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VCB eNews, Vol 12, #5 - Just Drive!

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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: Just Drive

-  Christmas Lights Ride

-  Correction: New Velo Cape Breton Board

-  Annual Velo Cape Breton Potluck

-  Loose Chain Links

-  Bike Buy and Sell

-  About That Funny



"Next time you feel you have to make that call, change that radio station, or put a DVD on for the kids, consider that a car going 100 km/h travels about 90 feet in one second. A tragedy can happen when you take your eyes off the road for even a second. Just drive."
NS Dept. Of Transportation brochure on distracted driving






A motorist using a smartphone to text message is twenty-three times more likely to be involved in a car crash than a non-distracted driver. This is almost three times the rate of the next most distracting activity to engage in while driving: reaching for a moving object. The average driver in rush-hour traffic is keeping track of 3000 items. Do you really believe you can text while doing that? A fighter pilot in combat only needs to track 300 items. Do you believe your reflexes are better than a fighter pilot's?


Cycling in traffic, any kind of traffic -- highway, city, small town -- has its hazards. Cyclists can do a lot to minimize those hazards, and I won't repeat the tips I have already written about here. I used to ride a motorcycle. As part of the process for obtaining a licence and insurance, I took a safety course. One safety tip stuck in my mind, and I lived by it as a motorcyclist and still do as a cyclist: ride as if you are invisible and everybody is trying to kill you. Why? Because the top reason motorists give for colliding with motorcyclists is, "I didn't see him". This is why both motorcyclists and cyclists are told to wear bright colours, make eye contact with drivers at intersections, be alert for erratic drivers, etc. As a vulnerable road-user, you make it a priority to do whatever you can to avert disaster.


Last week on my morning [car] commute to work, I found myself stopped behind a school bus. I glanced in my rear-view mirror, and saw a large pick-up truck coming up behind me at full speed. I watched with growing alarm as the vehicle maintained its speed and drew rapidly closer. I could see the driver was not watching the road. He was looking at something on the seat beside him. Suddenly he looked up, and the brakes were finally applied. Fortunately for both of us, the road was wide enough for him to pull to the right and stop, right beside my car. 


Was that driver texting? I don't know. But what he wasn't doing was driving. I found myself wondering what would have happened if a cyclist was on the paved shoulder where this truck finally came to a stop. This is not the first time I've witnessed a driver obviously driving while distracted, and wandering to the right side of the road - the part of the road used by cyclists. 


I have bright coloured cycling clothing, front and rear bike lights that can be seen for three kilometres, reflectors on the sides of my bicycle, on the panniers -- I am very visible. But as a motorist, you are not going to see me, not even if I'm on fire and exploding like a firework, if you are not paying attention to the road!


I've invested quite a bit in making myself visible as a cyclist, I feel pretty confident that I will be seen, I watch traffic up ahead, I ride as if I am invisible and everybody is trying to kill me. I am predictable in my trajectory in traffic, signal my lane changes and turns, stop at stop lights, yield properly in round-abouts. I've been riding on the roadsides of Nova Scotia for more than 30 years. But I have never felt more vulnerable as a road user as I have since the rise of texting and driving. A second of inattention is all it would take to hit a cyclist, and most probably kill them. There is nothing a cyclist can do to predict this, no evasive maneuvre a cyclist can take. Cyclists' safety, after they have done all they can do to protect themselves, depends on other road users paying attention. When you're driving your car, please: JUST DRIVE.





"Good Heavens! Is it that time of year again?  I've been waiting alllllll year for the "Jingle Bells of Christmas" Ride to see the lights of Carmichael Drive!  Max!  Hook up the sleigh... I mean the bike!"



Ho Ho!  All you Christmas revelers, the Tour the Lights of Carmichael Drive is back!  Why not get into the festive spirit of the holidays by viewing the wonderful light displays of Carmichael Drive in Sydney River while riding your bike?


When:  Sunday, December 14, 2014 (unless weather is inclement)


Where:  Meet RL Shelley Johnson at the parking lot of Kenny's pizza for 5:15 for a 5:30 pm start time.  This ride will last for approximately 1 hour and is an 8 kms route.


Route:  The tour will leave Kenny's Pizza turning left onto Kings Rd.  The group will ride a brief distance turning right onto McCrae Avenue in Sydney River and then left onto Riverview Drive, which will lead to Carmichael Drive, onto Parkwood Drive, leading back to Kenny's Pizza where we will meet for pizza and refreshments.

Note: If going up the incline of Riverview Drive is a concern, you can park at the school and join the group as it passes on the way to Carmichael Drive.


Pace:  Relaxed


MANDATORY:  A front and rear light is required to participate in this event. Make sure to wear warm clothing appropriate for winter cycling.


Optional Fun Stuff:  Not required but fun if you do so- light up your bike, your own set of bells, Santa Hat, antlers etc. etc.... See you there for a Ho Ho! good time




It has been brought to the Editor's attention that there was an error in the recently published list of 2014-15 Velo Cape Breton Bicycle Association Board members. Chantal Phillips, Member at Large, Cape Breton University Liaison was inadvertently omitted from the list. I apologize for this oversight. We welcome Chantal to the Board and look forward to collaborations with Cape Breton University.





The annual potluck is scheduled for January 17, 2015 at the Dobson Yacht Club in Westmount. Awards and certificates of accomplishment will be presented, as is our custom.  Watch this space over the coming weeks for more details!





Riding a bike is safe:


Couldn't resist a little Christmas science:


115 km of trail:


If you don't want to believe me:


Sign up for Bicycle Nova Scotia's monthly newsletter:



BIKE BUY AND SELL -- empty this week!





Fixed gear cyclists say, "I don't give a shift . . . "


You might be a cyclist if . . .

  1.  All of your pants have frayed cuffs and chain-grease stains.
  2.  You tell a family of five in a crowded mall to "hold their line"
  3.  You are walking along a street and signal left to cross (that's so embarrassing)
  4.  You glance up to check your helmet mirror while: walking along the sidewalk; driving your car; swimming (hey, Jaws might be coming up behind you).
  5.  You hang out at the bike shop and nobody expects you to buy anything.
  6.  You no longer have to stop to take off your cycling jacket on a ride.
  7.  You feel confident about taking your jacket off without stopping, and get the trailing sleeve caught in the rear wheel . . .  .






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.

December 4th, 2014


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