It's hard to believe but this will be our sixth time returning to the beautiful trails of Cabot. We invite anyone who is interested, regardless of whether they belong to the Brookvale Ski Patrol or not (cyclist or not), to join in the fun of the ride. This will likely be the last time that I'll be planning the trip for quite a while, anticipating with great excitement the arrival of my first born in December. I'll be happy to pass the torch if someone wants to take over planning for next year.
I've set the dates on our calendar (http://www.brookvaleskipatrol.ca) to include Friday to travel to Cape Breton. Most of us are content to drive home after our final ride on the third day so I didn't add an extra day for travel home. As we did the last two years, we'll be starting at the (old) KOA campground in Baddeck. This is the only campground that requires reservations although if you decide to join us close to the arrival date I really don't think that will be a problem. We do get a group discount though, so booking early does help a bit. Remember that Monday is a holiday so you can likely do the whole trip without taking time off work unless you work on weekends.
Each day averages 100k or so. Some days are tougher than others but don't let that deter you from joining. We'll be going in a counter-clockwise orientation this year to correspond again with the group(s) from Halifax. Since we generally have plenty of support vehicle drivers, you can plan to cycle on any one or more days, part of a day, go hiking, sight-seeing etc.. My wife Loretta is planning to come along for the first time ever and I can guarantee that at 5 months pregnant, she won't be riding. This should tell you how casual your decision to ride or not ride can be. Our intent is to include and not to deter. The thought of cycling the Cabot Trail may be intimidating to some but I can guarantee that you will find the level of involvement that is right for you and simply love the tour. Set y our own personal goal or simply come to enjoy time with your friends and the incredible beauty of the trail.
The general information that you need to know is as follows; all participants are encouraged to travel to Baddeck and car pool where possible. Vehicles that aren't used as shuttles for camp gear or for support are left in Baddeck until we complete the loop. Costs associated with traveling from your location to Baddeck is not worked into the shared costs of the tour except for the dedicated support vehicle drivers. These are the people that provide their time and aren't cycling. All participants are expected to cost share all of the support vehicle driver's expenses with the exception of alcoholic beverages (after the day's ride). General costs for the trip are cost shared and include food (breakfast, lunch not included, prepared chili dinner, spaghetti dinner), transportation of gear between campsites, gas costs associated to the support vehicle (provides support throughout the day), camp fees, trail fees etc.. Last year we were successful in reducing costs to an all time low of approximately $86.00 per participant for the full weekend. There have been discussions about providing some of the funding up front (mainly to make it easier on me). We can discuss that on Friday night but last year I found it very easy to simply ensure that money issues were promptly dealt with at the conclusion of each day's ride.
Riders are discouraged from bringing loads of camping gear and cooking supplies. If you have a huge tent, consider sharing it with others. Campsites generally limit how many tents can be placed on a given location. Cooking supplies will be arranged based on the number of people showing interest. Less is more, less is more, less is more.
What I need to know now is who is interested, whether they can confirm or not. As I mentioned earlier, I will be placing a general reservation at the Baddeck campground. All other campgrounds are first come, first served. I'd also like to have a general idea of your expectations and plans. Eg. Will you be staying with the group, are you a rider, are you interested in providing support, are you only interested in the group camping etc.. If you have a vehicle with capacity to be used as a shuttle for camp gear and you don't mind it being used in that way, please let me know. Vehicles of this type are the hardest things to come by.
With very little time between now and the ride, please consider contacting me as soon as you can. You can reach me at home at (902) 892-7998, please leave a message if I'm not at home. If you haven't joined us in the past, or have never even been on the trail, ask someone who has. I'm sure you'll hear some interesting stories. Please pass on this invitation to others.
Some links for your interest: