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VCB eNews, Volume 12, #33 - Coxheath - A Ride With Options


Volume 12, #33: A Ride with Options

Shelley Porter, Editor



Editorial: Coxheath – A Ride with Options

Rides Captain’s Report – Lobster Roll Ride and Draw Winner

Bike Week Recap 

Other Rides and Events

Bike Culture Finds – NEW!

Loose Chain Links

Bike Buy and Sell

About That Funny


“It’s easy to make good decisions when there are no bad options.”

  • Robert Half





June must mean “potential” in some language or other, maybe the language of gardeners and mothers. In June the growing season reaches a kind of adolescence, the fulfillment of May’s promise of lengthening hours of sunlight and maturing heat. The garden strides across the stage toward the robust and independent days of July, no longer needing our fretting and support. It turns to us only occasionally, when it’s short of water or in need of weeding. We’ll sigh and wait for it to return in August with fat tomatoes we can coo over and squeeze. 


Long summer days and warm summer evenings can grow cyclists, too. Like garden flowers, cyclists need some support - some even need training – and Velo Cape Breton can offer all that. But some cyclists are like weeds: all they need is an opportunity. Velo Cape Breton has a full schedule of rides (see ) each season, but don’t let that stop you grabbing opportunities to ride out alone or with a few well-chosen companions. There are many possible choices for a day or evening ride. Coxheath Road is an option, with options within it.


The Cape Breton County Arena is a good place to initiate your ride: it has lots of parking in the evening and it’s a central meeting place. Negotiate the intersection with care, then head straight out the Coxheath Road. I always enjoy the long view from the overpass at Highway 125. There’s something hopeful and motivating about the wide road stretching off into the distance. Eyes front, though, we have traffic to navigate! 


Once you get past the on and off ramps to the 125, the scenery transforms. Tall trees, houses reminiscent of a more rural past, and open fields that sweep up Coxheath Mountain are intermixed with more modern housing developments. All overlooks Sydney River and Blackett’s Lake. And then the options start.


The first option is to challenge yourself with a tour through Mountain Road, Beechmont, and part of Frenchvale, a route that will take you to Ball’s Creek and back along Keltic Drive to the arena. This ride is over 10 km, and includes some very challenging climbs. The countryside and viewscapes are worth it.


If a hill workout is not to your liking you can opt to simply continue along the Coxheath Road. The road surface is quite good, and the traffic volume usually low. Take care passing the Coxheath Recreation Park, as when soccer games are being played, soccer moms and dads will be leaving and entering the roadway. You have the option of stopping and taking in a game or two as a spectator, or when the season is right, picking wild blueberries on the mountainside above the pitch.


From the Park, you can continue on the gently rolling and winding road to the church at Blackett’s Lake, where you are presented with more options. You can turn left, travel past Blackett’s Lake out to Route 4, and from there back to Sydney River. Once you arrive back at the arena, you will have traveled about 17 km. Or you can go straight, through more quiet countryside to Sydney Forks and Gillis Lake Road. Be aware that the road surface deteriorates once you get past the church. A ride from the arena to Gillis Lake Road and back is about 30 km. There is a climb at the end, but the thrilling descent on the return trip makes the effort well worth it.


All these options are fine fertilizer for the growing, or even the maintaining, cyclist. As the summer gardening (and riding) season progresses, I hope cyclists will become as common along the roads as surplus zucchini. But don’t try to buy one – we’re free.


Winding country roads under tall trees invite you to relax and explore. (S. Porter, photo)


Taking a left at Blackett’s Lake is one of the options when riding in Coxheath.

If you time it right, you may catch a beautiful sunset. (S. Porter, photo)





CBRM's bike week is now over so everyone can concentrate and get REALLY excited about this weekend's Lobster Roll Ride (LRR).  New venue, new routes but still lots of fun. We are looking forward to seeing many new faces mixed in with old friends with lots of smiles. Your LRR committee is working hard to put on a great event and we hope you will all come out and participate.  It would be a cheap day’s entertainment at three times theprice.


As official nag I would like to remind you also of the upcoming Englishtown Musselfest on the 27th and the Miner's Pick ride with Stan and Charlene on the 28th.  The beginning of July will bring a lot of exciting events but more on that later. The WOW rides are really beginning to take shape as are the Sho-n’-Go rides with Jacques and Micheline on Thursday evenings at 6pm from the Coxheath Arena.


And now for something completely different: On the 20th of June the second annual Walk a Mile in her shoes in support of Transition House Foundation is taking place and I will be one of the walkers.  Domestic violence and abuse is taking place and creating victims even as I write this. The stigma attached to this subject is alive and well in our society and is not something to be tolerated nor swept under the nearest rug as it has been so often in the past.  The walk is a lighthearted way of trying to bring some light to this dark subject and to show that there are men out there willing to look ridiculous for a good cause.  So if you can donate to someone you know that is walking, please do, but while watching TV this evening, I saw at least a 1/2 dozen ads for different charity sponsored events, all trying to raise money for their charities and I realized that there is only so much money to go around.  In a perfect world none of these events would be needed but this is not a perfect world and so we each choose those charities that are closest to our hearts.  And that is okay by me.  Because while money helps, talking about domestic abuse and violence will bring about an end to it more quickly.  


And to end on a light note, this is me looking ridiculous for something that I believe is worthwhile. J.P.Martin


PS: The winner of the early bird LRR draw for half a dozen lobsters is Dianne Wadden.


Our Rides Captain shows off what cycling regularly can do for those gams! (JP Martin, photo)




Andrée Crepeau demonstrates the ABC Quick Check.


Great night of riding.  We missed the rain which as I write this, I hear coming down in a real down pour.  Good to see you all out tonight for the learn and ride.   Our next WOW ride is next Tuesday, June 23rd at 6:00 pm.  Come and join us.  All welcome.


Come and learn about why you need to make sure you have enough air on your tires; why you should lubricate your chain and check your brakes.  These are just some of the topics we will cover.  You’ll gain the experience of women mentoring women and have fun riding and make new friends, or catch up with old.


See you there!  Next Women on Wheels, June 23/15 at 6:00 pm, Noelle’s Country Market.



Shelley Johnson

Women on Wheels Co-ordinator




BIKE WEEK RECAP – Andrée Crepeau


Bike Week is celebrated across Nova Scotia as a way to promote, encourage and enjoy cycling.  It ran from June 5th to the 14th and CBRM put up a good show.  The municipality recreation department made small grants to organizations, community groups and schools to encourage participation.  As a result 8 schools or youth groups ran programs.  They also encouraged businesses to offer discounts to cyclists under the Pedalling Perks program.  The whole week was kicked off with a flag raising Friday June 5th by our Mayor Cecil Clark.


As always Velo Cape Breton was very busy.  We held Can-Bike sessions in Sydney and Baddeck, we held two sessions at the Farmer's Market and fixed or adjusted everything from a Raleigh road bike, mountain bikes to high end Tri bikes, we held four rides and cancelled two others due to rain, and we had an information session at the Mayflower mall. Plus we attended and did a presentation at the Children's Wish presentation at Lawton's Drugs.  The Foundation gifted a duette-bike to the Devon MacNeil, and Canadian Tire gifted a bike to his brother.  The family of three wasted no time getting out for a cycle and will be honorary ride leaders at the Lobster Roll Ride next Sunday June 21st.


Many thanks to all the people, the volunteers and participants, the municipality, the teachers and youth workers and everyone else who promotes and most importantly enjoys cycling.



CBRM Mayor Cecil Clarke along with several VCB members were on hand watching VCB Vice-President Andrée Crépeau raising the Bike Week Flag at the Civic Centre  on June 5.  (Britney MacNeil, photo)





EXTRA EXTRA on Bike Week from Jimmie Campbell, VCB Cycling Ambassador:


Here is some info on what I was up to for Bike Week. I did 6 Bike Safety Presentations and Demonstrations for the students at Bras d'Or Elementary. This involved approximately 275 children in Grades Primary to Gr. 6. I also did a tube repair workshop for the Gr. 5 and 6 students.

Thanks to a $300.00 grant from Colleen Clare, Physical Activity Strategy Coordinator for the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, I was able to pass out 11 bike helmets and 8 tube repair kits as prizes.







Walking to School Matters: Make Your Voice Heard!
Let the NS government know that you support kids cycling to school and walkable communities. In April 2015 the Nova Scotia government cut 100% of its funding support from the Department of Health and Wellness for the Ecology Action Centre’s longstanding and highly successful walk and bike to school initiatives as well as its program to help municipalities create more walkable and bikeable communities. Learn more and show your support here.





Please help us spread the word about our Century Ride happening on September 20th.  We inherited this event from Velo Halifax last year as there was no one to take the lead.  We did it together last year and it was a huge success. We will be hosting together again this year. We will be offering 50K/10K and 160K distances


Any help in spreading the word would be appreciated.

Here is the link to the online registration:

If you have any questions, please contact me.


Thanks in advance,

Christine Krochak
Outreach and Learning Coordinator





This section will feature bike-friendly places and spaces, as submitted by our members.  You can write in and tell us about a retail or service outlet that encourages cycling, whether it be by offering cyclist-friendly food, safe pathways, or just being there when you need it (like a public washroom).


Darby`s Old Church Kitchen, MacKinnon`s Harbour. 



I was travelling to Malagawatch last week when I happened across this little convenience store and cafe in McKinnnon`s Harbour. As you may recall from Century rides of years gone by, this area is sparsely populated and refreshments can be hard to come by. Darby`s is a welcome rest stop on this route.


Charming retro interior. (S. Porter, photo)






Bikeshare bonus:


It would be informative to create a similar map for Sydney:


Sharing the road? You’re on candid camera:


Beware of logical fallacies:


Gifts for the cycling Dad:





 (Ads will run for 3 weeks; if your item has not sold in that time, please resend the ad to the editor. Thanks!)


FOR SALE: Giant Cypress comfort bike. Men’s, size 17 in. Excellent condition, just tuned up at SportChek. $200. Contact


Still for sale: Cleats, suitable for eggbeater-style pedals. Crank Brothers brand. New, still in box, ordered wrong model. $10. Contact








A lady about 8 months pregnant got on a bus. She noticed the man opposite her was smiling at her.  She immediately moved to another seat. This time the smile turned into a grin, so she moved again.  The man seemed more amused.  When on the fourth move, the man burst out laughing, she complained to the driver and he had the man arrested.


The case came up in court.


The judge asked the man (about 20 years old) what he had to sayfor himself. The man replied, 'Well your Honor, it was like this, when thelady got on the bus, I couldn't help but notice her condition.  She sat down under a sign that said, 'The Double Mint Twins are coming' and I grinned. Then she moved and sat under a sign that said, ' Logan 's Liniment will reduce the swelling,' and I had to smile. Then she placed herself under a deodorant sign that said, 'William's Big Stick Did the Trick,' and I couldhardly contain myself.  But, Your Honor, when She moved the fourth time and sat under a sign that said, 'Goodyear Rubber could have prevented thisAccident'... I just lost it.'






Shelley Porter,

Editor, Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter

VCB Cycling Ambassador.

June 18th, 2015



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