Letters for July 14-20, 2005
Honest, Upstanding Bikers
Meep meep: I read Jeff Stratton's July 7 "Crotch Rocketeers" article and take exception to your omission of certain facts: Stratton makes it sound like everyone who rides performance bikes abuses them to break the law; this is patently false. If you visit our website -- RoadRunnersSportbikeclub.com -- you'll see that there are riders who do positive things for the community. We've visited children's hospitals, participated in charity rides/fundraisers, and assisted in safety classes at local high schools. Our group is dedicated to changing the negative image of sport bikers that your story will no doubt further.
We are recognized and in good standing with the Wings of Gold (the dominant Harley/cruiser club in Florida), which organizes the 35,000-plus bike Xmas Toy Runs.
Tony Borzumato, Secretary
RoadRunners Sportbike Organization of Florida
She rides in compliance with the law: I read "Crotch Rocketeers" last night and was not totally impressed. Stratton completely stereotyped all sport-bike riders as being dangerous on the road. All he mentioned were stories about accidents and one insane rider. That is not fair to those of us who do not ride like "assholes."
Did you know that there are also women riding sport bikes and that the percentage of women riders has risen over the years? I am one of them. I love to ride and sometimes go fast but never like you described or had others describe. All you did was tear apart those of us who ride as "assholes."
Next time you decide to write an article on sport-bike riders, you might want to do a little bit more research... and possibly be a little bit more knowledgeable about what you decide to write about. By the way, Honda makes CBRs, and Suzuki makes GSX-R's.
He climbed the ranks: I'm glad to see a story on sport bikes, but it didn't have to be so negative. I wish the emphasis of this story would have been less hype and more informative. Information specifically aimed to young guys (and gals) looking to get into the scene could have been more powerful in saving lives. I myself am one of the few riders out there on the Dade/Broward streets who actually worked his way up the ranks. I had a minibike at age 9, my first dirt bike at 12, a Honda 250 Rebel in college, and now a CBR 600.
Believe me, I know that there is a lot of skill and knowledge that must be gained before getting onto one of these bikes. With bikes that are 1100cc and 1300cc out there, new riders don't understand that a 600cc sport bike is not for beginners. The best racers in the world ride 600s. There is no shame in learning on a small bike like a 250. It has two wheels and goes at the twist of your wrist, wind in the hair and all. If you can't have fun with that, then you don't really enjoy riding! And if your friends tell you any different, they either don't know what they are talking about or don't care about you.
Thanks for mentioning that sport-bike riders generally don't drink and ride. Clutch it up!
Lyttle responds: I was astounded and disappointed to hear of my "demise" and the implication that my research into psychedelic drugs somehow led to a "tailspin," as I read in the June 30 Tailpipe. No one from New Times contacted me to ask what the situation was, why I was moving (due to a long-standing illness being treated by specialists) and why some of my possessions were being sold. Why didn't New Times just call me and ask about my doctor and treatments ongoing?
Dean? Oh Dean?
Jasmine's a professional: After reading Florida International University Dean Lillian Lodge Kopenhaver's June 23 comments about the outgoing faculty at the School of Journalism, it is clear to me that the school's "distinguished record" has come to an end. Referring to her former colleagues as "grizzled old reporters who haven't written a word in a decade or more" is irresponsible and completely inaccurate. If Kopenhaver is so quick to accuse New Times of complete inaccuracy, she would be better-served by checking her own facts first.
And the framers: In regard to Edmund Newton's June 2 article,"Adios, Ink-Stained Vets," I am proud to say that Kevin Hall's guidance 20 years ago at FIU's fledgling Journalism School was the finest point of my college career. It was not a secret back then to students that there was animosity between the professors and the administration. Still, Professor Hall and several others encouraged us to become credible, creative, professional journalists with a lust for the craft.
Now, 20 years later, in my 15th year teaching journalism and English to high school students in Miami-Dade County, not a day goes by that I haven't envisioned Professor Hall teaching us about integrity and passion for writing. To him, I give my highest praise for standing up for journalistic ethics, unswayed by politics or policy. By God, we could sure use more of that.
To FIU administration: The First Amendment doesn't end at the schoolhouse doors.
Lisa Grebin Borden
The July 7 article "Crotch Rocketeers" misstated several facts about motorcyclist David Carpenter's driving record. In 2004, he was ticketed for having no muffler on his car, not on a motorcycle. Another 2004 citation for failure to yield right of way was dismissed, as was a 2003 charge of careless driving. Finally, Carpenter's wife, Heather, says her husband is not the person New Times interviewed by phone.
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