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Vol 9, #45 - Bike Tours Are Eye Openers

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


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 2012 legacy to the rising generation.  To join click here.


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


In this Edition

  • Editorial
  • Rides Captain Corner
  • Heads Up!
  • How to Climb Steep Hills While Cycling
  • CAN-BIKE Sessions
  • One More Advantage of VCB's Network
  • Cycling Ambassadors Around the Cabot Trail on the Recovery Ride
  • Put On Your Glasses - Winner
  • An Honest Face


A bicycle can give you the feeling of freedom and speed you get from riding a motorcycle, the sense of well-being and peace you get from meditating, the health benefits you get from an afternoon in the gym, the sense of self-expression you get from learning to play guitar, and the feeling of victory you get from completing a marathon. It's an invention that was in many ways ahead of its time, and whose time has finally come.   -  Bike Snob NYC



You sometimes have to get to the other side of the world to realize that you don't even know your own backyard. We had that thought on our first three month bicycle trip in New Zealand in 2010. We met a few people there who were so proud to tell us about some places they had visited a couple of years ago on their trip to Quebec. How uneasy we felt when we had to tell them that we had never been there yet... End of conversation.  Hence, about two years later, we hopped on the bikes again and set out on a new trip to discover our own province and the Maritimes. We departed from Montreal on May 19th, and covered a big part of the north shore of St. Lawrence River, making lots of detours to really explore the area. We cycled to the end of the road 138, just North of Anticosti, and took a boat to get to Blanc-Sablon, at the Labrador boarder. We then crossed to Newfoundland and went all the way down the west coast, taking a ferry in Port-aux-Basques to land in Cape Breton, stopping by for a few days.

You may know this already if you read this paper, but the best way to discover a new region is, of course, by cycling it! Some might say that it is slow and that it takes a long time to cover the distance. Well, they're perfectly right! And that's exactly why cyclists get to know the area better : they take their time... When pedalling to get somewhere, the travel is at least as important as the destination. It is not an unavoidable hassle, it is actually the main part of the trip. Hidden places, breathtaking scenery - and being able to stop anywhere to appreciate it - challenging uphills followed by thrilling downhills, refreshing sea breezes or subtle pinetree scents, it's all out there for cyclists to enjoy. There is no barrier to keep the environment and the people out of reach. And that makes for a lively trip.

But what exactly makes a trip unforgettable? Some might say it's the places they visit, the activities they're taking on. Been there, done that! Others might refer to the natural wonders, the marvellous landscapes, the unique views they get. What unbelievable pictures do they bring back! To us, it's the people we meet that make us fall in love with a place... We feel related to certain specific places we visited so far because we met new friends there who were proud of their region and glad to share a part of it with us. 

We arrived in North Sydney a couple of days ago (Friday, Sept. 7th) at the ferry landing. We could have cycled from there and gotten to the mainland quite fast, but circumstances had us do otherwise. We contacted Micheline and Jacques Cote because they are members of an Internet community called, whose members are cyclists hosting other traveling cyclists. We stopped at their place and met two very welcoming persons and a couple most engaged in its community. We couldn't believe all the hard work they're doing with Velo Cape Breton to promote cycling on the island. In a way, they're inspiring us to do the same when we get back home - in a few months - so we can get more people on their bicycle to ride for their pleasure, health and community well-being. But what's most striking about Micheline and Jacques is their love for where they live. They even took us around a part of Cape Breton so we can get a grip on what it's all about.

We had the chance to participate in a promotion activity for Velo Cape Breton at the Incredible Picnic event on Saturday, September 8th. Even if we didn't know much about the organization at that moment, it was important for us to be there, to exchange with people and, in a way, show them that there is not only one way of enjoying cycling. And we met there some other members, friends and supporters who also think that bicycles not only have their place on the road, but can actually make a big difference in tackling some major problems our society faces. Bringing that thought to awareness is probably the most important part of an organization such as Velo Cape Breton.

We'll soon be on our way back to Quebec. We plan to cycle through Nova Scotia, cross to PEI, get to Magdelan Islands, then head for the Gaspesie peninsula through New Brunswick. We'll only be passing through the Maritimes this time, but promise to come back to explore it thoroughly. During winter, we'll be working in a youth hostel and a B&B in exchange of food and board. Next spring, we'll get on the bikes again to discover all the south shore of St. Lawrence River before getting back to Montreal. We still have a long way before us, but we can't wait to settle somewhere, so we can open our doors ourselves and give back the welcoming warmth we received during our travels.

David Savoie,  Émilie Burelle


ED: David and Émilie are two cyclists from Montreal in their mid-twenties. After completing their university studies in mechanical engineering and interactive media respectively, they got married and decided to go on a 15 months bicycle trip for their honeymoon. They chose to explore Quebec province and the Maritimes in search of a place to settle and have a small land, aiming at a self-sufficiency life. You can have a look at their travel blog by visiting Articles are in french, but there are a lot of pictures!



by: Micheline,

Tuesday Morning Relaxed Rides

What a great way to extend the cycling season up to late October.  Past Tuesdays weren't that great but I'm still confident that the return of nice cycling days is just around the corner. 

For September, road rides are all starting from the new Tim Horton in Membertou.  Distance and speed are adjusted to the level of those showing up.  No need to register.  It's a "Sho'n Go!".  Non-VCB members will be asked to sign a waiver and contribute a twony per ride.  Joining VCB in September is valid for the rest of the year and the entire following year.  Beat the crowd and probably an increase of price in Membership by joining online now, it's only $10.   

Rides in October will be off-road, i.e. dirt road, forest roads, nothing really technical.  Bicycles with wider tires are recommended, i.e.  Touring, Commuting, Hybrid, All-around, Mountain bikes. 

See you there!



Destination Ride,  Saturday, September 15th.

Leave from where ever you want, i.e. Sydney or New Waterford (~30km),    Glace Bay or Mira Gut (~15km),  and arrange to arrive at the Ball Field in Port Morien by 1:30pm to participate in parade (1 km) of the local Community Fair starting at 2:00pm.  Parades ends at the Legion just by restaurant Dock Yur Dory where we'll gather for a bite before returning home.

It looks like it's going to be a great day weather-wise. Check outlook here

Remember:  "Getting there is half the fun; getting home again is the other half".



Sunday, September 16

Belle-Côte to Chimney Corner  (Chéticamp Chapter)

50 or 75km ride starting at 9:30 from CB Highland Academy in Terre-Noire.



Sunday, September 16th

32nd Marathon of Hope Run in North Sydney

PLACE:  Northern Yacht Club, Seaview Drive

REGISTRATION:  9:00 a.m.

5 and 10 km Run, Walk, Bike

FOR INFO:  PHONE :  Kay 794-3772



Saturday, September 22

Montée de la French #2.

Time Trial ride to compare your baseline of June 6th or just do it with friends to gauge your climbing abilities and practice some tips to improve (see below).  

Meet at Corney Brook:  9:30 am.



Sunday, September 23

Kelly's Klimb #2

Time Trial ride to compare your baseline of early May or just do it with friends to gauge your climbing abilities and parctice some tips to improve (see below).  

Meet at New HarrisRoad by KOA Campground.  9:15 for registration,  Start time 10:00 am. 

Info.  bighead(at)



Saturday,  October 6

Guided Celtic Colour Ride.

Kennington Cove, Louisbourg, 





Climbing hills on a bicycle isn't everyone's idea of fun... Yet, Cape Breton Island roads are NOT flat, so, , why deny yourself the pleasure of continuing to ride regularly just because of those steeper hills? 

Climbing steep hills on a cycle requires knowing a few tips about increasing your stamina, positioning yourself correctly on the cycle, and changing those gears. So hop back on your bike with this advice and find yourself a few steep hills to practice on until it feels much easier!

Big gears or small gears?  Cadence?  Sitting or standing?  Positioning in the turns?  Position on the bike?  Preparation?

Check the link.



After a good summer of improving your physical shape on the bike, fall is a good time to hone your acquired skills and improve your ability to ease your way in city traffic.  The combination of riding skills, discussion of the vehicle act, and evasive maneuver training will make you a stronger, safer and more confident rider.  If you ride on the streets, you will not regret taking this course.

Introduction to CAN-BIKE Skills:

In Sydney,  Sept. 29 or 30.  

In Port Hawkesbury,  October 6 or 7 or 8

In Baddeck,  October 13 or 14 

More info and registration here.


CAN-BIKE 2 Session

In Sydney only.  Evening + 2 days.  October 26 - 28th.

More info and registration here.



by: Chris Milburn, 

Just wanted to pass on a massive THANK YOU to David Yetter (Director of Strait Area VCB Chapter), and say how great it is to be part of a group like Velo.

Anne Rowan-Legg and I left for a 3-day bike tour, starting at Auld's Cove, on Tuesday morning.  On arriving in Auld's Cove, getting the bikes off the car, and putting the panniers on, I realized that I had cleverly left my bike shoes at the cottage.  That meant I had sneakers and SPD pedals.  After panicking for a while, considering driving back to the cottage and coming back (4 hrs or so), and a failed attempt to backtrack to Port Hawkesbury to buy flat pedals and a pedal wrench (the swing bridge was being worked on and there was a 2-mile traffic lineup), I finally realized that David lived nearby.

Through the wonders of an iPhone and Canada411 we found David's number.  Lo and behold he was home.  And even better, he has size 13 feet (same as me) and an extra pair of SPD bike shoes.

So my bike tour was saved, and I ended up with a great pair of shoes, more comfy than my own.  Thanks so much again to David.




by: Colette Smith, VCB Cycling Ambassador

T'was  a very busy month with Bill's Mom passing and getting ready for the Recovery Ride (RR), I have put in alot of hours on the bike and preparing for for the RR.

I brought the 3ft Rule info to distribute to restaraunts and hotels but someone has been there before me- which I think is a sign of success.

We had a great RR this year with 19 riders completing all or some of the ride, Art and I wore our jerseys for most or all of the weekend. Lots of Velo colours flying. Chrissy completed the ride as well and we are very proud of her.  Next year is the 10th year for the RR, we are planning on doing jersey's, with our new logo - It's a hill - get over it!

We had a great interaction with a young boy in Ingonish, near our cabins (Sleepy Hollow) - he came over to talk to us, then came back to ask us to repair his bike, which we did.  Nice little guy - he came back to give us all golf balls when we were leaving Sunday morning.  I think it is a sign that we are increasing awareness of the sport/activity.  He didn't have his helmet on so of course I asked him to get it and show me and I noticed he wore it the rest of the evening.

Will continue to ride and promote cycling!



The big guy on the right is Cycling Ambassador Jimmie Campbell out of Boularderie Island, the bigger guy on the left is Eric Lindros.  Eric was checking his RV as Jimmie was cycling by.  As any good Ambassador would do, he stopped to offer assistance.  Eric's face looked familiar to Jimmie, so he asked just to confirm and... you know the rest of the story.

From all the good answers received, Harve Grant is the winner of the pair of cycling socks at VCB's colours.



A Newfie goes down to the Grand Bank wharf looking for work and comes up to this captain of a fishing boat and says; "Hey Capt'n got any work 'fer me ?"

The captain gives him a 28 page job application and says; "Fill this out and bring it back to me."

So two days later the Newfie brings it back and gives it to the captain.  The captain takes a quick look at it and says; "OK, you're hired, now go on board and find something to do."

Just then, this Japanese guy comes up to the captain and says; "Lookie wok, need wok.'

The captain tells him 'OK you're hired.' The Newfie is standing right there and asks the captain 'Hey, you made me fill out a 28 page job application and you just hired this guy like that, why? Captain replies; "He's got an honest face."

The Newfie sighs and walks onto the boat, right upset.

A few days later, they're out to sea and the Newfie is up in the crow's nest looking for icebergs and the Japanese guy is down on the deck mopping the deck. Just then, this great big wave comes along and washes the Japanese guy overboard.

The Newfie gets down out of the crow's nest and walks into the captain's quarters and tells him.

"Remember that Japanese guy you hired with the honest face? ... Well, he just fk'd off with your mop!"



Jacques Cote

Editor, Velo Cape Breton eNewsletter

September 13th, 2012


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