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VCB eNews, Vol 12, #6 - Engaged - Cycling in Traffic

 E-mailed without cost or obligation to bicycle advocates around the world.

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: Cyclist’s Christmas Wish List

- Christmas Lights Ride

- Annual Velo Cape Breton Potluck

- Loose Chain Links

-  Bike Buy and Sell

-  About That Funny


“It is not a question of making space for bicycles; it is all about reallocation of space and about prioritizing that space for transportation forms other than the automobile.
— Mikael Colville-Anderson






Twice in the past few days, I have bicycled from downtown Sydney to Westmount. I hadn’t cycled in town for a while. It was a thrill to glide out into traffic, and take on the challenge of being part of it. My usual cycling routes are on quiet rural roads, in the early morning or the evening when traffic is scanty. No such circumstance downtown on a weeknight. Although it wasn’t rush hour, the flow of cars and trucks was steady.


Joining the stream of urban travellers is a different experience from a leisurely cycle in the countryside, and it demands a different mindset. Your level of alertness is higher, your awareness of your machine is sharper (is that brake grabbing? Did I just get a flat?), your perceptions of other road users more critical. Every second you are responding to variables and incidents from the road, the route, your bicycle, other traffic. You are engaged.


It’s serious business, it can be life-and-death business, but in many ways it’s a game. There are rules, roles, equipment, a uniform. Enforcement officers referee. Like a striker moving a soccer ball up the pitch, you know where the other players are, what they might do, what they are doing, where the goal is and what’s between you and it. As in hockey or soccer, you have to pay attention, keep moving, and avoid interference. You make split-second decisions, relying on your preparation (including your level of fitness) to get you where you want to go. You are furious when someone commits a foul and gets away with it.


Just like stepping up to the start line in a running race, or trotting on to the pitch for a soccer game, when you pedal out into traffic there is a shiver of anxiety but also of anticipation. The properly prepared cyclist – with lights, tuned bicycle, safety training, and good physical fitness – merges into traffic with the confidence of a seasoned competitor. She moves with power, finesse, and calm. She knows what to do when the other players compete fairly, and how to counter when they don’t. She knows her weaknesses and how to compensate for them. She doesn’t merely react to the play, she anticipates it – even manipulates it. This player is fully engaged, because this player –when winning means getting to her destination safely - really, really has to win.



The Editor, very seriously prepared to run her first half-marathon, Halifax, February, 2008.





“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.


WhenSunday, December 14, 2014  (unless weather is inclement.... rain , snow, sleet and hail. In which case, I am staying indoors and watching; “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” )


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!


Just as an addendum to the above notice,  I was up around Carmichael Drive the other night setting the route and I have to say that the lights this year are lovely.  You are in for a real treat.  We will regroup at Kenny’s Pizza for a slice or two. 


Dress in layers.  As of today’s forecast once we are clear of this nor’ easter we should be in for decent weather.  5C is the high for the day, so should be a good evening ride.


If you have never ridden in cool temps before, in my opinion your extremities are key to staying warm.  Wind block is key to staying warm. Make sure to have a good set of gloves on, a couple of pairs of socks on preferably in thinsulated hiking boots.  If you ride clipless, of course, Neoprene and an overshoe that blocks wind is essential.  Wear something that will block cool air on you legs and in particular your knees.  Wear a couple of layers of warm clothing underneath your jacket.  You are..... good to go!  Oh yes, don’t forget your lights.....I hope to see you there with bells on.... and I do mean bells!




Shelley Johnson














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!





Women friendly bicycle shops?


Be inspired.


The best time to ride is, “when I have to go somewhere”.


Christmas tree transport.


Gifts for cyclists! (I like lights, hint hint)


Bike and beach:





WANTED: Mountain or Hybrid bicycle suitable for use as a winter commuter bike. Student on a limited budget needs winter transportation. Men’s frame, size XL (suitable for a person 6’2”, with a 34 in. inseam). Prefer front suspension only, side-pull or centre-pull (not disk) brakes, aluminum frame.





Comments made in the year 1955!  


  • "I'll tell you one thing, if things keep going the way they are, it's going to be impossible to buy a week's groceries for $20.00."    
  • "Have you seen the new cars coming out next year?  It won't be long before $2,000.00 will only buy a used one." 
  • "If cigarettes keep going up in price, I'm going to quit.  A quarter a pack is ridiculous”.  
  • "Did you hear the post office is thinking about charging a dime just to mail a letter?" 
  • "If they raise the minimum wage to $1.00, nobody will be able to hire outside help at the store."   
  • "When I first started driving, who would have thought gas would someday cost 29 cents a gallon.  Guess we'd be better off leaving the car in the garage." 
  • "Kids today are impossible.  Those duck-tail haircuts make it impossible to stay groomed.  Next thing you know, boys will be wearing their hair as long as the girls."   
  • "I'm afraid to send my kids to the movies any more.  Ever since they let Clark Gable get by with saying DAMN in GONE WITH THE WIND, it seems every new movie has either HELL of DAMN in it."   
  • "I read the other day where some scientist thinks it's possible to put a man on the moon by the end of the century.  They even have some fellows they call astronauts preparing for it down in Texas."  
  • "Did you see where some baseball player just signed a contract for $75,000 a year just to play ball?  It wouldn't surprise me if someday they'll be making more than the Prime Minister."  
  • "I never thought I'd see the day all our kitchen appliances would be electric.  They are even making electric typewriters now."  
  • "It's too bad things are so tough nowadays.  I see where a few married women are having to work to make ends meet."   
  • "It won't be long before young couples are going to have to hire someone to watch their kids so they can both work."   
  • "Marriage doesn't mean a thing anymore, those Hollywood stars seem to be getting divorced at the drop of a hat."   
  • "I'm afraid the Volkswagen car is going to open the door to a whole lot of foreign business." 
  • "Thank goodness I won't live to see the day when the Government takes half our income in taxes.  I sometimes wonder if we are electing the best people to be MP's.”   
  • "The drive-in restaurant is convenient in nice weather, but I seriously doubt they will ever catch on." 
  • "There is no sense going to Victoria or Penticton anymore for a weekend, it costs nearly $15.00 a night to stay in a hotel." 
  • "If they think I'll pay 50 cents for a haircut, forget it."   





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 11th, 2014

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