Reflections about an online bike community
by, 28-01-08 at 04:01 (1692 Views)
They say you don't know what you've got till it's gone, and for many here, we nearly experienced the loss of a community we all share a bit of lives within.
Fortunately there was an alternative venue for the community to move to, and the loss was averted.
But VD still exists right? So how can I say the community was nearly lost?
Well, a community is a machine of many cogs and springs. It is also only as good as the people who make up its population.
Now that isn't a dig to say all the good folks left our old haunt and came here and everyone left is not worthy. Plainly good people will join the old lands and either settle or wander on. Some go back and forth, others can't face leaving. Equally there will always be some who join us here who we would rather joined an e-leper colony.
The point I'm trying to make about community, is that we have quite a special one here, unlike anything I've experienced elsewhere.
I've been on huge boards elsewhere and there's real cliques that blows anything we might observe in our midst into the middle of next week for scale and being closed to others. I've used small friendly bike sites and they're lovely but invariably the pace can be slow and when there's a disagreement it's like someone locked a bunch of drunks in a coal bunker and started piping fart-bombs in. Ugly, bloody, and the aftermath lingers on beneath the surface in a way that leaves a nasty taste.
No, this place - or rather the people who make it into a community are here in sufficient numbers to mean it's diverse, but few enough to be cosy.
We're comfortable enough with each other to laugh and be coarse, but it's not in danger of being a love-in and so fall-outs can still happen - and yes, that is a good thing.
People come together online to socialise and meet up in real life. There is love, there is hate. There is joy, pain, anger, and pure unadulterated glee and laughter. We share our highs, our lows, and there are usually people who want to know how we are getting along.
But most of all, we look after each other, even those we've never met. To me, that is something special and something I didn't realise we really had until just before we nearly lost it all.
As you know (since I keep mentioning it as often as I would was I a kid who just won an x-box in a christmas raffle) I had a bit of misfortune on the roads a few weeks before Christmas. I told you all, and I recieved so much support and well-wishes I was frankly amazed. People sent cards, some visited, and others made the most simple effort to ask how I was, which made my day time and again during a lonely time where I feel left out of everything else.
But it goes beyond this. People in our community have offered to come hundreds of miles to help if I need the bike moving, and without me even asking for offers or volunteers. Just out of the blue, random offers. People have offered to help with the simple things to make life bearable. Books, DVDs, music, games, or just a phone call for a chat. People I've never met before in the flesh, and some people I've barely interacted with on the boards.
THAT is what makes this community so special. We care. We look after each other, and are prepared to give of ourselves to help those who we think might need it.
As far as I'm concerned, some of our cogs, springs and gears may be misshapen, look a bit funny, and some might not even fit in too well with the other components. They may squeak a little now and then, and occasionally even make some worrying noises... But they're all solid gold.
(well, some are iron pyrite but they shine quite nicely too most of the time )