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VCB eNews, Vol 11, #47 - Hot Topics

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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

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In this Edition

-  Editorial: Hot Topics

-  Rides Captain Corner, Shelley Johnson

-  A Little Note to "the Shelleys"

-  You Are Invited: Cycling Summit Oct. 17-19, 2014

-  Bike Buy and Sell

-  About That Funny



"The goal of the city bike is to integrate seamlessly into what your life already is."
— Steve Tam, co-founder of Simcoe Bicycles






I'm starting to get notices about conferences. I think this is a Rite of Autumn, the conference. It's as if we adults miss the "What I Did On My Summer Vacation" essay from our days in elementary school, and have to get together to talk about our various adventures. Coming up here in Nova Scotia is the annual Cycling Summit, and I perused the program to see what the hot topics are this year. You can read it for yourself here:


"Bicycling Culture" and how to grow it is a major part of the agenda. This is reminiscent of the International Winter Cycling Congress I attended in Winnipeg last February, where yours truly outlined Velo Cape Breton's 52 Week Bike Challenge as our contribution to extending cycling culture in our region straight out from Summer into what the tourism industry terms "the shoulder seasons" of Spring and Autumn and right into the bleak Midwinter. In other parts of the world, cycling is a "normal" way to get around in all sorts of weather. It should be noted that in many of those parts of the world, they never see weather like we received last Winter. Still, snowy places like Calgary and Montreal are struggling with how to integrate active transportation, cycling in particular, into their city's infrastructure planning, not to mention the snow removal budget. And the city planners I met seemed determined to triumph in this struggle.


In order for cycling to become part of our community culture, it has to be practical for a lot of people. That means good active transportation infrastructure, both public (bike lanes, bike paths, good roads, etc.) and private (accessible shopping areas, bike racks, and bike parking in workplaces). What is often forgotten in North America is that a lot of bicycle designs are not practical for a lot of people. Racing road bikes often require special shoes, padded shorts, and tight pants (so you don't get them caught in the chain). Mountain bikes are more rugged, but still, most don't have fenders or chain guards. No fenders means on rainy days you get a lot of mud in your teeth, or worse: in your eyes. Touring bikes are built to be equipped with panniers so you can lug your laptop and lunch, but still require those padded shorts. Most people do not want to arrive at work needing to slip into a phone booth a la Superman in order to transform into their office selves.


Enter the city, or "Dutch", bike. These bicycles, used for daily transportation in many countries around the world, are heavier and more upright than a racing, touring, or even mountain bike. It is routine for them to be outfitted with racks and baskets for carrying all manner of cargo. They have chain guards or cases, fenders, and other features intended to protect the clothing (and eyesight) of the rider. In fact, these bicycles look remarkably like the hand-me-down CCM fixed-gear machine I learned to ride on. Even with the sparkly pink plastic banana seat I had put on it when I was 9, it was a sturdy, reliable, practical steed -- nobody pointed you out as a "cyclist" riding it. You were just a kid, like most other kids, going to school or your friend's house or the beach . . . on your bike. It was practical. 


As cycling culture grows, I don't think we'll see more "cyclists". But we will see more people on bicycles, going from one place to another, and at the intersection of infrastructure and traveler, we will find the practical city bike. I wonder if you can still buy a sparkly pink banana seat . . . ?






by: Shelley Johnson, Rides Captain





Jacques Cote shows Art MacKinnon how to do an ABC quick check on his bike.


Last Thursday night was a beautiful fall evening.  A warm breeze gently blew through the Open Hearth Park.  The sun was shining brightly, casting long shadows as it does this time of year.  It was a perfect evening for a ride.  This was the final ride of the season for the Ambassadors.  What a way to end!  The Ambassadors have been promoting cycling over the last 3 years and helping to create a bike culture here.  Job well done.


Thursday night was an interesting ride.  Most of us probably would not consider riding our bikes at night.  That made this ride a bit unique.  Of course, one needs to be prepared and the right equipment, i.e. lights and reflective clothing, is a must.  We started out in light conditions as we rode SPAR Road to Walmart and back into Sydney. 

Left to right; Cheryl Berube, Micheline Guillot, Chris MacInnis, 
Art and Catherine MacKinnon



But soon night wrapped itself around us with its blanket shades of indigo and black.  We rode through the park to the top of a hill overlooking Sydney Harbor, where we watched a brilliant orange sunset.  Somehow this seemed very appropriate as a last ride of the season for the Ambassadors.  Beauty.  


  Chris has it right... light and bright                   Sunset.  Site of the former Sydney Steel Plant. Open Hearth Park.

Thank you, everyone who joined us for these rides.  Thank you, Ambassadors, for your dedication. 












Take a guided tour to Kennington Cove and return to the Fortress.  Revel in days past. Enjoy one of our National Historic sites and take note of past sieges between the French and the English.  There are 7 interpretive stops, discussions on the Royal Battery, fishing village and NEW findings, Kennington Cove and more.  Learn about our cultural past.


MEET:  Registration at the Large Tent Royal Battery  

TIME:  10:00 am

COST:  $10.00 cash only





I have asked the readership in the last two newsletters to bring forward any ideas for rides that may be occurring this fall.  Here is one that  looks like a  really nice ride (s) in a beautiful area.  Jim Vance has requested be posted:




This is a mainland ride but it should be well worth the effort.


When & where:  9:30 am for a 10:00 am departure from the Train Station Inn, Tatamagouche on Saturday, October 4.  All ride options start and end at the Inn; parking beyond the cabooses in the trail parking lot please.  The Inn has a cafe that serves great coffee for your java fix before the ride.


Distance:  143 km (over Nuttby and Folly Mountains - longish but not steep) with a lunch break at Masstown Market.  110 km, 52 km, and 39 km options and parking is along side the Trans Canada Trail so that option is convenient as well.


This is not an organized event as such so there is no support provided, all riders need to be prepared for roadside repairs, hydration and nutrition.   Route maps are on the FaceBook site and we will have a few cue sheets available.


"Hippe Dippie" is the name of anale produced by the Tatamagouche Brewing Co, yet another new Nova Scotia craft brewery.  They are donating a t-shirt and will put on a tour if some riders would like.  Also, there is a farmers' market just a few minutes' walk away (actually just down the trail) which operates until noon.


I'd like to see this evolve into an annual ride for cyclists of all abilities to come together and celebrate cycling, the fall and some local independent businesses like the Inn, the Brewery, Masstown Market, Sugar Moon farm, etc.  It's good for us, good for them and good for rural communities.


I hope to see you there,


Jim Vance 

902 237-4858


Here is the link to FB: 







Each participant will receive a "Certificate of Participation"


20 weeks - Carbon-fibre framed Certificate

19 weeks - Aluminum framed Certificate

18 weeks  - Steel framed Certificate

All the others who have participated, but for various reasons were forced to retire will also receive a Certificate (Frame with a sand design)







Have a great week to all and enjoy the ride.


Shelley Johnson

Rides Captain and Cycling Ambassador




A LITTLE NOTE TO "the Shelleys" -- 
by:  Chantal Phillips, SummerFit Participant


I just wanted to let you know that although I can't usually make group rides due to my family time with 2 young children I have really enjoyed becoming part of the cycling community after moving to Sydney at the end of June. I wanted to try the Summer Fit but moving and settling in as well as so much wonderful time outdoors with the kids got in the way. I did join the Deleskie Park cycle once and the Isle Madame ride and it was a great first for me as a new cyclist.

I managed to get a new bicycle for commuting to work and now I go from downtown to CBU 3 or 4 times a week. This transition to a more active lifestyle in Cape Breton is a revelation for me after commuting one hour by car on the 401 to work. Your emails and group activities make me feel part of a bigger community committed to active transportation. 

Thank you for all you do and I hope to see more of the group as we settle in to life on this beautiful island. 



YOU ARE INVITED: Cycling Summit Oct. 17-19, 2014


Reminder: registration for the 9th Annual Nova Scotia Bike Summit, October 17-19, 2014 in Halifax, is now open.

Please see the website for details:

 Velo Cape Breton will be well-represented at this event, and some members will be part of the panel discussion Saturday afternoon (Oct. 18th) on creating cycling culture.





Demonizing? Well, the bicycle was once called "the devil's agent"


"Placemaking": what a concept!


Excuse the girly moment, but these are cycling shoes!


This is for Mr. Bruce E. Ross, who recently told me nobody makes or sells "Dutch" bicycles in Canada:


Accidents? Collisions happen. And be glad you live in Canada.





For Sale at very reasonable price:  2 pair of cycling shoes with clips peddles included.


1st pair:  Ladies, size 9, black, Jaqwa with BOA closure system in very good condition, $25


2nd pair:  Ladies, size 6 (but fits large), black, Bodyglove in very good condition, $25


Contact Info:  (902) 539-2734














Regular articles, including Loose Chain Links:

Word document or compatible, 14 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, 14 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.  


Photos: high resolution (photos taken with a phone are usually too low, but there may be exceptions); please name all the people in the photo, and give the event, date, and location.







Shelley Porter,  

Editor, Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter

VCB Cycling Ambassador.

October 2nd, 2014



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