Dear Mr. President :-)

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Anonymous's picture

Tom, I would like to request a club vote on whether the club should continue to produce/distribute a printed bulletin. It's 2003 and time for the club to move on to a digital-only bulletin distribution system.

The PDF format was designed to enable fast/easy/accurate/inexpensive document distribution. There are many options available for those who want their bulletin printed out...Kinkos, your friend's printer, your neighbor's printer, your office printer, fax, etc.

The minority of our membership who don't not have a way to get their PDF printed out can get together to work out the logistics of getting it printed for their small group.

Judging from the recent complaints about the lateness of the bulletin, I think it's time for the club to decide if it's worth the time/effort/expense of producing/distributing a printed bulletin.

I would like to see a club vote on this issue.

Don Montalvo

Anonymous's picture
Not Bill (not verified)
Wait a minute

>Judging from the recent complaints about the lateness of the bulletin, I think it's time for the club to decide if it's worth the time/effort/expense of producing/distributing a printed bulletin.

I don’t know the amount of work (labor, time and cost) it takes to get the PDF file to the printed bulletin in hand. But we should try to keep the issues clear.

The complaints were about the lateness of the bulletin, NOT that it exist at all, two very different subjects.

Then the subsequent complaints were about HOW people complained, and then complaints about the complaints, and so on and so on. (this is a problem of how people communicate on the MB, and is not related to the issue at hand)

Pros and cons–

PDF, - faster delivery, we can go full color. Cons– one sided, kills more trees, Quality of images (unless you have a really good printer)

Printed bulletin-two page spread, easy to read, sharper images (even if you have a good printer), easier to save and re-read (like old mags.)
Cons- cost in time and money (which is not the original complain)

Anonymous's picture
Rosario (not verified)

>PDF, - faster delivery, we can go full color. Cons– one
>sided, kills more trees, Quality of images (unless you
>have a really good printer)

Printers can be easily fooled into printing two-sided
documents. Just print the odd pages first (Adobe allows
you to do that), stick the paper back in the tray (rotating it accordingly), print even pages.
Et voila'

Anonymous's picture
Don Montalvo (not verified)
Re: Wait a minute

(1) Print even sides only
(2) Reinsert paper...orientation depends on printer
(3) Print odd sides

Anonymous's picture
John Z (not verified)

"This thread has touched upon a couple good points. Instead of a general mailing with professional publishing, perhaps the club should invest in a nice 600 dpi laser printer and do the ""publishing"" ourselves, to a limited number of individuals who have absolutely no access to an electronic version, which, I find hard to believe exist in this day in this city. I would also suggest we should also consider some small stipend to such individual to perform the service."

Anonymous's picture
Don Montalvo (not verified)

Someone still has to volunteer to do it...and volunteer to take the heat when it's not done on time. :-)

Anonymous's picture
hannah (not verified)
I like both!

"Isn't it already the case that members can elect to *not* receive the printed version? If so, that's kind of like a vote right there, and obviously there are still people ""voting"" for the printed version.

Even though I have Web access, and get the weekly e-mails, I still like to get the printed version. Thanks to the PDF version and the e-mails, I don't mind when the printed one is late, because all the ride info is readily available elsewhere. But I do like to have the printed piece for browsing--to check out potentially interesting routes in a ride category I normally skim over when reading e-mails, to read articles, to look at pictures, etc. Sure I could print the PDF and have almost the same effect, but I like that the printed one just comes to me. Whenever it does, it's a nice treat.

Thanks to all who help put the info together in all forms!

Anonymous's picture
gabriella radujko (not verified)
survey time?

perhaps a survey of the membership would be helpful at this time...2 temporary email addresses could be set up to facilitate it, one in favor of, one opposed...a time frame for responses, let's say 10 days, would provide ample time to collect and tally the results, which would
then be reported on the message board and the debate
could continue based on more quantitative findings...glr

Anonymous's picture
Don Montalvo (not verified)
Re: survey time?

That wouldn't be fair to the members who either don't have internet access (a small minority). Their voices need to be heard as well, which is why the president should consider having a club vote.

There needs to be a solution that'll work for everyone. Unfortunately, the current solution...following our electronic distribution with additional production/distribution of a printed bulletin is taking a heavy toll on the current editor (not to mention former and future editors).

The production/distribution of the printed bulletin needs to be taken off the board members' plates if the club is to move on. The editor position should be a desired position...not one that everyone avoids/refuses.


Anonymous's picture
John (not verified)
Paperless society

Would not printing and mailing the monthly newsletters help reduce membership due? If so I'm all for it. And the trees thanks you.

Anonymous's picture
frank (not verified)

electronic-only delivery of the monthly bulletin is the way to go. it also strikes me that 1) no one has yet to complain that the weekly e-mail update does not appear in paper form nor that last minute changes are usually only reflected on the message board and 2) the only part of the monthly bulletin that requires printing-out is the membership card. indeed, it almost begs the question of whether a monthly is necessary or whether the weekly missive is adequate to the task. of course, this is a ride-centric view and does not consider the fact that the bulletin, due to the efforts of all concerned, now contains more interesting content. save the trees and save the expense by doing away with paper publishing altogether.

Anonymous's picture
Bob (not verified)
Bulletin - Another thought

If the complaint about the lateness of the bulletin is about the Ride Schedule, which I'm assuming it is, then save trees and money by putting only the rides on the printed bulletin and put the articles on the web site. Printing can be done on one double sided 11 x 17 folded in half. No collating and no stapling. A savings of 75% or so. Quicker creation, printing and mailing. And less personal time for the editor. Some people need to schedule two or three weekends in advance so the email of the current week's rides wouldn't suffice. Just a thought.

Anonymous's picture
Don Montalvo (not verified)
"Members need to form a ""coalition of the willing"""

"But this wouldn't address the big issue...who's going to manage this?

The problem is that producing/distributing a printed bulletin involves alot of people...the editor has to manage delivery of the PDF to the printer...the printer has to get it printed and delivered to a mailing house...the mailing house has to append address stickers and deliver to Post Office...the Post Office has to deliver it to members' mail boxes.

It's complicated, takes time and costs money. There are many uncontrollable variables. When there's a delay, the editor takes a beating. Thanks to Tom for stepping forward to help take the heat off the editor and for explaining that these delays are often times uncontrollable.

The club should consider farming out this kind of work to a ""coalition of the willing""...take it off the editor's plate...and the board's plate.


Anonymous's picture
Diane Goodwin (not verified)

Here's the real deal about the process of the bulletin. It's extra work to produce a printed bulletin versus a PDF file.

When I complete the final layout of the bulletin, I, then, create the PDF - a few buttons on the computer and it's created.

The files for the printer are created differently for the printer. Spreads need to be made. Next time you open your bulletin, pull the staples out - page 2 is no longer next to page 3. All the pages are moved around in the page layout program - it's easy to move the wrong page into an incorrect position. Care must be given.

Next, the PDF is created - using high resolution. This is easy - it only takes longer than the web version. I use to separate each spread into it's own PDF but the printer does that.

Next, coordination in sending the PDF can take ALL DAY! People eat lunch ... computers need to set up to receive the files ... etc...

The print order must also be compiled. Sometimes info is missing and I have to track it down or even the print order amount needs to be tracked. That needs to be sent. Sometimes I get a call back asking for the numbers and addresses again.

Every step of the printed bulletin takes extra time than sending a PDF to the webmaster (who BTW is quick to upload the file to the web).

I receive the printed version and like to receive it in the mail. Don is right, these are advanced days. Doing away with a printed bulletin can be an improvement.

There are members, older members, I believe, who don't have a computer and never learned how to use it. Some have been members and volunteers to the club for years. If we kill the print version, we need to consider these individuals.


Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)

"I work for a printer. I've never heard of a printer that demands that files come to them in ""printers spreads"". The PDF that gets posted on the web would do just fine. In fact, the native Quark express document would be prefered, as long as the graphics used are also provided.

I'm helping with the 5BBC newsletter, and the PDF that I send to their printer is not set up in printers spreads.

Maybe you need a printer willing to work for your business."

Anonymous's picture
<a href="">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
paper or plastic?

Interesting conversation here.

Nothing to add here except I'm sorry I accidentally clipped a couple messages, gabriella and bannana guys', while in the process of doing some database maintenance work. Carry on!

Anonymous's picture
Laura (not verified)
We Already Voted to Keep the Paper Bulletin

"We already voted to keep the paper bulletin when we said ""no"" to the ""electronic only please"" option. What do we gain with a special vote?

I I have a computer and I STILL like both versions. If forced to choose, I would choose the paper. It's nice to have it there, sitting on top of my refrigerator. I pull it off there and flip through it to choose a ride on Saturday mornings while I am drinking coffee. Yes, I could do that with the PDF if I printed it, but I don't have time to remember my own name, never mind deal with the bulletin this way every month. I like it in my mailbox and ready to rock and roll all on its own!

The lateness issue needs to be addressed, but not by ending the printed bulletin."

Anonymous's picture
Don Montalvo (not verified)
Who said there'd be an end to the printed bulletin? :-)

The issue is not whether the club should kill off the printed bulletin. The issue is whether or not it's worth the trouble (time/expense/stress/etc.) to have that responsibility fall on the editor's shoulders?

The club should consider having the production/distribution of the bulletin farmed out to a person or group of people who want a printed bulletin and who can manage that aspect of distribution.

As it stands, I'm not sure too many people would be willing to run for the position next year. It SEEMS like it would be a rewarding position...until the first time people complain about a late bulletin.

Nothing is worse than being hammered for something that's out of your control, especially after giving it everything you have. The club needs to assign the post-PDF production responsibility to someone that has nothing else on their plate.

It's the least the club can do...if it wants people to volunteer for the editor position...or if it wants to retain the current editor for another term.


Anonymous's picture
Laura (not verified)
Production/distribution of the bulletin farmed out - to whom ?


Who, you ask, says the topic of discussion was whether to continue to print the bulletin ? Why, Don, you of course! And I quote from your post above: ""Tom, I would like to request a club vote on whether the club should continue to produce/distribute a printed bulletin. It's 2003 and time for the club to move on to a digital-only bulletin distribution system...""

These memory lapses scare me.

And now you are saying we should have ""the production/distribution of the bulletin farmed out"" to people who want the printed bulletin . Who do you mean? Some private, small subgroup that is not part of the club regular management ? Does that mean the paper production of the club bulletin should no longer be a club function ? But we have already established that the membership still wants a paper bulletin. The unspecified people you mention who want the printed bulletin are the club regular membership!

You aren't making sense.

The club has produced a paper bulletin for many, many years. The lateness issue needs to be addressed, but not by ending the bulletin. Nor by offloading it to some unspecified, non-existent private entities."

Anonymous's picture
Robert (not verified)
lets rethink the entire system

"How fitting that we are having this discussion as the subway token is decommissioned. It is the right thing to do, yet I am sure you could round up anecdotal evidence against it.

Keeping the printed bulletin makes sense if 1) the majority wants it, 2) it should be considered a protected minority right, or 3) the costs don't outweigh the gains.

On point 1, I think the answer is no.
On point 2, I stongly feel the answer is no. Inconvenience, taste, or sentimentality, no matter how sincerely felt, do not rise to the serious level that would require trumping the desires of the majority (see the Bill of Rights). This is especially so given the small effort required to print out a hardcopy.

On point 3, I think the answer is also no. In fact, keeping the printed copy is likely causing more damage than people realize. What I hear from the club leadership is that the top priority for the club is to have more ride leaders. One of the biggest obstacles is the ridiculous lead time now required by the demands of the bulletin. The lead time for posting a ride should be just a little longer than the decision point for a ride participant. A week and a half lead time for posting rides sounds right to me. This is also an argument for moving ride postings over to a weekly distribution. The difference from the current format is that the weekly would carry rides for the next few weeks, not just the current week.

Heck, lets go all the way. It seems to me that the right answer is to have a live ride calender be the centerpiece of the websight. Right now, a couple of rides are marginally noted (literally). [This could also be printed out and posted on your fridge.]

We are putting the cart before the horse. The ""bulletin"" should conform to what is best for riding, not the other way around!! [I put ""bulletin"" in quotations because the conveying of information should be separated out from the anachronistic notion of a regulary scheduled and delivered piece of paper.]

The volunteer editor bears a burden in producing a printed bulletin. But there is a cost borne by everyone by having monthly, printed bulletins drive our process.

As mentioned by others, general interest articles and pictures could also be posted to the web and printed out if desired.

[Having said all that, someone could still volunteer to layout, print out and mail out materials to those who want it as long as it doesn't slow down the online schedule. This should be a separate job from the current editor.]

Anonymous's picture
Don Montalvo (not verified)
Re: lets rethink the entire system

Robert wrote:

[Having said all that, someone could still volunteer to layout, print out and mail out materials to those who want it as long as it doesn't slow down the online schedule. This should be a separate job from the current editor.]

Well said!


Anonymous's picture
Patience (not verified)
Whoa, girl

"As James Surowiecki writes in the New Yorker, groups are more likely to make correct decisions than are individuals acting alone. So in the interest of preserving group decision making, such as seems to be beginning to take place here, how about if we tone down the emotions.

If you want to point out a contradiction in what someone says, you can do so without resorting to name calling. It makes reasonable people like me want to take Don's side out of sympathy. (What's there to be scared about, anyways? Are you saying Don is psychotic? Really, that's a bit much.)

As for making sense, I think he (and most everyone trying to discuss this issue) is doing just fine here. Everyone has their hand on a different part of the elephant. Maybe Don has his hands on several different parts. (Must be, since he is posting SO MANY TIMES.) Eventually we'll get a true picture of the beast.

Judging from the volume of responses, it is not clear that ""the regular club membership"" wants a paper bulletin. Maybe it is time for things to change. But first, we need to acknowledge where the problems with bulletin production and distribution lie. Then we need to consider the pros and cons of different solutions. Finally, we need to figure out how to implement the best solution. This bulletin board is playing a part in this process.

Why do you suggest that it is not possible (or desirable) to delegate other parts of bulletin production to other club members? Are you trying to say we shouldn't consider alternatives, because in your view none of them will work? That's just an argument (a weak one) for maintaining the status quo.

As far as finding these ""unspecified"" volunteers, we've already had one club member (Anthony Poole) offer to get involved with the bulletin. Once an intelligent plan is established by our capable board, after considering varying perspectives, then we put out a call. Someone will step forward. After all, we are 1,800 very smart, dynamic people.

If you want to make sure you continue to receive a bulletin, then just ask for it. A number of people have proposed ways to end the headaches of large-scale distribution while making sure that those that want the paper copy sent to them get it. Or do you believe that because you want a copy, all 1,800 members should get one too?"

Anonymous's picture
Don Montalvo (not verified)
I'll try to clarify...

The point I was making was that the responsibility shouldn't fall on the editor's, or any other board member's shoulders.

I wasn't in the club at the time but some years ago the members would get together to fold/stamp/mail the bulletin. That took care of mailing house delays.

Now, add to that the delays (often times unavoidable) at the print shop...

Lastly, the issue of lateness has been addressed by every editor who's ever held the position. There are just too many uncontrollable variables to make it worth the time/trouble/expense. Add to that the stress it adds to the editor position...and now the president position.

Sorry if the point wasn't clear,

Anonymous's picture
Not Laura (not verified)
No need to be rude

"""Does that mean the paper production of the club
bulletin should no longer be a club function ?""

I think that's what Don means. Makes sense.

""These memory lapses scare me.""
""You aren't making sense.""

Very rude."

Anonymous's picture
RB (not verified)

"there has been a lot of chatter about ""hammering"" the editor for being late with the bulletin - why should we consider the extra effort of a paper version when ""no good deed goes unpunished"", etc, etc? however, i can recall only 2 people, in the beginning, who complained that there was no reason given for the bulletin being late.(valid points, but maybe not offered in the most constructive of ways)
otherwise, it seems to me that diane has received overwhelming support on this board for her efforts."

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)
PDF Options

My $.02 on PDF bulletins.

1. Split the PDF into multiple documents. e.g.,
- articles
- calendar/rides
- perennial stuff (membership app, ride styles, transit facts, etc...)

This way, people who want just the rides and don't have the bandwidth or time to download the whole bulletin can take the ride listings only.

2. Have back issues available.

Anonymous's picture
Bill Vojtech (not verified)
many moons ago...

I was the editor, many moons ago, before computer layout and e-mail.

The layouts were put together by hand, with rubber cement and xeroxed copy to fit. Photos were not too easily placed in the layout, so often I'd draw something with pen and ink. Then I'd schlep it to the printer via subway.

The unfortunate board member in charge of mailing, (we had a board member do the mailing back then), picked the printed bulletins up at the printer, stuffed them in her panniers and rode back to her apartment to hand label and mail the bulletin. I think she hauled them to the post office, not the corner mailbox. She did this for many years.

The bulletin was hardly ever late and we had less lead time than we do now. In fact many people who led for both the NYCC an d the AYH, (now the 5BBC), came to prefer the NYCC because of how little lead time you had to give them to get a ride listed.

Now the bulletin is put together via computer, (much easier than past-ups- I've done both), and delivered to the printer by a few mouse clicks.

The mailing list maintenance is probably about the same as always: anyone who was a new or renewing member this January is valid till next January, so just add the new members. Then everyone expires next January. The only thing that's pr o b ably changed is that the software being used is probably more user-friendly than the old DOS stuff they used way back when. That, and the fact that someone on the board, (I'm not sure if it was the circulation director or the membership director), actually printed out the labels for each mailing. If it was the membership director they had to coordinate with the circulation director to get them the labels or if not they still had to get them the list on disk, (no e-mail).

I know I must sound like one of those geezers who'll tell you about walking 12 miles to school through the snow with no shoes when the were your age, but I'm just calling them like I see 'em.

I think we're all getting pissy because the weather has been sucking for the past couple of

Anonymous's picture
Anthony Poole (not verified)
Actions speak louder than words

It strikes me that if people put as much energy into actually doing something about this problem as they do in posting stuff on the message board, the problem would be quickly solved.

One name keeps cropping up regularly on this subject, which suggests that he has more than a little time to spare.

As somebody on this thread observed, I have volunteered to help in what ever way I can, and if a few others could do the same, rather than just filling the message board with hot air, we might actually get somewhere.

In the meantime, if we can’t get those volunteers to come forward, let’s make use of the club membership that attends the monthly meetings. Why not devote part of each meeting to mailing out copies of the next month’s ride list to those members who have requested it and are not present at the monthly meeting. The people at the monthly meeting could stick labels and stamps on the lists and, at the end of the meeting everyone could take a bundle and shove them in a mailbox on their way home. Maybe moving the meeting to the last Tuesday of the month would allow sufficient time for a list of the next month’s rides to be drawn up. I’d be happy to co-ordinate this and attend the meetings.

I think this would be a reasonable solution until technology allows us to have the monthly newsletter delivered by satellite directly to our bike computers, together with routes/cue sheets in conjunction with GPS. Even if members don’t have the internet, I bet they’ve all got bike computers.

Anonymous's picture
Isaac Brumer (not verified)
Case for a paper bulletin

"I've previously posted about how I feel an ""online only"" bulletin should be organized ""if"" we go that route.

Now, I'll post why I feel that we should still publish a paper bulletin, through perhaps a smaller edition or a quarterly will do.

Lands' End, LL Bean, Nashbar and even are all on the 'net. Yet they send me paper catalogs. They must be on to something.

Yes, people do use the web. But part of the bulletin's function is ""marketing.""

- ""When e-mail was young,"" e-mails stood out. With today's flood of e-mails, a member is likely to ignore the NYCC e-mail for a few days or not go to the site to get the bulletin. With the mailed bulletin, it's physically there for you to see, whether you get around to it or not. Which leads to...

- The bulletin in the mailbox is a reminder of the club meeting and that it's time to get out and ride and to submit rides, if you're a potential leader. I perceived a lighter turnout at this past meeting and fewer ride submissions. (Please. I assume that Diane did her job as editor and that this is not a reflection on her work.)

- Among NYCC's aims is the promotion of cycling. The bound and printed bulletin is something that gets left on your coffee table, or on your toilet tank. Friends read it, they learn about the club. That's where the next generations of NYCC members (and cyclists) come from.

My thoughts,


cycling trips