You are here

VCB eNews, Vol 12, #14 - When To Leave Your Bicycle AT Home

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 2015 legacy to the rising generation.  To join click  here. Check our Facebook page.


In this Edition

-  Editorial: When to Leave Your Bicycle At Home

- Rides Captain's Report

- 10th Annual Nova Scotia Cycling Summit

- Official Opening of the Sydney River Bridge -- not yet

- X-C Ski to Keep in Shape for Cycling!

- Loose Chain Links

- Bike Buy and Sell

- About That Funny

- Submission Guidelines, etc.


"Bad weather always looks worse through a window."
— Tom Lehrer





If you have been paying attention in the Sydney area, you may have seen one. They are as rare as Snowy Owls, as brightly coloured as Cardinals, and as tough as crows. They are the participants in the Velo Cape Breton 52 Week Bike Challenge. As Coordinator of this Challenge, I am charged with dispensing advice, tips, and tricks for getting through the whole year without missing one week's 30 minute bike ride. One of those pieces of advice is "Know when to leave your bike at home".


As someone who gets up early to ride my bicycle, I've seen some amazing and intimidating weather. As Coordinator of the 52 Week Bike Challenge, I've read my fair share of advice articles about cycling in winter. Most of those articles appear to have been written by people who live in either Amsterdam or Vancouver. Even in Winnipeg, where it's colder than Mars, at least you can depend on the weather presenting you with essentially the same challenge from one winter's day to the next. Not in Cape Breton. The weather is pretty psychotic in the Maritimes, and on any given winter's day you may have the choice of freezing or drowning or both, depending on your timing. 


After enduring bitterly cold windchills on successive mornings, I was almost looking forward to warmer, wet conditions this past Tuesday [Feb. 2nd, 2015]. Any happy anticipation I had felt dissolved into dismay when I woke to rain blowing horizontally through the beam of the streetlight, and a howling 107 km/h wind. I thought that, for the first time in several years, I would have to leave my bicycle at home instead of doing a ride. However, I checked some online weather resources, rescheduled my start time, and got out for the usual foray on wheels - just slightly later than originally planned.


It's easy to check for forecast weather conditions and monitor the track of a storm via the internet. A little planning will keep you out of heavy precipitation and other types of severe weather. Rain or snow mean reduced visibility and traction, for cyclists and others who share the roads, and are best avoided. Keep in mind always that safety is paramount when riding in less than ideal conditions. I constantly monitor my lights (my rides often start before dawn or after sundown), and have extra reflective materials on my bicycle, clothing, and panniers. In snowy conditions, if I so much as hear a large vehicle, especially a snowplough, coming up behind me, I stop and get as far off the road as possible. It's more important than ever to ride defensively, and I always keep in mind safety trumps being "right": if a large vehicle or any vehicle can't give me 1 m, I give them the road. As my father used to say, "You don't want to be dead right". 

And of course, if presented with truly terrible conditions, leave your bicycle at home. As Tom Babin, author of Frostbike wrote, "Winter riding does not need to be approached like an endurance sport, instead set your limits and ride happily and confidently within them".


The Editor's mountain bike relaxing at home with some other wintertime sports equipment.


Photo submitted by B52 Participant Beverley Reid, taken at Cole Harbour NS on a not-so-severe winter weather day!






 So I have been riding for about 4 years and slowly getting better and in the rhythm. One of the things you must remember is that your bicycle is a machine. A very simple machine, but a machine nonetheless. Like all machines, a bicycle requires maintenance to work well and provide you with many hours of enjoyment. You need to know, at the very least, how to change /fix a flat tire, how to put your chain back on, and how to adjust your brakes. This simple knowledge will be more than enough for most cyclists. Major tune-ups can be done by local bike shops, or hardcore cyclists that have been riding for years - you may have some candidates as friends and they will help if you ask them nicely :-).  It is a good idea to attend a CAN-BIKE course, or one of several repair courses that are offered by the cycle club or bike shops in the area. I have been very lucky in that I have taken these courses, and the blow outs I have had occurred just as I reached home. I had plenty of time to sit down and get the job done without too much worry about being stuck in the middle of nowhere. Indeed, "the middle of nowhere" is a place I have found myself to be from time to time as I took advantage of the freedom of the road. While It is initially nerve-wracking when you have to fix a flat, you can be back and riding in 15-20 minutes. Of course, you need to have a simple toolkit and repair materials and always take them with you (along with water and munchies if you are doing a long ride) something I learned the hard way on a ride in town when my steering got loose and I needed to tighten a bolt. The job was done thanks to the kindness of strangers, who just happened to have the wrench I needed for 2 minutes. To quote the Boy Scouts (although I never was one) "Always be prepared".  Good riding everyone.






The 10th annual Nova Scotia Cycling Summit is coming up May 22-24, 2015 in Kings County. The planners have created an online survey with some questions for cyclists/Summit participants. You can find it online here: 






We had really hoped the opening would be this week, but it was not to be. Inclement weather has held up progress. Please keep watching our Facebook Page and website for updates on the opening.







I know many cyclists also enjoy cross country skiing. The conditions on the Cape Breton Highlands have been very good to excellent since December 27. Every Saturday and Sunday morning, a group of us head for the Highlands to explore different areas. Our outings can last from a few hours to a full day (even multi day), depending on the group. If members of Velo Cape Breton want to keep informed about the snow conditions, they can visit our Facebook page here: or contact us

Michel Aucoin : 902-224-0069,

Réjean Aucoin : 902-224-2484,








But how will they deal with cyclists?


Top ten cycling innovations of 2014.


Along with noticing that younger people aren't very interested in cars, leaders in the auto industry seem to have realized the number of bicycles on the roads is increasing:


This camera might be very handy for touring cyclists:


Speed your recovery after a cold winter ride:


Be a classy "British" cyclist:

Egyptian women pedal for acceptance:


Getting beyond a car culture in Colombia:


Just get out there and ride -- for your health:






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







It Was So Cold That . . .


We had to stop eating with metal cutlery. Some people walked around for days with spoons or forks stuck to their tongues! 


Hitchhikers were holding up pictures of thumbs! 


Roosters were rushing into Kentucky Fried Chicken and begging to use the pressure cooker! 


When I dialed 911, a recorded message said to phone back in the spring! 


The optician was giving away free ice scrapers with every new pair of eyeglasses!


Kids were using a new excuse to stay up late: "But Mom, my pyjamas haven't thawed out yet!" 


Richard Simmons started wearing pants! 


A streaker froze in mid-streak! The town council just stuck a plaque on him and pretended he was a Greek statue until spring. 






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.

February 5th, 2015


Theme by Danetsoft and Danang Probo Sayekti inspired by Maksimer