Road cycling: I have recently purchased a road bike and now want to become familiar with finding interesting and challenging distances to ride as I come to grips with the training. I joined the Manawatu Masters Cycling Club (MMCC) but at present prefer to do most of my training independently until I become more confident with using my bike, especially with hill climbing, before riding in a pack.
I need information on road cycling for newbies, cross-training, nutrition, find cycling routes, clothing, and networking with others, locally, nationally and internationally.
I was recommended a commercially-sponsored website MapMyRide.com. The site states: “users are able to visualize their health and fitness training progress through the use of maps, workout logs, fitness calculators/tools, and user-led community groups”. As a newbie to this sport, so far it appears to offer a wide range of information, to support my initiation into road cycling! I have been able to plot maps of my rides without a GPS, search for rides or routes globally, keep track of my routes including distances, and even calculate how many calories I’ve burned on one route versus another! Tabs in the site include:
- Map new ride
- Search for rides
- My training log
- Cycling races and events
- Stories and photos
- New features
How would the forum benefit from facilitation services?
Within the Community tab, there are currently seven forum categories:
- cycling forum
- cycling gear
- road cycling
- general fitness and nutrition
- cycling clubs and groups
- cycling routes
- mountain biking
A block in the discussion forums page monitors the statistics for discussions, comments, newest user and postings in the last 24 hours.
I would have liked to see a star rating in the Discussion Forums facilitated by the community within this community. It could assist me in trying to find qualitative information. Events listed can be rated.
In the Help area, under the heading "Elevation descent/ascent seem to be wrong", it states … another reason we've released the raw data is so that we can collaborate to improve this feature. We'll soon be adding forums to the site, and we'll have a community collaboration on improving the elevation calculation functions”. I believe this would benefit its development and promote confidence, especially for novices like me, that promote are valid and substantiated comments.
Already I have found the site to be helpful as it is easy to see the forums and their threads that have generated the most interest and most frequently asked questions from ‘old’ posts (maybe weeks, months or even years ago), that are still relevant.
List of facilitation techniques useful in assisting community communications
The role of an online facilitator has been expressed by Tammara R. Winn in her blog, Epiphany 2008. While her heading identifies ‘facilitator’ Tammara refers to techniques for an online ‘instructor’. I agree with her statements that identify pedagogical, social, managerial and technical aspects to promote good facilitation, summarising with what she sees as most important: be patient! I did feel she could also include reference to Web 2.0 tools such as collaboration by use of blogs and wikis.
Elaine's post identified a practical list of really useful points with relevant examples that I relate to with my limited experience to date.
A link to ‘The Art of Hosting Good Communication online’ by Howard Reingold lists sensible, practical techniques within the following topics:
- What an online host wants to achieve
- Good online discussions
- What a host does, what a host tries to grow
- Host behaviour
- Group facilitation skills
- Passion for community
- Ability to facilitate facilitative behaviours within the community
- Thick skin and slow fuse
- Internet experience
- Familiarity with common netiquette