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VCB eNews, Vol 12, #13 - Gender Wars On Wheels

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In this Edition

-  Editorial: Gender Wars on Wheels
-  Rides Captain's Report

-  Cabot Trail in 4 Days - Update

-  Loose Chain Links



". . . the women's movement of the 1890s and the cycling craze became inextricably intertwined . . ."
— Peter Zheutlin, 



I love gadgets -- those neat-o little items that promise to make our lives easier, cooler, and just more fun. Things like multi-tools, telescoping dusters, and foldable bicycles. When I spied a tool bracelet on my Facebook newsfeed, I eagerly clicked through to investigate. The bracelet is made by Leatherman, a company famous for high quality multi-tools (I have one in my purse). The "Tread" bracelet has 11 links, each of which incorporates three tools. 

My brow furrowed a bit as I read the subheading, which described the bracelet as "manly lookin'". "So what?" I thought, but kept reading. This is indeed a nice design for a very good gadget, one that would be ideal for cyclists since it's light, small, and can be worn on your arm where it's easy to access and doesn't require a bag or box that then has to be stowed in a pannier or jersey pocket (solid objects in jersey pockets can be very uncomfortable). Reading the rest of the review, it was pretty clear the reviewer assumed this gadget would be of interest only to men. A couple of other similar "jewelry" multi-tools were mentioned, and I followed those links, too. One was a hair clip -- surely this item was made for women! No, it was designed originally for Arab men who needed a clip to secure their headscarves. 

All of the gadgets would be great finds for cyclists -- yes, female cyclists, too. I am very disturbed that marketers and even designers assume that women, even if they do cycle, aren't interested in tools. It is assumed women don't do their own repairs and maintenance, and furthermore, that they don't want to. 

Locally at least, Velo Cape Breton's Women On Wheels initiative has proved this assumption false. Our "women only" bike maintenance workshop was full to capacity two sessions in a row, and there is demand for more similar sessions and for more advanced training. Velo Cape Breton has proved another assumption false, too: the assumption that women don't want to cycle. Our membership statistics prove that women want to bicycle and support cycling as a mode of transportation: the majority of Velo Cape Breton members are female. 

Around the world, there are efforts to get more women cycling, from New Zealand to Mexico to the USA. In fact, our own Women On Wheels program is intended to get more women cycling confidently, safely, and more often. I think these initiatives are worthwhile and lots of fun. But it makes me sad that they are needed. The invention and wide adoption of the bicycle a century ago as a mode of transport was one of the great drivers of women's liberation, including the demand for "rational dress" (i.e. clothes you can actually move in). Women and the bicycle have a positive history. Yet study after study indicates fewer women than men use bicycles to commute.

One of the most heartbreaking moments of my life was when, after declaring that my 11 year old self intended to pursue a career as a truck driver, I was firmly told "You can't do that because you're a girl". I recalled that statement 10 years later when, as part of a summer job I had, I was backing a 5 ton truck down a wharf to pick up a load of furniture. It wasn't because I was a girl that I couldn't be a truck driver, or a scientist, or a cyclist. It was because of assumptions and attitudes. Since I was 11, or even 21, I've seen a lot of changes in attitudes about what girls can and cannot do. But if a major outdoor tool company and those that review its products still think women aren't a market for those products, and the major demographic barrier to getting on a bicycle to go to work is still gender, they haven't changed anywhere near enough.


The Editor does a brake adjustment on her foldable bicycle. (Laura Porter-Muntz, photo)





Following along from my introduction last week: 

So, my bike and body are now in tune and I have studied the rules of the road. Now for a ride. I have been around the neighborhood and figure it is time for my big adventure. King's Road, here I come. Well, actually, I rode the sidewalk for the first couple of hundred meters because - let us face it - King's Road is scary. However much I was worried (downright scared if I am being honest) riding on the sidewalk is illegal. Told you I had learned the rules! So to quote the Bard (MacBeth, Act 1, scene 7):


MacBeth: "If we should fail?"
Lady MacBeth: "We fail? But screw your courage to the sticking place.

And we'll not fail."

Which I did - and thus began my cycling adventure. Moral: Know the rules, follow the rules, and always listen to the Bard's words. 

If you have any suggestions about rides, let me know. 


Good riding everyone




by:  Jacques Cote, organizer of the CT4D


The Cabot Trail in 4 Days tour is all booked with 42 people, including the driver of the support van and two guides.  

Since last Saturday, we have been registering people on the Waiting List. In the event of cancellations by those who registered before the cut-off, people on the Waiting List will be called to fill the vacant seat(s).  

Will the people on the Waiting List be called?  Your guess is as good as mine, however, in 2014, 14 people on the Waiting List filled vacancies.  

In the event that individuals on the Waiting List are not called, or are called and cannot join, they will be re-imbursed 100%.  There's nothing to lose.


CT4D Full Details here.


For more information email:




Cycling in the snow, from The Netherlands:

Titanium Utility ring:

Leatherdos hair clip:

Leatherman Tread bracelet:

Do women racers matter less?:

NS cyclist travels somewhere warm to "winter bike" -- the desert!:

I definitely want this for my office:





For Sale: Brand new Crank Brothers cleats for eggbeater, Candy, mallet, or smarty pedals. $10. Contact






Upon arriving home, a husband was met at the door by his sobbing wife.

Tearfully she explained, It's the druggist. He insulted me terribly this morning on the phone. I had to call multiple times before he would even answer the phone. 

Immediately, the husband drove downtown to confront the druggist and demand an apology. 

Before he could say more than a word or two, the druggist told him, "Now, just a minute, listen to my side of it. 

This morning the alarm failed to go off, so I was late getting up.  I went without breakfast and hurried out to the car, just to realize that I locked the house with both house and car keys inside and had to break a window to get my keys. 

Then, driving a little too fast, I got a speeding ticket. 

Later, when I was about three blocks from the store, I had a flat tire.

When I finally got to the store there was a bunch of people waiting for me to open up. I got the store opened and started waiting on these people, and all the time the darn phone was ringing off the hook. 

He continued, Then I had to break a roll of nickels against the cash register drawer to make change, and they spilled all over the floor. I had to get down on my hands and knees to pick up the nickels and the phone was still ringing. 

When I came up I cracked my head on the open cash drawer, which made me stagger back against a showcase with a bunch of perfume bottles on it.  Half of them hit the floor and broke. 

Meanwhile, the phone is still ringing with no let up, and I finally got back to answer it. 

It was your wife. She wanted to know how to use a rectal thermometer. 

And believe me mister, as God is my witness, all I did was tell her."






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 29th, 2015

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