Velo Cape Bre­ton Bi­cy­cle As­so­ci­a­tion

The is­land’s bi­cy­cle ad­vo­cates

Canadian Cycling Magazine - - CANADIAN CLUB - By Tracey Green PRO­FILE

Cape Bre­ton Is­land is home to the breath­tak­ing Cabot Trail with its 298 km that hug the coast­line and pass through the scenic Cape Bre­ton High­lands. This area is also home to the Velo Cape Bre­ton Bi­cy­cle As­so­ci­a­tion (vcb) that aims to fur­ther cy­cling, as recre­ation and sport. It’s also form­ing a strong bond within the com­mu­nity. vcb had an un­ex­pected in­cep­tion. A group of cy­clists pe­ti­tioned the gov­ern­ment for bike lanes dur­ing a re­con­struc­tion project in 2003. As a newly formed voice for cy­clists, the group regis­tered as a club of­fi­cially in 2004. “We still have three from that orig­i­nal group who are ac­tive. The club has grown from 25 mem­bers in its first year to ap­prox­i­mately 200,” says An­drée Cré­peau, pres­i­dent of vcb. Mem­bers pay $10 an­nu­ally, keep­ing the club very ac­ces­si­ble. “We live in an area where there’s a great deal of poverty. We’re very mind­ful of that,” says Cré­peau. The com­mu­nity it­self is in tran­si­tion due to the clos­ing of the steel plant and coal mines. “When the steel plant closed, they re­de­vel­oped the whole area as a pub­lic park. We lob­bied to have a cy­cling safety park, which is a smallscale road­way,” says Cré­peau. With tourism, fish­eries and a univer­sity, Cré­peau explains that Cape Bre­ton is a thor­oughly pleas­ant place to live. “It’s a very easy place to raise chil­dren – great cy­cling, great out­door recre­ation,” says Cré­peau. vcb runs sev­eral ed­u­ca­tional pro­grams. It has lent its fleet of bikes to one school and, in con­junc­tion with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, run a free six-week sum­mer bike camp for kids.

On top of the club’s weekly rides, vcb runs tours in­clud­ing the Lobster Roll, which rolls through Syd­ney Har­bour and along the coast of the east­ern Bras d’or Lakes. The event in­cludes a lobster sand­wich, potato salad and brownie. Two chal­leng­ing tours are the Tour Cabot Trail and Tour de Lac Bras d’or. vcb ends its sea­son with the Jin­gle Bell ride in De­cem­ber, but holds snow­shoe jaunts, bike clin­ics and potlucks in the off-sea­son.

vcb con­tin­ues to advocate for bike safety, work­ing with the pro­vin­cial de­part­ment of trans­porta­tion and other bike groups across the prov­ince. Big changes are un­der­way. “They’re now bring­ing in the Blue Route, which is go­ing to connect the com­mu­ni­ties across the prov­ince. Lo­cally, we’ve been ad­vo­cat­ing to get wider shoul­ders on the Cabot Trail. They just opened a new bridge in Syd­ney that has a 4-m wide path for pedes­tri­ans and cy­clists,” says Cré­peau. Close to com­ple­tion is a sep­a­rate 10-km path that will join Syd­ney to Glace Bay: the two main ur­ban hubs. That route is a ma­jor piece of cy­cling in­fra­struc­ture that will pass the air­port and Cape Bre­ton Univer­sity.

“We’re very heav­ily in­volved in safe cy­cling. We’ve worked re­ally hard on it,” says Cré­peau. Velo Cape Bre­ton Bi­cy­cle As­so­ci­a­tion

“The club has grown from 25 mem­bers in its first year to ap­prox­i­mately 200.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.