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VCB eNews, Vol 12, #12 - Boring Old Winter


 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: Boring Old Winter

-  Annual Awards and Prizes -- Winners Revealed 

-  Introducing Velo Cape Breton's New Rides Captain

-  Ride the Cabot Trail in 4 Days

-  B52 Pictures

-  You Can Do It
-  XC-Ski Clinics 

-  Loose Chain Links

-  About That Funny



"I've got a great ambition to die of exhaustion rather than boredom."
— Thomas Carlyle






So, you've thought it over and opted not to do the 52 Week Bike Challenge. The cold weather cyclist lifestyle may not be for you (yet!), but you don't want to lose your hard-earned summer cycling condition. Running is always an option to keep up your aerobic fitness, but if that's not for you, how do you avoid sloth and boredom through the cold months? Let me tell you how.


One of the things Velo Cape Breton does in winter is celebrate -- we have just had our annual potluck, complete with awards, prize draws, and tantalizing invitations to a variety of rides in the new season. Now is the time to start planning for next summer, marking the calendar well in advance for those special long rides. Make sure you mark some dates ahead of those long rides to train for them -- it's best to build up your fitness and perfect your technique before you attempt a major excursion. As I was told some years ago while training for a 140 km ride, "you need to learn to spin; if you don't, you will finish the long ride, but you won't enjoy it". 


Spinning class, either with an instructor in a group at the YMCA or other venue, or on your own at home with your bike up on a trainer (or if you're lucky, your own stationary spinning bike) is a great way to keep in top form for cycling. Classes with an instructor include inspiring music and the camaraderie and support of a group. Videos for home use vary from the simple DVD you pop in a player and prop up somewhere in front of your bike to elaborate computer-based simulation systems that take you right into a virtual bike trip or race. 


If you still want to get outside to exercise, just not on a bicycle, there are options. Centennial Cycling Club in the Annapolis Valley moves into a schedule of hiking, cross-country skiing, and snow-shoe outings once the winter sets in. There are many options to do all three all around Cape Breton island. Ice skating is a great exercise for cyclists, as it uses many of the same muscle groups as bicycling. Centre 200 in Sydney offers two public skating sessions per week midday for a small fee. 


One of the outstanding memories I have from the International Winter Cycling Congress is not cycling but ice skating. The city of Winnipeg clears sections of the rivers at The Forks so that people can skate. You can rent a pair of skates for $5 at a kiosk and away you go, at this confluence of two great rivers, in cold surreal to a Maritimer, gliding along like a Joni Mitchell song. What a wonderful way to encourage residents to be physically active in the winter! 


I went for my skate along the Assiniboine in the early evening, and had to turn back when darkness fell. I passed hardy Manitobans skating or walking along the ice "road" and marveled at their cold tolerance and cheer. I was nearly back to the kiosk when out of the twilight appeared a line of small lights: bicycles. Rolling along on fat or studded tires, cyclists whooshed along the ice, navigating easily around skaters and walkers. Some of them were Congress attendees, but many were commuters taking advantage of the shortcut provided by this seasonal trail. I had enjoyed my skate, but as I watched these swift and silent travellers swoop along the river . . . I wished I had brought my bike.

I'm ready to play!


 You never know what you will find on a winter hike. (Laura Porter-Muntz, photo)




VELO CAPE BRETON ANNUAL AWARD WINNERS -- submitted by Britney MacNeil, VCB Communications


Cyclists and supporters gathered at the Dobson Yacht Club last Saturday night to enjoy a potluck meal and celebrate the winners of the Velo Cape Breton Bicycle Association awards for 2014.  Seven awards were given out based on nominations from the members and the board of directors.


The "Cycling Community Supporter" award went to Gerard Jessome, Director of Eastern District at TIR. Jessome's drive, passion, generosity, and proficiency at getting the job done goes beyond the regular 9 - 5 commitment. We, in the cycling and pedestrian communities, are grateful for his efforts to bring about bicycle friendly infrastructure in the Eastern District of the NS Department of Infrastructure Renewal. Congratulations and Thank You! 


The "Volunteer of the Year" or the 'President's Choice" award is attributed to J.P. Martin in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the Mission of Velo Cape Breton Bicycle Association. J.P. is this silent force with a focus on results and makes things happen with skill and efficiency. He is a vibrant example of dedication and a role model for us all.  J.P. Martin has also accepted to fill the role of Rides Captain for 2015.  Velo CB is proud to have him in our ranks. Thank You!


The "M-3" or "Most Motivating Member" award goes to the person who, by their encouragement, example, good words and moral support, have inspired others and helped them to develop their true potential, reach unexpected goals or simply discover a new and fun way to explore beyond their borders.  This year's M-3 Award goes to Dr. Monika Dutt. Velo Cape Breton is all about encouraging people to ride bicycles and advocating for their safe use.   

Advocates look for people in decision making positions who are bike friendly, are active cyclists and/or understand the needs of a cycling culture.  As the Medical officer of Health for the Cape Breton Regional Health District, Dr. Monika Dutt has written the all-important support letter as part of the community effort to get the pedestrian and cyclist overpass on Highway 125. Her office also supported our efforts to send a member to the Winter Cycling Congress in Winnipeg last winter.  In her personal life she is an accomplished athlete and she commutes by bicycle including in the winter. Thank you!


This year Louise Fleming received the "Most Improved Cyclist" award.  Louise has displayed great spirit, enthusiasm and dedication to cycling over the past year. By participating in various cycling events, such as but not limited to; Women on Wheels, Lobster Roll, Bike Mechanics and cycling in Europe, she has transformed into a stronger and more confident cyclist. Louise is an example to her peers. Congratulations!


The "Participant of the Year" award went to Cheryl Berube. Cheryl's involvement in the cycling life of Velo Cape Breton's various events has been remarkable. She is always the first to register for rides or events taking on all kinds of challenges that she has completed with gusto.  Her enthusiasm while assisting in the organization of events has put her ahead of the pack to receive this award. Congratulations & Thank You!


The "Cycling Family of the Year" award celebrates the parental support which plays such an important role in enhancing physical activity in the family at a young age.  The award was attributed to André Gallant & Paula McNabb family.  André and Paula have demonstrated all the characteristics of supportive parents for harmonious and healthy development of children Graeme and Max. We're proud to have you in our community. Congratulations!


The "Commuter of the Year" award went to Dianne Wadden. Since the early days of Velo Cape Breton, Dianne has been a dedicated member who took CAN-BIKE courses to improve her skills and confidence in traffic.  Recently retired, she sold her car a year ago and got through her first winter last year which was a true challenge, if you remember well. She said she bikes more than she ever thought she could in all kinds of weather. A real source of inspiration. Congratulations! 


Congratulations to this year's champions of change!


For more information:

Colette Smith 

President, Velo Cape Breton


Britney MacNeil

Communications, Velo Cape Breton 



VCB President, Colette Smith, presents Gerard Jessome of NSTIR with the Cycling Community Supporter Award, (Cycling Ambassador Art Spencer, background). Britney MacNeil, photo.









 Hello everyone. As of last night's (17th. Jan., 2015) Velo Potluck gathering , I (Dr. J.P.Martin) am your Rides Captain.  As the powers that be declared that I had to write a brief introduction 
of myself - something that might have changed my mind about becoming the 
Ride Captain if I had realized it beforehand - here it is:

I retired 4 years ago, after practicing dentistry  in Glace Bay for 34 
years. After 34 years of practice, I became fairly good at it. In anticipation of retirement I had gone out and bought a bike, feeling that I would need something to fill all those non-working 
hours I would presently have. That endeavor turned out to be an abject failure. I managed 2-3,  five kilometer rides and the bike ended up in the basement.


Luckily, however, a friend invited me to a lecture on sports injuries given at the library by Dr. Chris Milburn. During his talk Dr. Milburn mentioned that one way to prevent injuries was to have your bike fitted to suit your body. While the maxim - "you never forget how to ride a bike" is true, my 59 year old body was not as forgiving as my once 16 year old body had been - hence the reason the bike was languishing in the basement. Once my bicycle was properly adjusted my riding enjoyment very quickly improved. One of the things I remember during the small talk as I was getting off and on my bike for the adjustments  was being asked what my goal was for the summer. When I replied that I wanted to be able to ride the loop from my home out and around Blacketts Lake, I received a smile and the words "You will be going farther than that". I thought he was pulling my leg as in my mind at that time, that was quite a distance. Turns out he wasn't. That ride is 'only' 16 miles (25 K) and the rest, as they say, is history.  More in the weeks to follow! If anyone wishes to contact me about rides already on the schedule or suggestions for new rides, you can do so through e-mail at:     jp <>. 


Good riding everyone.



Rides Captain Dr. JP Martin with his properly adjusted and comfortable bicycle.





Only a couple of weeks in the New Year and right in the middle of winter don't we are all looking forward to next summer?  


Last Saturday at the Velo Cape Breton Winter Potluck, we opened up the registrations for the 2015 edition of the Cabot Trail in 4 Days tour.. The invitation has been sent to past participants last Sunday, and registration started to come fast and furious.   Today it is your turn to get this opportunity to join and get the Cabot Trail off your "Bucket List".  


The Cabot Trail in 4 days is a winning formula as it gives everyone the whole day to "tour" the Cabot Trail the way it should be, i.e. immersing in the culture, mingle with cyclists from all over, take pictures, getting to the top of the hills at your pace and not worry about support, food, accommodation, etc.  


The Cabot Trail is the Cabot Trail.  This year the climbs have the same gradient and height,the same thrilling descents, widened roads in several key areas and more.  No wonder that the Cabot Trail has been named one of the Top 10 Cycling Destination in the world.   If Mother Nature still loves us cyclists like in the past editions, we shall get sunshine, tailwinds and a really good time.  


This is your chance to join the group of 42 who will go around the Trail this year.  Registeer now if this is your plan to ride the Trail with VCB because you have nothing to loose if you change your mind before June 1st.  Not many seats left.  


CT4D Full Details here.




For more information email:






Here are a couple of submissions from 52 Week Bike Challenge participants:



Longtime B52 participant Jimmie Campbell of Boularderie, at it again for 2015!

(photo courtesy of Chris Eyking)



First time (2015) B52 participant, Albert Bohemier stops to chat with his grandson, Caleb, while out on Hubley Big Lake, outside Halifax, NS training for a winter camping trip.









You Can Do It Too!!!

With financial assistance from The Victoria County Community Health Board North Highlands Nordic is pleased to offer  First time skiers or snowshoers from Victoria County one complimentary day pass with rentals. A 30 minute lesson may be arranged if you call ahead.

More information:  902-383-2479

Ski or snow
shoe - Your first time is FREE !!





Learn to Cross Country Ski Sessions will be given at North Highlands Nordic this  Saturday, January 24th . The Classic technique session will go from 12-1:30 and the skate session from 1:30-3pm.  This is the only time this session that this instruction will be given by NCCP certified coach Daniel Murray. Please preregister by Friday the 23rd. For more info call 383-2479 or go to the website under events.










Local AT news:


Narrower traffic lanes safer and better for cyclists??


Home of the winter cyclist (and other crazy people):


Winter cycling -- we'd love to tell you about it:


A Women on Wheels-style group in New Zealand:







from The Pun Bike:


I love to say the word "bell" over and over again, it has a certain ring to it.


My wheels are larger than most, according to a spokesman.


I like what mechanics wear, overall.


So expensive to pump up your tires these days, flipping inflation!


Whoever sold me these terrible handlebars needs to get a grip!


AND -- Lot's Wife:

The Sunday School teacher was describing how Lot's wife looked back and turned into a pillar of salt, when little Jason interrupted, 'My Mommy looked back once while she was driving,' he announced triumphantly, 'and she turned into a telephone pole!'







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 22nd, 2015


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