Sorry, did I say something wrong?
On the left of this page you will find a few links. I'm intending to add more when I get around to it. One of those links is to www.bikeforums.net, which is an online forum I've been participating in since April 2000. I have also been a moderator for over 18 months. It is this that has been the source of most of the angst in an otherwise pleasant weekend (even if I was a little slack getting the housework done).
The situation concerns, strangely enough, the section devoted to Women's cycling. While this has been an area where women could ask questions that pertain to them specifically, males have been permitted to post there (not that you can tell anyone's gender over the 'net anyway) pretty much since it's inception. Both male and female members have contributed advice to members with questions. In fact, on occasions males have used this forum to ask questions on behalf of female friends relating to cycling issues they were having.
About 12 months ago, someone posted a question in that forum about whether it should be for "women only" (as I said, good luck enforcing that one). At the time the thread died pretty quickly, and was largely forgotten, until last week when someone decided to dredge it up from somewhere. One of the subsequent replies was something along the lines of "it should be women only because right now I hate men so they might be offended by things that I post here". Evidently the person responsible for this post had recently had an unsuccessful relationship -- or so they claim.
The response of myself (and a few others) was to suggest that a forum devoted to cycling was hardly the place to complain about unsuccessful relationships, or make sweeping generalisations about one gender (particularly as they probably apply to both genders equally), and point out a blatant contradiction between two of this person's posts.
One of the other moderators decided to admonish me off the list for a "back and forth diatribe with this person" when I had, in fact, only replied once. I also note the attempt to close the thread was timed so that this person could complain about my reply, but attempted to prevent me from a second reply (not that I would have bothered, as the situation was 169% obvious to any intelligent observers).
Now it seems a decision has been taken to provide for (or at least attempt to provide for) gender-specific forums on that website. The connection here appears to be 169% transparent as f*ck. Apparently the person whom I replied to (and referred only to things they had actually posted on the forum, with no attack on their person whatsoever), didn't like being taken to task for what they had posted, so now we have the farcical situation where a basic structure of a forum that has been in place for over four years (and has worked successfully up until this point) has been changed simply to protect one forum member and give them a place to vent.
Interestingly, this wasn't done last year when the subject was first broached by another member. We also have the 19th century situation of gender-specific forums, which is extremely childish and gives the entire site a somewhat tacky appearance. I've suspected this was in the pipeline for a couple of days, but it was only on the announcement that I realised just how pathetic the whole situation was. In anycase, I wasn't consulted, so it's doubtful they would have listened to my input.
I have to say that it's not the first time this particular moderator (who shall remain nameless (or is that handleless on a discussion board?), pending my request for an explanation), has shown tendencies to coddle certain members and certain issues at the expense of others. Indeed, in the time this person has been there, three other long term well-respected mods have left the forum or at least ceased assisting with moderation in this time. I have to say that there have been times over the last 24 hours when I have seriously considered joining them, and I never expected that to happen.
It is, of course, possible that there is more to this issue than I am aware of, and in a way I'm hoping that's the case, because I'd really hate to walk away from either the forum or the voluntary position of moderator. However, everytime I log in and see that situation, it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth that takes a while to go away. It was with this issue in my mind that I set off for this morning's ride.
The Numinbah Valley ride is one of my old favourites, and this was probably the last winter Sunday of the year. At one stage the temperature dropped to just 3 degrees (although it rose to 25 later in the day). If only I'd had the camera for this one -- the sight of the mist rising up off Advancetown lake on the way across the foothills of the Beechmont Range was really a sight to behold. Wildflowers were out everywhere today, really lighting up the landscape in tones of red, white and a couple of pinks and purples along the way. Below is a shot I took last time I was down in that valley -- just to give the vibe.
The return from Murwillumbah was again via the dirt Urliup Road, which I can't seem to get enough of at the moment. The Tweed Shire council seem to have thrown another layer of gravel on it, so it was loose in places. They also seem to be actively trying to encourage traffic down there, which is a shame. It's still pretty quiet, but I know how these things generally turn out (saw it with Hogan's Road, which is no longer dirt), and it's rarely for the better. Just once can they leave something alone? It's not as is there aren't a number of other options between Murwillumbah and Bilambil/Tweed Heads.
Either way, after returning from Urliup I rode home with the accompaniment of the deep blue Pacific Ocean, which looked very enticing. I might have dived in for a swim on another day. The only downside was the apparent lethargy I felt today. With a three-day tour next weekend, and Glorious Mee two weeks after that, as well as the issue I've expanded on above, perhaps it's understandable.
I also had to contend with rubbing brakes on the way back from Austinville with Martin yesterday, which I fixed in the afternoon (that's more than a little fiddly), maybe that was a factor. As far as Austinville is concerned, no allergies down there this time, perhaps I've just adjusted to Spring after all. We sought out some other tracks running off the main road, but only the one to the East appeared rideable. Something to check out next time we're down there. Don't know when that might be, I'll be away next weekend!