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#3. Velo Cape Breton Presents..., Thursday Feb. 13th, 2014

#3.  Velo Cape Breton Presents...   Day 2, Thursday Feb. 13th 
 

Good morning, B52ers. Dawn is breaking here in Winnipeg. It is -24 and the windchill is -28. I understand the weather is quite different in NS. I have received word that route 206 of the Cape Breton Post was delivered on foot this morning, as conditions defied even studded bike tires. I hope you are all safe. 

 

Yesterday's sessions of the conference included more along the planning and snow clearing themes. There are many challenges for cyclists in cities planned for cars, but also in cities (like ours in NS) that were originally planned for horses. At the end of the day, and after a dinnertime conversation with Finnish cycling expert Timo Perala, I stand by my assertion that cyclists are traffic and should use the roadway. Training of cyclists and motorists is essential for this to be safe and enjoyable for everyone. 

 

I gave my presentation yesterday afternoon, and I hope I managed to convey the beauty of our island, the vitality of our club, and the uniqueness of our 52 Week Bike Challenge to the group. The presentations fit very well, as two of the four were from small areas with limited bike infrastructure (us and Springfield, MA) and another was about how a group of cyclists in Edmonton have been encouraging and supporting one another, and trying to encourage new cyclists to take to the roads all year round. The 4th presentation was about the demography of winter walkers and cyclists. The schedule was jam-packed as I said in an earlier message, and I had to flip very quickly through some of the presentation but I did have a couple of people ask for more details afterward so I think our message was received. 

 

The highlight of yesterday was the Moveable Feast, a tour of downtown Winnipeg by bicycle with stops at various restaurants. We were outfitted with bicycles by a local bike recovery organization (see www.thewrench.ca). We rode along the river trail for a bit and then took to the streets. There was a 10 cm snowfall yesterday morning, and my dears, most of it is still on the city streets. The cycling was challenging - terrifically slippery. I felt pretty good about my cycling skills, given that I was not having too much trouble staying upright while some younger folks were having a pretty difficult time. Seven Across the Highlands mountain bike challenges will do that for you; not to mention delivering 27 newspapers in all weather in Cape Breton! I was missing my toe clips and studded tires rather badly though. The food was delicious and varied. We were treated to a demonstration of Metis fiddle playing at one stop, by a young fellow dressed in traditional Voyageur clothing. The Festival de Voyageur starts today. Every presenter at the conference was given a gift of a Voyageur scarf/belt, and a pair of wool socks. By about halfway through the Feast tour I would have preferred a heavy fur coat! The route was beautiful, quite safe (we were a large group), but bloody cold. It was interesting to note that hardly anyone signalled their stops or turns properly.  The fact that in NS a bicycle is a vehicle and must have lights, a bell, stay the heck off the sidewalk, and use proper turn signals BY LAW was greeted with surprise by many people. 

 

We start a bit later this morning, and the themes are youth and cycling, and also mental health and cycling. I think I will attend the session about youth - we have a cycling summer camp coming up, after all. Btw, I did get to mention Open Hearth park and our cycling training space in my presentation. 

 

More later!

-Shelley

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