Velo Cape Breton (VCB) board member at large Shelley Porter is off to Winnipeg, Manitoba, to present at the International Winter Cycling Congress, February 12 to 14, 2014. This will be the second Winter Cycling Congress; the first was held in Oslo, Norway. The Congress brings together people interested in all aspects of winter cycling for transportation. It includes sessions on infrastructure, equipment, maintenance, cycling safety and barriers to winter cycling, amongst other interesting and informative topics. Porter is the only presenter from Atlantic Canada.
Since 2004, Velo Cape Breton has worked to make cycling safer, more convenient, and supported, not to mention “smart, sexy, and fun” in Cape Breton. To promote year-round cycling, Velo started the 52 Week Bike Challenge. Porter has been the 52 Week Bike Challenge Coordinator for over 5 years, and her presentation, “Not Normal: Creating a 52 Week Cycling Culture in an Economically and Demographically Challenged Region”, will describe how VCB motivates people to ride their bikes outdoors all year round, in a maritime climate infamous for unpredictability.
Shelley Porter was born in the Annapolis Valley and has lived all over Nova Scotia. One of her favourite cycling memories is of riding along country roads near Wolfville in the autumn, immersed in the fragrance of ripe apples. She cycled trails on a steel-framed road bike long before mountain bikes were invented, jumped off brick walls years prior to BMX being thought of, and is a proud anachronism: a bike-mounted newspaper carrier. She and her daughter deliver 47 copies of the Cape Breton Post to their neighbours, six mornings a week, 52 weeks of the year, always by bike!
Porter has a Master’s degree in Biology from Acadia University, a place with a garden dedicated to a professor who traveled by bicycle. She’s been a member of Velo Cape Breton since 2005, served as Secretary to the Board, and is currently a Member-at-Large on the Board. She has just accepted the role of assistant VCB newsletter editor and was trained as a Cycling Ambassador in 2013. She has two children, a horse, two fluffy rabbits, and four bicycles.
In addition to presenting at the congress, Porter will circulate information on cycling in Nova Scotia, develop contacts that will be useful in VCB’s advocacy role and further VCB’s ability to promote a cycling culture. Funding for this project was supplied by Ecology Action Center, Cape Breton District Health Authority, Destination Cape Breton, Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness and donations from members and friends of Velo Cape Breton.
Velo Cape Breton Bicycle Association is a registered, not-for-profit, volunteer society. It has a membership of approximately 250 people. The Association’s goals are the promotion of cycling for transportation, recreation, and tourism; and expanding the cycling culture.