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Vol 9, #34 - Lobster Roll Relay or, "Pulling Together"

Velo Cape Breton is the Island wide voice of cyclists, working for better cycling in our great Island. We have made significant progress since our formation in 2004.  Visit our website that will introduce you to some of our activities.   If you have any questions, suggestions, or want to contribute to this eNewsletter,  please contact us at (902) 562-8137 or

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Help us make Cape Breton Island a better place to live!


In this Edition

  • Editorial
  • Rides Captain Corner
  • Heads Up!
  • CAN-BIKE Instructors Workshop
  • Cycling Deaths Review
  • Greenways Nova Scotia
  • Check Your Riding Technique, Part I
  • Why Marry?

Teamwork is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.




The temperature was hovering at a balmy two degrees Celsius when most of us abandoned the comfort of our beds on June 17, Father’s Day.    By nine o’clock it was nearly ten degrees warmer and the first annual Lobster Roll Relay rolled out of the Mira Road Fire department, and coasted down Hardwood Hill on George Street.  For some, this first leg of the 100km relay, 20 km to New Waterford,  would be all they would do for the day; others would go on to Glace Bay while others would meet the main group at other “Pit Stops.”

In all, there were four legs to the relay, each presenting unique challenges and rewards.  The wind, when it came off the Atlantic Ocean, was chilly, and long sleeves and tights remained in place for most of the day.  Leg three presented broken pavement and occasional tight manoeuvring, while the hardest climbs were reserved for the fourth leg.  Some riders were overheard making statements such as, “I’ve never ridden out here before. It’s beautiful!” or, “You don’t have to go far to see amazing beauty like this.” 

Participating riders, 75 in total, came from all walks of life and age groups;  some, weekend novices who worked hard just to finish while others took time to stop for photographs and still managed to finish early.  Among the faces were some who were unfamiliar to the rest of us, as well as long-time friends.  Resplendent in their distinctive jerseys were most of the Cycling Ambassadors.

Upon returning to the Mira Road Fire Hall, riders presented their passports to the kitchen staff and received a tasty lobster roll made with fresh-caught Cape Breton lobster!  There was also a huge cake for dessert.  Everyone’s name was entered for door prize draws and many prizes were handed out.

The Volunteers (or in this case, Volunteers) kept the day running smoothly providing refreshments, punching passports at checkpoints, and looking after registrations.   A hearty “THANK YOU” must be extended to the Kiwanis Golden K in Sydney for handling the registration process so effortlessly, and for providing the “sweep” vehicles.  Chester Borden, director of the Whitney Pier Youth Club, managed to get some of his youth out of bed on a Sunday morning to assist with the checkpoints and Pit Stops. Daniel Roy, who rode the entire relay was available to assist with mechanical difficulties, but got to enjoy the ride without incident. Others provided support as well after finishing a leg or two of the ride. An extremely heartfelt “THANK YOU” must go to Shirley Pettigrew in Mira Gut who so graciously offered her driveway and washroom (but not her wine) for the use of the riders.  Shirley, you are a very generous and hospitable lady, and a true gem!

Such events do not just magically happen.  For every event, there are months of planning, preparing and re-planning, and this event is no exception.  There is no way to overlook the efforts of all the volunteers for all the hard work and planning they put into this event; one that ultimately has raised the profile of cycling in Cape Breton another notch. 

And that’s good for ALL cyclists!

Lonnie L. Jones.

Two claws up for the Lobster Roll Relay

Just a short note to let the Velo crew know what a great event the Lobster Roll Relay was, and let other riders who didn’t participate this year, think about doing so for next lobster season. It was four legs (Next year Jacques should call them claws) ranging from 20 to 32 kms. Anyone who likes rides of this distance would have been able to do them as part of the relay.

There was a pit stop or two along each leg with tons of food (fruit, muffins, etc.) and drink. The Whitney Pier Boys and Girls Club under the guidance and wit of Chester Borden made sure the food travelled with us. The CBRM police deserve thanks for helping guide us through a few intersections and basically supporting us along the way. The Golden K club helped at all stops and drove support vehicles. The distances and times were all completely manageable for cyclists of all categories (over 14 years old).

There were 75 people in total who took part, many of whom just new to road cycling in groups. At the end everyone got a terrific lobster roll, amazingly great cake and a prize. I’ve been a Velo supporter since inception and get out to a couple of these larger organized rides per year. I’m always overwhelmed at how organized they are and how many people help volunteer to make it a great success. If you’re of the ilk that wants to try hitting the metric century or 100 km ride mark (I did it) and aren’t a hard core cyclist (I’m not) then this is also a great way to do it because the ride was totally supported, meaning if you couldn’t pedal your carapace another inch, a guy in a truck would pick you up and carry you to the next stop.

I’m sure the Lobster Roll Relay for 2013 can reach 100 cyclers. Hope to see you and your relay team next year.

Paul MacDougall (Sydney, NS)

June 19 2012

Selected pictures in random order:

YouTube video:




MacGarry Road by MTB (Chéticamp Chapter)

When:  Saturday June 23rd.  

Where:  Meet at Café des pêcheurs,  Le Moine Harbour,  St. Joseph-du-Moine,

Time:  Leaving 9:30 am

What:  Michel Aucoin will lead a 12km friendly ride on a friendly road to hone your mountain bike skills and check the mechanic for upcoming events.  Optional rides available in the afternoon.


Ingonish Triathlon  (N-Highlands Chapter) 

When:  Sunday June 24th.  

Where:  Ingonish Beach

Registration and details at:



Englishtown Mussel Fest.  (5km run race, 45km bike ride)

When:  Saturday, June 30th

Times:  Run* 9:30   Bike Ride: Noon

Where:  Englishtown Community Hall

What:  A relaxed ride around St. Ann's Bay for all levels of riders.  A fundraiser for the Community Hall.

Registration:  $15 for each event or $20 if both events are entered.

Note:  Yummy food, mussels, entertainment after the ride.


Across the Highlands MTB Challenge - AHC '12,   9th Edition.

When:  July 14th,  

Time:  9:30 am  

Where:  Belle-Côte Community Hall

What:  A Unique MTB event for riders of all age groups.  Choice of 30 or 50km courses in the Highlands of Cape Breton.  AHC'12 is four to six hours of outdoor adventure on trails whith incredible landscapes.  This year's AHC is action packed with lots of opportunities for personal highs.  The is followed by a sumptuous BBQ at the community hall.  In a nutshell, a full day of playing hard, topped off with a memorable social event.

More info & Registration: 


by: Bob White,  CAN-BIKE Instructor / National Examiner


Dates -

Friday Aug 17 - 6:30 to 9pm

Saturday Aug 18 8:30am to 4:30pm

Sunday Aug 19 - 8:30am to 4:30pm

Course location - Dartmouth, NS

Free airport shuttle service available

Limited number of bikes available (those coming by plane)

Inexpensive private room billets available

Subsidized travel costs

Subsidized course costs - reduced from $200 to $100, with CCA generously providing Instructors manuals

Hi All,

I may have written you in the past regarding the above CB IWS - this is your best opportunity EVER to become a Nationally Certified CAN-BIKE Instructor, and if so desired, to position yourself to become, in time, a CB Master Instructor (then able to teach new instructors yourself).

I may have mentioned the CCA has a short term partnership with Safe Kids Canada, who are providing this financial assistance up to this September, the period of the agreement. This is a great opportunity for you, as not only will you have greatly reduced costs, you will be in the first wave of the expected educational tsunami that is quickly broaching the shores of Atlantic Canada.

Indeed, I (the gypsy in me) can see the renewed interest, both nationally and well as provincially to see safe education courses for our kids in schools as well as active adults. We all know the benefits, and with childhood obesity and the rising costs of health care - this is our time! You will have lots of opportunities, as a National Certified CB Instructor to conduct private courses as well as partner with provincial (dept of health / wellness) and federal entities. You will be in the first wave, ie not only teach kids / adults, but rec staff, gym teachers and the like.

It's all good - now is your time - let me know your intentions and I will guide you along this exciting path. You will soon have the opportunity to both educate folks on safe bicycling as well as shape and craft the very lifestyles of your clients, their friends and the communities you reside.

It's all good, and it's all happening - NOW.

Book your spot today; avoid disappointment! You must be a CB 2 Grad as well as an approved candidate to take the CB IWS


by:  Graydon Patterson,  CAN-BIKE National Examiner, Ottawa.

I am extremely disappointed that the main recommendations from this so called 'extensive' study in cycling deaths is calling for helmet legislation and segregated lanes.

This report in no way addresses the two main causes of cycling deaths: Uneducated cyclists and motorists.

I am a CAN-BIKE National Examiner, and have been teaching cycling education since 1995. I am a retired police officer and have trained over 1000 officers and probably half that number of kids and adults, in our local community. Can-Bike is a highly effective program on cycling safety owned by the Canadian Cycling Association.

There should have been SOME input from CAN-BIKE experts in your report.

This province DOES NOT need any more legislation!  There are too many for police to enforce as it is.  Perhaps a start would be requiring the sale of a bike to include a bell, light and helmet?

Cycling helmets are a last resort, meaning the other 2 E's have failed. (the 3 E's are: Engineering, Education and lastly Enforcement) CAN-BIKE teach cyclists to avoid the need of a helmet, in honing cycling skills and knowledge of traffic. I agree, every cycling fatality is preventable, but not by helmets, but by the cyclist's themselves, nearly every time.

At the very least, someone on this committee should have taken a CAN-BIKE II course, to open your eyes to the real issues, cyclists not knowing how and where to ride.

I wear a helmet by choice, and I think its stupid not to; but, people have the right to be stupid, despite attempts by governments to legislation every possible stupid act.

My recommendations:

  • Cycling Education belongs with Transport Canada and MTO, not a sports minded Canadian Cycling Association and Ontario Cycling Association.
  • Stop wasting money on painted lines, and subsidize cycling education.
  • Include cycling education in driver training, perhaps even an actual bike ride!
  • The goal being to change the paradigm so people want to use their bicycles, and not be afraid of riding in traffic.
  • Much more needs to be done to education, sensitize and penalize motorists who continue to put vulnerable road users at risk for the sake of a few seconds travel time.

Cyclist fare best when they act and are treated like vehicular traffic.


Greenways Nova Scotia ( formerly NSPACTS)  is aware that  while there is an obvious issue of how trails in Nova Scotia's communities are being developed, there is also the issue of  how  decisions have been made in the past ( how we got here) and how they might be made in the future. ( where we might go). On any matter, not just trail development, we all have an interest in whether or not government seeks our input, and if they do so wisely and use fair process to achieve public good.  This issue of our newsletter is dedicated to the ups and downs of public consultation processes. 

Greenways Nova Scotia supports the development of healthy green spaces, (non-motorized) or as some provinces call them, linear parks, on the abandoned rail beds that run through so many of our communities.  The rail beds are an invaluable asset and need to be preserved for reasons of health, environment, and  heritage and culture. We constantly advocate for change in this matter, because walking and cycling trails are the best way to do this.  As we noted in our last newsletter, they have been proven to increase physical activity with resulting health benefits, protect the environment and various species' habitats, enhance home values, and generate valuable economic activity from hiking and cycling tourism.  

We appreciate your support and hope you find the attached newsletter interesting. 


The Executive,

Greenways Nova Scotia.




For the last two weeks I’ve outlined a basic pre-ride bicycle check that ensures you’ll finish that important century or tour without any breakdowns. Today, I’m starting another 2-part column complementing that check with another important check that can pay off by increasing your comfort, power and endurance -- and preventing injury, too. It consists of body checks you perform while riding.

This may not sound very technical, but how you spin down the road on your featherweight flyer is more technical than even many experienced cyclists realize - including me (keep reading). And, it’s definitely worth focusing on and trying to improve. I’ll get this riding technique checklist started this week and finish up with part 2 next week.

Hey, Jim, stop bobbing!

My wake-up call came a few years ago when our team leader and coach, Mark Edwards, hollered at me on our Saturday training ride that I was bouncing around like anEddy Merckx bobblehead doll. I couldn’t believe it. As one of the stronger, faster riders every week, I felt fine, so my technique can’t be that bad, I thought.

But a month or so later (which I spent trying to ride more smoothly), Katrin Tobin was out on the ride and she echoed Coach’s words, telling me that I was stomping on the pedals and wrestling with my Litespeed, and that I badly needed to work on my riding technique.

Learning from pros

If you followed American bicycle racing in the 1980s, you know the name Katrin Tobin. She ruled the women’s road scene back then, making the U.S. National and Olympic teams, winning the team competition and a stage in the 1989 Tour de France Feminin, topping the 1988 Ore-Ida Women’s International Stage Race podium and later winning multiple triathlons. Even today, in her 50s, Katrin is crushing it, dusting our strongest male riders on our training rides.

So when Katrin speaks, we listen. She’s a resource for everything from technique to tactics. After she told me I was so sloppy on my bike, I asked her how she rides so smoothly and was surprised by her answer. Paraphrasing, she basically said that she constantly thinks about it and goes through a series of checks every 15 minutes or so while riding to make sure that all systems are functioning properly.

It doesn’t come natural and it’s not automatic

This was a revelation to me, because I assumed that a rider of Katrin’s stature would have long ago learned how to bicycle properly and it would just come natural, be automatic. I’ve even heard of pro cyclists who could ride a bike before they could walk. Which made me think that some top athletes can do things without even trying.

But that’s all wrong. Surely, if a former professional racer needs to keep checking her technique in order to ride efficiently, I do too. Here’s what Katrin and Coach Mark told me to work on and what will help you, too. And remember, it’s not just to look good. It improves your riding, with more efficiency and comfort -- and it can prevent injury, too.

Start from the top

I use a top-down check, but you can adapt this however you like. An overall goal is to breathe regularly (some riders actually hold their breath when working hard!), and relax as much as possible while paying attention to what you’re doing and controlling your body and bike at all times. (Note that I am assuming your bicycle fits you correctly because if it doesn’t, it can be impossible to develop perfect riding technique.)


Your goal:Hold your head steady at a natural inclination that keeps your neck relaxed and lets you see the road ahead and riders around you. Common problems: Watch for and avoid: craning the neck, tightening your neck muscles, clenching your jaw, squinting your eyes, and the worst waste of energy, wagging your head from side to side with each pedal stroke or bobbing it up and down.


You goal:Hold your torso steady at a natural inclination that keeps your back and neck in a relaxed, comfortable position. Common problems: The big energy-waster is bobbing your torso up and down or sideways with each pedal stroke. By focusing on your abdominal muscles and slightly tensioning them, you can learn to hold your torso still and save all that wasted upper-body energy for use in your legs -- where it belongs.

I hope these technique tips help you ride more comfortably, efficiently and injury-free (and prevent your peers calling you out on rides! But that may be a good thing in the end!).

I’ll finish up the technique checklist next week with tips ranging from shoulders and arms, down to feet and ankles. 


Then there was a woman who said,

”I never knew what real happiness was until I got married,

and by then, it was too late.”;


If you want your spouse to listen and

pay strict attention to every word you say –

talk in your sleep.


Jacques Cote

Editor, Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter

June 21st, 2012

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