Written by Meghan Doucette.

On a drizzly afternoon in June I sat down with Jennah Barry on the patio of her cafe, Famous Town Pie Shop. Jennah grew up in Mahone Bay and is building her business there. She travels from home to work most days by bike. We spoke about her newfound love of cycling and how her ebike makes the journey feel like a breeze. Read on for our full conversation. 

Tell us about yourself.

I’m Jennah Barry. I’m one of the owners of Famous Town Pie Shop in Mahone Bay.

How does cycling make you feel?

So good. So free. God, so free. I have a lot of little tiny running around things that I have to do all the time. Like I forget things all the time and I need to go get milk. And getting in your car, which is not clean,  just doesn’t have the same effect as breezing down the street on your bike.

It’s the bomb.

How does cycling contribute to your quality of life?

I have not ridden a bike for a very long time. There’s a lot of hills around here, and I’m not in it for the exercise. I just want to cruise, but I don’t want to drive my car all the time, and gas is really expensive.  And so I went to Sweet Ride in Mahone Bay, and I tried the bike for like a second, and it made me happier than I’d felt in a very long time. 

It has pedal assist, which I didn’t realize was so accessible, and now my life is like 1000%  more fun. 

I’m a huge fan!

Why do you choose to travel by bike?

It’s easy. Despite the giant battery, I don’t know where that was made, but I do feel a lot better riding my bike. It lines up more with my integrity about the environment for sure. But also, I say that I don’t like exercise, but I really do like feeling the wind in my face and the breeze and the sun feels good.

How do you meet the challenges of cycling in a rural area?

I’m from here. I grew up here. I did used to ride my bike to the mall because that was very important, but I had a crappy little bike. I don’t know how I did it. My urge to go to the mall was stronger than my physical capabilities, I guess. And so that’s what, in my adulthood, kind of was keeping me from riding my bike, is like being in a car with your uncle, who’s like, “grrrr, get off the road”.

Like I felt nervous and shy about that, but then I realized  there’s so many trails here, and there’s a way to bike on the road, and I just had to learn how. 

And then, pedal assist!  If you can find a way to save up your money to buy a nice electric bike, it just takes away all of the inaccessible points that were bothering me, which were, I live on the top of a giant hill, everywhere there are hills. 

I bike everywhere now. Everywhere I need to go. As far as I need to go. As far as my battery will allow.

How do you approach cycling safety?

I bought a helmet.  Uh, turns out you need a helmet. I try to know what my capabilities are and how fast I’m gonna go. I try to know myself, learn about my bike, my biking style, which is very trail based biking. And on the electric bike there’s blinkers.

I didn’t know all the rules.  Honestly, Sweet Ride, when I went there and bought my bike, they just filled me in on all the things that I needed to know. And I just listened to them and did what they said. And I’m very safe now.

Is there anything you would change in your community to make it feel more safe, comfortable, and fun to cycle?

I wish that there were more bike lanes in towns. I wish those were a little bit more road accessible because we bike and we have kids so I have one of those little bike attachments in the back. And during school time, when you’re trying to bike your kid to school, which I do most days, it’s really not that safe. It’s complicated to get there. It’s really just the ways that you come from rural areas… the infrastructure isn’t there for people to walk or bike safely, especially when it’s raining.

 

Meghan Doucette is the Co-Founder & Creative Director at Lemonade Co., a South Shore based business that connects conscientious brands to their communities through branding, website design, and digital marketing.