CATS Respond…

Background Reading

Summary

Sometimes it does not pay to attempt to reason with people who have a Messiah Complex. But rather than carry on about the ChainLink Forum Crowd I will let them speak for themselves:

Reply by Hey! Bike Shop Guy 16 hours ago
This thread is now ‘famous’ and, apparently, some kind of conspiracy.
Is it just be or is he starting to sound more and more like a completely insane person?

Reply by AM 9.5 16 hours ago
Talk about your “whine” and “jeez” site…. CATS dudes need to lighten up a bit.

Reply by Duppie 16 hours ago
Wooohooo! I always felt left out when Beezodog unloaded some of his verbal diarrhea on Gabe, or Adam, or others on the Chainlink. Finally I am part of that illustrious group too!. Thanks Beezodog!

Reply by Jeff Schneider 15 hours ago
I just read the Beezodog thing, but I couldn’t really make out any point. I’m pretty sure he was angry about something, though.

Reply by J.A.W. 15 hours ago
I think he was angry because he awoke one day to a bunch of email regarding this thread – to which he subscribed.

Reply by Jeff Schneider 3 hours ago
If he is really coming unglued, his commentary is sad. I like to think that he is quite sane, but just has oversized outrage. Then his Howard Beale act is kind of entertaining.

Reply by h’ 1.0 2 hours ago
I think we should just dedicate this entire site to some whacko obsessive suburbanite who goes into some sort of loony zone when connected to the internet and barely interacts with anyone in real life.

CATS Response To What I Wrote

I’ve known Sam Waterstreet for at least 10 years. He is one of the “movers and shakers” in the CATS organization. My guess is that Sam went back to follow the ChainLink thread and read some of what you see above and then penned this:

From: “Chicago Area Tandem Society” <chicagotandems@…>
To: CATS2@yahoogroups.com
Sent: Tuesday, March 25, 2014 7:54:53 PM
Subject: [CATS2] CATS Jersey Open Letter sent to Chainlink.org

Below is a letter I sent to Chainlink.org. One of our past members submitted our jersey into the “ugliest jersey” contest and won. They won by having Chainlink members jam the voting box for them.

It has recently come to my attention that the membership here at Chainlink has all come together to support one of its members in its support to win the “ugliest jersey” contest.

That jersey happens to be our club jersey. I find it ironic that you are trying to reach out to our club, while on the other hand rubbing our faces with dirt. Your so called “Biking Community” has just dissed one of it’s own.

If the individuals voted because they believed it was the ugliest jersey, that would be one thing. But to use a Chicago based biking community (Chainlink) to run “Chicago Style” voting to another Chicago based club is irresponsible of this online community.

Please remove us from any part of this organization has we do not feel it represents any of our ideals.

Sam Waterstreet
Chicago Area Tandem Society

To read an excellant article on how the jersey fiasco transpired read Eric Vann’s nicely written piece.

Eric Vann’s http://www.beezodogsplace.com/2014/03/28/capitalism-vs-road-chic/
The first part is telling about the voting, scroll down under the photos to get Eric’s take on the matter under “Takeaways’.
Eric was put up for ridicule on the Chain Link site. And the offending past member regaled that ” I always felt left out when (Eric) unloaded ………on the Chainlink. Finally I am part of that illustrious group too!. “

I did have a nice talk with Julie from Chain Link She seems very nice.
But I now recommend we have nothing to do with Chain Link or Road Holland clothing.

Sam

It’s Way Past Time For Pulling On “Our Big Boy Pants”

The really sad thing is that when I was first introduced to the ChainLink it was by two individuals who like myself have an avid interest in bicycling. Our common interest in Recumbent bicycles was probably why they directed me to the ChainLink. But from the outset I noticed a tendency towards “wilding“. I had seen this sort of thing many years ago when a group of Chicago cyclists had a BBS under the name Monkey Island (or something close to that). Having never been a fan of that sort of thing I never bothered joining in.

But here again was the same kind of thing but with a supposedly larger audience and it seemed a sad waste of so much potential to simply allow a handful of folks with an axe to grind about motorists, suburban bicyclists, and eventually electric bicycles have their way with the place. I used to ask why the “adults” in the crowd did not stand up to them. But evidently this is something of a subculture that is part Messianic in nature (believing themselves to be the embodiment of all that is both holy and the future of cycling at once) and Tribal.

If you ever wondered what the Lord of the Flieswilding” must have been like, you only have to visit the ChainLink on those evenings when they have had a collective bit of alcohol under their belts and the ugliness begins to flow.

What is important here is that the world is a bit larger than the “bubble” in which these Urban Cyclists dwell. But I am not certain that they often get that fact. So once again I implore the “adults” on this forum to show some “tough love“. Your actions are at times offensive and needless. There is no great gulf between suburbanites and yourselves, unless you let there be.

Think about it this way, were it not for all those suburbanites in Lycra and Spandex who ride Bike The Drive each year, you might be able to get 1,000 or so riders to enjoy a Sunday morning. The sad fact is that bicyclists in the city represent under 2% of the total transportation picture. You need us “silly suburbanites” (those whom you ridicule for paying to ride the streets of Chicago during the L.A.T.E. Ride) to help you make ends meet. We need each other.

Someone ought to really take the time to do a breakout of the memberships in groups like Active Transportation Alliance and League of Illinois Bicyclists and even League of American Bicyclists. We suburbanites are the kinds of folks who pay dues to groups like the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin though we do their rides only once a year or so. We tend to have a very broad imagination when it comes to supporting groups that are cycling-friendly.

Stop the “wilding” is the one thing I suggest most fervently. It is unbecoming of people over the age of 12.

TakeAways

As for my essay on the situation that erupted on the ChainLink I read in horror what Sam and others had written and decided that some sort of intervention had to occur. Take a gander at some of the other responses from CATS members:

I have been livid the last few days, and I am not happy that I am this way. Somethings I have solved, somethings have gotten worse.

I had a phone discussion today with Julie from Chainlink and I am impressed with her. I have no issue right now with Chainlink. Unbeknownst to Chainlink, all they were doing was supporting one of their members (who used to be CATS members who I am not happy with who put our jersey up for nomination.) I have not heard from the former CATS members, although I did write of my displeasure with them. I also wrote the company supporting the contest…..Here is how that dialog went.

ChicagoArea TandemSociety Our jersey to us is loved and respected, just as one’s national flag is to its citizens. To have placed our jersey on your site for public ridicule is tantamount to burning a nations flag. Yes, you are allowed to do that in this country, but it is in poor taste.

The Ox is slow, but the Earth is patient. See you down the road.

8 hours ago
Road Holland Cycling Apparel and Accessories It is all in fun CATS – and I think by the vote it was really the Chicago community rallying around their own in getting him a really nice prize. (also, please note – the subject submitted his own photo and we think he picked a good one!)

8 hours ago
ChicagoArea TandemSociety I see…..your clothes have style, but you obviously have no class. Nice Business Model.

(RedEye illustration )

(RedEye illustration )

Sometimes the behavior of the ChainLink crowd is indeed offensive. I am reminded of the campus groups which hold “black face” parties during Black History Month and wonder why anyone would be offended. Knowing this group the way I do I thought it best to help the CATS who have little history with it understand that the “sense of humor” of the group can be difficult to understand at first.

But things really do need to change. When you bill yourself as the “heart and soul of cycling in Chicago” at the very least you need to make certain that your online behavior is not a mirror of the street violence everyone associates with the city.

I know of course that these words are going to be pushed aside an things will return to their usual chaotic norm. But at least this time you get to peek behind the curtain a bit with me. I get lots of letters from folks around the country who ask what exactly is going on with the ChainLink Forum. My sense of it is that a good deal of the problem is centered in the behavior of a small handful whose actions threaten anyone without a very strong sense of self to more or less keep silent.

It is a bit like being in a fraternity where the guys are very abusive of the females on the campus who attend their parties but the new guys do not want to speak out against what is going on for fear of being kicked out of the fraternity. But if you have to sell your soul and your values to remain a member of a group that respects itself and what it stands for so very little then why bother?