Posts Tagged ‘stackexchange’
Every summer the City of Portland closes off streets to motorized vehicles, and opens them to cyclists, walkers, runners, unicyclists, and any other human-powered transportation. This summer's events are taking place once a month from May - September, with one event in each of the city's 5 quadrants. The routes each include several city parks, which are hubs for community activities during the event. Each event often has over 20,000 participants. In 2011 Sunday Parkways had 107,300 participants across all days/locations.
If you visited us during the event and are wondering what exactly this site is all about, you might want to scroll on down to the bottom of this post where I've got links to some more information about how the site works, some of our more popular questions, and some of the other Stack Exchange sites. Of course, you're welcome to keep reading about our experience volunteering today!
Would you like to be part of a blogging community? Do you have opinions about cycling, or just a good story to tell? Do you love the Bicycles site but are you're frustrated by the limitations of the Q&A format? Come and write for the Bicycles blog!
What kinds of posts are we looking for?
Stories about bike rides -- These are easy to write up, and fun to read. If you have pictures from your ride, or even of the terrain or road, so much the better.
Reviews -- Have you bought a bike you love? A headlight that gets you home in the winter evening hours? We'd love to hear about it.
Cycling culture -- Posts about culture, weirdness associating with riding, frankenbikes; really, about anything interesting and strange.
Bike shops -- Do you love your mechanic? Your shop? Tell us all about it, maybe the post will help someone who's looking for a shop.
Controversial stuff -- Do you think helmets are a conspiracy by the styrofoam hat manufacturers? Is "carbon fiber" just another name for "cheap-ass plastic bikes marked up for suckers"? Your Stack Exchange rant-disguised-as-a-question will be closed in a heartbeat because Stack Exchange hates fun, but the blog is a perfect place for you to write about these crazy interesting ideas.
Stuff -- Anything that doesn't fit in the above categories. For anyone looking for ideas for posts, we've started a list of them. This page is filled with post ideas you can use. Also, if you have an idea but you're lacking the ten minutes it'll take to write it up, post to that page and someone else will pick up the slack.
What am I getting myself into (or, "how often will you want a post from me?")
The blog updates once a week on Monday mornings when we're lucky, twice a week when posters are extraordinarily prolific. But you don't have to write a post nearly that often, just when you have something to say.
Okay, I'm sold. How do I get started posting?
What does this mean?
1. We have a beautiful new site design by @Jin:
It's based around "the feeling of riding a bike, rather than focusing on the bike as an object", but has some bicycle themed elements, such as the badges being cogs, the voting and star buttons on questions being road signs and the tags loosely resembling the downtube branding on some bikes.
The logo is a bicycle head badge with a heart, because we love our bikes.
With most Stack Exchange websites, the meta site gets a monochrome version of the main site. Instead we have a night-themed version of the main site, like you're riding home at the end of a long day of riding.
2. Privileges have changed.
Now that we're not a beta site, the privileges required to do certain things have increased. That means there are fewer people to do them, especially closing problematic questions.
- If you see something problematic, please comment and flag. Your moderators will be happy to close, reopen, migrate, protect or delete questions or answers that need it, especially if there's comments and/or flags from multiple users saying that's what needs to happen.
- Vote Early, Vote Often, and Vote Some More. Voting builds reputation, which will help more users earn the privileges that let the site be more user-run than moderator-run.
3. We're linked in the footer of regular Stack Exchange sites
This probably means we'll be getting an influx of new users. I know you're normally friendly and helpful, but please take extra care to be super-nice to the newbies as they come in.
4. One More Thing:
Lately, I’ve been commuting to rehearsals on the Delaware and Raritan Canal trail. It’s a great way to get away from traffic and potholes for a good chunk of the eight-mile ride. It’s also cooler, as much of the path is covered by trees. The only problem is that it adds ten minutes to the ride, if not more.
The other only problem is that Hildy, my touring bike, has standard touring tires. She’s reliable and fits me like an old, shirt, the kind that’s getting a little ratty, but is too comfortable to get rid of despite the worn hems on the sleeves. She can handle a little gravel, but she’s fickle. Loose gravel or uneven stone will make her say: “Neil, you might consider getting off and walking—or I’ll toss you on your ass.” Yeah, that wouldn’t be pretty. I walk over those nasty bits of path.
Last week, after riding this bit of towpath every Monday for several weeks, I decided that it was time to put my knobby “winter” tires back on Hildy. While the recent resurfacing of the path made it possible for us to ride it on those 700x32 tires, there are still small sections of gravel where I’ll walk the bike, not to mention spillways. My first ride on the towpath with the knobbies I got for last winter was—there’s no other word for it—fun! And Hildy said barely a word until I got to that thousand-foot overgrown rock spillway. I didn’t even wait for her to tell me, I walked that one. (Along with the last spillway where one has to balance on rocks in the Raritan River to get to the other side.)
A patch of coarse gravel or sand became damn awesome, and these are no longer barely-balancing jaw-clenching moments. There’s something exhilarating about riding over an uneven, ephemeral surface.
Of course, there’s a price for all this. The ride takes about five to ten minutes longer now. (Fifteen, with today’s headwinds.) And there are still stone spillways I can’t ride over, although that’s down to two (from five previously unrideable rock-and-concrete stretches.) Also, the bike doesn’t corner as well on concrete. But that’s okay. I’ve gotten much faster at swapping out tires.
I’ve just ordered parts for my mountain bike build again, and may soon finish my offroad project of the last three years. Imagine the fun I could have with proper two-inch knobby tires on that 1994 Stumpjumper frame! No dirt or rock would be unclimbable. Those helmet-cam mountain-maniacs I see on Youtube may be insane, but I can’t argue that they’re not having a good time.
Whoops! Sorry, Hildy. You’re still my favorite, I promise. Maybe it’s time we did an offroad tour.
Every year every cyclist I know, in every country around the world, speaks the same language. What language, you ask?
Well, there’s some Spanish, some Portuguese, German, a little English of both varieties and with a few accents, and of course more than a touch of French. It’s that pidgin, that polyglot language, the one we all speak this time of year, even when we don’t bother the rest of the year. It’s the language of the Tour de France.
Whether they root for the sprinter, the climber, the new guy or the old favorite, every cyclist I know watches this race. It’s more than just a race. It’s an Epic, a Grand Classic. It’s a way of life for the pro cyclist, the event they train the year to ride, and they base the success or failure of the season on their performance in the French Alps. And for 21 days in July, we get to follow on the journey with them.
We see every lone breakaway, every crash, and every triumphant finish. The strategy and the communication and the amazing machinery and the most powerful riders in the world make this a mesmerizing draw. Something we just can’t not watch.
And when your friends and neighbors don’t understand why you get up at 5 am to watch the day’s stage, and when the mailman’s only reference to the Tour is to the doping scandals that have plagued cycling in the press, sometimes deserved and sometimes not, all you can do is sit back, watch that day’s finish, and try to explain it to them in terms that they will understand.
It’s our World Cup, our Superbowl, The Final Four, Wimbledon and baseball’s World Series. It’s 21 days of glory and pain and human suffering and human triumph. And we get to ride along.
We get to see what is the best that every cyclist can be. We see heroes fall, and youth take up their challenge. We see the best of humanity in those 21 days.
And it never fails to make us part of the action in some small way. That is why we watch the Tour.
And that is why I hope you’ll watch it with us.