Boise Bike Project Wiki Reflection

Boise has proven to one of the most interesting small cities I have ever visited, in part because of the many sub cultures that can be found here. I often describe Boise as small town big city because in living here, its easy to find elements of both environments, the good and the bad. Boise’s size and variety of environments makes it a perfect home for the more outdoors inclined as well as younger urbanite crowds. I believe that somewhere in the middle of these two groups is something that has a true claim to being part of the heart of Boise, the bicycle. Call it the Portlandia “Hipster” effect but especially over the past 5 years, Boise has become one of the most bicycle friendly cities in the U.S. and somewhere at the core of this influx of cyclery lies the Boise Bike Project.

The Boise Bike Project or BBP is inarguably Boise’s most important bicycle resource and serves thousands each year for just enough to keep themselves afloat. It is this kind of attitude that embodies Boise’s cycling community. I am far from Boise’s biggest cycling advocate being more of a car guy myself but after recently spending my fair share of time at the BBP putting together a road bike project of my own for practically nothing, I quickly realized how great of an operation it was and it felt more than appropriate to try and spread awareness about this hidden gem at the core of Boise’s grassroots cycling community.

I can honestly say that I didn’t have many technological difficulties with this project but the one or two that I did encounter were fairly frustrating. For starters, I was not the least bit amused when I realized that BoiseWiki.org and boise.localwiki.org were in fact, completely different pages but are seemingly run under the same leadership with generally the same format and information but do not communicate/interact with each other (I could also be completely misunderstanding the relationship between these sites). I began my wiki page on boisewiki.org after googling “Boise Wiki” seeing some familiar names and formats and accepting that I was using the correct site. Using MS Word for most of the meat of my project, I was able to paste my project in, do some simple styling editing using text and felt I had a pretty solid little page put together. It was after trying to get this page to pull up that I realized I ultimately created my own entirely new wiki solely for the BBP. Ultimately I did what any red blooded American male would do only after reaching the point of frustration, I consulted the directions…

As I should have observed before starting anything, I realized that I should have been using boise.localwiki.org. “No matter” I thought, “it looks like this site is, at its core, virtually identical to the last, I’ll just paste in what I’ve done and the end result should be much the same.” I was correct for the most part, but there was one glaring difference, the styling tools operated completely differently. While BoiseWiki.org used a more text oriented editing process, boise.localwiki.org used a GUI based editing process, which would seemingly be more user friendly. I say this in the most friendly way possible, I am not a fan of that interface, maybe I’m even more incompetent than I had previously realized but this tool seems to have more than its fair share of flaws.  This doesn’t sound like much of an issue but I still was not ultimately able to style my page exactly how I would have liked. (/rant)

To be on the safe side I have left both articles in place and they can each be found on their separate respective Wiki pages here and here. This was not my first time writing a local piece on Boise but as strange as it might sound to say it, I always come away with a sentimental feeling after digging into small parts of our wonderful little city. The more and more research I did into the BBP, the more I was truly impressed with what the staff behind that organization has accomplished and how much groups like the Boise Bike Project really are an invaluable asset to our community and it feels great to know that I could help spread the word for them on some level and draw them much deserved attention. After checking out the DavisWiki and realizing its success, I have no doubt that Boise as a community is capable of developing an extremely comprehensive Wiki to rival the DavisWiki and it feels great to have participated in this sort of tangible project.

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