Canadian Cyclist


February 20/99 9:42 am - Editorial, History Project

Posted by Editor on 02/20/99

An Editorial

It has become apparent that most of the disruptive activity that has taken place on the Forums over the past week has been caused by factions within the Ontario Cycling Association (OCA). This group (or groups) seem to have latched onto the idea that if they shout over others, or bury them in a deluge of abusive postings, that they will chase dissenting opinions away.

The sad part is that this could, potentially, be successful. The really sad part is that they will turn off most other readers as well. This Forums area is unique - I know of no other open discussion area for cycling that provides such a free flow of ideas, opinions and debate. It is not necessarily a favourite with 'Administration' in cycling (both provincial and national), however, it does have influence on issues that affect the cycling community. I know this because I get telephone calls and e-mails from the cycling 'power structure' whenever a subject hits a nerve.

It attracts commentary from across the Canadian cycling spectrum - from provincial association presidents, to officials, to vet riders, to Olympic medal winners. However, you may have noticed that many of our regular posters, who have provided insight into the workings of the cycling community, are silent. Those of you who are harassing the Forums should feel shame. You have won no victory, instead you have disrupted a process that was educating and encouraging the entire cycling community to participate.

If you disagree with the current techniques that are being used to restructure and revive the OCA, that's fine. In fact, we want to hear from you - what is being done wrong, and how to fix it. You may affect the efforts of those involved. However, there has been too much sniping from the sidelines.

Regularly, the suggestion is made that one to stop these unattributed attacks is to make people register before they can participate. I have resisted that for over two years now, and continue to be against it. While I believe that people should sign their names and take responsibility for their remarks, I do not like the idea of forcing them to do so. People have many reasons for not wanting to identify themselves, and they can still have a place in the discussion.

This website takes a tremendous amount of effort to run, update and monitor. Generally, the Forums is one section that I can pretty much leave to monitor itself. However, when I have to spend alot of time scanning every posting for unsuitable material it detracts from my ability to do other things, such as, gather news, produce calendars, put out a print edition, ride my bike and spend time with my wife. This pisses me off and will, ultimately, lead me into blocking certain people from the entire site. Can we do this? Yes - we can track where you come from and not allow you access to the site. Alternatively, I can just say forget it, and drop the whole thing.

So, in conclusion:

1. Please use the Forums to debate, inform, educate, argue, crack jokes and be silly.

2. Stop trying to censor others with whom you disagree - it is a form of terrorism which we will not stand for.

3. Send in your news, views, comments etc., so that we can continue to improve and expand this site.

New Cycling History Project

I am writing to request help with a project I am starting. I am looking for contacts among cycling archivists and historians all over the world.

The project is to write an authoritative history of cycling, mainly from the sporting perspective but also giving attention to social and political aspects. The meeting place is a public mailing list on the Internet. This mailing list is called Historycycle and its launch date is 20 February, 1999. The url is:

Since the publication place for completed work will be the UCI website, we are not bound by conventional space limits. Internet publishing, with its pull-up menus and hot links, gives loads of scope for side notes and therefore I plan to follow a chronological central theme in the main text, with divergent lateral branches giving regional or special interest information along the way.

Nobody stands to make any money from this project. The UCI website is a non-profit resource centre, and the history is something that I hope contributors will regard as a useful contribution to the literature and so donate their time without demand for financial reward. In spite of its place of publication, this will not make any pretensions of being an official history. Since it will not put forward the official UCI line, I expect that the history will have an impartial view of the UCI. It is possible that the UCI requests the right to insert its official line in places, and if so I will always grant this request - although not necessarily as part of the central text.

Although my objective in setting up the discussion group is to provide a meeting place for interested and active parties in this project, I realise that the group will also determine some of its own directions and reasons for being. That is ok with me as long as my objective is ultimately fulfilled.

Please feel free to contact me about the Historycycle project, or else refer interested parties to me.

Paul Skilbeck
UCI website editor.
San Franciso,
California, USA.


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