purchased an old, run-down, abandoned farm with plans to turn it into a thriving enterprise. The fields were grown over with weeds, the farmhouse was falling apart, and the fences were broken down.  During his first day of work, the town preacher stops by to bless the man's work, saying, "May you and God work together to make this the farm of your dreams!"   A few months later, the preacher stops by again to call on the farmer.  Lo and behold, it's a completely different place.  The farm house is completely rebuilt and in excellent condition, there is plenty of cattle and other livestock happily munching on feed in well-fenced pens, and the fields are filled with crops planted in neat rows.  "Amazing!" the preacher says. "Look what God and you have accomplished together!"  "Yes, reverend," says the farmer, "but remember what the farm was like when God was working it alone!"


I once read about the dangers of cycling. So I quit reading for two weeks.


Have you heard of the garlic diet?
You don't lose much weight, but from a distance your friends think you look thinner.



Shelley Porter, 

Editor, Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter

VCB Cycling Ambassador.

June 19th, 2014


Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer