The Chainlink

There comes a time when you realize what you are doing is not working. The Chainlink is not working in its current format and I need to acknowledge this and do something to make a good, solid, supportive change.

So here's my proposal:

Dear Fellow Chainlinkers, 

Do you have knowledge and opinions you'd like to share? Topics can include but not be limited to:

- commuting

- safety

- equity and advocacy

- youth in cycling

- women in cycling

- infrastructure

- training

- bike camping

- racing 

I don't collect revenue from the site so this will be a community of articles, shared for others to read and learn. I'd also be looking for people interested in helping edit and publish. 

- Amateur photographers

- Limited promotion of events (until we get the all-clear for covid)

- Recommended routes and rides (can include bike camping, other cities and rides outside of the Midwest)

- still support a racing and riding team

- gear recommendations

- other bike-related resources

I'd like to move away from the forum. I feel strongly we've come to a cross-roads and with so many people hiding behind a fake name, it promotes less awesome behavior and opinions of the anonymous. 

I'd also like to look past just Chicago and expand to the U.S. 

Please share your ideas, thoughts etc. in the comments. I'd like to hear from you on what you'd like to see in the future of The Chainlink. Also, if you want to be a part of building it, let me know. Thank you!

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Happy to contribute with writing some articles/op-eds about commuting/cycling in the Chicago burbs, finding better routes, and even some gear reviews. 

I could see Chainlink as more of a curated site, focused on the experience and realities of biking day-to-day in Chicago and other cities. Contrast with Streetsblog, which covers activism and policy, and subreddits and other social media where it's more a free-for-all.

I think the events calendar is something that's really hard to find or replicate anywhere else, and I'd love to see it expanded to more people, made easy to use and kept front-and-center.

Some of my favorite posts on the TC forum are the sort of floaty arty posts, people talking about the joy of biking. It'd be nice if those were published once in a while. 

There are also repeating features that have come and go on the chibike subreddit. Someone did "Bicycle Court" for a while: https://www.reddit.com/r/chibike/search/?q=bicycle%20court&rest... - short videos from a commute with a question about who's in the wrong. These were great, and could make a good regular feature. 

I'd be happy to help with some of the technical side. I'm not a designer but I'm pretty good at making sites resilient and low-overhead (or you could just hire a service like https://forestry.io/

Some of my favorite posts on the TC forum are the sort of floaty arty posts, people talking about the joy of biking. 

Yes. I love those.

I'd like to move away from the forum. I feel strongly we've come to a cross-roads and with so many people hiding behind a fake name, it promotes less awesome behavior and opinions of the anonymous.

Yasmeen, i hear you. social media can also be "media" in the sense of:

3 b (1) : a nutrient system for the artificial cultivation of cells or organisms and especially bacteria

the price of liberty is eternal vigilance, including online. police get a bad rap these days, but if you're up for introducing "law enforcement", i guess by volunteers since there's no revenue, i'd be happy to contribute ideas. i'm unfortunately not in a position to "walk a beat" myself.

First, Yasmeen, I'd like to thank you for all the energy and effort you've put into this site. I've benefited an awful lot being here. You rock!

Secondly, could you be a little more specific about how you feel the site isn't working in its present format? I have some ideas about what you mean, but it would help if you spelled things out in a little more detail.

The Chainlink is valuable and can continue to remain so. This is not to say that evolution and change are bad.

I second Jim Reho comment about thanks to Yasmeen.

Take the forum off the home page.

  I was riding the Robert McClory Trail through Waukegan a few years ago.  I saw and started talking with another rider.  He said the “DPRT” was his favorite ride.  After a question or two, I learned he was referring to Desplaines River Traill.   I had heard of the trail through on and off broadcasts that it was flooded. 

Last year, I happened to be digging into The Chainlink site and saw an August 2019  post by Alan Xiao saying, “DPRT was great yesterday”.   Without Chainlink I would not have read  Alan Xiao’s post.  I immediately decided to ride the “DPRT”.  I studied Google Maps and planned a ride from the loop.  I took my mountain bike on Metra to Libertyville.  I rode streets to the trail.  The trail terminates at Russel Road.  I rode east to Winthrop Harbor beach.  Took a quick dip in the lake and returned to the loop via Metra.  I repeated two more times last fall.  

The post by Alan Xiao may have been the most useful thing I have read on The Chainlink.

 The goal of any reorganization should be to make The Chainlink into a “ one-stop resource for connecting cyclists to share information on bikes, routes, rides, and events”.  

see you on the road,

Elwood

It would be nice if there was some moderation to address trolling behavior.

I'd disagree with moving away from the forum. The forum can work if there's better moderation and if it were better publicized. I think the Facebook group could better publicize the forum and vice versa.

Please add a road and trail conditions section that users could post and update conditions that change due to construction, weather, flooding, ice, etc.  

Agree with Jim Reho! Thanks Yasmeen.

I would like the forum to continue personally.  So much useful information there. I like that you can mostly find all things Chicago-cycling related on the Chainlink site. From group rides available in area, to leading your own ride with whoever is interested, to beer rides with CBES, to biking questions about most anything you can think of, Chainlink is the place to go.  Don't change that.

It may be that  in some way the pandemic has  less people  commuting to work and less people doing  group rides and the reasons why we are  all drawn  together  as cyclists are not  on  the forefront. Much  of the forum lately has been beset by the social/political issues that are on many of  our  minds but  on which we may not  all agree.  We have to  assume that will pass. Underlying  that we have  had a carry over with  some discussion where  personal attacks have  taken place and the  forum may seem a bit like  the old wild West, a place which  can  be intimidating.  Managing  that from  afar has  been  seamless  for me and hopefully for  other users.  You seem  like you are here and  you  seem like you are  with all of us, but it may be trying for you over  the  distance of miles and  now of time. Ultimately, you  call  it and let us know how  things will be and we will go from there, thankful that the  resource is still here, and that an  out of towner  wanting  to know, "What's up with  riding a bike in  Chicago?"can  get some  info and  us locals can share routes, events and other  info. Just one  question  as regards people  hiding behind a fake name. Can you require  people to use their real  names and not  have a forum name?  I am just  throwing  that  out there. Thanks for this site and this community of  cyclists.

It has been an interesting run. Sharing thoughts and finding people to ride with. Curious to see what's next.

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