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VCB eNews Vol 11, #49 - Some Things I Want You to Know About Creating Cycling Culture in Cape Breton

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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: Some Things I Want You to Know About Creating Cycling Culture in Cape Breton

-  Rides Captain Corner, Shelley Johnson

-  Bike Buy and Sell

-  About That Funny



“A journey of one thousand miles begins with a single step.”
— Chinese proverb




EDITORIAL: Some Things I Want You To Know About Creating Cycling Culture in Cape Breton


This Saturday, I will be in Halifax at the annual provincial cycling summit, talking about you. Yes, you: citizens of Cape Breton. A theme of this year’s summit is “creating cycling culture”. Do we have a cycling culture in Cape Breton? What do you think? How might we tell? Last Saturday I walked around the downtown of Sydney with my camera taking photos of empty bike racks. It was a fine Autumn day, and the downtown was full of . . . cars. At the high school nearest my home, the bike rack is always empty. But parking lots nearby are full of . . . cars. 


I am now going to tell you some bad things. Statistically, here in Cape Breton we are older, fatter, less active and less healthy than people in other parts of Canada. The population is shrinking, even if our waistlines are not. Perhaps those left are just trying to take up more space, so the place doesn’t seem so empty. 


The economic situation is not great. The unemployment rate here is triple that of the Halifax Regional Municipality, and average income is 35% lower. How do we encourage any kind of active transportation, including cycling, in this scenario?


Now let’s look at some good things. There is an active transportation plan for CBRM, and it’s being built right now. Those poor health issues I mentioned earlier? Forty percent of chronic health issues are preventable, and active living is a big part of the prevention strategy. How can we encourage active living? Support our cycling association, for starters. Velo Cape Breton offers group rides for all levels of cyclists, from the beginner to the experienced touring rider. Velo Cape Breton has sponsored CAN-BIKE instruction, which teaches all cyclists how to navigate traffic safely and to obey the rules of the road. Our Cycling Ambassadors offer assistance to cyclists, provide information at public events, and lead by their good example as safe, predictable riders. The 52 Week and SummerFit Bike Challenges give individuals support and incentive to ride regularly. Is this going to strain our wallet? A membership only costs $10, an excellent value for your hard-earned dollar. And I have already told you how the bicycle compares with the motor vehicle in terms of maintenance and operating costs.


Can we have a cycling culture in Cape Breton? Maybe - at meetings with government officials, in letters to Editors, at municipal Council, on silent steeds Tuesday evenings all Summer or any day all year round, testing bike lanes where the paint has not long dried – we are already building a good foundation for one. Cycling is good for human health, good for the environment, and good for business. Let’s not keep those bike racks waiting.





by: Shelley Johnson, Rides Captain


Who would have thought that standard daylight savings time belongs to the scientific mind of a Canadian who proposed a worldwide standard time in 1879?  In 1883 an agreement was struck that all US and Canadian railroads would readjust their watches and clocks to the new 5 zone system.  But -  Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, just east of Maine, did not opt to join in the intercolonial time based on the 60th meridian, west of Greenwich. Instead they chose Eastern time, in effect creating 4 time zones adopted by US and Canadian railroads.  And I thought that farmers had a say in this daylight savings thing.  Thanks to the cow, wheat, and barley, we have daylight savings . . .WRONG! . . . it had more to do with the cowcatcher than the cow . . . “ I hear the train a-comin’ . . .”.


Standard time was not enacted until 1918.  But Standard time was attributed to Sir Sandford Fleming, and I recently had the pleasure of hiking though his property in Halifax, all 95 acres of which he donated for public use, and called it “the Dingle” .


Yep! Folks This is a big deal. Sandford also designed the first Canadian stamp.  This was a very  busy Haligonian. Haligonians are a creative and industrious lot, as are Nova Scotians in general.  My family throughly enjoyed his legacy as we traipsed through autumn forested trails of his land.  My 89 year old mother pushed her walker up and down the hilly and rocky terrain that is typical of Halifax landscape. She was determined to be with us. We were equally determined not to see her do herself in!  Thank goodness she is hardy.


My dear little cousin, all of 3 years, happy and giggly, with much enthusiasm was chasing ducks at the lake. Well, maybe they were chasing him. OK, it’s hard to tell who was chasing who. I just love him and his gusto!  Even when he fell on an inevitable reckless decent as 3 year olds do, thereupon informing us all that he “ broke his hand” (he scraped  a piece of his palm).  Amidst a few tears, he carried on.  His father assured him, that although his hand was hurting on Sunday, it would be healed by Thursday.  It must be true: daddy knows all.


Rich colors at Fleming Park, Halifax, NS.


As we walked along the trail, people were walking, running and biking.  Everyone was friendly and smiling.  How could it be otherwise?  It was a super sunny fall day!  This Thanksgiving, I missed my usual weekend rides, but they were replaced with so much more.  Instead of two wheels, my feet took me somewhere I had never been and it was good.  I learned about a man named Sandford Fleming from Nova Scotia, with a creative mind and an enduring spirit.  A railroad man, he shared his lovely summer home and property, which he called the Dingle, for us all to enjoy.  Now, when I set my clock back at the end of October, it has some real meaning.





I am looking to post any rides that you might be interested in doing or advertising to the membership.  Our official calendar of rides is completed with the exception of the “Jingle Bells of Christmas” in December.


Please feel free to contact me at  if you have suggestions or know of a ride coming up.






Thank you ladies for responding.  There is great interest in having a basic mechanics course for women.  If by chance you didn’t catch last week’s newsletter, I was asking if there would be interest in having a basic mechanics course.  That would mean topics such as; what to keep clean, greased, and in good shape and what to do when in not such good shape.  If you are interested in this workshop,would you kindlyemail me at  I am hoping to get  a workshop together by the end of the month or the first part of November.




If you are looking for rides to challenge yourself with, or just to check out a nice day-ride, please take a look at the Velo Cape Breton Website.  There are 16 day-rides listed there.  Try some of these and enjoy! 


Have a great week and get out and enjoy Celtic Colors.  Lots to take part in.


Shelley Johnson,

Rides Captain and Cycling Ambassador






The Annual Nova Scotia Bike Summit, October 17-19, 2014 in Halifax, starts tomorrow.

Please see the website for details:




Bikes make peace.


More about those “Dutch” style bikes.


Bikes are good for the economy!





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:






I apologize for yet another link to click through, but this is much funnier with the illustrations:

 A teaser: semi-colon dog has short paws . . .







Regular articles, including Loose Chain Links:

Word document or compatible, 142 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 16th, 2014



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