Letters for August 20, 2009

Bike louts

A story published on July 21 in the Reno Gazette-Journal highlights some great news for Reno (“Riverside Drive to become city’s first ‘bike boulevard.’”) In the story, Mayor Bob Cashell is asked for his thoughts on the city’s increased accommodation of bike commuters and recreational cyclists:

“While supporting the effort, Mayor Bob Cashell said bike riders also need to show more respect. He said he sees bicyclists riding three to four abreast on Mayberry Drive, bleeding over from the bike lane striped last year into the motor vehicle lane.

“Some people are being rude about it,” he said. “They are hurting their cause.”

Comments like this are disappointing, especially coming from city leadership. We rely on these folks to be understanding, to take a big-picture view of our quality of life, and to make decisions that show a balance of perspectives. Instead, Cashell betrays a patent yokel-style ignorance in his utterance—suggesting a certain type of comeuppance to be visited upon an implied set of ungrateful riders.

I use Mayberry to get to work on my bike. I know a mother who lives near there and pedals with a gaggle of children to Roy Gomm Elementary during the warm months. I started seeing them regularly once the street was re-striped and made safer for cyclists. On occasion, one of the little kids—still fresh off of training wheels—will weave a bit. So mom rides on the outside, forming a protective buffer from the traffic. At times, I’ve seen her drift out into the lane a bit to make space for the kids. Mayor Cashell, are these the ingrates you are referring to? Do those elementary school kids need to “show some respect” and quit hurting the cause of bike commuters like me?

I’ve been commuting almost exclusively by bicycle in Reno for close to 15 years, and during that time I’ve ridden with every facet of the area’s bike culture, from spandex-clad speed weenies to traffic-clogging fun rides of Critical Mass. A common denominator for all riders is a respect for cars (and the damage they can do to bicycle riders), and a willingness to stand up for our rights as commuters. Our state law makes provisions for bike commuters, and in some instances allows for cyclists riding in groups to occupy traffic lanes. Riders obeying the law and standing up for their rights should not be admonished by the city’s leadership to “show some respect.”

Don’t get me wrong, my bike gets me to and from work, and I deeply appreciate the many improvements the city has made to increase the safety and comfort of my commute. But it’s an unfortunate fact that once the bike lane was established, that piece of pavement was no longer cleaned or maintained. The bike lane on Mayberry currently contains an assortment of roofing nails and drywall screws that must have fallen off a contractor’s truck. It’s no longer cleaned, so it will soon contain clusters of tire-popping goat-heads. It frequently contains pieces of broken glass. After the snow has melted, it’s filled with the kind of gravel that sometimes zings out from under bike tires out into the lane of traffic. A bike commuter trying to get to work on time seeks to avoid these things. An angry driver can’t see them and thinks the riders “disrespectful.”

Cashell may be right: In our attempts to avoid nails and broken glass bikers may be hurting the cause for more bike lanes. But comments like his sure won’t help his future election.

Name withheld

Id makes sense

Re “Reno 411” (Feature story, Aug. 6):

“EGO!” should have been the topic of this story. Any person involved in the local hip-hop scene in Reno has an ego. If they say they don’t, they are liars! I have collaborated, or have been engaged in some way or another, with every local artist to date in Reno. They all have an ego! Even I have one. It comes with the territory of being an MC. The reason for having an ego is because you believe yourself to be the best. So you display that “ego” every time you spit. I give all these guys you named in this article mad props, but what about my boy Yan Doe or Shorty T or J1-3 and Mecca? They’ve been here forever making music and still are! And me and my boy J1-3 been doin’ shows and open mics for several years here in Reno. We have even done benefit shows for different organizations and all that. I’m just sayin’, there’s a bigger and wider range of people that don’t get the recognition they deserve, and their music is straight dope! But you will see, we will consider ourselves the second generation of hip-hop MCs in Reno with the dopest music to date. We will show and prove that we belong as big names and local legends among those who say they founded hip-hop in Reno.

Mecca Hernandez

Curtain call

Re “Metamorphosis” (Arts&Culture, Aug. 6):

Theater is, by definition, a creative endeavor, and theater artists need to stretch their muscles from time to time. As participation in a show is project-oriented—auditions to closing night—so, ultimately, is managing a theater, and eventually, it’s time to move to a new project. Both Mary Bennett and Scott Beers have been and continue to be amazing and prolific creative forces in Northern Nevada, and our city is so blessed to have their talents in our midst. But the core of Brüka is strong and is populated by many other incredible local talents, and they will continue to stretch their creative muscles in whatever form Brüka evolves into. Come September, we’ll all look forward to the doors opening one-half hour before curtain and the waft of incense that tells our senses we’re settling into our seats in preparation for an incredible theatrical journey. All our local arts grow through audience support, and the survival of our arts industry is really up to us, the tushes in the seats; the faces in the dark. Did I just see the house manager flick the lights?

Nettie Oliverio


Re: “R! E! N! O!” (Musicbeat, Aug. 13):

In a story about <21, a new compilation CD released by the Holland Project, we made reference to the hip-hop group Atmosphere. Atmosphere does not appear on the CD, and the song referred to is actually a song by the hip-hop artist Apprentice. We regret the error and apologize for any confusion this might have caused.