A sporting chance: Props to Luke Turf for the excellent articles on mixed martial arts in the May 11 issue. It's about time the sport received some publicity, especially when you consider that mixed martial arts and, more specifically, the Ultimate Fighting Championship began in Denver and that Colorado is home to several elite martial-arts training facilities.
I really enjoyed "No Pain, No Gain," the profile on fighter Mike Nickels, who is currently on the UFC reality show The Ultimate Fighter. The article gave us a good background on Nickels and detailed his reasons for getting into the sport of mixed martial arts. These are pieces of information you're not going to get from watching a reality show, and I appreciate the level of detail that went into the writing of both stories.
A job well done!
Spokes man: As a cycling enthusiast, Critical Mass participant and bike messenger, I wanted to respond to the detractors of Critical Mass (and cycling in general) who wrote in last week about Patricia Calhoun's May 4 column, "Critical Mess." Critical Mass is a voluntary bike ride for cycling enthusiasts. The only meaning the bike ride implies is the meaning gleaned from the participants. For me, it is fun to ride my bike, and also to illustrate that bicycles are a viable form of traffic. If you are "stuck" in your car behind me, perhaps the meaning of Critical Mass is that you shouldn't be driving your car downtown when so many other methods of transportation are available. Or not.
Despite the bike lanes and bike paths in the city, cyclists are definitely treated like second-class citizens on the road. The law says I have to ride on the street. Yet on the street, countless cars honk and yell insults as they pass by. Bikes "whiz" past you, scaring you? Cars "whiz" past me all day, often trying to force me off the road. You were hit by a cyclist? I got drilled by a pickup-truck driver chatting on his cell phone. Bikes are zero-emission, ecologically friendly vehicles that have as much right to the road as cars.
Oh, and as far as bikes flouting the law, tell me you've never jaywalked on a red light when there were no cars coming. Police officers are selectively enforcing the law during Critical Mass, trying to make a point.
Enjoy your $50 fill-ups. I'm going for a bike ride.
Bike to the future: I ride a bike daily. It is my only form of transportation (I am not a weekly-ride Spandex wonder), and I break traffic laws. I am not an anarchist, and I do not participate in Critical Mass, and I don't know much about either of them. What I do know is that the average Denver driver has no idea how to deal with a bicyclist. The last thing I want is someone riding my ass because I'm slower. I would rather have you pass me than worry about having an SUV up my rear. I have been incredibly rude to multiple people, mostly because they have cut me off, hit me, honked, etc. Some people ride on the sidewalks out of fear of these drivers; many people would rather dodge pedestrians than be run over by some jackass in a Suburban who refuses to yield, refuses to check lanes before changing them, or thinks you'll just get out of the way. When I ride through a red light, I take my life into my own hands, but I am not likely to kill someone else with my bike. If I am now a "law breaker" in need of punishment, so be it.
I don't think that the suburban readership of Westword understands any of this. Nor do they seem to care, judging by their letters.
Sick transit gloria: Adam Cayton-Holland's What's So Funny in the May 4 issue is the sickest anti-American bullshit I have ever seen. Adam, if you love the goddamn illegals so much, then get your ass out of my country and go to that shithole all those illegals have left behind. And remember, you are in America -- where even assholes like you can publish shit like this article you wrote. But keep it up and you will lose your First Amendment rights.
Spit and Polish: My nationality is Polish. After I read Adam Cayton-Holland's scum about immigrants in your country, I see even clearer now why around the world nobody likes Americans and calls them "stupid American." In this poor article, he intended to make fun of immigrants and Polish people. I lived in the U.S. for three years; most of my Polish friends over there have graduated from universities, not sissy American colleges, but you never will see that, because they do the jobs that Americans won't.