Bike Month Feature: Sal Falk from the Lunenburg Barnacle

Written by Meghan Doucette.

On a foggy morning in June I met up with Sal Falk by the sidewalk newspaper box where they deliver the Lunenburg Barnacle, a monthly print newspaper they co-founded. She travels from Lunenburg across the LaHave Ferry to deliver the papers to local businesses once a month. We spoke about the freedom cycling brings them and the opportunities for cycling in rural areas. Read on for our full conversation. 

Tell us about yourself.

My name is Sal Falk. I’m the Editor and one of the Founders of Lunenburg Barnacle. One of the best parts of my week is when I get to deliver the barnacle by bike. Once a month, we put out a print issue and we deliver to local businesses around the South Shore. And on the nice weeks, I try to do most of the route that I cover by bike. That means getting to take the LaHave Ferry, going to the LaHave Bakery, sometimes making it as far as Ploughman’s Lunch before circling back through Rose Bay and hitting all the businesses here in Lunenburg.

It’s a great way to get some kilometers in and also share this joy and spread the Barnacle around.

How does cycling make you feel?

Cycling makes me feel like there’s infinite possibilities in the world. It’s such a form of freedom that I don’t feel when I’m using any other form of transportation.

How does cycling contribute to your quality of life?

I notice that weeks when I don’t get out on my bike, I feel like I haven’t accomplished something,  even when I just have to run small errands in town, it becomes more enjoyable when I end up using my bike. 

It’s not something you see super often down here. When I get out on my bike, I like to think I’m encouraging other people to do the same thing. And so it makes me feel good physically and, mentally.

Why do you choose to travel by bike?

Honestly, it’s an ease thing and also it’s an enjoyment thing. I have never liked cars. I think when I was a kid, I always told my parents that I never own a car.

I ended up in rural Nova Scotia, so it became a bit of a necessity. But biking just means that I can get outside, I can feel the crisp ocean air when I’m out, just doing my errands. You see so many more people on the street. I run into friends and get to have a chat.  Those are things that you don’t get when you’re traveling by car. I think that is the best part about it.

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

I think the biggest thing is planning. When I think about cycling around here, if it’s the weekend and I want to go do groceries or have lunch at one of the general stores or take the ferry and go to Ploughman’s Lunch,  I just think about planning.

First of all, determining the best route because it’s so car centric down here. You have to make sure you’re choosing a route that feels safest. Then also, I’m packing lots of water, lots of snacks, and making sure there’s breaks built in. And honestly, that’s actually been one of the best discoveries about biking rurally and longer distances. Down here we have lots of great places to stop and snack and hang out, whether that’s at a beach or at one of the general stores or bakeries. It just makes it a bit of a longer journey and adventure for the day,  but it’s still very much feasible to go longer distances. 

How do you approach cycling safety?

Cycling safety feels definitely different rurally than it did in the city. The things that I felt kept me safe cycling in the city, like a helmet and lights, don’t feel necessarily like enough down here. I think cycling infrastructure is the number one thing that keeps cyclists safe, and besides rail trails, there’s not an immense amount of cycling specific infrastructure. 

So wearing things like high vis vests when I’m cycling on the road, cycling in groups if I’m going on longer road trips, just makes me feel a little more safer.

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

I feel like right now it’s an awareness piece. A lot of the times, I feel like drivers and non-cyclists don’t really know how to engage with cyclists. Especially given the lack of cycling infrastructure down here, cyclists feel less safe, and I think talking about it more and making people more aware about the presence of cyclists, how to behave around them…

Even just the other day I was talking with a new restaurant owner who was asking about getting bike racks for her restaurant so that she could attract more cyclists. I think asking those questions will just make it more attractive and more safe for people.


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.