Meet the Blue Route Staff!



Brittney MacLean (she/her) is the Director of Blue Route Development and Cycling Advocacy with Bicycle Nova Scotia. Brittney is a graduate of the Bachelors of Community Design, Honors Urban Design program at Dalhousie University, which is where she developed a keen interest in how community planning and public space design can be used to encourage social behaviors that lead to healthier, happier, more connected communities. Brittney spent the last nine years as an urban planner with the Halifax Regional Municipality where she found great reward working on projects that focused on the growth of the municipality while fulfilling community needs and visions. Walking and cycling grew to be a large part of her life during university and especially after having children. She has studied, practiced, and enjoyed the health and happiness benefits of active transportation and is excited to be with Bicycle Nova Scotia, advocating for increased awareness and funding for active transportation in hopes of making it more accessible and enticing for more Nova Scotians to adopt it into their lives.


We asked Brittney some questions about cycling to get to know her a little better.



Q: What kind of bike do you ride?

An Electra Townie Go! It’s a commuter style e-bike and it gets me around our hilly city with ease. I am a huge advocate for e-bikes. They make cycling much more accessible for all ages. For me, an e-bike meant that I could commute without having to constantly dismount and walk my bike up hills which was both difficult and time consuming. I’ve also had the joy of watching family and friends hopping on e-bikes of their own and experiencing the happiness of cycling again after 40+ years. I also have an electric cargo bike (TrioBike Cargo) that my husband and I share to cart our kids around in. We call it the family mini-van, ha!


Q: What is your cycling origin story?

I grew up in the suburbs, so a bicycle was a right of passage in a sense. With everything being a bit more spread out, I found it hard to get around without a parent driving me. A bicycle gave me (and my siblings) independence to travel to our friends’ homes, school, and recreational activities. I picked up a bicycle again when I had children of my own because I wanted to spend more time outside with them and share the joy I experienced as a kid. Getting comfortable with cycling the kids around encouraged me to start cycling as a form of commuting.


Q: What has been the biggest changes to cycling in Nova Scotia that you’ve seen or that you’ve been a part of over the past 2-3 years?

I am very excited about the amount of cycling infrastructure that has been built around the city. The feeling of having your own, safe, designated place on the road makes a world of difference when you are a parent cycling with children. The connections being made are a work in progress and with the drastic increase in numbers of cyclists in the province it’s never been a better time to get more infrastructure designed and built. The separated bike lanes are what encouraged me to ditch the car more and grab my bike instead.


Q: What is your favorite bike ride in NS?

One of them is the Salt Marsh Trail out to Lawrencetown Beach. I love that the trail takes you along serene, wooded areas, but then opens to spots where you can feel the salty fresh air on your cheeks- and that view of Lawrencetown beach is a sweet reward! Another is a simple route that I travel often in the city- the multi-use pathway along Lake Banook in Dartmouth. It’s nice and flat (a great space for kids to learn to cycle) and has a beautiful view of the lake. Most of the year you can watch paddlers training on the lake. Sprint canoe/kayak was a big part of my childhood and adolescence (as it is for many others who grew up in Dartmouth) so it brings back great memories. We often stop and grab a cookie and coffee at the Cottage Café right along the path- you’ll want to make sure you plan that into your trip if you go! If you’re looking to lengthen your ride you can get from there out to the Shubie Park trail system as well.

I’m looking forward to traveling to rural NS more in the coming years and experiencing more of the Blue Route with my friends and family.


Q: What excites you about the Blue Route?

The potential for the Blue Route to encourage more people to pick up a bike again (or for the first time).

Having proper connections between towns and cities will allow people to hop on a trail and be able to map out a route easier. Having safer and bike dedicated infrastructure will allow people to feel more comfortable hopping on a bike and having infrastructure province wide will provide access to recreation space many areas may not have had before. I’m excited for Nova Scotians to have better access to cycling to enjoy its physical and mental health benefits and take advantage of the connection to nature and the environment that it offers. The huge increase in cycling during the pandemic was so exciting to see and be a part of- I’m thrilled to be able to work on establishing the route for everyone to enjoy.

I also cannot leave out my enthusiasm for the tourism the route will encourage, and for what new local attractions and businesses might gravitate toward the route. I don’t think I’m alone in enjoying a good stop to rest, snack, and shop when I’m out on a ride!



Q: Do you have any other interesting things to share about yourself?

A couple of years ago my husband and I started up Hilly Goose, a cycling bag company. We have a couple of industrial sewing machines in our tiny little sewing room and design and sew them by hand ourselves (my husband does the sewing). It’s been really fun and there are so many local cycling shops that have supported us along the way that we are very thankful for. The cycling community here in Nova Scotia (and beyond) is really special and it’s such a great feeling to see those who’ve picked up a bag enjoying them on their adventures!

People often ask us where the name came from- we thank our kids for that one! It’s the sweet way they pronounced “silly goose” when they were younger.

They’re the real “hilly gooses”!