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VCB eNews, Volume 12, #24 The Best One Ever


Volume 12, #24: The Best One Ever
Shelley Porter, Editor
Editorial: The Best One Ever
Rides Captain’s Report: Waltzing with Bears
SummerFit Challenge 2015
First Meeting of Bicycle NS Roadways Education and Bicycle Advocacy Committee
Notices of Rides and Events
Loose Chain Links
Bike Buy and Sell
About That Funny


“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -/I took the one less traveled by/And that has made all the difference.”
  • Robert Frost

Every Across the Highlands Mountain Bike Challenge [AHC] is the best ever, which is a pretty good record for an event that’s been running for over a decade. Yet that’s how I feel about every one of them, even the one where a split-second misjudgement sent me into what we cyclists call “an involuntary dismount” horizontally into the shrubbery. I recall thinking “I’m glad I’m wearing this helmet” as twigs scraped the top of my plastic-covered head. I was even more glad I was travelling with three volunteer First Responders, one of whom had a well-stocked first aid kit. Somewhere between the bike and the ground, my right knee had encountered something hard and pointy. All of us were covered in mud from the trail, and the infection I developed a few days later showed the inadequacy of bottled water for cleaning a serious wound. My fellow riders came to my assistance in wrapping the wound, getting me out of the bushes, and making sure my bicycle was still fit to ride.
Trail rides can be an epic experience, where you encounter spectacular natural beauty and challenge your cycling fitness like no road ride ever could. They can also put the rider at risk for grievous bodily injury or even death. Staying safe on the trail is easy if you are prepared, like my cycling buddies who had first aid training and supplies. It was fortunate that I had buddies – like swimming, a wilderness ride is safer with a friend. The AHC is a fully supported event, with volunteers riding the trails, checkpoints at every road junction, ATV/truck support if you or your bicycle needs transport out, and medical assistance readily available, so even if I hadn’t been traveling with my own personal medical team, help would not have been long arriving.
 If you must ride alone, make sure you leave information about where you are going and how long you will be away with a friend or relative. Taking a “trailhead selfie” with your smartphone and posting it to social media (or, if you prefer more privacy, emailing it to a friend/relative) is also a good safety precaution. That way, people will know where you were and at approximately what time, and what you were wearing, if you should go missing. Having some kind of identification with you is also prudent. If you don’t want to pack your wallet, options like the lightweight and durable Road ID bracelet can speak for you when you can’t speak for yourself.
Making sure you and your bicycle are fit for the rigours of your off-road adventure is a crucial safety precaution.  Do your basic ABC bicycle check before you start. Check tires for wear and proper inflation (that’s “A”, for air), check your brakes (that’s the “B” - mountain biking is a lot about very rapid descents; functioning brakes are very, very important), finally examine the chain, crank, and cogs (that’s a lot of “C”s which really should be “D” for drivetrain but then it wouldn’t be alphabetical) to make sure they are working properly.  Be aware of your own state of body and mind as well: I know one of the reasons I fell was that I was tired and getting sloppy in my technique. I should probably have stayed longer at the rest stops and eaten more.
Speaking of victuals, be sure to pack along enough snacks and water for your outing – and then pack a little bit more, just in case. Some people don’t pack much water, believing that in the wilderness all the water is clean. This is no more true than the belief by some tourists that anywhere in Canada with more than five trees is an acceptable place to be naked. Girardia (the organism that causes“beaver fever”) has no colour, may be present in crystal clear streams far from settlements, and will make you very sick.
People always ask about dealing with wildlife, especially predators, on trails. Most wild animals want nothing to do with humans, and if you are fortunate enough to get a close look at a moose or marten, consider that one of the joys of backcountry travel. The animals most feared in Nova Scotia are coyotes and black bears. There is good information available from Nova Scotia Natural Resources and Parks Canada about how to deal with a coyote or bear should you encounter one or several (which may be the case with coyotes) on the trail. Concern about aggressive wildlife should not keep you out of the woods. As with anything, be knowledgeable and prepared.
Carrying a smartphone on your trail ride is wise, and it’s even wiser to make sure it’s fully charged before you leave home. Most have map and GPS apps, which can keep track of how far you’ve travelled and your location. I’d also recommend a compact first aid kit, waterproof matches or a lighter, sunscreen, and insect repellent. All of these are available in small travel sizes that will fit in an underseat bag or jersey pocket.
I hadn’t noticed what kind of bike box my ride companion had as I followed him down the trail on the day I got injured – I was too busy enjoying the beautiful scenery and thrilling speed of our descent down the mountain. I was certainly glad he’d packed bandages once I’d come to an ignominious halt, though. The wrapping held things together while I cycled the remaining 15 km of the ride. I had a very painful shower, and presented myself at the local hospital for removal of badly damaged knee tissue and installation of seven stitches, the first I’d ever had in my life.  It is worth noting that I’ve ridden the AHC eight times, and only been injured once. Don’t let fear of injury keep you off the trail – just remember to pay attention when your body needs rest, food, or water.
I took my seat at the after-ride meal gingerly that evening, favouring my sore knee. A friend came by and asked “How was your ride?”
“It was the best one ever”.

The editor with an expertly applied field dressing over the injury she acquired during the 2009 Across the Highlands Mountain Bike Challenge, Cheticamp.

The Editor enjoying a woodland section of the 2011 Across the Highlands Mountain Bike Challenge outside Whycocomagh. It’s not mountain biking if there’s no mud!

RIDES CAPTAIN’S REPORT – JP Martin “Waltzing With Bears”

 I was on the internet and found this picture .And it was at that point that I Googled how fast a bear could run. Turns out for short distances it is about 25-35 miles/hour, which is much faster than a person could run. I thought this a good reason to pass along a tongue in cheek warning. Velo's opening potluck is 2nd of May and while it is nice and sunny today, the 9th of April, I don't believe all the snow that is down will be gone by then. And you can be very certain that the bears that are around will be hungry. So make sure you stay on those trainers and get in shape for the river-side ride in the afternoon. I would hate to lose a Velo member because they weren't fast enough to get away. Of course, you could ride with a partner and just make sure you can ride faster than they can. :-)  Good riding everyone. And just to finish off, here is a link to a bear song: Bears

Editor’s Note: You can always try distracting a bear by throwing it a fish. Salmon are scarce, but I’ve been told Striped Bass are becoming plentiful.

Velo Cape Breton’s second annual SummerFit Challenge begins May 2, 2015. We dare you to cycle one continuous hour, outside, twice per week from May to October. If you complete all 20 weeks, you will receive a carbon-fibre certificate! You don’t have to be a member of Velo Cape Breton to participate (although membership in this club is the bargain of the century, and we do encourage you to join!). Just send an email to to be added to the list. Online registration and more details are at:
Bicycle Nova Scotia has created a Road Education and Bikeways Advocacy committee. Membership on the committee includes representatives from cycling organizations all over Nova Scotia, including a representative from Velo Cape Breton (Shelley Porter). Discussion at the first meeting included CAN-BIKE programs, the state of paved roads in Nova Scotia, the Making Tracks program, the Blue Route, and ways to increase engagement and membership in Bicycle Nova Scotia. Bicycle Nova Scotia will be launching its new website very shortly, and more information on the REBA committee and BNS membership can be found there.
Bicycle Nova Scotia
 GIVE TO LIVE is reaching out to you for help in publicizing the BIG RIDE 2015. The one day fully supported ride will take place Saturday, July 18 around the gorgeous Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. The route will run counter clockwise from Baddeck to Baddeck and will cover 300 km’s. Cyclists can ride solo and conquer the full 300km themselves or in a 3 person Relay Team of 100km per leg. 50 riders will have the opportunity to join the 2015 BIG RIDE. The BIG RIDE is a charity event and will raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society. ( If anyone is looking for additional information and details on the event, please contact

The BIG RIDE is online at:
Women on Wheels at The Deanery:
Registration is still open for the Women on Wheels 2015 Retreat at the Deanery Project. Join us for a weekend of workshops, rides and fun! The getaway offers women a space to learn from each other and share their cycling experiences. Workshops will cover mechanics; touring; safety; women’s cycling issues; and other related topics. All levels of cyclists are welcome!
WoW 2015 will begin at 4 pm on Friday, April 24 and run until 4 pm on Sunday, April 26. Registration for the weekend, including meals and dorm-style accommodation is $125.
Contact Lesley by email at or the Deanery Project at 902-845-1888 for more details. You can also visit or
River Ride and BBQ: Your VCB executive is pleased to announce our Season’s Opening Ride!
Saturday, May 2nd, 2015, 2 pm to 8 pm (approx.)
As a change-up from previous years, in place of our “Opening Banquet” we have decided instead to invite you to enjoy an early season bike ride followed by a BBQ. This event will be held at the Mira Boat Club, 545 Hillside Rd., where we can enjoy a 30 km ride along the river followed by a BBQ. Come on out, enjoy some cycling socialization, and get a look at our 2015 Rides Schedule. Bring some friends - we are always hoping for new members for our club. Membership forms will be available for those who have not yet renewed or joined for the 2015 season. Not interested in riding this early? No problem, just join us for the food and festivities!
We will be cooking up steak and several sides, as well as dessert. Cost will be $18 per person for adults and $10 for children under age 10. No need to worry about bringing food. We’ll even cook up some Portobello mushrooms for the vegetarians! (We aim to please). There will be a cash bar. Tickets will be available starting April 20/2015 on our website via Paypal.
Registration starts at 2:30pm; ride starts at 3:00; social hour from 5-6 pm; and meal served at 6pm.
So get your bikes out, pump up the tires, and get out your warm cycling clothes! We’re ready to ditch the snowshoes and skis!
Cycling and cancer risk:
For those to whom it applies:
Flat tire emergency fixes:
Somebody make an affordable version of this, quick!:
Trail building:
Keep your spare tube intact:
A clever compact folding bike:
Folding bicycle helmet:
Look out Copenhagen, here comes Paris:
FOR SALE: SPECIALIZED "SEQUOIA" Features - Made with Specialized A1 Premium Aluminum, the compact SEQUOIA frame is erogonomically designed for maximum comfort over the long haul. The ZERT inserts on the fork's Specialized FACT carbon legs absorb vibrations to keep you feeling fresh. The Specialized COMP handlebar is ergonomically shaped to form the perfect cradle for your hands. The SHAMANO 105 10 Speed STI break and shift leavers give you crisp shifts and effortless breaking. New road tires and tubes. Size Medium to Large ( I am 6 feet tall, 185 lbs and it was a great fit for me). 

I have maintenance and upgrade records form FRAMEWORK along with owner's manual. Original price was $999.99 plus tax. Myselling price is $600.00. Give me a call if interested in seeing this bike or if you would like to take it for a spin. 902-561-1965
FOR SALE: Crank Brothers premium eggbeater style cleats, never used, still in the box. $10. Contact
FOR SALE: Two mountain bikes, one Giant Rincon 6061 aluxx, frame size 14 in., $300; one Norco XFR, frame size 15, $300. Both about 4 years old, rarely used, stored inside. Will sell together for $500. Contact Heather at
A bear walks into a bar and says “I’ll have a beer and a . . . pack of peanuts”
The bartender says, “Why the big pause?”
What do you call a bear with no teeth?
A gummy bear.
What do you get if you cross a polar bear with a harp seal?
A bear-faced lyre!
A Russian scientist and a Czechoslovakian scientist had spent their whole lives studying the majestic grizzly bear. Each year they petitioned their respective governments to allow them to go to British Columbia to study these wondrous beasts. Finally, their request was granted and they immediately flew to Vancouver and then west to the north. They reported to the local warden station and were told that it was the grizzly mating season and it was much too dangerous to go out and study the animals. They pleaded that this was their only chance. Finally the warden relented. The Russian and the Czech were given cell phones and told to report in each day. For several days they called in, and then nothing was heard from the two scientists. The wardens mounted a search party and found the scientists' camp completely ravaged. There was no sign of the missing men .They then followed the trail of a male and a female bear. They found the female and decided they must kill the animal to find out if she had eaten the scientists, because they feared an international incident. They killed the female and cut open the bear's stomach and, sure enough, found the remains of the Russian. One warden turned to the other and said, "You know what this means, don't you?""Of course," the other warden nodded. "The Czech is in the male."
Velo Cape Breton is the island-wide voice of cyclists, working for better cycling in our great island. Visit our website that will introduce you to some of our activities.   If you have any question(s) or suggestion(s), please contact us
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