Meet the Blue Route Staff – Meghan Doucette
Meet the Blue Route Staff – Meghan Doucette
Meghan Doucette joined the Blue Route team in June 2021 as the Active Transportation Planner. Meghan is passionate about equity and urban/rural planning issues. She holds a Master of Urban Planning from McGill University and a Bachelor of Management with a major in Environment, Sustainability, and Society from Dalhousie University. Meghan has experience leading the Halifax Cycling Coalition as the Executive Director, consulting on a variety of urban planning projects, coordinating outreach activities for the Dal Bike Centre, and working in a municipal planning department. A deep commitment to challenging inequitable structures in our society influences her work as an advocate for safe and affordable mobility options. Meghan works to build cities, towns, and neighbourhoods that allow all residents to access what they need, and to travel safely using the transportation mode of their choice. She believes that the bike can be a tool for mobility for people from all socio-economic backgrounds, people with disabilities, and people of all ages.
We asked Meghan some questions about cycling to get to know her a little better.
Q: What is your cycling origin story?
A: I first remember learning to ride a bike when I was about five years old. My family was living in Clayton Park and I remember my parent’s teaching me to ride on the sidewalk and then I would ride up and down the block or through a pathway near our house. I also recall my bike getting stolen around that time. Later in elementary school my parents got me a cheap mountain bike. We lived in Hubbards and I would ride around a bit then, mostly to the store to get penny candy. As I got into high school cycling wasn’t “cool” anymore so I stopped riding for a few years. Then when I moved to Halifax to do my undergrad, more and more people around me were cycling so I decided to try it out as a way to incorporate more physical activity into my life. I lived in the South End and would bike to Point Pleasant Park. At first I was terrified of the traffic and I would never make a left turn by bike. Eventually I got more and more comfortable and started cycling to work in the West End. Over time I became pretty comfortable cycling anywhere. My first longer bike ride was on an old ten speed bike that someone had given me because they were moving. It was way too small for me but I didn’t know anything about bike fit at the time. I rode from Halifax to Hubbards for Thanksgiving and felt such a sense of accomplishment when I arrived. Cycling really opened up the city to me, and then opened up the province. I felt this new sense of freedom and joy in the way I travelled.
Q: What kind of bike do you ride?
A: I have two bikes. In the city I use a Dutch-style upright bike to get around to work, visit friends, and get groceries. I didn’t realize how much I would like that bike until I got it but it really feels good to ride in a more upright position in an urban environment. It is easier to shoulder check and do hand signals on an upright bike than other styles of bikes. It feels a bit safer because of that. My other bike is a Cannondale touring bike so it’s kind of like a road bike but has a bit wider tires and a rack on the back to carry all of my camping gear. I really like my Dutch bike but I love my touring bike because it has taken me on some pretty amazing adventures.
Q: Can you share your favorite bike ride in Nova Scotia?
A: I have so many! I grew up on the Aspotogan Peninsula so that’s always a favorite. It always ends with a BBQ or snacks at my parent’s house too, so that’s a bonus. I really like cycling around the Lunenburg area because I find that a lot of the trip is along the ocean and car traffic tends to be light. I like cycling to Blue Rocks, Rose Bay, LaHave, and Risser’s Beach.
Q: Describe a day trip by bike that you would recommend to someone visiting from outside of the province.
A: I think I have two. Firstly, I’d recommend parking in Rose Bay, stopping by the Rose Bay General Store, and then heading out to Lunenburg. You could stop for a coffee at No. 9 or a handmade ice cream at Sweet Treasures Confectionery. After taking a look around Lunenburg I’d ride to Blue Rocks and take a kayak tour around the coastline. After that you could pick up a snack at The Point General store in Blue Rocks, and cycle back through Lunenburg for lunch or supper if you aren’t full from all these snack stops. Then cycle back to the car in Rose Bay.
The second day trip I’d recommend is starting in Bridgetown and cycling on Highway 1 to Annapolis Royal. In Annapolis I’d get lunch at The Whiskey Teller and then wander around the main street to check out the sweet local shops before cycling back to Bridgetown. The Highway 1 route is pretty flat and has beautiful views of a river and open fields.
Q: What excites you about the Blue Route?
A: I love adventuring by bike on the weekends and on vacations so the provincial cycling network is an exciting proposition, but what excites me the most is the Blue Route Hubs Project where we work with Towns along the Blue Route to create active transportation routes for local residents to get around safely by bike. My main focus is on making places more equitable and I think that providing transportation choices that are affordable and accessible to people with disabilities is an important part of working towards a more equitable society.
Learn about our other Blue Route staff member.