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VCB eNews, Volume 12, #47 - Cycling Debates




Volume 13, #47: Cycling Debates

Shelley Porter, Editor




Editorial: Cycling Debates

Rides Captain’s Report + Rider’s Commentary

CBRM Cyclist’s Handbook - Official Launch

“GetOuttaYerCar” Week

Ride Into the Past

Bike Culture Finds 

Loose Chain Links

Bike Buy and Sell

About That Funny



“Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progress.”

Mahatma Ghandi





Just in case you’ve been off on a Tom Hanks’ style island holiday, I want to tell you there’s a federal election campaign going on. Along with incisive analysis of rivals’ hair style and abundance, statistics on the opposition leader’s smiles per hour, and lengthy lists of incumbents’ accomplishments while in office, one of the products offered to the voter for use in deciding for whom to cast that precious ballot is the political debate.


News media outlets vie for the rights to produce a debate. Observers tally up the zingers and flubs, trying to declare a winner sometimes even before the debate is completed. Leaders’ debates are an opportunity for voters to learn about each party’s policies and about a leader’s style and poise under pressure. 


Debating as a process emphasizes critical thinking, effective communication, and good research. Having to debate the value of one’s beliefs, or policies, or ideas can help focus and hone the fine points of one’s position. Listening to a debate can be fun, frustrating, and very educational. If the research is well done, those debaters can save you a lot of time on Google or in the stacks at the public library. 


The annual Nova Scotia Cycling Summit is coming up Oct. 2-4. We think of it as a gathering of like-minded individuals, and of course it is: we are all passionate about cycling and want to see cyclists’ interests considered in all kinds of debates, political and otherwise. But don’t let that persuade you that cyclists are a homogeneous lot – much variety exists regarding how cyclists interests are best addressed, who should address them, and how.


On the program of the Summit is an item called “The Debaters”. The subject to be treated is “Sharing the Road”. I am not part of the planning for this, so I can’t say what the debatable positions will be, but I can think of a few. Things like, should we put more effort into enforcing the rules of the road (and sidewalk) for cyclists, and for motorists for that matter, when it comes to cycling on shared roadways? Should we require training, even licensing, for cyclists before they can travel on roads – roads built for cars, after all. Should we try to share those roads at all, or just build new and separate infrastructure for cyclists and other modes of active transportation and vulnerable road users? 


As experienced cyclists, some of us can become uninterested in these longstanding arguments, believing it’s all been said and done and “everybody knows that” – about your place in the road, about proper signalling, about giving cyclists one metre when passing in a motor vehicle. We also sometimes tend to put the focus on motorists or those who control the built environment, thinking of ourselves as one unified, righteous group not needing any more lectures about what our responsibilities are.


And then something like this happens: you’re driving your car through one of the busiest and most confusing intersections in town and come up behind a cyclist. The person is on a road bike, dressed in racing-style kit, and obviously clipped in the pedals. I know how tricky it can be to ride in traffic when clipped in, especially when you have to navigate lanes, as this cyclist did. I’ve seen one of my triathlete buddies stand in traffic, properly situated in the lane behind the car preceding him, expertly balancing the bicycle while waiting for the light to change, never having to unclip. So I wasn’t alerted to anything unusual when this particular cyclist did not dismount when he reached his place in the line. 


And then the cyclist overtook the car in front of him, passed on the right all the cars waiting at the light in his lane, in the process drifting over the white lane into the lane to the right of him, where there were also many cars stopped at the light. Then this cyclist parked himself to the right of the first car stopped at the light. CAN-BIKE fireworks went off in my head. I asked myself if I could recall much of my first aid training, because I just might have to use it – this was a cyclist with a death wish. 


But it didn’t stop there. Once the light changed and the cyclist proceeded, as traffic flowed I happened to stay behind him until the next light. After a meandering [one of the first rules you learn in CAN-BIKE courses is to keep a straight, predictable line] trajectory down the road, he actually did stop at the next red light. Just long enough to check traffic, veer to the right into the crosswalk, cross illegally and continue on his journey, apparently oblivious to the rules of the road and the very real danger he was putting himself in. 


Shortly after this, I passed the cyclist, shaking my head. Should there be mandatory training for cyclists? Should law enforcement agencies be putting more effort into making sure vulnerable road users don’t endanger themselves – and the rest of us? Should cycling organizations be putting more effort into public education that emphasizes the responsibility each cyclist has to abide by the law and keep themselves (and the rest of us) safer? As a cyclist who knows their rights and responsibilities, I hope I set a good example for other cyclists (especially young ones) when it comes to sharing the road. Whether you attend the cycling summit and join the debate or not, you have a role to play. We can’t all be politicians, but we can all be leaders. 



Not a debatable point. (S. Porter, photo)





I have just returned from the Gaelic College, where I delivered a package of frozen meatballs. This year's Recovery Ride is now off and cycling and it looks like they will have a great weekend for going around the trail. The meatball delivery was in response to an early morning phone call from one of the people in charge of support (names are left out to protect the guilty) saying they had left the meatballs  at home and would I kindly pick them up and deliver them. No problem, as this is a beautiful day for a drive. If you are not on the ride then I hope everyone manages to get out this weekend as the weather looks to be something we expect to see in July, not late September. 



  • Sunday, September 27th, 12:30 pm Launch of the CBRM Cyclist’s Handbook  (see below)  
  • Get Outta Yer Car Week,  September 27th  to October 3rd.  
  • Saturday, October 10th, 10:00 am  Ride into the Past  (see below)



This week's VCB Riders Write is the last instalment I have but if you would like to contribute a story, please just send me a note at:   jp<


Have a great weekend, everyone! Don't forget that the Velo AGM is coming and we will be looking for people to fill some slots. Please consider coming forward and actively supporting your club.



VCB Riders Write: Rosalind Wright


As Jacques reminds me, I go back as one of the first Velo members so I thought going back was a good place to begin.

I bought my bike to become more physically active:  basically take less car trips to the store and start biking to work.


Joining Velo would also be a good way to meet people and use my bike.  Then I became a bit intimidated.  After all my bike was a department store special and it seemed all the Velo rides were way too advanced for me.

Last year, I saw the Women on Wheels group on the website and said this year I'm doing it.  It has been the best thing I have done.  I have learned so much.  Shelley, Micheline, and all the girls are the best - all out to ride and have fun. The group is relaxed, non-competitive, and even though we all ride at different levels, the group is supportive of one another's abilities.

My first ride in June was from Noelle's Country Market to the Lighthouse - 12km return! - I was so proud.   Then the 18 km loop and the best ride yet was the Ride to New Waterford - 35 kms.  Never would I have thought this was possible. There were a few "omg" moments, but I did it.  Now "gearing up" for the Tour dah Tarten ride!  And yes, still on my 18-speed department store mountain bike  :)

Rosalind Wright



CBRM Cyclist’s Handbook - Official Launch

Sunday, September 27th 12:30 PM at the Sydney Civic Centre.   Come to the launch biking, walking, running from where ever you want.  

Arrange to be there somewhat before 12:30.  Snack lunch will be available.    

There will be 1 - 2 hour ride afterwards.



Get Outta Your Car is a weeklong social media campaign encouraging CBRM residents to participate in sustainable transportation beginning Sunday, September 27th until Saturday, October 3rd. Participate in the campaign by committing to stop using your car for the week and instead use any form of sustainable transportation, including: walking, running, cycling, and public transit.

Use the hash tag #‎GetOuttaYerCar to share a picture or story about your commitment to using sustainable transportation and be automatically entered to win different prize packs given out all week long.




by: Eliot Frosst 

What:  An 16 km historical ride from the FORTRESS of LOUISBOURG National Historic Site to Kennington Cove, including 6 stops enroute (see below).   This ride is an historical bicycle ride is for all rider’s capabilities.  Most of the ride is on an unpaved road.

When: Saturday - October 10th, 2015

  • 10:00 AM registration -
  • 10:30 is the expected start of the tour.


  • Ride or Drive  to Louisbourg Canada Parks Royal Battery (about 300 m past the Visitor Centre Gate).  Check for the Velo Cape Breton canopy


  • 10:30  - Talk at Royal Battery - Why was the Royal Battery important in both sieges (1745 & 1758)?
  • Stop #1 - Stella Maria site – Old Town Road, fishing, fascine batteries and redoubts
  • Stop #2 - Richard Cemetery site – possible Titcomb’s Battery
  • Stop #3 - Fresh Water Brook – British encampment for BOTH sieges
  • Stop #4 - Kennington Cove – Wolfe’s landing in 1756
  • Stop #5 - Gate 2 – block houses, other batteries
  • Stop #6 - Royal Battery or into the Fortress with stops at BLACK ROCK and the QUEEN’S Gate. 

After visiting the town site one can leave by bicycle through the Dauphin Gate.



  • The cost is $10 and proper change is needed please.
  • If it is wet, appropriate footwear may be required to access Wolfe’s Monument/Cairn at Kennington Cove.
  • Jimmy Campbell (VCB Cycling Ambassador) will be on bicycle leading the way. 
  • Eliot Frosst will be your guide in a JEEP and follow the group.  You can leave articles such as cameras, water, sweaters, the Jeep and these will be available at each STOP.


For more information, please contact Eliot Frosst via or at 902-674-0936.






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).


The Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal road construction season is in full swing on Cape Breton Island.  Among several paving projects, of note are two stretches of road being re-constructed that, when completed, will show 1.5 metre wide paved shoulders.

  1. On Route 4 east of St. Peters going through Potlotek to connect with last year’s section ending at Solder’s Cove. 
  2. On the Cabot Trail east of North River Bridge to Tarbotvale.


These two stretches are part of the Nova Scotia Blue Route System.






Registration for the 2015 Nova Scotia Cycling Summit is OPEN:


Better late than never:


Well, d’uh (says anyone who ever wiped out on ice):


Cycling in the autumn:








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


FREE: Two mens short sleeve biking shirts (size 2XL) hardly used,  to give away. A Sugoi: blue with white trim; and a Pearl Izumi: grey colour. Contact George Jessen

FOR SALE: Saris Guardian 3 bike rack. Only used a couple of times. Purchased at Framework (original price $150). Asking $50. Contact Colleen at


FOR SALE: Giant ALUXX SL 6000 series butted tubing - ultegra gear system. Men's MED, 54" Frame Reg $2200. Selling Price $1700.00

This Bike has never seen the road...Brand New! If interested call Carl Oldham @ 902-679-7702

 Carl Oldham

Wolfville, NS



For Sale New Price: Giant Cypress comfort bicycle. Excellent condition. “Men’s” frame, 17in. Tuned up by professionals and stored since May 2015. $125.00 Contact









What’s the difference between an actor and a politician?

An actor has better script writers and more credible story lines.


The Bible would have been quite different if Adam and Eve had simply decided to buy a PC instead.


Two fish in a tank. One says to the other, “How do you drive this thing?”


I went to buy some camouflage pants. Couldn’t find any.


I was having dinner with Gary Kasporov (world chess champion). It took him two hours to pass me the salt.




Shelley Porter,

Editor, Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter

VCB Cycling Ambassador.

September 24th, 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

VCB eNews is e-mailed without cost or obligation to bicycle advocates around the world.  We hope you enjoy receiving these periodic emails from us. Opinions expressed in the VCB eNewsletter are those of the editor and contributor(s) and are not necessarily shared by the 

Velo Cape Breton Bicycle Association.  Everyone is invited to submit content for the VCB eNews, forward to  Please forward this eNewsletter to cyclists who may not know about Velo Cape Breton. They too can sign up and receive the VCB eNewsletter.  

Joining VCB is a proof of support to the community development and advocacy work done by the hard working volunteers of this club. Your $10 will go a long way.   It's your legacy to the rising generation. Check our Facebook page.



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