While in the shower this morning, I was thinking about social media networking and how it has changed my life. When I first started writing this blog I had no idea of just how much impact it was going to make on my life, nor did I realise what its dominant theme would become. One evening, while writing a post about my ride to work or some such (I can’t remember which post it was), I wanted to check something on Google, and this led me to my first encounter with cycle forums. Starting with the old Cycle Plus forum which then became BikeRadar, I then joined the refugees leaving the abysmal BikeRadar who flooded onto a tiny forum called Cycle Chat (which has since grown somewhat), and latterly City Cycling Edinburgh.
These fora introduced me to ideas about cycling which I had never come across, for instance it had never crossed my mind that people really believed plastic hats were some sort of safety device. I also learned that getting involved in “helmet debates” could result in a lot of energy being expended to no useful purpose. Along the way I also made a few new friends and met fellow bloggers, the likes of Dave Brennan aka Magnatom. Coming closer the present day, at a conference on plants I was introduced to Twitter by @Flic_Anderson (that’s who is to be praised/blamed – delete as you feel appropriate). Through Twitter I discovered more bloggers, such as Sally Hinchcliffe, and also found that there were whole networks of bloggers, who use their blogs to discuss and develop ideas. I picked out those two bloggers for a reason, as we went on to start Pedal on Parliament together.
After the first Pedal on Parliament protest ride, we had a discussion about the importance of the blogosphere in the success of such events. At the time we discussed how we might try to engage with the Scottish cycle bloggers, how to get all of us to swap ideas and spark off each other, in the way some of the London cycle bloggers do. This was also a technique used by the #salvaiciclisti movement (the Italian equivalent of PoP), who managed to bring 50,000 people with bicycles onto the streets of Rome. After that event Paolo Pinzuti wrote a handy wee guide on How To Start Your Own Bicycle Revolution: A Blogger’s Guide.
So there I was, mulling all this over in the shower, when the thought occurred to me what we should have a cycle bloggers conference. A conference as in: a) meeting for consultation or discussion, or b) an exchange of views, not a formal event with plenary sessions and key note speakers. Hey, it could even involve going for a ride. The point being to bring together bloggers scattered across Scotland (and maybe beyond), to give us the chance to meet one another and exchange ideas (although it might be necessary to ban any mention of plastic hats). This could be done as a part of the Edinburgh Festival of Cycling, or could be somewhere else … either way, who is interested?