It’s a long, long way down to Reno, Nevada

Thirty days and counting to Interbike.

I’ll be skipping the show this year. Adventure Cyclist expects slim pickings in the touring category, and BRAIN hasn’t paid my freight in forever, a cost-benefit calculation that keeps coming up snake eyes for Your Humble Narrator. In lean times the last thing you want is an ill-mannered, off-the-leash cur snarling at the customers as you try to keep the bank from taking the bike shop.

Le Shewe Bigge has shifted north from Las Vegas to Reno for 2018, and I can’t be the only person who finds it amusing that Interbike went there to get itself a divorce from Sin City. Still, I’m curious to see how it works out.

There’s much chin music about an ongoing “Reno-ssance,” the local spin on “gentrification,” which itself is the scenic route to “get those poor people out of sight, they’re scaring the tourists and playing hell with property values.” See Bibleburg, Duke City, et al.

For instance, in The Biggest Little City in the World one may enjoy a nifty Riverwalk District that skirts the Truckee, where the John Laws have been running off homeless campers, unfortunates who may be traveling by bicycle because they have to, not because it looks like fun.

Novelist and musician Willy Vlautin has written about people like these who seem to be missing out on the “Reno-ssance,” and so has Our Town Reno, a production of the Reynolds Media Lab, part of the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada-Reno. They taught me a new word: “artwashing.”

It’s been years since I last visited Reno, en route to and/or from visits to friends in Northern California. It always felt like a rest stop between Here and There, not a destination in its own right. I’d camp at the Motel 6 West, and dine at some hippie joint down off Sierra, or maybe Virginia, I don’t remember. Vegetarian fare, heavy on the garlic to ward off the vampires.

Come morning I’d grab a cup of joe and a tank of gas and get the hell out of Dodge. Which, as it turns out, seems to be mostly what all these tourist traps want from us. Howdy, partner! Got any money? Keep moving.

Before long the last place in the country without a riverwalk, legal weed and a bespoke artisanal microbrewery will be Ash Fork, Arizona. You will not see Interbike in Ash Fork anytime soon, no matter how bad the bike biz gets.


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16 Responses to “It’s a long, long way down to Reno, Nevada”

  1. khal spencer Says:

    So where is getting the Hell out of Dodge taking you, O’G.

    Meena went to high school near Reno. It was a Quaker school, the John Woolman School, up in Grass Valley/Nevada City. I don’t think she has been back in multiple dog’s ages. Meena met Mimi’s sister, Joan Baez, at one of the schools many social goodness projects, working with migrant workers in SoCal. They looked at each other and said “is this that Groucho Marx mirror act”. Amazing.

    Gosh, I have that album: Celebrations for a Grey Day. Along with Reflections in a Crystal Wind. Great stuff.

    • khal spencer Says:

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Man, I love me some “Duck Soup.” That’s Chico in the “mirror,” if I recall correctly.

      I had no idee Meena did time down Reno way. Did she shoot a man, just to watch him die?

      I have some other friends who are still there — Bruce and Jodie Ruana, who started Off the Front handlebar tape down in SoCal before shifting ops to the Minden-Gardnerville area. The bike biz being what it is, they eventually called it quits and got straight jobs in Reno.

      Another notable Reno refugee: My man Hal Walter, the burro wrangler.

      • khal spencer Says:

        That was her hippie stage.

        “…Said, I’m going down to Wooman School
        Gonna join in a hippie commune band
        Got to get back to the land and set my soul free…”

      • khal spencer Says:

        Of course now we know the last verse:

        “We are defense contractors, we are golden parachutists,
        we signed on to the Devil’s Bargain,
        and we have to get back to our investment coun-sel-ooo-ores…”

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    Don’t we know an Ash Fork land baron? Seems he was sitting on some property just waiting for an art gallery to make a bid on it.

    I bought a set of Marx Bros movies on DVD. The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, Monkey Business, Horse Feathers, and Duck Soup are in the set. I need to find the Big Store to complete the collection. Those movies will fix a dark mood in a hurry.

    Speaking of movies, I went into Best Buy a few days ago to sniff around the Blu-Ray movies. Gone. The CDs were gone as well. They had a couple of sale bins of Blu-Ray and DVD and when those are empty they are gone too. One of the ladies working there told me discs are ancient history.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I kept holding onto that acreage at great personal expense but never heard a peep from the Interbike people.

      We had dirt aplenty for their little demo, and if electricity, Internet, water, sewage and pavement were in short supply, well, I blame Obama. Hillary. One of them there.

  3. Patrick O'Grady Says:

    Anybody get his/her security clearance pulled? No, don’t tell me, I never had one.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      My job was dependent on securing and holding a clearance. You were told that, in great detail, when you were hired. Disclosing classified information to unauthorized people is illegal, as in it is codified in law and is a crime. The non-disclosure agreement bullshit that dumpster is pushing is a contract, a civil matter. If Amarosa was truly recording in the situation room without authorization, that is grounds for loss of clearance and immediate termination of employment.
      The clearances that Clapper and others have were a courtesy. If dumpster had any sense, he would have quietly pulled them on day one. But, as we know, …….

      • khal spencer Says:

        Its not bizarre for retired folks or former officials to keep a clearance if Uncle Sam sponsors it. Shit, they still have a wealth of knowledge and if they don’t have a clearance, you can’t talk to them. I won’t elaborate.

        Pulling a clearance is normal if not in the government’s interest or if someone mishandles the goods. Pulling a clearance for blatantly political reasons is fucked.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        The people allowing clearances for folks whose job does not require them, need to think, think about what they are trying to do……

  4. Libby Says:

    I don’t know what conclusions I make about the art washing article. The PSSST website has expired. So performing arts, fine arts, nix. Ash Fork, very interesting, too. Thanks for the links, Patrick.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Yeah, I’m not sure what to make of “art-washing” either, Libby. Some cartoonist pals of mine took over an old house in a blue-collar part of Bibleburg back in the Seventies and turned it into a studio. I suppose that qualified as “art-washing.”

      Nearly 50 years later the town is still trying to follow their thin edge of the wedge with a sports and events center and various other alleged tourism draws. Ain’t happened yet.

  5. debby511 Says:

    Ah, Reno. I used to live out there. I’m a UNR graduate. I used to live in the Carson Valley, about an hour south. It was nice at the time. A lot of great riding in the area. I never liked Reno that much though. The campus was nice but the town was just a big urban sprawl with a scummy downtown. And Sparks used to have quite a gang problem.

    I was back for a visit in 2010 and was shocked at all the development that had taken place. The area was hit hard by the 2008 crash and many of the new strip mall stores were boarded up and there were many, many homes in foreclosure. I guess now it’s recovered again.

    We had a good LBS in Carson City. I spent lots of money there and they took care of me. We had a shop trip to Moab that was epic. We stayed at the Ron-Tez. What an experience!

  6. larryatcycleitalia Says:

    WooHoo! Just found out I don’t have to go to Reno either. I wasn’t planning on it anyway but kept the dates open in case our friends at Albabici wanted me to help ’em out. Today they said “don’t bother” so I’m happy – now I can spend more time getting ready to escape to Italy full time.

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