24 July 2012

In praise of on-line communities...

I've been reflecting on why I didn't blog for many years.  One of the big reasons is that others put things so much better than I can.  Sure, I can pontificate about the evils of the current government, or political shenanigans in Zimbabwe, or the upcoming Scottish referendum, but, on the whole I'm not sure I have much to add that's not out there already.  Secondly, if I blogged as a 'vent' a lot of my writing would have been about the toils and travails of editordom.  Which would have been hard to keep anonymous (and professional).  Which is why I had such fun blogging about Open Access last week - I had something to say that no one else was saying, and I felt free (free!) to say it.

But, the plan is for the resurrected blog to be mainly about cycling.  And the reason I've not blogged about cycling is that a few years ago I discovered the wonderful CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum. And not only have they let me vent many insecurities and frustrations, but they have provided advice, a secondhand trailer, good deals on bikes, the occasional free accessory (schrader valve pump anyone?) and a lifetime's suuply of empty jam jars.   But beyond the excellent advice and esoteric knowledge, they've created a generous and warmhearted community right here on the internet, welcoming even the middle aged, technically incompetent mum that I have become.

We meet up occasionally for coffee or beer, some crazy folk do time trials on Arthur's seat, others go to races together, or just for a ride.  But most of the interaction is on-line, and it is great feeling to know that if I've had a bad experience with a driver, or my bike's making a funny noise that there's a place where I know I'll get support and encouragement.

We wouldn't have done half the things we've done as a family without the gentle prodding from CCE-ers, who don't think going on holiday by bike with kids is crazy.  We also wouldn't have our much-loved tandem, and I don't know how we would have managed to get around the past year - certainly my schedule would have been nearly impossible.  We also probably wouldn't have found out about balancebikes and islabikes, which have so helped K. 'find her wheels'.   Yes, there are useful books, and you can go on training courses, but honestly, I don't know how people sustain life as cyclists without the sort of support we've gotten from CCE.  

It's given me lots of material for the blog too....

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