First, let me thank Susan and Jack Goertz for their years editorializing and informing the tandem community through the hard-copy DoubleTalk. My wife Mary and I purchased our first tandem in 1992 in Chico, CA and enjoyed riding the American River Trail in Sacramento with the local club. We went so far as to buy a Burley trailer and haul our kids along with us. We did that until the children got too big and hired baby sitters for Saturday mornings so we could ride. While in Chico, I was involved in publishing the local club’s 3-month ride calendar, so I know the work that goes into print and paper.We moved to Scottsdale AZ in 1994 and joined the local ABC – Arizona Bike Club. They had some tandem rides but initially no tandem club. Rudy and Kay Van Renterghem responded to the need and established the the ABC’s tandem pack, the COYOTES: Coalition of Young & Old Tandem Enthusiasts.
The ABC came to the same decision the TCA are making to go to a website-based newsletter. Personally I think it has hurt their membership, since new folks to the Phoenix area can’t go to their local bike shop and pick up a hard copy of their newsletter, with a membership application on the back. Call me old school, but I like the club information in my hand. The website here is OK but if you don’t have a password you can’t see all the information. Passwords are for members only. In my job, I must visit websites all day, check emails 3 times a day and by the end of the day, the last thing I want to do is gaze into my PC screen for another web page for club information. I understand the cost of mail is mounting, and many would say the web is there 24/7. The printed newspapers and magazine are going the way of the dinosaur, the 8 track tape, and the pay phone.
In DoubleTalk, I found your survey very informative, but question 3 [How would you describe your level of tandem cycling] hit closest to home. We would have to answer it, we hit our peak years ago now only ride occasionally on tandem. I can’t help making the analogy, the website is like the new Di2 shifting versus an old 8 speed Shimano derailleur.
Welcome to the electronic digital age. But the change makes us nostalgic. Thanks again to all the club officers, and our wonderful editors Susan & Jack.
Rich, I gotta agree with you. Holding the last paper copy of DoubleTalk in my hands, I felt nostalgic about it too. I also felt badly about it, because I typed up the very first issues on an IBM Selectric close to 40 years ago, and yet was personally involved in the decision last year to transition to the blog format. But when Jack and Susan gave us the high-sign that they wanted to lay down the burden and retire as editors, there were no volunteers for the workload to continue paper publication. Given that, and the fact that DoubleTalk circulation had already drastically declined over the past two decades, some of us felt the horse had already escaped and we were slamming the barn door behind.
But I still strongly feel that the fundamental need – communication among a widely and thinly dispersed community of tandem cyclists – still exists. DoubleTalk on the web is, and will continue to be available to everyone, so we actually expect it to be read more widely than it was on paper. I agree the format isn’t as comfortable to all of us, but it is like Di2 – it is electronic – it is the wave of the future. We have some ideas about how to smooth the transition, but we also owe it to the community to make what we do sustainable over the long haul.
Stay tuned; more to come! Thanks for your post!