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VCB eNews, Vol 11, #50 - Hazards of the Cycling Fall

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In this Edition

-  Editorial: Hazards of the Cycling Fall

-  Rides Captain Corner, Shelley Johnson

-  Bike Buy and Sell

-  About That Funny



“I cannot endure to waste anything so precious as autumnal sunshine by staying in the house.”
— Nathaniel Hawthorne





Twenty years ago, I had a seasonal job at the canoe rental concession at Kejimkujik National Park. I lived near the Park entrance and cycled the 8 km to work and back. As the days grew shorter into the Autumn, the return commute got slower and slower as sundown came earlier and earlier. Nobody was afraid of coyotes in those days, so though they were very plentiful in the area I wasn’t concerned about them. The route was mostly deserted, especially on weekdays after Labour Day, and in the evening it was not only deserted but pitch dark. There are no streetlights, no houses, no stores - just stars and trees and owls. 


It was also the days before rechargeable LED bicycle lights, and I had the technology of the day: a “generator” headlamp that used the motion of the front wheel to power the light. These lights were never very reliable nor very bright. In fact, if you stopped, the light went out entirely.


One evening on my ride home, I detected motion in the dim beam from my headlight but was not able to brake quickly enough to avoid hitting something in the gloom. The generator apparatus was knocked off the wheel and smashed on the asphalt. My light quickly went out, but not before I was able to discern the distinctive slow waddle of the porcupine I had collided with as it moved off the road. I was left to ride the remaining 4 kilometres of my commute in complete darkness, a very slow and somewhat nerve-wracking enterprise. We weren’t afraid of coyotes, but we were afraid of bears!


Of course, in Cape Breton we don’t have to worry about collisions with porcupines. However, this anecdote underscores the need to prepare for changing conditions, particularly as it relates to visibility. Daylight comes later in the morning and arrives earlier in the evening, those times when cycling commuters are most likely to be on the roads. Be prepared with good lights on your bicycle – and those lights do not eliminate the need for reflective clothing! Even in daylight, when lights aren’t very effective, bright colours make cyclists visible to drivers and other road users. High visibility clothing is especially important on overcast days. 


Keep in mind that Autumn brings cooler temperatures, particularly in the morning and evening. A warm helmet liner and gloves will keep your brain and fingers working so you can react quickly to the unexpected. Wet conditions can affect traction, and wet leaves on the road can be as slippery as ice – slow down! Autumn is the time to make sure your bike is tuned up, and if you cycle through the winter you can make the switch to winter tires. There is no need to put your bicycle away just because it’s getting a bit cooler and darker.  Just make sure your lights are bright enough to show any porcupines in the road, and you’ll be fine.




by: Shelley Johnson, Rides Captain


I am going to write about the wonderful fall we have been having and the great biking weather, which has remained relatively warm and dry.  Does it get any better than that?  Well truthfully, yes it does.  It’s called summer, but we are over that and time to move on.  But every so often I lament. 


I rode my bike on Saturday and was enjoying the fall foliage and the blitz of colors.  Leaves at their most robust display.  One just has to step outside their door where fall awaits in all her glory and the bike is a wonderful way to enjoy it all.



My bicycle "selfie" !


Maybe you were out and about enjoying some of the Celtic Colours activities.  There was much to see and do.  This past weekend saw the Fiddler’s Run and of course the Hike the Coxheath Wilderness Trail, always a favourite of mine.  Instead of hiking this year, I was riding my bike in Coxheath.  It started out as a grand overcast day.  Eventually it started to rain, but it was a warm rain so I carried on.  Biking with the B52’s [52 Week Bike Challenge] has prepared me for most conditions.  Now, there is a challenge you might like to take up this year.  It is good to have challenges don’t you think?  Even winter ones.  As I wheeled down the Coxheath Road, I noticed the enhanced smell of wet wood and fallen pine needles from the forested areas.  How earthy that was.  How refreshing. I took pleasure in stopping along the way taking pictures of the beautiful scenery: a wonderful tapestry of oranges, reds, yellows, and greens.  I needed to capture these memories, as somehow they serve as measures of of my gratitude of living in one of the most beautiful places to cycle in.  “Dear old world,” she murmured, “ you are very lovely, and I am glad to be alive in you.” - Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables.


I hope that you continue to enjoy your bicycle and that maybe you find yourself riding along one of the many trails that we have, or down that quiet country road and yes, even around your block.


Hikers start to arrive for the Hike the Coxheath Wilderness Trails.




WOMEN ON WHEELS- Don’t Put That Bike Away Dirty!


I am running this notice for the last time.  I am interested in finding out who might be interested in taking a basic mechanics course, planning for November.  So far 14 women have indicated that they are interested.  Topics covered would be such topics as what needs to be lubed, cleaned and how to change a tire.  If you are interested please email me at Tentative date: November 15th pending available space.  Time and place to follow.


Have a great week and stay active!


Shelley Johnson

Rides Captain and Cycling Ambassador





At the Cycling Summit Oct. 17-19th, there were updates about the Blue Route, Nova Scotia’s cycling route. More info here:


Elly Blue is a publisher and blogger. She was the keynote speaker at the NS Cycling Summit, and is the author of Bikenomics


Here’s some bikenomics right here:


Cycling is a form of preventive health care.


Yoga for cyclists!







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:






Harry gets a job as a weatherman in the Far East. Try as he might, he can never get a forecast right. Finally he is sacked and has to fly home. When asked why he came back he replied, “The climate didn’t agree with me”.



A motorist is making his way down a flooded road when he sees a man’s head sticking out a large puddle. He slows down and asked the fellow if he wants a lift. “No, thanks”, the man replies, “I’m on my bike”.






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 23rd, 2014



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