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VCB eNews, Vol 11, #48 - Thankful

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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: Thankful

- Letter to the Editor, re “snowy Calgary”

- Rides Captain Corner, Shelley Johnson

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

-  A Bicycle is A Vehicle

-  Bike Buy and Sell

-  About That Funny



“As we express our gratitude we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
— John F. Kennedy






With the Thanksgiving holiday coming up, it seems everywhere you turn someone is exhorting you to be grateful. Over the past couple of decades, a lot of press has been given to positive thinking and the practice of gratitude. Lifestyle gurus and counselors urge everyone to keep a “gratitude journal”. In a gratitude journal, you write each day about the things for which you feel grateful. This practice is alleged to make one more positive and optimistic.


I am very supportive of anything that makes people mindful of what they have and not to take simple things – like democracy, publicly funded healthcare, literacy, clean water, and good health – for granted, I am leery of exhortations to always “put a positive spin on things”. To always accept your lot without questioning it can lead to passivity and apathy. 


Sometimes things are just bad, and they need to change. Ten years ago, a grey-haired couple on a tandem bicycle parked said bicycle outside my workplace and came in to talk cycling with some of the staff. They had little accents and big smiles. I was in the process of changing some bad things, and somehow insinuated myself into the conversation. This couple was near retirement age, and could have retreated to the landscaped gardens of their waterfront property to sip tea and enjoy the sunsets. They were capable cyclists, independent travelers, and could have chosen to cycle around according to their whim, accepting that conditions were far from perfect for cyclists – quite poor for inexperienced cyclists and dangerous for many – but contented that their own skills were adequate to the task.


But they saw a bad thing, i.e. lack of support for a cycling culture in Sydney and area, and decided to change it. I learned they had created a cycling club and were working to improve conditions for cyclists in CBRM. I filled out a form and joined their organization, Velo Cape Breton. In the past ten years as a club member I have met many wonderful people, completed a number of cycling challenges including Century rides and mountain biking trips through the Highlands, taken two CAN-BIKE courses, and spent a year as a Cycling Ambassador. Things have definitely improved for cyclists in CBRM, with bike lanes, bike racks, and new cycling events all supported in one way or another by Velo Cape Breton. 


Jacques Cote and Micheline Guillot could have pedaled their tandem home, enjoyed their view, sipped their tea, written about it in their gratitude journals and never shared a vision of CBRM as “bicycle friendly” with the world. I am very thankful that they chose otherwise.






Dear Editor

IN your last editorial you wrote that “snowy places like Calgary…are struggling with how to integrate active transportation…”

One needs only to read the page 5 opinion columns of Rick Bell in the Calgary Sun over the years to know that common sense is losing in the struggle to put bikes safely on Calgary roads. His tales of the follies of transportation planners is a sure fire way to get newspaper readers commenting.

However, I must take umbrage with your description of Calgary as a “snowy place.” Climate change aside and if you ignore the recent devastating floods with the accompanying torrential rain that drowned us on the 2013 Ride the Road tour or the massive summer snowfall the day after the teams in the Tour of Alberta left for home Calgary gets very little precipitation!

Calgary is a semi-arid climate zone and we are blessed with warm blasts of air called Chinooks that arrive throughout the winter to melt off any minor accumulations of snow on the roads so we can keep on cycling like nobody’s business.

We get enough snow to experience with other cycling Canadians the same winter bike maintenance mess and bike cleaning woes.

Gary Beaton





by: Shelley Johnson, Rides Captain


Sunset on Sparr Road  Solar Glare


CAN YOU SEE THE CYCLIST IN THIS PICTURE?  Not at first glance you say.  It is difficult to pick him out without closer inspection.  In fact there are two other cyclists ahead of this individual that are not visible in this picture.  With shorter days the sun can often becomes quite intense and blinding as it sets in the West.  Most of us know as motorists how difficult it can be to see what is ahead in these circumstances.  


I took this picture somewhat out of curiosity, and to remind us all as cyclists to be careful and alert to this situation.  If at all possible try to avoid this sort of thing.  But if you are in this situation, remember to operate front and back lights.  In this case the rider had a flashing red light in the back and as one got closer to him the rear light became quite visible.  So illuminate and wear reflective clothing.  Not always a guarantee, but better than dark clothing anytime.


Now if this evening situation is not appealing to you, there still is the early morning if you want to get a ride in.  I am not an early riser as a general rule, but for the last couple of weeks I have been getting up early to get a quick ride in before work. The benefit of this approach is the relative quiet. There is little traffic on the road at 6:30 am.  You extend your riding days.  You may also get to see some spectacular sunrises.  I have taken time to stop and watch the sun rise up over the trees and shine across the lake where I live.  But I apply the same rules as for riding around sunset: illuminate and reflect.  Fall is such an interesting time full of golds, reds, greens and oranges, as in the picture below.  I took this picture on one of my early morning rides.  So do I enjoy getting out of bed  early? Well, no, not really.  But for now I am on a roll with this.  How about you?  Are you still rolling along on those two wheels?







Take a guided tour to Kennington Cove and return to the Fortress.  Revel in days past Enjoy on 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 am looking to find out if there is interest in attending a BASIC MECHANICS course for women only.  This would include topics such as cleaning your bike, lubing, changing a tire and other relevant information you would need to know to keep your bike running smoothly.  I am trying to put together a list of names so I have an idea of those interested and would be looking to have a workshop on the go by the end of the month or first part of November.  If interested please email me asap at:






Shelley Johnson

Rides Captain and Cycling Ambassador




DON’T FORGET: 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:


A BICYCLE IS A VEHICLE (passed along by J.P. Landry)


Bike friends, this is clear. Not only do we pay taxes, we are "véhicules" as cyclistes. Enough said, J-P

Faites place !

Je suis un cycliste dans l’âme et, bon an mal, je parcours de 4000 à 5000 km. L’éditorial d’Ariane Krol publié hier (« Plus jamais Mathilde Blais ») m’a apporté une partie des joies et des plaisirs de ma journée.

Lors d’un de mes voyages de vélo en France, j’ai vu un panneau de signalisation à caractère éducatif qui m’a plu et j’ai rêvé de le voir au Québec. Je l’ai fait suivre 
à un membre de la direction du Club des cyclistes des Vélomanes de Sainte-Julie. Il m’a dit qu’il allait lui faire faire du chemin, mais j’ai cru comprendre que la mise en place de tels panneaux nécessitait une réforme de la loi.

La mort de Mathilde Blais et le rapport du coroner, qui semble préconiser une réforme de la loi, forment peut-être l’occasion qui permettra de voir ce genre de panneau fleurir le long de nos belles routes cyclables où l’on se fait tasser trop souvent par les « zefsancinkante », ces camions Ford avec un gros numéro F-150 
sur le flan.
— Louis Mercier, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville

Les vélos aussi sont des véhicules
La sécurité du cycliste passe d’abord par sa visibilité et le dépassement sécuritaire 
de ce dernier ne peut se faire qu’en changeant de voie. Le cycliste, pour être vu et non camouflé dans les automobiles stationnées ou dans le décor, doit pouvoir utiliser 
la voie de droite, point.
Si l’on demande 1,5 mètre à droite pour éviter l’emportiérage et que l’on demande 
1 mètre à gauche pour le dépassement par un véhicule routier, il reste 50 cm sur la voie pour un dépassement. Donc, nécessairement, en auto, il n’y a pas d’autre choix que de procéder de la même façon que pour dépasser n’importe quel véhicule, 
c’est-à-dire en changeant de voie : clignotant, rétroviseurs et angle mort, utilisation d’environ la moitié de la voie de gauche, retour dans celle de droite après le dépassement. 

Alors pourquoi ne pas être franc et reconnaître que le changement de voie obligatoire pour dépasser et l’utilisation de la voie de droite par le cycliste sont des mesures qui assurent réellement la sécurité du cycliste et, surtout, reconnaissent son droit à l’utilisation de l’espace public à titre de conducteur de « véhicule » ? L’histoire des mètres nous place encore dans le paradigme qui veut que le cycliste soit une exception et qu’on va lui « accorder » aimablement un espace. C’est une conception rétrograde qui construit encore l’utilisation de l’espace public autour de l’automobile.
— Pierre Rogué, juriste, fondateur du regroupement cycliste Une porte une vie
La Presse, jeudi 2 oct. 2014 p.18 et La Presse+






Sometimes hinting is just annoying


I find this to be quite true, unfortunately.


I will stick with my touring Brooks, thanks!


Incredible, and only $965 million!







For sale:  I replaced my car and nothing fits.

Yakima Canoe gunwale pads with straps. Used one season $75. Fit Yakima and Thule racks

2 Yakima copperhead bicycle fork mount racks. $60 each. Fit Yakima and Thule racks

Two 56" Yakima cross bars. $50 for the pair

4 Yakima Control towers, fit 2010 to 2014 Subaru Outback, and some other vehicles $100

4 Yakima Landing pads, fit 2010 to 2014 Subaru Outback $60

Locks to match, $10 each

4 Yakima mount for racks from 2001 Subaru Outback. $50.

 Call David Aldridge  902-539-0405  or email:






Universal Converter










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.  


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 9th, 2014


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