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VCB eNews, Volume 12, # 18 - Where Do You Think You're Going?


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By:  Shelley Porter,  Editor VCB eNews

Volume 12, Issue 18: Where do you think you’re going?
Editorial: Where Do You Think You’re Going?
Rides Captain Report: Introduction, Part 7
Notices of Rides and Events
Loose Chain Links
Bike Buy & Sell
About That Funny


“Wherever you go, go with all your heart.”

Bicyclists get around. They use their bicycles to go places. And when they go places (by other means), they use their bicycles. One of my favourite travel writers, Dervla Murphy, is best known for her book Full Tilt: Ireland to India by Bicycle. Published in 1965, it details her journey, alone and unsupported, overland through Europe, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India. She carried a pistol. I don’t know what you would have to carry to make that journey safely today.
Closer to home, I asked our 52 Week Bike Challengers and some other cyclists I know about their travel experiences, must-haves, and top tips. Here is what I learned:
The right equipment is a must, and what is “right” is different for everyone. Want to go on a long, unsupported tour? Try a steel-framed touring bicycle with front and rear panniers. Not enough room for your camping gear? Hitch on a trailer! Now, before you assume that a bicycle towing a trailer is slow, let me tell you about the time I saw two middle-aged people on a tandem bicycle towing a trailer loaded to the hilt (I could see a cast iron frying pan among the gear) outpedal a fit man in his 20s on a racing bike. Don’t want the cost or worry of transporting your bike? One of our B52s has bicycles stashed all over North America, at the homes of friends and relatives. He has one everywhere he might go.
For other travelers, the right bicycle is a folding bike. A folding bike can be stowed in your car or carried on an airplane. I bought one to have in my car “just in case”. I need to remember to put a helmet in there with it. One of my B52 friends has a folding bicycle with its own suitcase, and the suitcase can be turned into a trailer. Some people have bike racks on their cars, others modify the interior of their vehicles to easily stow a full-sized bike or two. More than one cycling enthusiast I know has chosen a new vehicle based mainly on its suitability for transporting bicycles!
Some important things to have along on a cycling trip, or a trip where you may cycle some of the time, are bike tools (including spare tubes in case of flats), cycling appropriate clothing and shoes, a first aid kit, maps or GPS, and water bottles. Depending on where you are traveling, a water purification system of some kind might be a good idea. Other useful items include a guidebook, a helmet, climate protection (sunscreen, rain gear, wool socks), and a working knowledge of the language spoken at your destination. Stow a book of common phrases in your jersey pocket. One of our B52 participants can travel most of Europe without having to worry about language issues, as long as he takes along his wife, who speaks French, English, and Italian.
Remember to travel safely. Be sure to know the legal status of bicycles at your destination. I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to wear a helmet, especially if that is the law of the land.  Check to see what side of the road you should be riding on before you take to the road in a foreign land. Dervla Murphy traveled all over the globe, sometimes on horseback and once even by mule, but very often she used a bicycle. She found herself in many very dangerous situations. Yet in an interview she declared the worst incident that had ever happened to her was at home, when she tripped over her cat, fell on her kitchen floor, and shattered her left arm. When traveling, carry protection; at home, watch for cats. Bon voyage!
B52 Participant Lynne Pascoe’s “Bike Friday”, which folds up and fits into its own suitcase. (Lynne Pascoe, photo)

Jacques Cote and Micheline Guillot’s tandem bicycle, wrapped and ready to fly out of Nantes after a European tour. (Jacques Cote, photo)

 Here it is the last week of February and it is still staying quite cold - to put it mildly. It makes me think back to warmer times. Friends and I were traveling in California several years back and we visited San Francisco for a week. Great food, great weather, very nice architecture.  I was slightly disappointed that we did not get to experience even a mild earthquake, but that is just me. One day, we were on a walking tour and came across a group of cyclists. We wondered what was going on: all of these cyclists were naked. Turns out it was World Naked Bike Ride Day - the idea being to show motorists that for a cyclist, the clothes you wear are not going to protect you if have an accident. This event has grown since it first began in Europe in 2004. It has become a worldwide phenomenon, growing to include support for conservation, the environment, and healthier lifestyles. Being from modest Cape Breton, we were a bit taken aback at this public display and the bravery (or fool-hardiness) of the participants.
Upon returning home, I Googled “WNBR”. It turns out this event is also held in Halifax. Surprise, surprise. The long and the short of this (hahaha) was I determined that I was going to do it. The date was set but a storm blew through Halifax and the ride was postponed for 2 weeks. To say that I was nervous would be an understatement but if I could overcome the fear of riding King's Road and the Trans-Canada, I could do this. Besides, nobody would know me anyway. The day arrived but because of the postponement, my plans had undergone a change. I had to drive up and down to Halifax the same day, and also do the ride (which lasted about 3 hours).
When I arrived at the gathering spot, there were people very comfortably already naked. I still had clothes on. Now you do not have to be completely naked to participate, you do it at your comfort level. There were several people there to do body painting, which is a form of covering. When I do something it is with the intent of doing it, so I sucked in a deep breath and removed the last of my clothes. Helmet and shoes were mandatory. The biggest lessons I learned from that day - and it was a beautiful day for a bike ride through Halifax - was that what you look like doesn't matter, and if you are naked and everyone around you is naked, being naked is no big deal. Will I do it again? At this point in time, I am not sure but if anyone wants to organize one for Sydney, let me know. I would of course advise that it be done in June/July as even I am not crazy enough to want to do it in February.  Good riding everyone and remember - warmer days are coming. You can reach me at jp<>


Crosswalk Safety Information Café:

We would like to invite you to the Crosswalk Safety Information Café, organized by CBRM Pedestrian Safety Advocacy Group   
Join the event for interactive and lively conversations about crosswalk safety issues in CBRM.
Tuesday March 24th 6:30pm-8:30pm
The workshop will offer an opportunity to explore crosswalk safety plans and initiatives that currently exist in Halifax as outlined by guest speaker Norm Collins, Halifax regional municipality ’s crosswalk safety Advocate, while receiving feedback from YOU to prioritize next steps here in CBRM.
Join the conversation!
Date: Tuesday March 24th, 2015
Time: 6:30 -8:30 pm 
Venue: McConnell Memorial Library, 50 Falmouth St., Sydney , NS

How to clean you bicycle drive train, very useful info:
Livable streets for all:
Lots of local trail information on this site:
Fix our sidewalk plowing, Halifax edition (similar discussions were held between VCB Board members, and led to a discussion with local TIR about plowing the Sydney River bridge, with positive results):
Looks like Sydney to me:
You MUST watch the video:
Innovative Fatbike forks:
Like y’all don’t know this, but here’s validation:
Wanted: Looking to do some touring this summer and looking to find a 54 inch or medium size Cabot Norco touring bike in new or in lightly used condition.  If you are wishing to sell yours or know of one for sale, please contact me through email
Also looking to purchase a 54 inch or medium lightly used aluminum frame hybrid bike.  Please contact
For Sale: Brand new Crank Brothers cleats for eggbeater, Candy, mallet, or smarty pedals. $10. Contact
The 'Middle Wife' by an Anonymous 2nd grade teacher.
I've been teaching now for about fifteen years. I have two kids myself, but the best birth story I know is the one I saw in my own second grade classroom a few years back. 

When I was a kid, I loved show-and-tell. So I always have a few sessions with my students. It helps them get over shyness and usually, show-and-tell is pretty tame. Kids bring in pet turtles, model airplanes, pictures of fish they catch, stuff like that. And I never, ever place any boundaries or limitations on them. If they want to lug it in to school and talk about it, they're welcome. 

Well, one day this little girl, Erica, a very bright, very outgoing kid, takes her turn and waddles up to the front of the class with a pillow stuffed under her sweater.  She holds up a snapshot of an infant. 'This is Luke, my baby brother, and I'm going to tell you about his birthday.'  'First, Mom and Dad made him as a symbol of their love, and then Dad put a seed in my Mom's stomach, and Luke grew in there. He ate for nine months through an umbrella cord.' 

She's standing there with her hands on the pillow, and I'm trying not to laugh and wishing I had my camcorder with me. The kids are watching her in amazement.

'Then, about two Saturdays ago, my Mom starts saying and going, 'Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh!' Erica puts a hand behind her back and groans. 'She walked around the house for, like an hour, 'Oh, oh, oh!' (Now this kid is doing a hysterical duck walk and groaning.) 

'My Dad called the middle wife. She delivers babies, but she doesn't have a sign on the car like the Domino's man. They got my Mom to lie down in bed like this.' (Then Erica lies down with her back against the wall.)  'And then, pop! My Mom had this bag of water she kept in there in case he got thirsty, and it just blew up and spilled all over the bed, like psshhheew!' (This kid has her legs spread with her little hands miming water flowing away. It was too much!)

'Then the middle wife starts saying 'push, push,' and 'breathe, breathe. They started counting, but never even got past ten. Then, all of a sudden, out comes my brother. He was covered in yucky stuff that they all said it was from Mom's play-center, (placenta) so there must be a lot of toys inside there.' 

Then Erica stood up, took a big theatrical bow and returned to her seat. I'm sure I applauded the loudest. Ever since then, when it's show-and-tell day, I bring my camcorder, just in case another 'Middle Wife' comes along. 


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