I maintain a discussion forum on Google Groups called Bicycle Lifestyle. I started it March 21, 2007 when the RBW (Rivendell Bicycle Works) forum was being changed after Rivendell stopped participating. I felt there was a need for a moderated group which could discuss traditional bicycles and their uses, touring, randoneuring, commuting, etc. but with some control over the wrangling and shouting that so often ruins the sense of community most of us want in a discussion forum.
So I'm here to enforce the normal rules of civilized behavior. I expect people to treat others as they would like others to treat them. When sending mail to this forum, imagine that the people you're writing to are all sitting around in the same room with you, and act accordingly.
On topic discussions include Rivendell, of course. Lots of people use Rivendell bikes and are happy customers of not only their frames, but the racks, bags and other great stuff they sell. And they want a place to talk about it. So, naturally, anything having to do with Rivendell is on topic. But Rivendell isn't the only company selling great products for cycling. Other frame builders like ANT, Vanilla, Co-Motion, Kogswell, Spectrum, Peter Weigle and many others make beautiful frames with innovative designs. Harris Cyclery in Newton, MA has a huge selection of drive train parts and other goodies for older bikes that can be hard to find. Wallingford (wallbike.com) has a great selection of bags, racks and saddles. And if you buy a Brooks saddle and it doesn't quite work out for you, they'll take it back! If you know of a great bike shop that has unusual services and interesting STUFF, we'd all like to hear about it.
If it has to do with bicycle touring, cross country MTB, commuting, brevets, tandems, night riding on and off road, ride reports, maps, winter cycling, bicycling as transportation, human powered vehicles, folding bikes, clothing, panniers and other bags, racks, fenders, tires, even "rim strip controversies", it's all ok here. Warning to Velox fanboys: Keep it clean!
Also, if you have technical questions about any of the products we sell, and you think it would be of interest to others, feel free to post them on the forum, rather than just sending me a private email about it. I'll respond to them, and anyone else is welcome to offer their advice as well.
Bike shop owners and employees are more than welcome. The forum doesn't exist to promote my business. It's to promote cycling, and I'm happy to have other industry folks involved.
What's off topic?
(1) Long for sale postings. If you have one or two items for sale, start your subject line with "FS" and list your item(s) with brief descriptions. Anything more than that is prohibited. If you have lots of stuff to sell, list it on a web page somewhere, and just post the URL. Essentially, it's fine to sell one or two things once in a while, but you can't use this forum as a place to operate your business from.
(2) Pointers to auctions.
(3) Religious proselytizing and prayer requests.
(4) Politics, except where it directly effects cycling. So if Ohio wants to outlaw bicycle riding, it's on topic.
(5) Downhill MTB, BMX, and something called "trials". I don't quite know what "trials" is, but I have a feeling I don't like it.
(6) Helmet use, unless you're absolutely positive that what you have to say on the subject has not only never been said before, but has never even been conceived of before. On the other hand, discussions of the pros cons and features of various helmets are fine.
Look at it this way. Just as we can discuss the difference between a spoked wheel and a disc wheel, or steel vs aluminum frames, but nobody would consider arguing that a bicycle ought not have wheels or a frame, feel free to discuss plastic vs leather hairnets, Bell vs some other brand, but let's stay away from the issue of whether or not helmets should be used in the first place.
(7) I'm sure there's more, and I'll know it when I see it, and post it here. ;-)
What happens if you make off topic posts?
I'll ask you to stop. And if you don't, I'll drop your email address from the forum.
What happens if you use foul language or insult other list members?
I'll drop your email address from the forum without comment. Life's too short. ;-)
How do I subscribe?
Just click on this link. You'll need to create a Google account with your current email address. Or you can create a gmail email account to use. It's up to you. And while it's not a requirement, I think it would be great if everyone would include their full name with every posting. You can do that automatically by creating a "Nickname" in your profile. Just use your full name as the Nickname, and it will be there every time you post.
If you have any trouble subscribing, send me an .
Why am really I doing this?
You might think it's just another way for me to promote my business. And there's probably no way to avoid that impression, since my business is tailored to serving the needs of people who use their bikes all year long, and need the lights and bags, etc. which I sell. We'll be talking a lot about exactly those types of products I sell. But I sell those products because they interest me. If I was interested in refrigerators, I'd have a forum about that. So, by default, the forum will undoubtedly have the effect of helping my business. But that's really not why I'm doing it. The business is doing extremely well, and if I never typed another word on any internet forum, it would continue doing quite well.
So here's why I'm doing it. Years ago, I had a walk-in bike shop. I saw dozens of people every day. People would hang around while I built wheels or tuned up their bike and we'd yack it up. One woman who was training for RAAM (she won) designed her daily training route to pass down my road so she could stop for a bathroom break and lunch. It was lots of fun. Then I discovered the internet and began selling stuff to folks in California. Putting stuff into boxes was much easier on my arthritic back than doing tuneups, and frankly it's more profitable, so I stopped doing most service work. Hence the number of people dropping by dropped to maybe one a day. No more chit-chat, no more yadda yadda. Booo! But the money was better and my back felt much better. Yeah! But I missed the chit-chat. Booo! Fortunately, the same internet that took my walk-in customers away, makes it possible to chit-chat with the whole world. The problem is in finding a friendly group to yack it up with, much like the folks who used to hang around here. I'm hoping that Bicycle Lifestyle will be that place. We'll see.