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VCB eNews, Volume 12, #43 - Cyclist Hygiene




Volume 12, #43:  Cyclist Hygiene

Shelley Porter, Editor



Editorial: Cyclist Hygiene
VCB Progress Report

Rides Captain’s Report 
Bike to Louisbourg For Acadian Day & BBQ

Women on Wheels Update

Ride Across Wisconsin Tour

Bike Culture Finds 

Loose Chain Links

Bike Buy and Sell

About That Funny


“Over-exertion, the upright position on the wheel, and the unconscious effort to maintain one's balance tend to produce a wearied and exhausted 'bicycle face’”

  • Literary Digest, 1895






Marie Nightingale, in her introduction to the cuisine of Nova Scotia, wrote of the Lunenburg Germans that “the housewife kept a tidy home, for cleanliness was, and still is, to the Lunenburger a thing next to Godliness”. Her cookbook, Out of Old Nova Scotia Kitchens, is a favourite of mine. She describes in it the traditional making of sauerkraut, including the stamping down of the fresh shredded cabbage with the bare feet, “well washed, of course”. While probably true of recent times, early settlers may very well have stamped happily with their unwashed feet. Personal and public hygiene have come a long way since my “Foreign Protestant” ancestors arrived at Lunenburg, and the thought of stomping on your food with unwashed feet, regardless of how much vinegar would be added to it later, is repulsive to us.


Marketers spend a lot of time convincing North Americans that they are just not clean enough. Terry O’Reilly, host of CBC’s marketing show, Under the Influence, dedicated an entire episode to the ways marketers shame us into buying personal hygiene products that will render us tasteless, colourless, and odourless. 


To be shamed, first we need to be persuaded that we have something to be ashamed of. My German forebears, among whom it was as common for the women to work in the fields as for the men, despite their efforts at household Godliness were no doubt odiferous beings. They would have smelled of wood smoke, cooked cabbage, and most of all, sweat.


“Body odour” (or sweat) is a major focus for shame-based marketing. Perfume, deodorant, talculm powder – all were invented to cover up the smell of human sweat. Sweat tells other people a lot about you. Superficially, it indicates your body temperature, maybe your exertion level, and whether or not you ate asparagus for dinner. On more subtle levels, the odour of your sweat indicates your reproductive status, your place in the social hierarchy, and your overall health. 


So, it may be understandable that when in the workplace or a social setting, the last thing a modern North American human wants to smell of is sweat. This has implications for active transportation initiatives, because if you are active, more than likely you will sweat. Therefore, many people avoid cycling to work because they want to avoid sweating – sweating messes up your clothes, can ruin your hairstyle, and makes you socially-unacceptably smelly. 


Yet recent studies in workplace behaviour indicate people who use active transportation are happier, more focused on work tasks, and more productive. Maybe it’s time we rethink the ideal of the perfectly coiffed employee, with matte, dry skin, creases in the pants, and shiny shoes. Maybe we should show some tolerance for a healthy glow, a little shirt-dampness, and a somewhat more casual work uniform. Perhaps we should wear our healthy smell with pride. Although I don’t recommend warming up brown-bag sauerkraut in the office microwave. Smell tolerance has limits.



A group of cyclists navigates through a rainshower on the 2011 Across the Highlands Challenge. The Across the Highlands Challenge is an annual event during which cyclists travel through scenic trails whilst getting spectacularly dirty. (S. Sutherland, photo)






Thank you for being a subscriber of Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter.  See what we've been up to over the past year.  Please have a look at the Report on Rides & Events below and let us know if you have any questions.


Again, thank you for your support of Velo Cape Breton Bicycle Association.  Together we can accomplish so many great things to make our communities better places to live.  Join Velo Cape Breton here.


Happy Cycling!





This past week has found me indulging in a yearly ritual. I speak of picking blueberries. A 10 minute walk from my home, and there I am. It is something I learned as a child and something most families did then. Over the years I have noticed that I run into fewer and fewer people while I am out. So far this year I haven't met anyone, something I find amazing as the spot I pick in is across the street from several large apartment complexes.

It provided something for the family to do together on a Sunday afternoon -the only "free" time as parents were busy working either in the home (your mother) or outside of it (your father). Of course, your mother was the one (in most families) that actually ended up having to cook the berries into something delicious. But those were different times.

A matter of pride was learning you were a “clean picker” i.e. you didn't have to spend an inordinate amount of time picking out leaves etc. from your batch. Being a one-handed or two-handed picker was also important. Being a two-handed picker meant you could fill your container much more quickly. And if you had the entrepreneurial spirit you could make money going door-to-door selling your berries for $0.25 a quart, big money in those days.

I remember having a discussion a loonnggg time ago about which generation had the hardest lifestyle growing up and my answer was "the one you grow up in". If asked the same question today my answer would be the same. Not because previous generations didn't face some horrendous difficulties but because each generation has its own challenges of which the previous generation cannot conceive. So yes, I did walk a mile to school 4 times a day (uphill both ways) and there were a lot of things we didn't have, but I don't think this present generation will know the simple pleasure that can be derived from spending time outdoors picking berries. To my way of thinking this is a real shame. The people in those apartment buildings don't know what they are missing.

I can walk to my blueberry spot but Cape Breton is still wild and spots with berries abound. You may have a favourite spot yourself. If so there is still time to hop on your bike, strap a basket to the back and spend a lazy, warm day picking berries.

   Blueberry Nut Bread
  1 c.blueberries                    1 tsp.grated lemon rind
  1/2 c.sugar                          2 beaten eggs
  1 tsp.salt                             1 c.milk
  2 tbsp.oil                             3 c.flour
  3 tsp. baking powder


Sift dry ingredients together. Combine eggs, milk, salad oil and then add to dry ingredients. Mix lightly to just dampen. Add nuts and blueberries. Put into loaf pan. Let stand about 20 minutes. Then bake at 350 F for 1 hour. Enjoy your harvest.






This Sunday August 30th we will ride to the Fortress while others will drive.  Delegations from Cheticamp, Isle Madame and other Acadian communities will be there.  Over 100 people are expected to take part.  See poster below.


Meet at:   XTR Service Stop, Albert Bridge

Time:  Leaving at 9:00am sharp

Ride: 20km to the Fortress for the celebrations and BBQ,.

Returning to XTR at 1:30pm







Much thanks to all you ladies who showed up for “Ride the Pink Wave”.  It was a good ride that held some personal bests along the way. The social at Jane’s Restaurant was fun. 


WOW riders at the Old General Store in Bras d’Or. (S. Johnson, photo)



Women on Wheels


WOW ride Saturday, August 29th from Open Hearth Park to New Waterford and return. Very scenic ride with lots of parking at the Open Hearth Park.  Ride at your own pace through South Bar, around Lingan and back to the Open Hearth Park.  No major hills.  Bring money for social after ride.  Come on out and you'll have an enjoyable ride with friends. The weather for Saturday is sunny with a temperature of 25c.


Meet:  Open Hearth Park parking lot.

Time: 9:30 am for a 10:00 am start

Date:  Saturday, August 29th

Distance:  Approximately 30K loop


  • Shelley Johnson, WOW Co-Ordinator









MY “Pedal Across Wisconsin” TOUR

by:  Nita Bernat


While my Canadian friend, Shelley Johnson, headed east to northern Indiana for a 3-day bike tour, I chose to go north to Wisconsin to join PAW, the “Pedal Across Wisconsin” Tour.

From the get-go, I thought I was back on the maritime shores.  The trees, the skies, the whole feel was very much like cycling in Canada. This was a 7 day, all-inclusive supported tour, except for a few on your own dinners.

 The tour started in Rhineland, Wisconsin and continued on to Eagle River, WI then 6 days later back to Rhineland. Every day cyclist would ride either a short 40 mile distance or a longer 50-60 mile distance, or anywhere in between, and return to the motel.  

A group "happy hour" was definitely one of the social highlights of this trip where folks from all over the U.S. gathered after the day's ride to compare stories. Lots of liquid refreshments before a group dinner.  The price for this tour or any of the PAW Tours is very reasonable for all that it includes.  I suggest if anyone is interested, look up Pedal Across Wisconsin and browse their website:

- Nita Bernat, Member Louisville, KY, USA VCB Chapter.






This section features 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).


Beaver Cove to Grand Narrows

If you're ready for a short ride out of your neighbourhood, try Rte 223 from Beaver Cove to Grand Narrows (Iona)


Next to no traffic, nice well preserved farming homes from the past and new ones well landscaped.  New pavement over the 20km or so with scenic views of the Bras d'Or lakes, the west end of Boularderie Island, Baddeck, Washabuck Island and the Grand Narrows Bridge.


Here’s a suggestion for a nice ride.  Drive to Beaver Cove, park your vehicle at Beaver Cove to start around 10:30 or so, before the prevailing winds pick up.  After the first 2km westward you'll be riding on a brand new laidout tarmac for about 6km, then the section paved last year and then the one the year before that.  Arriving at Grand Narrows, continue towards the bridge.  On the way down, follow signs to the Wheelhouse Café and take the exit to the left on this side of the bridge.  Nice spot to refresh with the cool breeze from the lake and good timing for a light lunch.  By the time you're ready to hit the road again, the prevailing winds should have picked up to make your ride back just plain fun.  The road is pretty flat with only a couple of climbs of about 2-400 m long at no more than 4% on your way back.  


It's a "must do".





Help for numb hands:


Let it be!:


Ever wondered what effect cycling has on your body during the first hour of turning the pedals? Check out the graphic to see how awesome it is!




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


2013 Scott Contessa Speedster 15  Road Bike     ( Woman )

Size:   XXS  

Fits  5’ 2” and smaller.


Aluminum frame with carbon fork.  Shimano 105 components, 10 x 2 speed

Out 10 times or less. Always stored indoors.

Paid $ 1399.00 plus tax.  Asking $1000.00. 

For more info you can email me at or call 902 224-3855.




Vintage CCM Tandem circa early ‘70s  Excellent condition.

George Jessen,



FOR SALE: Giant Cypress comfort bicycle. Excellent condition. “Men’s” frame, 17in. Tuned up by professionals and stored since May 2015. $175.00 Contact


Cycling Shoes For Sale. $50.00 .... SHIMANO Model M075 Size 9.7US 44Wide (I wear a size 10 street shoe). Excellent condition. Please call 902-561-1965 if interested.







How many Germans does it take to change a lightbulb?

One – we are efficient, and don’t have humour.


And to prove it, German Comedy Ambassador, Henning Wehn:



From the Lunenburg Sauerkraut Song:


“When the sauerkraut begins to smell, and it can’t smell no smeller

We take it from the barrel that’s way down in the cellar

Me put him in the kettle and it begins to boil

So help me we can smell her round fir 40,000 miles”





Shelley Porter,

Editor, Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter

VCB Cycling Ambassador.

August 27th, 2015




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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