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What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

With the advent of the new BBC site and Forum, there is discussion of removing all ride listings from the Newsletter.
This may mean many new and improved things to the Newsletter.
But what does this mean for BBC Rides?

The long time frame for the Newsletter allowed riders to plan future rides and have them mesh with vacations, school, work, and other potential conflicts.  I am not talking about where rides are posted (Newsletter or website Calendar), rather the time frame of the ride listings.
Example - I post a ride for Columbus Day holiday 6 weeks prior and often 10 - 15 riders show.
Example - I post a ride for a Monday 5 days before, and I email all the usual suspects and 5 riders show.
Example - A ride is posted for last Wednesday on the day before and only ride leader shows.

Now most ride leaders have figured out that posting a ride has to be accompanied by a post in the Ride Changes Forum.  Most BBC'ers on the Forum should be subscribed to Ride Changes and thus get emails of new rides.  Thee Ride Changes postings are often lost on the Home page list to other postings.
The Home page shows the current day's rides.  But not too useful at 9:00 on your pc when the ride may have left at 9:00.

I propose that at a minimum these changes should be made:
* Ability to subscribe to a Calendar add/change list (by ride category);
* Show the next two days rides on the Home page;
* Friday email of upcoming rides should include Friday, Saturday and Sunday - and Monday if a holiday;
* Display of Calendar webpage is centered on the current week (not the top of the page);
* Ride coordinators continue to fill the Calendar by exhorting ride leaders to sign up well ahead of their ride dates.  We may not need the lead time required by the Newsletter, but I think 6 weeks is a nice rolling target.

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Re: What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

Hi Steve
I appreciate your thoughtful letter on the changes in the Newsletter and improvements in posting rides. The decision by the Board to end the ride schedule in the Newsletter had nothing to do with improving the Newsletter. It was based entirely on the reality that the ride schedule in the Newsletter was inaccurate, incomplete, and confusing once on line posting via cuesheetcentral and now the updated club web site became possible. There is nothing in the current system of posting rides that prevents a member from posting a ride 6 hours, 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years from now if the member is so fortunate as to know their own personal schedule that far in advance. However, as someone who was a ride coordinator in the early 90's, I can assure you that calling up my usual cast of potential ride leaders and asking them to commit to a specific date up to 3 months in advance was a very painful job. Most people simply did not know what they were doing next week much less two months in advance.
At the last Board meeting, Georgia tasked me with organizing a group of members to suggest improvements for the web site. Right now, the structure of the forums seems to be the main priority; Gloria Epstein has received many unfavorable comments by club members that the forums have too many deficiencies. Certainly, changes in the ride schedule can be included. At the September Board meeting, we will attempt to come up with a list of priorities for any changes to the web site. I will remind the membership that any club member can attend a Board meeting; we just need you to let us know that you are coming so that we can have enough seating. Board meetings are held on the 2nd Thursday of the month at 7PM. The current location is Bob Roswell's System Source office in Hunt Valley.
Once again, I appreciate your suggestions on the ride schedule; I hope you can join me and others when we try to come up with some concrete recommendations to Will Hudson our web site designer.
Ed Cahill
BBC Secretary

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Re: What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

Steve wrote:

* Ride coordinators continue to fill the Calendar by exhorting ride leaders to sign up well ahead of their ride dates.  We may not need the lead time required by the Newsletter, but I think 6 weeks is a nice rolling target.

I think Steve's point here is very important. We definitely do not want the ride listings to be empty until a few days before the ride. People do need to plan.

I was thinking that we might try to establish the custom of filling up the rides for the NEXT month the first week of the preceding month. This would mean that in the first week of April, there would be a big push to get all of the rides for May scheduled.  The first week of any month would become the week when calls went out for ride leaders to fill in the gaps in the schedule the following month. (Of course ride leaders could schedule their rides months or years in advance--which might be a real advantage for some.)

Just an idea--which I like better than a rolling 6 week window.

ed

Ed Hopkins
ed.hopkins@verizon.net

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Re: What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

ehc3rd@gmail.com wrote:

Right now, the structure of the forums seems to be the main priority; Gloria Epstein has received many unfavorable comments by club members that the forums have too many deficiencies.

Ed

Could you give some content to this?  Perhaps if some of these problems were aired on this forum and discussed, the Board might be able to get a better idea of what others thought about these issues.  I have no idea, for instance, what the issue concerning the "structure of the forums" is and, in truth, no knowledge of any deficiency in them.  I think they work fine.  People do have boring avatars but I am not going to make an issue out of that.)

(The only issue I know of is that concerning the existence of many forums rather than one. I had argued for just one forum so our new setup would like the old BBC-talk: everybody gets every message.  We did not go that path. I can easily get all messages from all forums by subscribing to all of them.  It is a still a problem how to get a message out to everyone since I suspect many people are very picky about which forums they subscribe to.  In a pinch, if I had something really important to bring to the attention of everyone I would just put it in the "Ride Changes" forum and plead that  I made a mistake in posting to that forum....I think this has already happened--but I did not do it.)

Ed Hopkins

Ed Hopkins
ed.hopkins@verizon.net

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Re: What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

Hi Ed
Below is a paragraph that I wrote for the August Board Meeting minutes which will appear in the next Newsletter. As I said in my previous post, I will be forming a group to look at possible improvements to the web site. I am all for any and all discussions on this topic in the forums. To make any changes, however, it will take a focus group to make specific recommendations to the Board before the Board can ask Will H. to rework the web site.

"Gloria reported that in her conversations with club members that there is still dissatisfaction
with the website. The forums were particularly singled out as needing reform. After discussing
some suggestions such as a reduction in the number of the forums, personal blacklists, and
direct replies to emails from the forums, the formation of a committee to rework the web site was
tabled until next month when Georgia would be back."

As for scheduling rides on the ride calendar, as best as I can tell, you and Steve want a cut off interval between the time of posting and the actual ride date. In my wanderings in other bicycling club's Newsletters and ride scheduling practices, I came across these limits. The New York Cycling Club has a one week posting limit-- rides had to be posted at least a week in advance of the ride date. On the other hand, the Howard County Bicycling Club would decide on their Wednesday night ride what ride they would do on the upcoming weekend.
I will say it again. As a former ride coordinator, the biggest problem is the reluctance of members to make a commitment to lead a ride. I don't think putting in a time limit or any limit is going to improve that situation. Phil Feldman had it right when he developed "Pigtush.com" (which became cuesheetcentral) for the old 17 mph group; "here is the schedule, it is open to anyone; put a ride in whenever you want if you want to have a ride" That is still his philosophy for the 18 mph group; he does not call or email anyone to lead a ride.
It is the membership's responsibility to lead rides. It is what makes up the"leadership" in the club to make that as easy as possible. To me, that means a good cue sheet library, instructions on how to be a ride leader, and a ride calendar that is easy to access and use. As I said before, I will putting together a group to look at the web site to make improvements. I will be glad to accept any help.
Ed Cahill

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Re: What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

ehc3rd@gmail.com wrote:

As for scheduling rides on the ride calendar, as best as I can tell, you and Steve want a cut off interval between the time of posting and the actual ride date.

No, it is not my intention to limit the posting of rides in any way!

What I am calling for is a Calendar and Website which combined facilitate posting of rides and promote ride attendance.
To this end, as I suggested above:
(1) Home page to show current and next day's rides.  In fact we don't need to see any of today's rides after they are finished but rather we want to see tomorrow's rides;
(2) Email for upcoming rides sent on Fridays include entire weekend (Fri/Sat/Sun/Monday Holiday);
(3) Email subscription notification when a ride is added to the Calendar (with a time horizon: i.e. within next week);
(4) Tools for the promotion of rides to members which might include such things as favorite leader or fellow rider lists;
(5) The Calendar should center page display on the current date so we don't have to scroll to find rides (compare viewing the Calendar yesterday where you had to scroll to page bottom and today (Sept 1st) without needing to scroll);
(6) A continued effort by ride coordinators to recruit ride leaders and assure as full a schedule as possible.

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Re: What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

ehc3rd@gmail.com wrote:

On the other hand, the Howard County Bicycling Club would decide on their Wednesday night ride what ride they would do on the upcoming weekend.

Minor correction: HoCoCyclists does not have "organized/official" weekend rides other than a scheduled once-a-monther leaving from Princeton Sports and even that is quite sporadic. Some will occassionally use the HoCoCyclists Yahoo Group to gather a group for a weekend ride, but those are purely spontaneous "I'll be here at **am, come join me" affairs and not "official" rides.
Chris

Let's agree to respect each others views, no matter how wrong yours may be.
http://www.despair.com/demotivators/compromise.html
Chris Tsien
LAB Certified Instructor

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Re: What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

Hi Steve
Your suggestions on re-formatting the rides calendar and adding 2 more days to the email reminders seem reasonable to me. Any of the changes will require the Board to approve. That will need a recommendation from the focus group Georgia wants me to put together on web site improvements. I will let you know when I get it together so you can join in on the fun.
Ed Cahill

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Re: What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

Apologies in advance that I’ve not been able to predict my schedule in the long term for leading rides.  I have been trying to add a ride on short notice when I’ve noticed a hole in the weekend schedule for my ride pace.  As much as it would be nice to have a large group for one of my rides, I’m honored when I get seven, eight or more.  And it’s usually easier to lead a smaller group.

I too am frustrated by the Forum, and sorry that our old e-mail was summarily dismissed.  When I tune in to the forum, I immediately select the topic view so that I get postings by newest to oldest rather than the twelve separate headings that only seem to make me avoid checking.  I’m also frustrated by the useless quantity (31 pages worth at this time) of backed up postings I’ll never try to digest again.  In the old e-mail, I’d only save those I might actually wish to save.

I can subscribe to a forum, but postings only come from ‘Baltimore Bicycle Club’, not the person who sent it.  I’d prefer to be able to reply on or off list.  As I don’t care to check all headings for the forums, I’m also discouraged from posting at all if my words may not even be viewed.

I’m reminded of an unnamed college that instead of laying out all their walks in advance, allowed students to create their own pathways from building to building and across campus, and paving the most used pathways after they’d been determined by utility.  Can’t we re-establish the BBC talk e-mail and see which gets used more fully?

Dan Artley in Parkton

"Cyclists are open-minded.  Cyclists are egalitarian.  Cyclists share a fellowship of the wheel that can overcome all political, social, racial and economic barriers.  Except for recumbents."
- Ted Costantino

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Re: What needs to be done if BBC drops ride list from Newsletter?

Ed

thanks for providing some comment on the issues with the forums.

Concerning the private email  topic:

ehc3rd@gmail.com wrote:

direct replies to emails from the forums

Since there is an easy and obvious way to do this now, I suggest that no effort be put into this.

If one puts ones email address in ones profile--look at mine or at Bob Wagner's for instance--then the email address is visible to other people who may want to respond to the poster of the message. 

This strikes me as a completely adequate solution to the problem. 

On another topic, what is a "personal blacklist"?  (I don't like the sound of this one.)

ed

Ed Hopkins
ed.hopkins@verizon.net

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