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VCB eNews, Vol 12, #16 - It's Still Winter

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In this Edition

-  Editorial: It’s Still Winter

- Rides Captain’s Report

- Women on Wheels Snowshoe Event

-  Loose Chain Links

- Bike Buy and Sell

- About That Funny

- Submission Guidelines, etc.


“I love skating so much and I feel like every time I step out onto the ice, that’s what I’m meant to do.”
— Clara Hughes, Canadian Olympic speed skater and cyclist





My fashion dilemma each morning consists of which thick sweater I will wear, I’m wearing long underwear indoors and my wool socks go way past my ankles. It’s still winter. We’ve had many days with very cold windchills and the Environment Canada forecast webpage is hysteria-red with warnings and watches. Frankie MacDonald, the Weather Wizard of Whitney Pier, has become an international internet superstar, bringing you the information you really need to know about the weather, not the details of low or high pressures or El Nino or El Nono but should you buy extra chips and milk? 


The heavy boots and scarves and parkas stand by the back door, fieldmarks of the winter season. It’s been a pretty rough go for us in the Maritimes, without even the usual relief of a January thaw. When I looked out the window this morning, my street was a 250 m long ice rink. What to do? 


I had been a skater for four years when I learned to ride a bicycle. Both of my parents loved to skate, and some of my earliest outdoor memories are about skating. I recall the first time I tried to skate, in my older sister’s hand-me-downs, shuffling along in snow pants among the weeds and rushes on a frozen pond. I fell down about 900 times, but don’t recall being frustrated or hurt – just delighted to be “skating” and determined to learn to do it right. A year or so later, when I was about four, I remember being bundled out the door with my sister and a passel of cousins to go skating with relatives, including my grandfather, on a pond near his home. My grandfather had gone to fight in the Great War when he was 15 years old. He was a serious, stern, relentlessly hardworking man and he was obeyed by all. But this bright, cold day he was smiling, laughing, teasing, and relaxed as he went gliding effortlessly across the smooth ice. He was close to 70 years old at the time. One of my favourite memories of my father is of him skating around on a rink he built in our back yard. My mother and I watched him from the kitchen window while he sped around for the sheer thrill of it, unaware of his admiring audience. He was powerful and very fast, the blades of his skates flashing as he cross-cut on the corners. All my life I wanted to skate like that.


It is notable that ice skating is considered a forerunner of bicycling. Unusually cold weather in the 18th century made ice skating suddenly popular in all of Europe, although it had been practiced in The Netherlands for many years prior. Reports from the time describe “Dutch farm women skating from marketplace to marketplace balancing milk cans on their heads and knitting” (from Hardy & Lessing’s Bicycle Design). As a modern-day multi-tasking would-be supermom and a knitter, I find that “and knitting” a particularly damning affront. I might aspire to be able to skate with a milk can balanced on my head, but to be expected to knit at the same time just puts an impossible condition in the mix. 


Ice skating eventually declined in popularity as a pastime and mode of transport, but the revelation that a man on skates could travel faster than a man on a horse inspired interest in human-powered transportation that eventually led to the invention of the bicycle. Skating has enjoyed periods of popularity as a recreational activity, and of course all Canadians know that one of the things that makes hockey such an exciting game is the speed involved in a sport played on skates. 


I was sitting down knitting (without a milk can on my head) this morning and feeling quite productive, given the weather, yet out of the corner of my eye I could see that smooth, flat, glittering surface. You hardly ever see natural ice like that, not rippled too much from the wind, or pocked with airholes. No open water, certainly, just a perfect solid, shining, glaze over the asphalt. I couldn’t stand it. I got my skates. I put them on and walked carefully out to the end of the driveway. I tested the surface, found it solid, and went gliding swiftly down the road. I skated up and down for about a half hour. It was cold and windy, but it was a wonderful, once-in-a-lifetime kind of experience: the surprising ease of moving with so much speed, under your own power, in the fresh air. Hey – just like bicycling!



The Editor’s own personal ice rink. (Shelley Porter, photo); below: The Editor as captured by phone camera on her way past the house (Laura Porter-Muntz, photo).






So, at the potluck, the editor, a friend, and I somehow started talking about cooking and the number of cookbooks each of us had. My friend’s collection surpassed both my and the editor’s, at somewhere in the vicinity of 1000. I, on the other hand, had cut back on the number that I was collecting but hadn't actually counted them in quite some time. On the last snow day, I was really bored and couldn't figure out what to write, so I counted my cookbooks.Turns out I have between 625-650, excluding binders, magazines, and recipe cards. Now, you would think I would have a more precise number but I also have a few in my upstairs pile still to be read and I couldn't be bothered going up to find out how many there were. Lamentably, our editor doesn't have enough to fill even part of one shelf (perhaps they are the quintessential cookbooks, so I should find out which ones she has!) but she did propose I should, from time to time, post a recipe to warm people up after they have had an outing in what I will generously call the continuing cool weather. Here is my first culinary offering: "Down Under Mulled Wine" (I have no idea why it has that name).

  1 bottle of red wine
  1 tbsp. honey
  2 tbsp sugar
  Pinch of cinnamon
  Pinch of ginger
  8oz./225g can pineapple cubes, drained & chopped
  8oz./225g can sliced peaches, drained & chopped
  1 large measure of brandy
  1 pint/575 ml hot water

  Heat together the wine, honey, sugar, and spices. When near boiling point add fruit. Heat for a few seconds further before stirring in brandy and hot water. Serve very hot. (serves 12)
  N.B. a measure, in this instance, refers to a fluid ounce. A large measure depends upon your liking for brandy. Also, the drained juice could be added at the same time as the brandy and water depending upon the degree of sweetness you might like to achieve. And of course the serving suggestion is just that, a suggestion. It may have been very cold the day you were out enjoying the weather and you might be tempted to drink it yourself while thawing out and reading a good book. If you have ideas or suggestions for rides or events, you can reach me at . Good riding everyone.
P.S.: Curiosity led me to check the origin of the cookbook. As it turns out, it has recipes from around the world, including New Zealand (where it does snow) hence the name, I would imagine.






If you enjoy the fresh air and the snow, why not join your friends for an evening of snowshoeing at Ski Ben Eoin?  Meet at the ticket building at 6:30 pm for a 7:00 pm start. The group will take the chair lift to the top of the hill and will be led along the designated trails by guides. The event will last for approximately 2 hours, after which the group will meet for hot chocolate, apple cider, cookies, and . . . door prizes!  Now, that does sound like a good time doesn’t it?  Specific details listed below.  See you there! 



Saturday, February 28th
Meet-up at ticket building at 6:30pm
Hit the trails at 7:00pm

  •     $5 for the event for all, members and non-members of Ski Ben Eoin.
  •     $10 trail pass for non-members of Ski Ben Eoin.
  •     $10 snow shoe rental.
  •     $20 combo for event, trail pass, rental.






Cyclists Wanted for Research Study: I am looking for more PARTICIPANTS to be in a RESEARCH STUDY that I am conducting, for my Master's thesis in SPORT PSYCHOLOGY.
This is research that involves cyclists. My academic institution is in San Diego, California and I'm located in Ottawa, Canada.

My thesis is on cyclists who crash and what it takes to get them back on the bike after they have recovered (whether it's months of recovery or same day). All road, race, time-trial, and off-road cyclists are invited. This is mostly geared towards athletic cyclists (who train and/or race) but
commuters are welcome too.

The participants would be required to fill out an online survey about their crash experience(s). The school will provide a disclosure letter, ensuring participants that their information will be kept confidential. If you are interested, or know anyone else who might be, or even better -
if you are interested in sharing this information/request with your lists, I would truly appreciate it, and that could help me to get the required number of participants I need for the study. I need about 1000 participants for this study.

I can be contacted at my email at mailto; or on
Facebook at: Consulting/159349070752954?ref=hl




Halifax is ripe for the taking:


Cold weather got you down? Imagine bicycle racing in the desert:


What did you call me??


Coming up soon: Women on Wheels Eastern Shore:


Share the Road Nova Scotia looking for partners:


National survey on walking:


Bicycle Nova Scotia AGM:


Another twist on ebikes:


It’s a headlight and a camera:


When US “Presidents’ Day” was Bicycle Day:






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






A group of seniors were sitting around talking about all their ailments at Tim Horton’s.        


 "My arms have got so weak I can hardly lift this cup of coffee," said one.


"Yes, I know," said another, "My cataracts are so bad; can't even see my coffee."


 "I couldn't even mark an "X" at election time because my hands are so crippled," volunteered a third.        

 "What? Speak up! What? I can't hear you”, said one elderly lady.        


 "I can't turn my head because of the arthritis in my neck," said one, to which several nodded weakly in agreement.          


"My blood pressure pills make me so dizzy!" exclaimed another.        


 "I forget where I am and where I'm going," said another.        


 "I guess that's the price we pay for getting old," winced an old man as he slowly shook his head.    

 The others nodded in agreement.        


 "Well, count your Blessings," said a woman cheerfully, “Thank God we can all still drive.” 






For almost a year now the distribution of the VCB eNews was done through Express Email Marketing, a paid for service of our website host


In order to save valuable funds, the VCB eNews subscribers’ eMail will be transferred to the VCB website in the coming 2-3 weeks.  





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 19th, 2015


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