ride on Saturday Sept 23rd

posted Sep 19, 2017, 4:08 PM by Mark Beaver

Hi folks - this weekend we have our first ride of the autumn season - and the forecast looks stellar at this point.

Saturday's ride is entitled, "Hillsvale - Beaver Bank".  Link to the route is

Note that the ride begins and ends at the Sunnyside Mall parking lot in front of the Second Cup coffee shop - please park any vehicles away from the buildings so as not to inconvenience the businesses inside.

Scheduled distance is 102km.

We'll head out on the Old Sackville Road bypassing Lower Sackville, then make our way to Mount Uniacke and Lakelands, where we turn onto the South Rawdon Road to (not surprisingly) South Rawdon.  We then head up Route 14 and turn onto the Beaver Bank Road, where, after the 6.5km of crappy pavement, we will enjoy the smooth tarmac to Beaver Bank and back to Bedford again.

We'll have a store stop at the midpoint of the ride, and we will attempt to conduct this ride at a moderate pace (you know who I'm talking about...).  Feel free to invite a friend or two on this ride as it should be a nice day out in the countryside.

200k on Saturday September 16th

posted Sep 11, 2017, 4:26 PM by Mark Beaver

Hi all, this weekend we have our final 200km brevet of the season.

This ride starts at the Masstown Market in Masstown, northwest of Truro off Highway 2.

Link to the route is

The ride departs at 8AM.

We'll head out toward Parrsboro on Route 2 along the Economy shoreline of the Bay of Fundy, past the highest measured tides in the world.  It's gently rolling countryside until the speedbump of Economy Mountain and a sweet descent into Five Islands; thereafter rolling terrain to Parrsboro.  After a lunch stop there, we had north on a fairly gentle ride up the Halfway River Valley to Southampton, then a climb up to Wyndham Hill, where, if you look behind you, you'll be able to see the mountains of Fundy National Park in New Brunswick in the distance.  After a sweet descent down to Collingwood and another store stop, the route heads east through forested gently rolling terrain to the Wentworth Valley, with one final climb and descent over Folly Mountain back to Masstown.

If you plan to ride this brevet, please notify me by email before Friday afternoon of your intention to participate.

If you wish to earn a medal for this ride, bring $15 cash with you.

In fact, this is your last opportunity to order medals for any of the earlier brevet rides you have completed this year; if you didn't order and pay for medals beforehand, and wish to get them, let me know by the weekend.

ride on Saturday Sept 9

posted Sep 5, 2017, 4:16 PM by Mark Beaver

Hi folks, this weekend we have a club favourite ride, which begins in Lunenburg.

This ride is entitled, "Lunenburg - LaHave".  Link to the route is

The ride begins at the Lunenburg Curling Club and Arena parking lot in central Lunenburg.  Departure time is 10AM.

The ride will head out toward the LaHave River on Grimm Road then north along the shores of the LaHave to Bridgewater, crossing the river there and continuing on to Conquerall Mills and Camperdown and on to Vogler's Cove, a very pretty spot.  Then the route follows the coastline through Broad Cove and Petite Riviere past Rissers Beach to lunch at the LaHave Bakery.  After lunch, catch the LaHave Ferry across the river to the east side and return to Lunenburg via the pretty coastal road through Bayport.

Expecting to see a good group of riders out for this one.

A few of our riders (myself included) will be attending the Guysborough Lost Shores Gran Fondo in eastern NS.  Any of those doing the Gran Fondo on Saturday who are staying in the area Saturday night can contact me regarding a Sunday ride in the Antigonish area.

ride on Saturday August 26th

posted Aug 22, 2017, 5:08 AM by Mark Beaver

Hi all - our last club ride of the summer takes place on Saturday August 26th.  So we're heading along the coastline past some beaches!

This ride is entitled, "Clam Harbour Century".  As the name would imply, distance is 161km or 100 miles.  Link to the route is

The ride heads out #7 past Porters Lake and Musquodoboit Harbour to Lake Charlotte.  After a stop at the log cabin style Webbers Store, the ride heads around the Clam Harbour loop, past Clam Bay, Debaie's Cove and Lower Ship Harbour then back in #7 to Porters Lake - then south along West Porters Lake Road to Lawrencetown Beach and back to Dartmouth.

Departure time for the ride is 9AM.

What's it like to ride a 1000k brevet? by Jim Foster

posted Jul 12, 2017, 5:37 AM by Mark Beaver

What is it like to ride a bike 1000 km in about 61 2/3 hours? Let me tell you. It is like getting up at 03:15 Saturday morning to shower, eat and load the car for a drive in heavy rain to the start point in Dartmouth at 05:00 and meeting eight other people of questionable sanity ready to tackle the first 415 km along the Eastern Shore and across the causeway to St. Peters. 

The rain in the first 100 km was unrelenting and for reasons unknown one of the riders dropped out at about 70 km. I can only assume he had a good reason to abandon the ride as he had driven from Ontario to do the brevet and is an experienced Randonneur. One hundred ten km in at the Fairwinds Motel and Restaurant in Sheet Harbour we experienced an act of kindness when the staff offered to put some of our wet clothing in their dryers as we ate breakfast. 

Leaving the restaurant the rear derailleur on Mark’s bike went into the spokes causing a catastrophic failure of the derailleur. Mark removed the derailleur and shortened the chain to make a “single speed” which he rode the next 80 km to Sherbrooke. Our support van was able to pick up another bike at deliver it to Sherbrooke. Dave and I waited with Mark for the bike to arrive and the rest of the group headed for the Isaacs Harbour ferry. It is important to time your arrival at the ferry or be delayed by up to ½ hour. When Mark’s bike arrived there was a little re-configuration to be done and we were off to catch the boat. Working together we kept a good pace to Port Bickerton and realized there was a chance to make the next crossing so the sprint was on! We made the boat with seconds to spare and re-united with Danny, Gary, Jody and Michline. Adam and Cliff had made the previous crossing. 

Now there was only 70 km to go before supper in Guysborough. On a long ride like this you tend to set your goals on making it to the next meal stop. Leaving Guysborough around 20:00 and were now 115 km from the first night hotel in St. Peters. Riding along the shoreline of St. Georges Bay as the sun went down was quite pretty with the lights of Point Tupper across the water. Riding up and over the hill at Aulds Cove worked up some body heat then crossing the causeway was chilling, there is no place to stop on the causeway so I had to wait until the other side to layer up. After leaving Port Hawksbury we basically rode through “Bumf@#k Nowhere” along tore up highway, gravel roads and even a 1 km section of mountain bike trail to St. Peters (although I’m sure it would have been a scenic ride in daylight and good weather). 

The hotel in St. Peters was a sight for sore eyes and tired legs. Our support crew had food and beer ready for us. Ron and Ted were fabulous the whole trip, I can’t praise their support enough! It was about 01:45 Sunday morning and we had to eat, shower and prepare for an early start in the morning before getting some sleep. Day 1 route 

After less than 3 hours sleep it was time to get up and prepare for day two, 350 km to Antigonish. The first 100 km was foggy and misty but not cold. It took us through the woods past L’ardoise, Grand River, Fergusons Lake, St. Esprit, Framboise, Forchu and Gabarus to lunch in Marion Bridge. If you have never heard of any of those communities you are not alone. Somewhere around Marion Bridge the sun came out and the wind came up. Much of the next 4 – 5 hours would be spent going against that wind. 

Passing through Sydney was a minor navigation challenge with a stop to consult the GPS map and one extra trip around a roundabout. From Sydney we followed highway 223 west along the shoreline of the Bras D’Or Lakes to Grand Narrows / Iona and a late lunch at Iona Heights Inn, the pan fried haddock was most excellent! This was the 600 km point of the ride and four of us including Adam, Dave and Mark left together and would stay and finish together. Danny, Jodi, Gary and Michline were somewhere behind us. 

Continuing on by Orangedale, Marble Mountain and West Bay we stopped at a beautiful viewpoint overlooking the Bras D’Or Lakes for a snack and a few minutes reflection. When doing long brevets, time management is important so we never linger too long regardless of the beauty. Now it was on to Port Hawksbury and a stop to re-fuel at Tim Horton’s. Dave and Adam were kind enough to allow me the last bowl of chili in the store! As we left town there was a bright orange moon on the horizon. After crossing the causeway to the mainland we followed mostly secondary roads running parallel to highway 104, crossing the TCH five times and riding on it for about 9 km including one 3 km stretch of divided highway. This was my least favorite part of the ride. Adam, 

Dave, Mark and I arrived at the Maritime Inn Antigonish around 00:15 Monday morning. Again we were greeted by the smiling faces of Ron and Ted who had pizza, beer and potato chips along with an assortment of healthier but less tasty treats. There was also a well-stocked first aid kit to treat the now rather uncomfortable condition of “monkey butt”! The end of day two was easier than the end of day one with more time to prepare for the final assault and a little more sleep. With a good forecast for Monday and every intention of finishing before dark the bike fenders and lights could now be removed and sent back with the support crew. Not sure what time I turned in but likely got at least one hour more sleep that night. Day 2 route

I had ordered room service for the morning, Belgian waffles with whipped cream and strawberries but they didn’t arrive in time for our early departure so it was breakfast at Tim Hortons – yummy! Checking out of the hotel we learned that Jodi and Michline had arrived at 03:00 and Danny and Gary around 05:00. Cliff was picked up by his wife between Iona and Port Hawksbury as he had to work Monday. Day three was only about 235 km and I could see a glimmer of light at the “end of the tunnel” The weather was sunny and pleasantly cool as we left Antigonish towards Malignant Cove and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. After only about 10 km. we had to stop and take layers off as the elevation was increasing and temperature rising. Once we arrived at Malignant Cove the temperature was moderated by cool breezes for the next 40 km but the price was a headwind. Approaching Stellarton we stopped at a food market in Thorburn to re-fuel. The temperature was now in the high twenties. 

After the stop we zig zagged through Stellarton and Westville to Highway 289 travelling west toward Brookfield. At some point on the 289 I needed some time alone so pushed on ahead (too much time in the previous 800 + kms looking at men’s asses). A few kms from Upper Stewiacke Dave caught up and we rode to the Co-Op store together. Time for a drumstick, Mr. Freeze and Gatoraide. At this stop we re-grouped with Adam and Mark and enjoyed a few minutes rest in the shade. Leaving Upper Stewiacke our group got spread out with Adam in the lead, me a few hundred metres behind and Dave and Mark (who had briefly stopped) taking up the rear. A dark grey car slowly passed me then pulled to the shoulder of the road and light up like a Christmas tree! It was an unmarked police car!! Honest officer, I wasn’t speeding – I said. Turns out one of our group had forgot his credit card at the Co-Op store. It wasn’t me so she headed up the road to check with Adam. It was Adam’s card so he earned a few “bonus km” riding back to retrieve it. I would have asked the nice lady police officer to get it for me. 

Just before arriving at Brookfield a large dark cloud passed overhead and spit a few large cool drops of rain on us. The shade was definitely welcome. Brookfield would be the last fuel stop before the finish and I filled up with Tim Horton’s chili. So many of our rides finish on highway #2 that we can go on auto-pilot the final 80 km. Everyone was feeling good as we left Brookfield with a strong tailwind. Unfortunately the helpful wind did not last long and we again were being buffeted by unhelpful turbulence. Entering Milford we noticed a familiar figure by the road. It was our friend and fellow Randonneur, Seana waiting to escort us the final 50 km. Somewhere around the Enfield Big Stop I felt a surge of energy and Dave seemed to feel it too so we picked up the pace a little for the home stretch. At the end of some long brevets I sometimes feel like continuing on riding – not wanting it to end so soon. This was not one of those times! Getting off the bike felt good, walking – not so good. We celebrated the effort with a cold Bud Light Radler, kindly brought to the finish line by Kim. Happy as I was to be done my thoughts turned to the four Randonneurs still on the course hoping they would finish safely. They all did complete the brevet within the 75 hour time limit and Nova Scotia Randonneur history was made when Micheline McWhirter became the first Nova Scotian woman to complete a 1000 km brevet!!! Congratulations Micheline!!!!…/long-distance-cycling-brevet-halifax-ca…

Day 3 route

ride on Saturday July 15th

posted Jul 11, 2017, 5:08 PM by Mark Beaver

Hi folks - congratulations to all those who completed our 1000k brevet this past weekend, lots of chatter on Facebook and some screen time on CBC NS News tonight!

Although some aren't particularly thinking about riding a bike at the moment, by this weekend things will have settled down a bit, so we have a nice club ride on the schedule.

This ride is entitled, "Wentworth - Nuttby".  Link to the route is

We'll meet at the parking lot of Central Colchester Junior High School, which is just off Exit 14A at Onslow.  Departure time is 10AM.

We'll head west on small backroads to Debert then up to Wentworth on the newly-repaved Route 4.  At Wentworth Station we'll head northeast to New Annan and Tatamagouche, where we'll have a stop for lunch and "refreshements".  We'll then head south to Earltown and an ice cream stop at the super-cool Earltown General Store, then enjoy the descent down Nuttby to North River and Onslow again.

Expecting a good turnout for this ride, now that the brevet silly season has drawn to a close.

In other news, thinking ahead, we have the Tri-Province Tour coming up at the end of July - the only place in Canada where you can cycle in three Canadian provinces in one day - if you're thinking about this one, let me know, we will have to make plans for a place to stay before/after the ride.

And a little further afield, in early August, we have the Meteor Shower Midnight 200k brevet, scheduled to coincide with the largest meteor shower of the year, the Perseids meteor shower, when one may expect 80 - 150 meteors per hour in the night sky.  If it's a clear night it will be an experience to remember.

ride on Saturday June 24th

posted Jun 21, 2017, 5:23 PM by Mark Beaver

It appears as though the early forecast for rain on Saturday has migrated to rain on Friday night, so Saturday's looking good for our scheduled club ride, which is entitled, "Aspotogan loop".

No need of a route map for this one, the course is pretty self-evident.

The ride will assemble to depart at 9AM from the Armdale Roundabout in Halifax.  We'll head down Route 3 through Hubbards to East River, then around the Blandford loop past Bayswater Beach and Aspotogan back to Hubbards.  After a lunch break at the Trellis Restaurant, we'll head back into the city and probably end up telling lies at the Good Robot brewery.

Congratulations once again to all those who participated in our brevet series this spring, and especially those who completed our 600k last weekend in the face of some pretty unpleasant weather on Saturday.

Looking forward to a ride without lights!

600km brevet June 17th+18th

posted Jun 12, 2017, 4:20 PM by Mark Beaver

Hi folks - OK, so here's the scoop on the upcoming 600km brevet that takes place this weekend, June 17th & 18th.

This ride is entitled, "Liverpool - Avonport 600".  Link to the ride is

The ride will assemble at the Armdale Roundabout to depart Saturday morning at 6AM.  The route is pretty simple.  We're heading down the south shore past Hubbards and Chester to Mahone Bay and along the coast to Riverport and the LaHave Ferry.  Note that the LaHave Ferry departs the east side on the ¼ hr. & ¾ hr.  Our Controle is on the other side of the ferry at the LaHave Bakery.  We then continue along the coast through Petite Riviere and Vogler's Cove to Liverpool, then head inland on Route 8 to Caledonia and onward to Annapolis Royal.  There is a grocery store in Caledonia, which is half-way across.

Annapolis Royal has places to eat supper - I've appointed the Old Towne Pub as the controle because it's open until 11pm.  Our overnight accommodation is 25km up the road at the Bridgetown Motor Inn in Bridgetown.  I have reserved a block of rooms but I will be notifying the Inn of the participants's names on Thursday.  It is unlikely that there will be anything open in Bridgetown for supper so eat in Annapolis Royal - although you can go 1.2km past the Inn to the Tim Hortons by the 101 overpass.  This Tim's is open until 11PM and opens at 5AM.

After a sleep in Bridgetown, we'll roll up the road to the Tim's to grab breakfast and coffee, then head up the length of the Annapolis Valley, initially on the very flat Route 1 until Kingston, then onto the also-very-flat Brooklyn Street, a large section of which was repaved last year.  At Grafton we jump onto Route 221 through Lakeville then pay a visit to one of Nova Scotia's prettiest spots, Hall's Harbour.  After Hall's Harbour we return to the Valley to Canning where we will have late breakfast/early lunch at the Big Wig's Diner, a funky little spot, our first controle of the day.  Then onward through to Port Williams, Wolfville, and Windsor, then onward to Kennetcook, Enfield, and back into the city again.  Note that the official end point is Graham's Grove in Dartmouth; an easy cruise on the ferry will take Halifax riders back home.

The Bridgetown Motor Inn costs $98 + tax = $112.70 - I have reserved rooms with two double beds.  If you intend to overnight at the Inn, please let me know if you would prefer a room to yourself or if you are willing to share.

I need to know if you plan to go, by Wednesday evening this week so that I can notify the hotel.  Please let me know of your intention to participate.

ride on Saturday June 10th

posted Jun 6, 2017, 5:03 PM by Mark Beaver

Hi folks - congratulations to all who finished last weekend's 400k brevet - the second most challenging ride on our schedule! All who started the ride completed it, in the face of some interesting weather.

This week we take a break from ultra-distance for a recovery ride, a 100km ride entitled, "Walton - Cheverie".  Link to the route is

This ride will assemble at the parking lot at the junction of Routes 1 and 14.  Take Exit 5 off Highway 101 and turn left and proceed to the intersection with Route 1 - commonly known as the Crossroads - where there is a farm market, the Crossroads Restaurant, an Irving station etc.  Please park in an out of the way spot so as not to inconvenience the busy stores.

The ride will depart at 10am - how leisurely!

We'll ride to Brooklyn and Scotch Village to the Walton Woods Road to Walton.  Taking a left onto Route 215, we'll roll along the shoreline of the Bay of Fundy up to Cheverie, where we will stop at the Cheverie Food Mart to grab some lunch supplies, then head a couple km up the road to the West Hants Recreation Site, where there's a beautiful lake in an abandoned gypsum quarry - sadly, too chilly for a swim yet, but a great spot to visit in the summer.  After lunch we'll continue to Summerville and Burlington and Mantua, then return to the Crossroads via St Croix.

Micheline won't be on this ride so the pace should be kept fairly leisurely.  After the ride, there will no doubt be an adjournment to the Spitfire Arms in Windsor for libations and story-telling.

Expecting to see a good crowd out for this one!

400k brevet on Saturday June 3rd

posted May 30, 2017, 5:13 PM by Mark Beaver

Hello folks, this weekend we have one of our more challenging yet more rewarding rides of the year, our 400km brevet.

This ride is entitled, "Maitland - West River 400".  Link to the route is

This ride departs at midnight Friday night from the parking lot in front of the Sunnyside Mall in Bedford.  

Our course will lead us out through the Beaver Bank Road to Rawdon, thence to Shubenacadie and Stewiacke, where our first controle is at the 24-hour Tim Hortons, for food and coffee.  We then ride toward Kennetcook and watch the sun rise in the Kennetcook Valley as we make our way to Noel and on to our second controle, at the Frieze and Roy store and cafe, where we will breakfast - it opens at 8AM so don't be in a big hurry or anything.

We then wind our way through Truro and Mount Thom to West River, then onward through to Eastville and Upper Stewiacke, then on to Middle Musquodoboit, Dollar Lake, Enfield, and back in to Bedford again.  Easy as that!

As this is a brevet which involves a long stretch of night riding out in the countryside where there are no streetlightsAudax Club Parisien equipment regulations are in effect.  Riders MUST have a primary bright front light and a secondary bright light in case the first one fails.  Riders are also required to have two non-flashing red rear lights, at least one of which must be on during all periods of darkness in a steady beam (non-flashing) setting.  Rear lights must not be blocked by clothing or gear bags.  All riders must wear a reflective vest during night-time riding, as well as other reflective material such as legbands etc.  Riders not complying with these requirements will not be permitted to start.

Please notify me of your intention to participate by Thursday evening June 1st.  If you wish to earn a commemorative medal for your achievement, please bring $15 to the start of the ride.  

You will find that the night-time hours feel quite a bit colder than the temperature forecast would imply; as you body is normally asleep late at night, your metabolism will be slow and you may feel sleepy.  I will have some caffeine pills if you are having difficulty staying awake in the darkness, just ask.  Bring warm gloves and other warm clothing, and bring a sizeable bag on your bike capable of storing that clothing when it warms up in the morning and afternoon.  There are some long stretches of road without stores on this course, including Route 4 through Mount Thom and Route 289 between Green Hill and Upper Stewiacke so be sure to carry sufficient energy food to carry you to the next controle.

Looking forward to hearing from you.

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