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VCB eNews, Volume 13, #4 - 2015 In A Nutshell




Volume 13, #4  -  2015  In A Nutshell




Editorial: 2015 In a Nutshell

A Word From Retiring Rides Captain

Report for Women-on-Wheels

Wider Paved Shoulders

VCB Readers Write

News From Away

Cyclists Wanted

About That Funny




“We're all on different paths but headed in the same direction.” 

~ Marty Rubin





Note:  VCB President’s Report delivered at the 2015 Annual General Meeting.


Velo Cape Breton has now ended it's 13th year as an organization that promotes and advocates for cycling on the island.  This meeting is an opportunity for members to review the work of the executive and to fill vacancies on the board and to initiate plans for the upcoming year.  Our endeavours can be grouped into two broad categories the first is Rides and Social Events.   The second is Education and Advocacy


1.  Rides and Social Events

We held our annual winter potluck in January as usual at the Dobson Yacht club.  We changed the format for the spring banquet by  moving it to the beginning of May and holding it as a ride and BBQ at the Mira Road Boat Club. to keep costs down and to make it an accessible event we self catered the event.   The weather was glorious and we had a strong turnout at 40.

This year we had a full ride schedule with  over  33 day outings and 2 multi-day tours.  Our ride schedule includes rides organized and presented by the club and it includes rides that are organized by other groups and we cooperate with these groups by advertising the event etc.  for example: new this year the Emma Van Nostrand ride, or the Englishtown MussellFest. 

Velo Cape Breton assisted the new cycling club out of Mabou, the Na Beinn Trails Cycling Association, in the presentation of the 12th edition of Across the Highlands MTB Challenge.  

The concept of riding the Cabot Trail in 4 days fully supported has again proven to be very popular among the membership with 6 of our members benefiting from all the logistic, social and financial advantages of riding with invited guests from other parts of Nova Scotia, from Ontario, and with six participants from England UK.  The ride had 40 participants and is organized and hosted by Jacques Coté and Micheline Guillot.

This years rides are now mostly over and while our schedule followed closely the previous years,there were some minor changes. The addition of a ride before the opening banquet went very well and a smaller ride - the Ride and Write -was enjoyed by the participants. Hopefully these are rides that will continue. Only two rides,both scheduled for Bike Week, were cancelled because the weather did not co-operate. Our major ride -the LRR was a great success with the participants enjoying the new format/venue which will be continued for the next several years. The various other rides listed in our schedule went as planned and were either sold out or at close capacity, i.e.  CT4D, Recovery Ride. Only the Jingle Bell Ride remains for December.


2. Education

 On the CAN-BIKE training front, we delivered two CAN-BIKE 1 courses and two CAN-BIKE 2 courses.  The CAN-BIKE 2 graduates are in capacity to help in teaching CAN-BIKE programs to eventually become full-fledged CAN-BIKE Instructors. 

Four sessions on Bicycle Maintenance and Basic Repair have also been delivered this year in Sydney and Baddeck.

 Last fall, the 23 bicycles VCB had in storage have been loaned to Étoile de l'Acadie.  In the Memorandum of Agreement signed with the school, VCB has given two of their staff training in Bicycle Maintenance and Basic Repairs.  The bicycles can be used by VCB for programs outside of the school year.

Finally we provided advice and training to the CBRM Recreation department staff for their one-week pilot of a Children’s cycling camps this past summer.   Ten children participated in the Bike Camp and we look forward to helping them develop this program for next year and into the future.


3. Advocacy

In addition we lobbied the provincial government on cycling matters.  We have met on two occasions with officials of the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal (TIR) to bring issues to the table for discussion.  Following a Position Paper on the installation of Rumble Strips on Nova Scotia highways submitted to TIR, a new policy has been designed and approved in the spring.

We also liaise with CBRM on a regular basis, weekly would not be an exaggeration, on matters related to the implementation of the CBRM Active Transportation Plan.   

The CBRM Active Transportation committee has undertaken a marketing program aimed at promoting all forms of active transportation.   

On the cycling front in addition to the updated cycling maps CBRM AT launched a Cyclist’s Handbook created to the needs of our community.  Jacques Coté spent many hours pulling all the information together arranging for photos, liaising with the printer etc.   The municipality paid for the printing and steered the project.   This is an excellent example of working collaboratively to the benefit of all.   I want to thank Jacques on behalf of the board for all the work and effort he put into this project.

Further we also participate in the annual Cycling Summit and various consultations centered around cycling including Bicycle Nova Scotia committees.

I would be remiss if I did not mention our weekly newsletter and submissions to the Cape Breton Post that had a huge positive impact on the cycling culture in the community.


Colette Smith, President

presented by AGM Chair Andrée Crépeau







I would like to say that I enjoyed my tenure as Rides Captain and my weekly contributions to the newsletter were something that allowed me to express my opinions on several bike related matters. The addition of the Velo Riders Write column, although started late in the year, was a success and I hope next years Ride Captain will be able to continue getting our members to write about their experiences.   JP




by: Coordinator Shelley Johnson


I am pleased to report to the board another successful third season of Women on Wheels (WOW).  This year 39 women participated in the Women on Wheels program. 

The season started the last weekend in May and provided participants with six weeks of instruction, mentoring and riding around Point Edward. Tuesday night “show ‘n go” continued on Tuesday nights throughout the summer, ending in September. This was also well attended.  

As well there were four event rides held on weekends. They are as follows: "Wheeling around the Mira", "Ride the Pink Wave", "Ride to New Waterford" and "Tour Dah Tartan". 

In addition, the Women on Wheels Facebook page was utilized and this proved to be a good way at keeping participants informed of upcoming rides and events. The Facebook page will continue to be tweaked in the upcoming months so that it is a bit more user friendly. 

Finally, a huge thank you to Micheline and Andree for their dedicated contribution through instruction that makes VELO Cape Breton's Women on Wheels a huge success.




by:Rick McCready, CBRM Planner


CBRM recently completed adding white edge lines to four streets with the intention of improving conditions for cyclists.  Although not official bike lanes, the new lines create a paved shoulder which in most cases is equal in width to a bike lane using the TAC guidelines.  We will be monitoring these streets in the future to see how they are working.  We would appreciate help from Velo members in evaluating the success of these efforts- please try out these paved shoulders and give us feedback.


The four sections are:

  • Memorial Drive, Sydney Mines, between Convent Street and Memorial High
  • Alexandra St, Sydney, between Sunset Dr. and St Anthony Daniel Church
  • Mitchell Ave, Dominion between Dominion Beach ( 2nd entrance) and Commercial St
  • Main St, Glace Bay ( starting at Station Street) and  Kings Rd in Dominion

Memorial Drive has 1.7 m. shoulders, Alexandra has 1.5 m. shoulders, and in Dominion the shoulders range from 1.4 m. to 1.2 m.  In Dominion ( see pic) the road width varies a lot and the yellow line was often off centre, making the job difficult and the shoulders a littler narrower than ideal. On Alexandra the line painting machine had to skip a couple of spots due to parked cars.



Rick McCready




VCB MEMBERS WRITE – My Various Bicycles 

by:  Charlene Wadden, VCB Cycling Ambassador


My first bike was my beautiful, red tricycle; which I loved dearly.

Then I had a “boy’s” bicycle with a crossbar; but little girls weren’t allowed to swing their leg over a crossbar; but I managed to make that last for one summer.

Next came my beautiful blue “girls” bicycle; but unfortunately girls at that age weren’t encouraged to ride bicycles and I had one summer with that bicycle. I just wistfully watched the boys on their bikes and the fun they were having.

Then in the 1980s, I took up cycling again. I started with a 3-speed Canadian Tire bicycle; which was also red, and I had converted to a 6-speed. 

In the 1990s, I purchased a 21-speed mountain bike which I thoroughly enjoyed for over 10 years. The big challenge was learning to shift gears. Stan would ride behind me and tell me when and how to shift until I got the “hang” of it. At this time, we spent the summers as Campground Hosts at the Provincial Parks and the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. In the off season, we would ride the trails; which was when and how I learned to handle and maneuver my bike.

In the 2000s, I gave up the mountain bike for a 27-speed road bicycle, which I am still riding and enjoying immensely.





by: Shelley Porter, in Grand Pré, NS

This past Sunday morning, I loaded my bicycle on the bike rack with high hopes. When I was a teenager, I often walked or cycled to the Agriculture Canada research station in Kentville, to walk on the trails. The trail started at a small parking lot just off Commercial St. (New Minas) and followed along a small stream through the ravine. Shaded by tall trees, mostly hemlocks, the ravine is dark and quiet, a sharp contrast with the busy commercial district just a few hundred metres away.

The ravine trail was the place I finally outran my father in a 100 m sprint. We were there on a family hike. I was 14, 100 lbs of bony young muscle, and running cross-country for the Horton District High track team. He was 39, about 20 lbs overweight, smoked two packs of cigarettes a day, and had a sedentary job. I beat him by about two strides and felt pretty proud of myself. Looking back, I think the one who showed the more remarkable athletic ability was my father!

So, it was with a heart full of memories that I pedaled up the familiar hill that starts this trail. A sign indicating downed trees did not deter me: I’ve done many Across the Highlands Challenges, and have carried my mountain bike over many obstacles. That experience came in handy as I carefully carried the bike over a large downed tree blocking the trail. Finally in the clear, I set off. The trail seemed a bit more overgrown and wet than I recalled, but I persisted. 

Once again my AHC experiences came in handy – the trail became soft mud, and I could see where the little stream had overtopped its banks and spread out over what was now a good-sized wetland. I could see the trail leading to the wooded ravine up ahead, beyond the tall rushes. I tried my best but could not keep upright in the goop. One foot down, one new trail runner submerged – I turned back. With an alternative route on the Kings County Rail Trail just across the road, continuing was not worth it on this day. Even my father, who would persist through the worst of conditions when a goal was in sight, would have had to agree. I felt disappointed, but promised myself I’d come back – to walk, probably in rubber boots!


For next week: Kings County Rail Trail!








On Monday, November 16th, the Steve O’Brien Cross Canada Relay for Youth and School will come to our community. Steve, a Canadian Olympian, is travelling across Canada to encourage children to persevere in the pursuit of their dreams and to raise funds to help schools and youth organizations make those dreams come true. 

CBRM Recreation is inviting local cyclists to join them as they welcome Steve to our community.  

Meet Steve at 10 AM in the parking lot of the Sydney River Superstore.  We’ll be riding up Kings Road towards Sydney from there, turning on Churchill Drive to head up through Membertou. We’ll take the bike lanes through Membertou, turn left when we hit the hospital. Then another left into the parking lot of the Mira Road Elementary. 

Steve will be stopping there to meet with the kids and talk about his relay and the message he wants to pass on to the kids. 

We’ll be heading to the Whitney Pier Boys and Girls Club after that and everyone is welcome to join us. Our esyimated time of arrival there is 2 PM. There will be refreshments and Steve will visit with the kids at the club.

Hope you can join us!

Colleen A. Clare






ֲA chicken crossing the road is poultry in motion.

ֲIf you don't pay your exorcist, you'll get repossessed.

ֲ With her marriage, she got a new name and a dress.

ֲ The man who fell into an upholstery machine is fully recovered.

ֲ You feel stuck with your debt if you can't budge it.

 Every calendar's days are numbered.

ֲ A lot of money is tainted - taint yours and taint mine.

ֲ A boiled egg in the morning is hard to beat.

ֲ He had a photographic memory that was never developed.

ֲ A midget fortune-teller who escapes from prison is a small medium at large.

ֲ Once you've seen one shopping centre, you've seen a mall.

ֲ Bakers trade bread recipes on a knead-to-know basis.

ֲ Santa's helpers are subordinate clauses.

ֲ Acupuncture is a jab well done.




November 12th,  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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