Happy New Lunar Year of the Tiger!
As a blogger or Internet forum participant, it helps to remember your life, ego and beliefs should not bank solely on the Internet.
So don’t believe the above painting of Chinese ladies in flowing silk robes, on mountain bikes. Not real. The bicycle didn’t get invented until the 1800’s in Germany. Leonardo da Vinci sketched out the prototype 2 centuries before. Common fat wheel cycling wasn’t until 20th century.
Cycling sculpture on Olympic Museum grounds. Ouchy, Switzerland. Near Lausanne. Photo by L. Gray. This wk. coincides with start of 2022 Winter Olympics, Beijing.
High class women romantically painted, did exist and bikes do exist –separately. We just have to know our realities. Same for participating online in sometimes the faceless Internet.
Internet Shenanigans in a Cycling Forum
If we already have good, real face-to-face relationships with friends and family who we care and trust, then Internet commenters on one’s own blog and Internet forum chatter, can be featherlight. Like a bunch of birds twittering, sometimes screeching in a forest. 😀
Forum members are well-behaved –unless someone is in a snappy mood. Florida wetlands. Photo by forum member, L Gray. In addition to cycling, he is a photographer. His book for visitors on Central Florida.
An Internet forum is a place to sit on a twig and listen. Chirp a bit and occasionally, sing praise or raise a flapping ruckus.
For past decade, and even earlier in fits, I’ve hung about in an international cycling forum. More like a place for American cycling birds. As one of the rare Canadian members, this is not important except when chatter bleeds into politics which over the years, is carefully controlled –with intent to reduce messiness to almost hygienic unreality at times. I like learning as long as perpetual chaos doesn’t dominate public discourse. It’s part of being human.
And we can learn bits from one another –both fun and serious crumbs from life.
Satsuma Mandarin tree in California forum member’s backyard. A former firefighter, hippie with Buddhist quotes and love of horticulture and botany.
True, there’s swapping of jokes, often hilarious, on rare occasion, scantological or bordering on risqué. After all, this forum has more male than female participants –so far. Maybe this accounts a tad more verbal horseplay at one another –something I seldom saw, when participating in another international forum for only women cyclists for a decade, before it died.
Shine Beyond Cycling –and Age
While there is a running online tally for forum members to voluntarily report their cycling, walking, or running mileage, fitness and health, there’s much more to life than numbers. And more than our age range which vaguely is from 40’s and up.
Home food photos posted by forum members– BBQ chicken wings glazed with habanero plum jam. Courtesy of cycling forum member, Virginia.
Over time, online hijinks included: food, both snapshots of homemade and restaurant creations, random highlights of work, Wordle or in family (ie. a pesky relative), in cycling or with a friend.
Weather phenomena in our world corners, is an easy topic –including a real newsflash from a forum resident when the meteorite exploded over Pennsylvania on New Year’s Eve just before 2022. Resident member thought fireworks were shaking his house, while he was chatting online with us. ‘Course there are vacation trip comments — locally or somewhere else in the world.
From Everywhere: All Walks of Life
I’m not sure there is a typical profile for a cyclist or former cyclist: there’s a pilot who drops occasional photos on us, where he flies internationally for his wealthy clients. He cycles and has bikes at his Ontario home, but probably little time now, to squeeze in enjoyable rides during tight work schedules.
Greenlit rare fireflies near forum member’s home. Georgia
Lambs at forum member’s farm. Montana.
Or a Vancouver Island forum member who bikes to work, then scuba dives for his job.
Pomelo fruit in backyard. California. Like a fragrant grapefruit with thick rind, but not tart and lovely. Very popular with Asians for centuries.
Clearly us dullards, are stuck in our work / office cubicles and have been for last few decades. Or have actually worked in bike shops or building wheels for others at home base. Meanwhile, others are working on goat / sheep farm, in information technology, security, engineering, or work with frail elderly, disabled in health care places.
On the way to Ghost Ranch, home of painter, Georgia O’Keefe. New Mexico 2004. Photo by J.Chong
Then, there are some who are fans of vintage cars, model cars, piano-playing, book writing, woman shed-building or figure skating, are trainers and lovers of dogs and cats. However we all too, try to bike, walk, run, hike, ski, kayak or motorcycle race, somehow, somewhere outside of work.
Post-forum member visit: Kasha-Kathwe Tent Rocks National Monument. Pueblo de Cochiti, New Mexico. 2004
Some members have met up in person, across state lines and occasionally across U.S.-Canada borders and cycled a piece together. Through a fleeting ride or meet-up, it is refreshing to chat with the Internet avatar…in flesh for a coffee or meal.
So far, I’ve met a former English high school teacher who biked regularily to work, when Jack and I were in New Mexico –a place I still have not known other Canadians to visit yet.
Surprise Care Gifts from Internet Oblivion
I’ve lost track when this started. There are occasional surprise gifts from forum
From Little Canada (a real place), Minnesota to big Canada.
member(s) to another to celebrate or cheer up a sick / injured or sad member. Often the astonished recipient posts a photo of the happy care gift — a local soup order, nut spread, cookies or packaged treats, a symbolic letter opener, scarf, socks or a memento emblematic of the person’s passion.
I received a comfy real watercolour painting of a bird nest. I later, sent off warm Canadian patriotic sock wishes. Recently there has been a rash of fun sloth animal mementos: Christmas decorations, coffee mug decoration…in deference to our lazy selves off the bike or activity.
We have lost so far now, 4 members to death, with the latest shortly after 2022 start, where a funnybones member who once cycled the Southern Bike route across the U.S., with his 2 dogs, suddenly succumbed to covid, earlier this year. This is our first known covid death in this forum.
Forgive me, for this wandering reflection about an Internet chat forum. It’s like a group of tiny stars drifting slowly and loosely together, through a twinkling galaxy flung across the deep night sky: there are so many voices out there.
Hope you make a good positive voice in lightness. You count more in the constellation of voices — more than you could ever dream.
Sanderling birds freewheeling by the beach, just like cyclists having fun. Florida. By L. Gray.