Considering all of the good work your magazine does in promoting cycling, Riding Roughshod (NOW, April 26-May 2) was a surprise.
As a long-time cycling volunteer, I found the comments about how trail bike enthusiasts choose to enjoy public lands legally disheartening.
I understand the passion the author feels for Crothers' Woods, but are the feelings I and other cyclists have for this public land any less worthy?
I would like to extend an invitation to the author and your editorial staff to attend an upcoming city-sponsored trail day in the Don Valley to see that we are trying to make safe trails for all to enjoy in a manner that respects the land and environment and tries to prevent further degradation of the woods.
As for the three images used with the story, all are patently false. I know of at least two of the stunts photographed, and none contain wood that would have been alive when cut.
If those of us who live in urban environments do not experience nature where we can, how can we be expected to truly understand the world outside the city and protect natural resources that are truly precious?
Bikers give good wood
In riding roughshod you clearly imply that cycling on natural-surface trails in a forested area like Crothers' Woods is a danger to the environmental stability of the forest.
Science does not back up this widely held view. Jeff Marion, a scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey, and Jeremy Wimpey, a doctoral candidate in the park and recreation resource management program at Virginia Tech, found that "while mountain biking, like all forms of recreational activity, can result in measurable impacts to vegetation, soil, water resources and wildlife, the environmental effects of well-managed mountain biking are minimal."
Kyla Dixon-Muir takes exception to the International Mountain Bicycling Association's (IMBA) input into the Crothers' Woods management plan. IMBA has extensive knowledge and experience in trail layout, design and construction, as well as mountain bike management techniques.
I invite Dixon-Muir and NOW readers to any of the trail building days we'll be holding with the city in the near future.
IMBA Durham Region Rep
Hash Mob rules
Did someone say hash? Kudos to the Toronto Hash Mob for staging their Out Yourself Smoke Out (NOW, April 26-May 2). I do, though, agree with lawyer Alan Young's suggestion to drop the Hash Mob moniker in favour of becoming a pot collective, not because I care that "collective" sounds more acceptable than "mob," but because hash is so damned hard to find in this city.
For the love of god, tell me where I can get some.
The problem with critics
Letter-writer Sam Linton's witty comments on film critic John Harkness, and Nat Kone's letter about theatre writer Glenn Sumi (NOW, April 26-May 2) point up a problem in arts criticism. I have been burned too often by Sumi. I no longer accept anything he writes. Harkness is so set in his ways, so full of himself, that I barely skim his reviews.
We know he is partial to violence in film and irredeemably hetero. As one wag said, "He's too dull to be gay." In some ways he reminds me of Samuel Johnson, the crotchety 18th-century Londoner who thought his every opinion should be etched in stone.
Fromm here to the illogical
Your recent UpFront item globe Taken In By White Power Symp (NOW, April 26-May 2) is the most illogical thing you have ever published in your long and spectacular career of left-wing excess. You don't believe the Globe could have been accurately reporting on events at teacher Paul Fromm's discipline hearing?
Presumably, racists are never soft-spoken because they can communicate only by angry shouting, and they are never teary since the only emotion they can actually feel is hatred.
You conclude that these would not be the usual descriptors for a man who has shared the stage with a former KKK grand wizard. Maybe Fromm was clever enough to realize that shouting "Heil Hitler!" might fail to make a good impression at his hearing.
Other than that, I enjoyed your publication, as usual.
Media shot misses mark
NOW praises the CBC for not showing any of Virginia Tech shooter Cho Seung-Hui's video package (NOW, April 26-May 2). Media that did were, according to NOW, "glamourizing" the work of a disturbed person. The real value of Cho's two-fisted, two-weapon pose is to remind viewers how easily he was able to buy the unglamorous weapons.
RE Hamish Wilson's letter on his misgivings about bike lanes on Front Street (NOW, April 26-May 2).
Until we start seriously linking the functional and economic benefits of commercial cycling to all other rational urban transport methods, we'll be stuck going after piecemeal solutions, fighting the same battle again and again. Freight shuttled into the city core all day by rail and then distributed the last few thousand metres by foot, bike or TTC messenger would allow us to greatly reduce transport truck traffic throughout Toronto.
Racking up credit
RE Racking Up Designs (now, april 12-18). Thanks for including the brief article and photo about the bike rack project in your bike issue. I'm the artist who designed the butterfly bike rack you showed. Another point your item didn't mention is that we are working on having plaques installed on all the racks to credit the designers. It is important for people to get the recognition they deserve.
Brian A. Cotterell
As the director of girl inside, a documentary in Hot Docs that follows the transition of Madison, a young male-to-female transsexual, I take issue with Sarah Liss's comment that she is "trans-phobic" (NOW, April 19-25). This couldn't be further from the truth.
Transitioning is a process, and there is not one transsexual experience. Some people identify as transsexual, some as transgendered. Some reject the binary definitions of male and female while others embrace them, in some cases choosing to live in stealth.
Given the stigma that surrounds transsexuality, it takes great courage and a strong sense of self to transition. In Madison's case, it took even more strength to out herself in such a public way.
She is far from being trans-phobic.
Director, Girl Inside
Red Queen Productions, Toronto
Thanks for the Green Issue (now, April 19-25). It was great. I'm just wondering why we're all burying our heads about the fact that we're breeding like lab rats.
Yes, recycle, stop driving SUVs and living in mega-homes in suburbia. But we need to stop reproducing at the rate we're going, too! It's not just a problem "over there." Time for a reality check in the baby department, people!
There's a certain selfishness in having a kid these days. Why not adopt one of the already hungry, homeless, hopeless souls from the war-torn regions of the Third World?
I found Peter Tabuns's column on nuclear plants in the Green Issue (NOW, April 19-25) painful to read.
It's hard to take environmental advice from Tabuns, the NDP MPP who as Greenpeace executive director fought so hard against unionizing.
Certain members of the NDP are spending too much time complaining instead of being leaders and championing the cause of the environment.
In his article, Tabuns doesn't offer any real solutions to our energy problem.
I can't help but wonder what Mike Smith, who points out that simply buying green won't make the world a better place, would think of your Green Issue fashion section (NOW, April 19-25).
Purchasing an $85 tote bag to reduce the use of plastic shopping bags doesn't seem to be a great way to help save the planet.