in 1990 I got my first modern road bike and spent the next
eight years commuting, training and racing in New York City.
In 1998 my family and I moved up to Albany. I ride and race
with a local team.
The Albany region is a glorious place to ride. Our geography
and roads are great. Nearly all of our motorists handle themselves
like good, compassionate people and treat riders like me with
respect. I appreciate their courtesy and do my best to reciprocate.
I haven’t seen any Critical Mass rides in Albany [“Because
. . . You’re in My Way,” Newsfront, April 6], but saw a lot
of them back in NYC. They carried a potent message all right,
and it was never good. To any outside observer they were a
bunch of petulant people who happened to be using bikes as
a means to throw public tantrums and create problems for the
police. They won no hearts or minds with their gatherings.
I resented that they were purporting to stand for the cycling
Nothing productive comes of putting police into no-win situations.
If the police hold back and do nothing, ordinary people trying
to get from place to place have to endure pointless interferences.
If the police move in and make demonstrators disperse, Emmy
Award candidates hop up and down claiming to be brutalized.
Either way, lots of ordinary folks going about their business
will reach the end of their day with sour feelings about cyclists
that they didn’t have that morning.
If police are overreacting or mishandling things then sure,
they need to work on that. If they’re not, then shame on anyone
spreading false criticisms. The police, and cyclists, are
united in our interest in promoting safe roads. The last thing
we need is to have people associating important issues like
better roads and traffic safety with Critical Mass demonstrations.
For the sake of safety, mature coexistence and a great sport,
cyclists should make sure that road-sharing issues don’t become
associated with such negative behavior.
know that it may be fashionable for residents of smAlbany
to make fun of Metroland. Sometimes people try soooo
hard to be painfully hip that they don’t even notice what
they do have around them. Metroland is a perfect example.
Sorry it’s not the frickin’ Village Voice.
David King’s article “Citizen Diplomacy” [April 6] was just
the sort of story that I was craving in light of current events.
It was well-written, refreshing and as uplifting as it could
possibly be. The Critical Mass article was timely and right
on. I live in the city and ride CM with my wife and daughter
Please keep up the good work.
you Metroland for restoring my faith (a little) that
all of the political-coverage media were mindless, conservative,
talking-head hand puppets [“Closer Than You Think,” Between
the Lines, March 30]. Eliot Spitzer had the courage to say
what anyone who lives in the North Country or the I-88 corridor
running through western New York has known for years. Cities
and towns are collapsing under the weight of dwindling tax
bases caused by increased unemployment.
I grew up in New York City. People are spoiled there. If they
lose their job or the company fails, some people don’t even
have to leave the office building to find a new job. They
can’t relate to people living in rural upstate areas where,
when a business closes, they’re the major employer for a hundred
miles, and thousands of families are affected.
I have held consultant jobs that have required me to have
temporary residence in Binghamton and Saranac Lake. At the
time, Binghamton was still recovering from losing IBM as a
major employer when the second-highest employer, Defense Contractor
CAE-Link, announced that it had been bought by Hughes Corp.,
and 2,000 jobs were moving to Texas. Of course anybody that
wanted to sell their house at a loss and uproot their family
was welcome to come along. I don’t know how many accepted
the offer. Saranac Lake has relied on seasonal business and
the overflow from Lake Placid for years. One unseasonably
warm winter and both these towns would suffer.
I find it humorous that our governor was one of the first
critics of Mr. Spitzer. As I recall, one of Mr. Pataki’s early
acts as governor was to “re-allocate” jobs from the Albany
campus to his area downstate. At the time I think he said,
“Why should all of these jobs just be in Albany?” My answer,
because this is where we choose to live. To be fair, buses
were provided to transport the workers from Albany to Kingston
and back every day. No doubt this was done to boost the lagging
economy in his home area. I believe that IBM was a large employer
Manufacturing jobs that were paying middle-income wages are
leaving the state by the thousands and nothing is replacing
them. Someone needed to speak up.