[CR]Observations of a Lurker

(Example: Framebuilders:Norman Taylor)

From: "Art Smith" <ahsmith49@home.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
References: <CATFOOD1jtYgm1JMW8z00003d87@catfood.nt.phred.org>
Date: Sat, 7 Jul 2001 21:39:50 -0700
Subject: [CR]Observations of a Lurker

In response to Brian's observation that a small group of the 400 members contribute to most of the commentary on this site and his call for what others think, here goes. I introduced myself and added a few posts in the months that I've been lurking around here. I came on in the middle of one of the emotional slams about some dead guy and commented that perhaps I'm in the wrong spot, but was assured by several private e-mails that the substance of this site is about bikes, and to hang with it. I've spent a number of years on oldroads and have found that environment to be an honest, supportive forum. Realizing that the discussions here were a bit different in topic and tone, I read everything you've written in order to get a handle on what this site is about. I think there are some really straightforward people here. I think their knowledge and opinions and advice are worth seeking out. I think others ought to ride more and talk less. I don't get the Masi/Confente thing and frankly think it's way overplayed. Sorry if that "hurts anyone's feelings." I don't get the hurt feelings thing. I think a free exchange of ideas ought to preclude hurt feelings. I think that a set of rules ought toapply to everyone, not just big names in the hobby with reps. Suppose I have a legitimate, fact-based beef with a celebrity. Can I air it here as righteously as I could against a no name e-bay dealer? I'm not sure. I don't want to get off on a rant here, but a number of us have left because of the overwhelming sense of attitude that permeates a strand of this site. It is by no means the whole site, but it is similar to the attitude many high tech, weekend roadies, dressed like Lance, have. It's the "I have the big guns, f... you, you can't hang with us" attitude regardless of how well you ride but rather based on their idea of what Bicycling Magazine just designated as the hottest $4000 road machine. It's ironical that attitude shows up here. It appears at times that the PC thing is to adore Confente, Masis and Campagnolo and heaven help you if you don't. Brian showed an example of a new frame he was working on. I had a criticism of the style of the frame from an artistic point of view. I wanted to share my observations in an art critigue sense. However, I knew that if I did, my criticism of the frame would be seen as a personal attack on Brian (which it would not have been) and that a round of fans would rush to his defense. The cult of personality is at times rampant here, for both the living and the dead. While I am not a framebuilder nor do I make my living in the world of bicylcles, vintage or not, as a collector and lover of bikes I have an interest in many of the topics discussed here. One can't legislate honesty or open mindedness or compassion on this site any more than one can trust that a member won't bid against another member on an auction. This site isn't everything I want, but it has its moments. This is just the way I see it. I don't know, I could be wrong.

Art Smith