Byrne, Rochester, and bicycling

Via City Newspaper

By Jeremy Moule

I've been waiting to get a look at David Byrne's "Bicycle Diaries" for a while, for a very specific reason that I'll get to momentarily.

The book came out last year, but the paperback is about to hit the shelves, which explains why the publisher sent a copy to City's office. Now that it's fallen in my lap, I'll share the reason for my excitement: Byrne, the former Talking heads front-man, talks about why he likes bicycling in Rochester. I'm excited because I like bicycling in Rochester, too.

He kicks off his section on Rochester, which he calls "Kodak Moments," by talking about the life and death of George Eastman and his visit to the Eastman House. He reflects on High Falls and the industrial remnants lining the Genesee River gorge. I like how he concludes the section. He doesn't say anything that Rochesterians don't already know, but coming from an outsider it carries some weight:

"Biking around one can see that the city is beautifully situated - but the past is holding on for dear life with a viselike grip, a grip that strangles too many of these towns," he writes. "Not that old buildings and neighborhoods should be torn down, just the opposite, but they probably need to have new functions."

The full section - it's only a couple of pages long - is worth a read. If you don't want to track it down in a bookstore, several local libraries have a copy. To find it, go to the Monroe County Library System's website and run a search.

His reflections on other cities and countries are probably also worth a read, especially for those who really enjoy travel. So far I've only read the two pages of immediate local concern, so I can't vouch for the rest.


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