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VCB eNews, Volume 12, #49 - Famous Last Words




Volume 12, #49: Famous Last Words

Shelley Porter, Editor



Editorial: Famous Last Words

Rides Captain’s Report + Rider’s Commentary [double dose]

Bike Culture Finds 

Loose Chain Links

Bike Buy and Sell

About That Funny



“We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” 
 Pascal MercierNight Train to Lisbon






Before I came to live in Cape Breton, I lived in northwestern Newfoundland for three years. The region is breathtakingly beautiful, intimidatingly vast, unexpectedly dangerous, and charmingly isolated. Newfoundlanders, especially in remote outports, enjoy the conveniences of modern life, like smooth asphalt highways, regular snow-plowing in the winter, and the occasional bit of meat that has not been pickled and bottled. Still, they hold on to many traditions rooted in their long and difficult history. 


Newfoundlanders are very friendly and helpful people.  They have the habit of assuming everyone is family, and taking in wanderers. Cape Bretoners, also island people who haven’t always “had it good”, are the same. I’ve at times wondered just what this quality is, that compels people to reach out, even if their resources are meagre, to embrace and help others. Part of it, on both islands, is about survival: when you live in a harsh environment, you have to love your neighbour, whatever his qualities, because with so few compatriots nearby you never know when your life might depend on the kindness of your community. It is kindness, it is empathy for certain; but I have come to the conclusion that the key is generosity. 


It’s generosity that gives to the needy, rallies around the downtrodden, reaches out to the lonely. I was out at the weekly track work-out with the running/triathlete club last evening and looking at our coach, who comes out every week with a program prepared – he does this as a volunteer. This fellow is a very accomplished athlete and professional, who could just as easily spend his time entirely on his own training and working toward his individual goals. But he doesn’t; he comes out every week, year after year after year, and generously gives of his time and expertise to those who need guidance, encouragement, and inspiration to improve their health and athletic prowess. 


I can think back to my own running mentor, a senior citizen with a large family who, again, could just as easily spend his time doing his own training and spending time with his grandchildren. But he’s organized races and Cabot Trail Relay teams, and mentored countless anxious runners of all ages and abilities. It’s surely generous for this man to give his time and knowledge to so many, all of whom he cheered when they eventually beat him in races.


And then of course there are the Velo Cape Breton volunteers. They have endured the long hours, the stress, the travel, the frustration of encouraging social and legislative change. There is passion driving them, but also generosity. It’s much easier to sit at your keyboard and write letters to the editor than to go out to teach cycling safety, show up at meetings, or ride in the pouring rain to honour the fallen. 


In this process of moving “home” to the Annapolis Valley (maybe I will reclaim that part of me I left there – things like the songs of orchard grass in autumn and the embrace of delicious summer heat), I’ve been thinking of what I will take with me from Cape Breton, and what I will leave. It’s hard to leave so many good friends, even when the leaving is right. As paltry as it looks to me right now, this is my “thank you”, for your generosity – for all the opportunities, experiences, and support. The words are much too small on the page to express the volume of what I have gained from being here. I will try to take the generosity of Cape Breton with me, and trust me: I leave a part of me here. I will come back to visit with it whenever I can. Au revoir.



The Editor goes forward, but also looks back. (Clifford Morrison, photo)







Vic's end of the year, for non B-52ers, Out on the Mira ride went well. It was a lovely day but quite a headwind on the return leg. This pass weekend also saw the last ride at the Fortress for the season.  

The last VCB board meeting before the AGM, which will be November 5th at 5:30 at the round room of the Civic Center, was held to set the agenda and clarify which positions would be open. Please come out and support the club and consider volunteering for a position on the board.

A small gathering was held to say farewell to Shelley Porter this past Friday evening. It was well attended and although no tears were shed (that I know of), she will be sorely missed. A woman of many talents and a driving force for cycling and a tireless supporter of Velo taking on any task asked of her. Our loss is a gain for the Annapolis Valley.


Note:  A compendium of all of Shelley’s editorials including your “Best Wishes’ was bound in a book and given to her.

With the season starting to wind down for many of us, it is also winding down for my contribution to the newsletter. My next post will be to herald Shelley Johnson's "Jingle Bells Ride " sometime in December unless something comes along in the interim. Until then, keep safe, keep riding, and feel free to send me stories of favorite rides that weren't Velo sponsored. See you at the AGM. jp<>




Your Story Here! Contact JP Martin about making a contribution to the newsletter. Tell us why you love cycling!




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).








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


Who you gonna call? Mythbusters!:


Is there some doubt about the right of cyclists to ride in safety?:


How to park in a bike lane:


This could inform your Christmas shopping list:


None of us here . . . :


A fine tradition of women’s rights and cycling:






Michael Johnson, the Olympic gold medal runner, was on his way to a club with some friends. At the door, the bouncer turned to him and said: "Sorry, man, you can't come in here "no denim." Michael was quite annoyed at this and retorted: "Don't you know who I am? I'm Michael Johnson." "Then it won't take you long to run home and change, will it?" replied the bouncer. 



“It’s the road signs, “Beware of Lions.” 

~ Kenyan distance runner Kip Lagat, on why his country produces so many great runners




Shelley Porter,

Editor, Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter

VCB Cycling Ambassador.

October 15th, 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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