Bumps in the Road

"There is no real need for decorations when throwing a barbecue party - let the summer garden, in all its vibrant and luscious splendour, speak for itself." -Pippa Middleton

Volume 15, #5 - Bumps in the Road


  • Editorial: Bumps in the Road

  • Season Opener BBQ & Mira River Ride

  • Ride of Silence

  • 2018 Cabot Trail in 4 Days (CT4D)

  • Membership Renewal

  • VCB Jerseys

  • Loose Chain Links

  • About That Funny

EDITORIAL: Bumps in the Road Many great conversations get their start with a casual remark about the weather. "Nice day", I offer, "sure is, gonna be a warm one", you respond. A pre-conversation heard many times, on the street, at the water cooler, in schools, offices, malls....everywhere. The participants gauge each other's openness to a more in-depth discussion during these seemingly trivial comments. Here in Cape Breton, we have had a somewhat unusual winter, remarkable in the fact that I have only had to shovel a handful of times. In fact, up until a few days ago, there was absolutely no snow on the ground, and no frost in the ground. The spring migration of birds had begun and my cat had been going crazy trying to jump through the window at them. Indeed, spring had arrived, and I had started to plan what outdoor projects I would attempt this year. That is, until we received the 30cm of snow last Sunday night. Now 30 cm is a significant amount of snow, but in this part of the world it is not a major catastrophe. The plows come out, the shovels and snowblowers come out, people dig out their cars, and walkways, and life gets back to normal in a short period of time. Today, the sun is shining and temperatures are above freezing so the snow will be melting, and spring will continue on despite this rather unwelcome "bump in the road" called a winter snow storm in spring. In our day to day lives, we embark on our mundane, or perhaps not so mundane, daily quests. A quest to get to work on time, to ace that exam, to score the winning goal, to be more fit. To be more motivated, to be more relaxed, to eat better, sleep more. On and on, we have these quests, they are individual, and personal, sometimes private, sometimes shared. Organizations come into being in part because of a shared quest, including our organization, Velo Cape Breton. One of our quests is to work on behalf of our members and all of the cycling community, to secure top-shelf cycling infrastructure on Cape Breton Island, which also includes the world famous Cabot Trail. This is done by lobbying three levels of government, and working with them to identify issues that affect bicycle-related concerns. Over the past 15 years we have developed these relationships to the point where we are now recognized as a central voice for cyclists on Cape Breton Island. And so it happened, back on April 20th, 2017, Velo Cape Breton was invited to send a small delegation to the town of Baddeck to participate in an announcement being jointly made by the Canadian Federal and the Nova Scotia Provincial governments concerning paving of the Cabot Trail. This was big news with regard to our above-mentioned quest, as the announcement indicated that paved shoulders on the roadways, both Federal and Provincial, would be 120cm wide (approx. 4 feet). There would be multi-year funding to upgrade the CabotTrail highway both within the national park and outside the park boundaries. In part, this proposed upgrade was presented as an effort to promote cycling tourism by the inclusion of wider paved shoulders. ( See the news article here: http://www.capebretonpost.com/news/local/36-million-to-be-spent-on-cabot-trail-road-upgrades-14609/ ). Unfortunately, similar to a late winter snow storm interrupting our spring, the Cabot Trail paving has hit a bump in the road. As witnessed by one of our members, recent paving on the trail has resulted in paved shoulders that are 30cm wide instead of the promised 120cm. Ironically, 30cm of paved shoulder provides about the same level of joy as 30cm of snow in spring, that is to say, very little. For those of you familiar with the Cabot Trail, there are some, what we cyclists would call, significant climbs. Non cyclists might call them steep hills. Climbing these hills is very slow, descending them is very fast, both are not fun when you are forced to be at least partially in the vehicle traffic lane due to a very small shoulder. Imagine two 40 foot long RV's meeting each other on the road at the point where they are passing a cyclist. Despite the Nova Scotia Law to provide a minimum of 1m space when passing a cyclist, in practice this is not always followed. With only 30cm of shoulder to ride on, often the only alternative for the cyclist is to move onto the gravel, which could cause a crash, or risk being struck by one of the vehicles. In a manner somewhat equivalent to grabbing our snow shovels to dig out from the snow storm, we are now taking stock of what implements we have available to dig out from 30cm paved shoulders on the Cabot Trail. Our first move is to meet with the federal government, which has already been scheduled for later this month. Another implement at our disposal is to make "noise", through an aggressive letter writing campaign. Your quest, as a concerned cyclist, is to write your MLA and your MP about this issue. While you are at it, get your local bike shop and your tour organizer to also send in some letters. The issue needs to be resolved in very short order, as the paving season will be upon us quickly, and once the pavement is down, it will be very difficult to change. We remain hopeful, that like the snowy interruption to our coming spring, the 30cm paved shoulder will soon be a thing of the past, and that our quest for wide shoulders will prevail. "How about that forecast, eh?" "Yeah, looks good. Might go for a bike ride".

Season Opener BBQ & Mira River Ride Meal Tickets Available Now Until May 3rd

What says summer more than bikes, BBQ's, and the Mira River? Join us for a ride along the Mira River, followed by a BBQ at the Mira Boat Club. It's the first scheduled event on the Velo Cape Breton 2018 calendar, so come and celebrate.

The BBQ features your choice of Steak or Portobello Mushroom burgers, as well as a selection of salads and of course dessert. There will be a cash bar for refreshments. Families and children are welcome.

It's a casual ride starting from the Mira Boat Club, 545 Hillside Rd., Albert Bridge, going clockwise along Hillside Road and Trout Brook Road up and down the Mira River, approximately 30km. The route can be shortened if desired, and you can ride at your own pace. These roads have been recently paved and are quite flat, perfect for the first ride of the season. Your ride leader will be Colette Smith.

If you haven't renewed your annual $10.00 membership, you will have the opportunity to do so during the social.

Who: The ride and social are open to both members and non-members, so bring a friend.

When: Saturday, May 5, 2018. The ride starts at 2:30pm, the BBQ starts at 5:00pm. If the weather is really bad the ride may be cancelled, but the BBQ will be held rain or shine.

Where: The Mira Boat Club, 545 Hillside Road, Albert Bridge.

Why: To reconnect with your cycling friends, to get your bike out for maybe the first time this year, to enjoy good food and good company. Do I really need to mention the fresh air and exercise you'll get from riding your bike? And how about the scenery of the Mira River and the view from the balcony at the boat club.

How Much: Cost of the Meal is $20.00 for adults, $10.00 for under 19. You must pre-order your meal, no meals will be sold on Saturday, the day of the event. Cost of the Bike ride is free to members, $2.00 for non-members.

Note: Participants can do the bike ride only, the BBQ only, or both, however anyone going to the BBQ must pre-register. There will be no on-site purchases of meals. Purchase meal tickets here: Season Opener BBQ.

Ride of Silence

Wednesday 16 May 2018 Sydney Shopping Center, Prince Street, Sydney. Arrive at 6:30pm for Opening Ceremonies and a 7:00pm start. For more info, go to the Velo Cape Breton website: here. Below is an excerpt from the official Ride of Silence website.


On May 16, 2018 at 7:00 PM, the Ride of Silence will traverse and unite the globe as nothing before it. Cyclists will take to the roads in a silent procession to honor cyclists who have been killed or injured while cycling on public roadways. Although cyclists have a legal right to share the road with motorists, the motoring public often isn't aware of these rights, and sometimes not aware of the cyclists themselves.

In 2003,Chris Phelan organized the first Ride of Silence in Dallas after endurance cyclist Larry Schwartz was hit by the mirror of a passing bus and was killed. (Read the full history here...)

The Ride of Silence is a free ride that asks its cyclists to ride no faster than 12 mph, wear helmets, follow the rules of the road and remain silent during the ride. There are no registration fees. The ride, which is held during National Bike Month, aims to raise the awareness of motorists, police and city officials that cyclists have a legal right to the public roadways. The ride is also a chance to show respect for and honor the lives of those who have been killed or injured."

2018 Cabot Trail in 4 Days

Registration is now open for this popular tour. Tour dates are Saturday August 11th to Tuesday August 14th and it begins and ends at the Gaelic College on the Cabot Trail in St. Anne’s Bay. We offer luggage transfers, two support vehicles loaded with snacks and refreshments, three nights accommodations, three suppers and breakfasts, and showers at the end of the tour. Our two cycling guides live locally and have lead tours of the trail for a decade. Tour cost is $665.00 per person, double accommodation. And if you are travelling alone we will match you up with a roommate. The Cabot Trail is a must do for any cyclist and our tour is designed to give you time to really enjoy the scenery, stop at one of the white sand beaches, hike in the Highlands National Park, and visit artists and artisans along the way. Each day involves 70 to 85kms of cycling and our two support vehicles means both speedy and relaxed riders are serviced. Everyone gets to ride at his or her own pace. This tour fills up quickly so register early to secure your spot. Once 40 riders have registered we will establish a waiting list. REGISTER CT4D

Membership Renewal Have you renewed your Velo membership for 2018? If not, your 6 month grace period has expired as of March 31, and you are now no longer a Velo Cape Breton member. While this is sad, don't fret because it is still not too late to rejoin. The cost for membership remains at a very reasonable annual payment of $10.00 (adult) or $5.00 (under 19) . You can rejoin online at this link: https://www.velocapebreton.ca/application-adult You can also renew in person at one of our social events or group rides, such as the upcoming Season Opener BBQ and River Ride to be held on May 5, 2018. For more info, see this link: https://www.velocapebreton.ca/events/season-opener-bbq-and-ride-the-mira-river If you have never been a member, great news, you can join for the same low price of $10.00. Your membership allows you to participate in regularly scheduled Velo Cape Breton sanctioned rides at no extra cost, and your membership helps us promote safer cycling on Cape Breton Island.

VCB Jerseys We have placed a new order for Velo Cape Breton bicycle jerseys in an assortments of sizes. We will be selling them on a first come first served basis, so dust off your wallets and be ready. We expect delivery in the next few weeks, so they will be here in plenty of time for the upcoming cycling season. Once available we will post a notice on our Facebook page.

Loose Chain Links Interesting articles in which we thought you, as a cyclist, may be interested. A couple of articles from Dr. Gabe Mirkin concerning cyclists:.

< If you have something you would like to share with the cycling community that is not an advertisement or blatant self promotion, please send it in. We reserve the right to publish only those links we are sure that our readers may be interested in.>

About that funny!

On Saturday morning, a roadie gets up early, as he has for so many Saturday morning rides, and softly slips out of the bedroom.

He dresses quietly in the next room, grabs his helmet and water bottles, and goes out to pump the tires. As the garage door opens, he’s confronted by an icy, windswept rain.

He’s ridden before in these conditions. He doesn’t like it, but when it’s Saturday morning he never misses. He ponders the dismal conditions and then retreats to the kitchen to tune a small TV to the Weather Channel.

The forecast only sounds worse. This is one Saturday when he just can’t summon the determination.

With a sigh, he slips off his shoes, quietly returns to the bedroom, undresses and slips back into bed.

There he cuddles up to his wife’s back and whispers, “The weather out there is terrible.”

To which she sleepily replies, “Can you believe my husband went riding in that crap?”


April 12th, 2018

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