this stencil. I spotted it on the bike
signal loop detector at the corner
of NE Lloyd and the Steel Bridge.
(Photos © J. Maus)
It seems like an eternity has passed since I put together the Bike to Blazers ride. And in Blazer terms, it is.
Back in April 2006, our local team was at the bottom of the NBA barrel. They had huge problems on the court (couldn’t win games) and off (couldn’t stay out of trouble). I remember when I announced the ride, several openly commenters scoffed at the idea.
Fast forward to today. Now there’s a much different vibe coming from the Rose Garden. The Blazers are one of the hottest teams in the league and they’ve got players who inspire both on the hardwood and in the neighborhood.
I should back up a bit. Before biking took over my life, I was a basketball nut. I played every moment I wasn’t sleeping or sitting at my school desk. Unfortunately, I also destroyed my knees (which led me to biking more). Five knee surgeries later (2 on one, 3 on the other) and I can’t even play anymore… But my love for the game remains.
I also remain interested in tying these two passions together, not just for myself, but for the benefit of our city. Wouldn’t it be great if all the excitement and energy around the Trail Blazers could connect with the same energy that exists around biking in this town?
Thankfully, I’m not the only one who feels this way. The Blazers do too. After a two season hiatus, I’m once again scheming about how to get bike lovers and hoops lovers on the same page.
Earlier this week I met with the Trail Blazers’ Basketball Outreach Director, Ian Jaquiss (whom you might remember when I went on a handcycle ride with him back in 2007).
Ian says the Blazers (and the Rose Garden) — through their “Make it Better” campaign, and through a commitment to be the most “sustainable” facility and organization in the NBA — are eager to make biking a bigger part of their plans.
At our meeting, we talked about plans for another Bike to Blazers event for the ’09-’10 season, how the Rose Garden could do more to encourage riding bikes to games, and how the Blazers organization — and maybe even a player or two — could be present at bike-related events this summer.
It’s been said that bikes are a community-building tool. A solid pro team, with a great record on an off the court can also make a powerful impact on our communities. To me, bikes and the Blazers are a natural fit.
Did anyone else notice Channing Frye on a bike during those commercials during Blazer games this season? And how can we forget Brandon Roy (a.k.a. B-Roy) saying that riding his bike is his “funnest time of the day”? And, have you noticed that “Make it Better” is quite similar to Zoobomb’s “Do it Better!” mantra?
Whether you’re into the Blazers or not, this is really just an effort to have some fun and more importantly, to spread the good word about biking to whole new audience. (Who knows, maybe next summer a Trail Blazer player will lead a Pedalpalooza ride!)
Are you a Blazer fan? Let us know. And stay tuned for more.