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VCB eNews, Vol 12, #9 - Cycling NEW Year

 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

Joining VCB is a proof of support to the community development and advocacy work done by the hard working volunteers of this club.  Your $10 will go a long way.  It's your 2013 legacy to the rising generation.  To join click  here. Check our Facebook page.


In this Edition

-  Editorial: Cycling New Year

- Thank You

-  2015 52 Week Bike Challenge

- VCB January Potluck

- Loose Chain Links

-  About That Funny



“. . . the sight of children and families riding bicycles on public roads is considered an indicator of the health of a community . . .”
— Elly Blue, Bikenomics






The other day, on the radio I heard an interview about taxing sugar. In order to combat obesity, some academic had come up with the concept of making people pay more for sugary foods. The problem here is, people eat more calories than they use. Someone thinks if sugar is taxed, people will eat fewer calories. I predict people would eat fewer taxed foods. 


A better idea might be to make it easier, even more fun, for people to move more. Moving more is the best way to use up calories. One of the best ways to encourage people to move more is to make active transportation easy, accessible, safe, and fun. I have just finished reading Elly Blue’s book, Bikenomics: how the bicycle can save the economy. This book is very well-written and as far as I can tell, well-researched. Blue takes her examples from the social and scientific literature, and from her own experience. This lends authenticity to the book, and her humourous anecdotes add lightness to what might just be a sermon on the virtues of the bicycle as a form of transportation.


But Elly Blue is not a preacher, and Bikenomics is not a sermon or even a lecture. It’s a proposition. It’s an invitation. It’s a call to participate in the creation of a new culture, one that puts active transportation at the forefront – no, one that puts people at the forefront. We can take back the streets. Blue writes: “ . . . the culture we create defines how streets are used. We humans have as much or more impact on the shape and speed of our world [as] concrete, paint, and laws.” 


As 2015 dawns, the world, as ever, is changing. Humans have altered every ecosystem; we have even altered the biosphere with carbon emissions that could change everything about our planet. The earth is very old, geologically and comparatively speaking, and yet for humans, our world is ever new. We create our reality moment by moment with the choices we make. We can create communities that make active transportation easy and inviting – planning theory and engineering science exist to do this. We have the choice of creating a reality with fewer carbon emissions, lower obesity rates, cleaner air, better health, a stronger local economy. We can tax sugar, tax carbon even. How will that change the world? Or we can become bikeconomists. Blue writes, “The bicycle is, at this moment in history, the rare tool that reminds us that we have the power to help ourselves and each other in exactly the ways that will allow us to face the worst of the disasters we find ourselves in”. It’s a new year, new every moment: make a choice and be the change. 






It is January 1st, and the new version of the 52 Week Bike Challenges is on! Participants commit to cycling 30 continuous minutes once per week, for every week of the new year. At the end of the year, you receive a certificate and the awe, wonder, and consternation of your friends who have not yet become “B52s”.  


In 2014 there were 22 participants in the 52 Week Bike Challenge. Responses, confessions, and exclamations of conversion to year-round cycling are still coming in. Here is a not-exhaustive list of finishers:


Shelley Porter (as if she had a choice)

Beverley Reid (6200+ kms)

Bob Groves

Vic Gouthro

Shelley Johnson

Paul MacDougall (new to this, and set an example!)

Mary MacDonald (creating converts at Martinique Beach, even)

Larry Preble (in Kentucky, where the winters are milder and the horses more expensive; cycling is still free, though)

Bill Planetta (bought a new bike for the purpose!)

Bill Devoe (I think he invented winter cycling in Cape Breton)


Interested in joining this brave and cheerful crew? Here is the lowdown: the Challenge consists of riding your bike outdoors for a minimum of 30 minutes once per week. 2015 is in its 8th year.  

The 52-WBC is a wonderful way to stay fit, keep the bike culture alive all through the year and give the bike a taste of the outdoors all year long.

For those interested in taking on the 52-Week Bike Challenge (52WBC), there is no better way to succeed than matching your effort with a buddy and tell the world that you're going for it. Here's the plan...

Register by emailing the Coordinator as early as you can.

Download and use this Mileage Record Spreadsheet (Excel).  It is a fun way to keep track of your mileage and keeping notes about your outings. 

On top of adding up your total mileage for the week, for the month and for the year, it calculates the average distance of each of your outings, your average mileage for the month and daily distance for the year.  

Also, you can enter Comments for everyday of the year, i.e. where you rode, temperature, wind direction, people you met, highlight of the ride, etc.  To enter a comment, put your cursor on the date you wish to make an entry, go to Insert, click on Comment and type in the yellow box that appears.  Close the yellow box by clicking on the small button on the upper left hand corner; a small red triangle will remain in the box.   To view your comments, click any box of the spreadsheet and with your mouse go over any date there is a comment, without clicking, the comment will immediately appear.  

At opportune times during the year, Shelley Porter, the Coordinator for eight years now, e-mails pep-talks, sage advice, and updates to participants. 

A great way to start a new year!






Save Saturday January 17th for our annual Potluck.   It’s timed just enough after the whole Xmas holiday season that you’ll be eager for a night out.   Join us for great food, a few silly games, sneak preview of upcoming summer cycling events, and prizes.


Where: Dobson Yacht Club, 600 Westmount Road

When:  Saturday, January 17th, social 5:30 to 6:30pm, meal 6:30pm

Cost: just bring a main dish or dessert see below, Cash bar.


What to bring:  If your family name starts with a letter from A to M inclusive bring a main dish.  Letters N to Z bring dessert.  Please also bring a plate and cutlery to help cut down on the throw-aways, but don’t worry we will have paper plates etc.


Who can come:  Members and friends/partners and children are welcome. Memberships will be available at the potluck if you need to renew. This is always a fantastic good time, and will inspire you to sign up for lots of cycling this season!





This is different:


Just weird:


What SP does (sort of) when she’s not riding her bike:







A lawyer and a blonde woman are sitting next to each other on a long flight. 

The lawyer asks if she would like to play a fun game. 

The blonde is tired and just wants to take a nap, so she politely declines and tries to catch a few winks. 

The lawyer persists, that the game is a lot of fun. 

"I ask you a question, and if you don't know the answer, you pay me only $5; you ask me one, and if I don't know the answer, I will pay you $500." 

This catches the blonde's attention; and, to keep him quiet, she agrees to play the game. 

The lawyer asks the first question. 

"What's the distance from the earth to the moon?" 

The blonde doesn't say a word, reaches in to her purse, pulls out a five-dollar bill, and hands it to the lawyer 

Now, it's the blonde's turn. She asks the lawyer, "What goes up a hill with three legs, and comes down with four?" 

The lawyer uses his laptop, searches all references. 

He uses the Airphone; he searches the Net and even the Library of Congress. 

He sends e-mails to all the smart friends he knows, all to no avail. 

After one hour of searching he finally gives up. 

He wakes up the blonde and hands her $500. 

The blonde takes the $500 and goes back to sleep. 

The lawyer is going nuts not knowing the answer. 

He wakes her up and asks, "Well, so what goes up a hill with three legs and comes down with four?" 

The blonde reaches into her purse, hands the lawyer $5 and goes back to sleep. 







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.

January 1st, 2015


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