Interview: Kyle Kozar
Kyle Kozar is co-founder and co-executive director of the Reno Bike Project, a nonprofit organization created to promote “the benefits of bicycles as an energy-efficient, economical, non-polluting form of transportation, and as a healthy lifestyle choice, by providing access to affordable equipment and education throughout the Truckee Meadows.” With the cycling season upon us, and Bike to Work Day around the corner, it seemed a good time to catch up with the Bike Project. For more information, check out www.renobikeproject.com.
So you have events coming up?
May 15 is National Bike to Work Day. We have a free pancake feed out of our bike shop. It’s open to the public so we basically feed all the commuters who ride their bikes to work that day. We give out pancakes, both vegan and regular, and bacon and juice and fruit—all that good stuff. The next day is May 16. We have our third annual fundraising bike celebration, called “Bike Out.” We’re combining that with our first ever bike swap.
What is Bike Out?
It’s a celebration of the bike; it’s a fundraising event for us.
What do you do at Bike Out?
We just do a bunch of bike games. This year, we’re going to do a Huffy toss and a Huffy hill climb, and we’ll do a kids race, like a little kids relay race. We’ll have some live music, and there’ll be food there. New Belgium sponsored it and gave us some beer to give away for donations. That’ll be in the afternoon.
In the morning will be a bike swap, and it’s all taking place at Plumas Park, so the bike swap will be in the Plumas Park gym.
What’s a bike swap?
It’s like a ski swap where people can—if they’re a collector—they can get a table and have a bunch of their bike parts and bicycles for sale. Or people can bring bikes to us, and we’ll put them up and sell them for a commission. It’s the first time we’ve done it, so we’ll see how it goes. We’re trying to build it into a big, yearly bike swap here in Reno to bring people from California and all over from all the bike shops and whatnot to come there as kind of a congregation of people who want to sell and collectors who are looking for rare and interesting bikes and bike things like that.
Now to switch gears, so to speak, what is the first thing local government should do to promote bike riding or help bike riders?
Really, I think the biggest thing for me, as a bike rider, I just wish there were more bike lanes. There are a lot of really congested roads, like for instance, Fourth Street between Sparks and Reno. That’s the main bike route between Reno and Sparks, and it used to be a highway, so it’s four lanes, two lanes each direction, and there’s no bike lane. There’s barely even a gutter. And it’s a main bus route between Reno and Sparks. As a cyclist on that road, it can be kind of terrifying. There’s a lot of roads like that in town, so if local government wanted to do something to make riding safer for cyclists, it would be really pushing to get bike lanes and give bicyclists an area and a buffer.
Fourth Street seems like one of those roads that should be a lane going each way, a turning lane in the middle and then bike lanes on either side.
We just recently moved our bike shop down to Fourth Street, just east of downtown, like Fourth and Valley. It’s kind of a more permanent home. The address is 541 E. Fourth St. That’s where the pancake feed will be, too. It’s right across the street from Martin Iron Works. I see so many cyclists every day commuting, and there’s buses flying right by them, pushing them off the road.