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VCB eNews Vol 11, #35 - That Was Predictable

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In this Edition

-  Editorial: That Was Predictable

-  Rides Captain Corner, Shelley Johnson

-  Submission Guidelines for VCB eNews

-  Loose Chain Links

-  Bike Buy and Sell

-  About That Funny



“In a world with no systems, with chaos, everything becomes a guerilla struggle . . . predictability is not there” – William J. Clinton



EDITORIAL: That Was Predictable


It has become routine, predictable, on my daily commute to work to meet a young fellow on a mountain bike cycling toward Sydney. I assume he is also commuting, and envy him the ability to do so by bicycle. It does my heart good to see more and more people cycling, whether for fun, sport, or utility (like this fellow going to work). I wish he would wear a helmet, but I guess you can’t have everything. I do give him “points” for riding with traffic on the shoulder of the road  in a steady, straight line. 


Predictability is sometimes considered a bad thing – boring, uninspiring, rigid – but in riding a bicycle in traffic, predictability can be a life-saving strategy. In animal behaviour there is a concept of “search image”, which refers to the tendency of certain animals to be always for a particular shape or movement or colour because it helps them acquire some necessary resource or other, usually food. You can develop a search image for other things too, like, for instance, people riding bicycles. I have such a search image: I notice bicyclists. I am always looking for them, and when I find them I take note of their riding style, attire, etc. 


I am always hoping to see a cyclist with a helmet, properly equipped bike, and most importantly, riding on the correct side of the road, signaling properly, going predictably with the flow of traffic, and predictably following the rules of the road. Too often all of my hopes are dashed: cyclists ride up the wrong side of the road, facing traffic, don’t wear helmets, don’t signal, and generally don’t observe the rules of the road at all. When I advised “riding as if you are invisible” this is absolutely NOT what I meant! I can see you. I can see you freaking out that senior driver because you are weaving in and out of cars at a stop light in order to cross the street. I can see you crowding out Mums with babies in strollers on the sidewalk because you can’t be bothered to learn the rules of the road and ride in traffic as you are legally required to do. I can see you just beyond the brake lights of the car ahead of me because you turned suddenly when the driver was not expecting it – and why should they? You didn’t signal. 


Recently, I was speaking with a newly licensed motor vehicle driver who pronounced “everybody hates cyclists”. When pressed for a reason, it emerged that “everybody” (and this refers to a number of people taking driver training locally) hates cyclists because, essentially, cyclists are not predictable. They move from sidewalk to road, so you are never certain whether they expect to be treated as a pedestrian or a vehicle. They don’t signal turns, don’t stop at stop signs, don’t ride with the flow of traffic. Imagine the chaos if motor vehicle operators showed the same disregard for the rules of the road as some cyclists. (If you drive in downtown Sydney, OK: imagine it MORE). Do me a favour: don’t be that cyclist. Be predictable, like my bareheaded commuter comrade. I predict I will see him tomorrow morning. Maybe this time, he’ll be wearing a helmet. Believe me, that is the only kind of unpredictable behaviour a motorist wants to see in a cyclist.




by: Shelley Johnson,  Rides Captain, VCB Cycling Ambassador




What a great century ride we had today.  I started the ride with a couple of good friends, Perry and Kelly, both very strong riders, and neither one was holding back. I was chatting with Kelly when Perry called out that he needed to stop. "What's wrong Perry?" I asked.


"Cracked frame!" I took a good look, and saw what he meant. There was a large crack in his down tube, about three inches down from the head tube.  Unfortunately, it went about halfway through the tube and was growing!


Perry said, "I actually heard it when it started cracking, but this bike had

taken a header when I bought the frame." What Perry meant was that the previous owner had crashed it head on. The frame had appeared undamaged at the time, but perhaps had developed a weakness in the down tube as a result of the crash.  In any case, it sure looked like the ride was over for Perry.


Perry thought that he might be able to make a temporary repair if he could buy a couple of hose clamps.  Kelly and I were skeptical. Then, Perry noticed a farmer with a well-equipped garage, right where we were stopped. He walked the bike down the driveway only to be greeted with a sharp bark by two very muscular Boxers who very much wanted to know who the heck he was and what the heck he was doing in their territory. "Hercules" (yes, that was his name) didn't bite, but quickly marked his territory, just in case Perry didn't know who was the alpha dog there. "Samson" followed along.


It turns out that the farmer had everything Perry needed and actually worked as a fabricator for a local company, used to cutting steel and building computer-assisted milling machines. He quickly cut out a six inch piece of 1/8 inch steel plate to use a as a splint for Perry's down tube and used three steel hose clamps to secure the plate.  Perry tested the broken steel tube with the makeshift repair - it held! No amount of twisting and weight on the bike would make it budge. We were good to go! Amazing! What Kelly and I had assumed was an impossible situation, Perry (and the farmer) had simply overcome with a bit of mechanical ingenuity. 


Perry continued to ride the remainder of the century and made out quite well.

However, it just goes to show how essential those ABC quick checks and a good scan of your bike can be. Check your bike often and be leery about purchasing a bike that has been crashed. Many times this weakens the frame.  A weakened frame developing an undetected crack, as described above could cause you to have  an unfortunate mishap.  If  you find a crack anywhere, stop riding the bike.  Get it repaired by a professional frame builder or scrap it and get a new frame.


There’s a lot of fun rides that you can take part in over the month of July.  Here’s what’s up and coming this week and in the near future. :





The last formal WOW session, with instruction on safe riding skills and beginner learn-to-ride, ended last night at Noelle’s Country Market.  However, WOW is not over for the season.  We want you to continue to ride with us.  This is where we turn our focus to more social riding over the summer months.  There are still plenty of WOW rides to take part in and we hope to see you there.  Here are some up and coming WOW rides: Ride the Bay Bye Sunday, July 27th. Meet at the Sobey’s Parking lot Glace Bay for 1:15.  Pedaling Along the Mira  Sunday, August 24th.  Meet at Mc Mullins in Albert Bridge for 1:15 and Tour dah Tarten   Saturday, September 20th.  Meet at the Englishtown Ferry for 10:00 am.  More details to follow.

All above mentioned rides will involve food, fun and friendship!  All we need is you to come and enjoy the day.




Wednesday, July 16, 9:00am

Ride from home or meet at Coxheath Arena at 9:00 am for the start of a ride to a guided visit of one or two home gardens.  Usually ending the morning with a 20km tour.   Social, instructive, soothing the body, mind and soul.  

Subscribe to the VCB eNews for up-to-date information.




After a very successful ride last month through North Sydney and surrounding area, Sydney, it’s your turn!  Come and join the Ambassadors as they turn those pedals once again through the streets of Sydney and out toward New Waterford for a 30 km relaxed spin.  You are extended a warm invite to come along and enjoy the ride. Our goal is to provide every participant with a fun experience. These rides will fit the group that shows up to cycle and no one gets dropped.  What better way to spend a summer Sunday afternoon with friends.  When:  Sunday, July 13th at 1:00 pm for a 1:15 pm start. Meet: Deleski Bike Park Sydney. Come and have some fun!  See you there! 



Thursday, July 17th.  Come out and ride the parade on your bike. Extra from Stan and Charlene Wadden, Cycling Ambassadors: “An invitation has been extended to VELO and WOW participants to participate in the Bay Days Parade, to be held in Glace Bay, Wed., July 17th, forming up at Sobey's parking lot on Reserve St. with departure at 6 PM. This would be great exposure for VELO and its members.

As you can imagine, the speed is slow and there will be a lot of waving from big-eyed children and smiling, curious adults” – Stan & Charlene


RIDE AND BRUNCH- ( Isle Madame Chapter)


This is a great ride and a fun day!  You’ll have great memories from this ride and social.  So much so that you will want to do it all again next year! 

When: Sunday, July 20th, 2014

Where: Dooley’s Pharmacy Parking Lot

Time: 10:00 am

Contact: Development Isle Madame Association @ 226-1918 / Jessica Boudreau @ 226-1214

For all levels of cyclists, choose from 20km, 40km, or 60km routes as you cycle through beautiful Isle Madame.  Followed by free seafood chowder and BBQ at LeNoir Landing for all cyclists.


Have a great week and enjoy your bike!

Shelley Johnson, Rides Captain/Cycling Ambassador






Regular articles, including Loose Chain Links:

Word document or compatible, 12 pt Times New Roman. Please have submissions for the current edition submitted by the Monday prior.


Ads for Bike Buy & Sell: Word document or compatible, 12 pt, Times New Roman, submitted by the Monday prior. Ads will run for 3 weeks. Please inform the editor if the item is sold before that term is up. If the item doesn’t sell, you may re-submit your ad.  





It’s a different world for cyclists in the UK, but the point about rule-busting cyclists is just as true in Nova Scotia, “. . .   cycling needs to progress and be embraced, but the more badly behaved and unaccountable cyclists are perceived to be, the greater the likelihood that we'll be forced into restrictive and bureaucratic measures that set the whole cause back.” More here:

Wonder if one of our local cafes would consider a makeover?


As someone who cuts themselves every time they pump up a tire, I am very interested in tools that make life easier for those of us under 2 m. tall and over 20 years old:


I wish I had written this:


Hundreds of cyclists ride in first Tour de Guelph:



For Sale: Supercycle SC1800 mountain bike, ladies frame size 17 in. Never used, still has the tags on it. Red. $80 or best offer. Contact Siobhan at 


About That Funny


 One day the zoo-keeper noticed that the orang-utang was reading two books -- the Bible and Darwin's Origin of Species. In surprise he asked the ape, "Why are you reading both those books"? "Well," said the orang-utang, "I just wanted to know if I was my brother's keeper or my keeper's brother." 

A car breaks down along the expressway one day, so the driver eases it over onto the shoulder of the highway. She jumps out of the car, opens the trunk, and pulls out two men in trench coats.

The men stand behind the car, open up their coats and start exposing themselves to the oncoming traffic. This results in one of the worst pile-ups in history.

 When questioned by police as to why she put two deviants along the side of the road, the woman replied, "I broke down and was just using my emergency flashers!"




Shelley Porter,  

Editor, Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter

VCB Cycling Ambassador.

July 10th, 2014



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