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VCB eNews, Vol 12, #10 - What Motivates You?

 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: What Motivates You?

- Annual Awards and Prizes

-  2014 52 Week Bike Challenge Finishers

- 2015 52 Week Bike Challenge Starters

- Why Cycle? Jean-Pierre Landry.

- VCB January Potluck

- Loose Chain Links

-  About That Funny



“The bird is powered by its own life, and by its motivation.”
— A.P.J. Abdul Kalam






People ask you a lot of questions when you tell them you have signed up to ride your bicycle outside at least once per week for a whole year. Questions like, “Every week?” and “Even in the winter?” (Yes, winter is part of the year) and, most frequently, “Are you nuts?” or just plain, “Why??” 


“Why” indeed. 


Heading out for a weekly ride. In the winter. With snow.


Some riders do it just to prove they can. Some want to stay fit for summer cycling. There are lots of reasons “why” – in fact, one new 52 Week Bike Challenger said, “Of course I’m doing it for the bragging rights!”  That’s pretty honest!


If you are a cycling advocate, one of the motivations for cycling year-round is safety. Yes, safety. If cyclists are consistently using the roadways year-round, other road users consistently expect to encounter cyclists. I can recall public service announcements in May of past years, warning motorists to “watch for bicycles” because it was spring and people, especially children, would be getting bicycles out of storage and out on the road again after the winter. There would be no seasonal need to heighten driver awareness about cyclists if cyclists were always present. So, one of the best motivations to ride all year round is to keep motorists alert to our existence.


Last evening I rode my bicycle home from the YMCA in Sydney. I did this not for amusement or the exercise, but out of necessity: another family member needed the car for the evening. The conditions were not ideal for cycling: -10C and a 70 km/h wind. I had a rolled-up yoga mat sticking high out of my pannier, acting like some awkward kind of sail. The pedalling was quite difficult in places, and snow on the shoulder of the roads made navigation challenging. Just to make things interesting, within 50 metres of the Y, my back brake lever froze. So I was a slow awkward “vessel” in a headwind, with a very long stopping distance. About halfway home I had decided that this was one bike ride I was not going to remember as enjoyable.


I was very relieved to finally make the last turn onto my own street. Pulling up from the corner I suddenly realized the wind had stopped. It hadn’t really: I had just moved out of its direct blast into shelter. One moment I was pedalling hard into a roaring wind and the next I was gliding gently into moonlit silence. Lights glowed warmly from house windows; a few Christmas lights twinkled here and there. The dark was soft and shining. It was a moment of awareness and peace. I knew it was cold but I wasn’t uncomfortable; the loudest noise was the gritty sound of the studded tires on the asphalt. The transition had the quality of waking from a screaming nightmare and falling into a blissful dream all at the same time. Why bicycle all year round? For the exercise, for cycling promotion and safety, for bragging rights . . . but most of all, for moments like this.





Last January, 30 brave souls signed up to do the 52 Week Bike Challenge. Congratulations to everyone who attempted this – it is a significant, long-term commitment of time. It is a courageous leap into the unknown if you have never cycled in winter before. Here are the finishers:


Micheline Guillot

Bev Reid

Jimmie Campbell

Chris MacInnis

Gerard Moss

Bill Planetta

Mary MacDonald

Shelley Porter

Larry Preble

Shelley Johnson

Bob Groves

Vic Gouthro

Bill Devoe

Tom Nixa

Jean-Pierre Landry

Heather Morash


If you completed the 2014 52 Week Bike Challenge and your name is not on this list, please contact me immediately. We want you to get your well-earned certificate!





So far, these hardy, brave souls have signed up to cycle 30 mins per week, for 52 weeks of 2015. Godspeed to all!


Bev Reid

Jimmie Campbell

Gerard Moss

Jacques Cote

Micheline Guillot

Mary MacDonald

Patricia Swan

Shelley Porter

Lynne Pascoe

Larry Preble

Shelley Johnson

Bob Groves

Bill Devoe

Albert Bohemier

Gerald Bohemier

Tom Nixa

Jean-Pierre Landry

Nita Bernat

Renee Burt


If your name should be on this list and is not, please email right away, so you can be added to the email message list. Tailwinds!



WHY CYCLE? – Jean-Pierre Landry


[Editor’s Note: We are quite proud of having run the 52 Week Bike Challenge for five years here in Cape Breton, but Jean-Pierre Landry of Quebec has a cycling record that beats ours by 15 years. He writes:)


As I can remember, it [cycling] took a pragmatic turn around 1995, out of an incentive program by Bicycling magazine, which gave one cent going and one back home if you commuted by bicycle.
I paid $5 to register, but the program died within the year. I kept going for my own rewards!
It’s been 20 years now, and I keep going for the better, any ride is a good ride.
As you say, speed is not the purpose: slow touring or commuting is still biking!    
Hope we meet next summer if we go around Bras d'Or or elsewhere, 
p.s. as you can see, I can go back in my life and remember what I did and with who!
We were “tandemming” then, with the now-22-year-old but still good Yokota.     


Jean-Pierre’s record of cycle commuting, from 1995!              




VELO CAPE BRETON ANNUAL AWARDS: Looking forward, Looking Back


This is the time of year when we tend to reflect on the year that was and make plans for the new one.   At Velo Cape Breton we’re doing the same thing.   Every year at the Potluck we recognize individuals or groups that have helped promote cycling.


We ask our members to point out people or things or groups that helped them take their cycling to another step.   We’re very flexible about who or what we recognize, so let us know what you consider the most significant contribution to local cycling culture in 2014.


Maybe a friend got you to cycle on a regular basis, or maybe an event got you to cycle further than you thought you could, or maybe a new paved shoulder made you feel much more comfortable on the road, or maybe you got a new bike and were surprised by how easy cycling could be, or maybe cycling with your son or daughter got you out more.


In the past we’ve recognized: the most improved cyclist, the best ride leader, the best volunteer, the best chapter, the most motivating rider.   You get the picture: think promoting cycling.   If you have someone, something, or whatever that you’d like to nominate please contact me  (Andre) at :






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!





I need one of each of these machines:


Not convinced you want to do the B52? Bank a little badass!


A thought provoking image by an NS-based artist:


Winter cyclists, you may have missed this, but download the archived (January 7th) show!


New North Sydney marine terminal to get Green Building certification:


Because you need one:


VERY interesting article about cycling and aging:





This week’s joke is on the Americans:


Breaking News: The draft plans for the George W. Bush Library now call for:


The Alberto Gonzales Room - Where you can't remember any of the exhibits.


The Weapons of Mass Destruction Room, which no one has yet been able to find.


The Hurricane Katrina Room, which is still under construction.


The Texas Air National Guard Room, where you don't even have to show up.


The Walter Reed Hospital Room, where they don't let you in.


The Guantanamo Bay Room, where they don't let you out.


The National Debt Room, which is huge and has no ceiling.


The Tax Cut Room with entry restricted only to the wealthy.


The Airport Men's Room, where you can meet some of your favorite Republican Senators.


The Economy Room, which is in the toilet.


The Iraq War Room. After you complete your first tour, you go back for a second, third, fourth, and sometimes fifth tour.


The Dick Cheney Room, in the famous undisclosed location, complete with shotgun gallery.


The Environmental Conservation Room, still empty, but very warm.


The Supreme Court Gift Shop, where you can buy an election.


The Decider Room complete with dart board, magic 8-ball, Ouija board, dice, coins, and straws.






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 8th, 2015

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