Tour de Lab September 1st

Bikes and the Blazers: Two things that go great together

Posted by on June 12th, 2009 at 10:39 am

Blazers and bikes -1

I still don’t know who’s responsible for
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.

Story continues below

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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.

Bike to Blazers

An excited fan (me)
at a game in 2006.

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.

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

27 Comments
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    Dan June 12, 2009 at 10:46 am

    We have a couple of us that have been biking to work and love reading the blog. Rather new to bike commuting, but have been loving it.

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    Allan June 12, 2009 at 10:57 am

    I have to say, biking to the Blazers games is by FAR the fastest way to get there because the bike parking is exceptional and never seems to fill up. (And because you can beat the MAX when its downtown)

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    Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie June 12, 2009 at 11:23 am

    Me and the boys have biked to several blazers games – it is the fastest way from nopo. Confess to being a huge b ball nut. played in high school – still fancy myself a legend in ym own mind (my left hook is money) so I love this idea. also, if their are bikers out there with b ball in their veins and working knees – I’d love to put together a courts bike tour – we bike to a set of courts play a game, then bike to the next court.

    At any rate, excellent job J, parterning with the Blazers. Course Roy would make my left hook look not so much like money but loose change coming back in my face – but I’m still fierce, even in the face of overwhelming talent in front of me. 😉

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    Andrew June 12, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Joe,
    That sounds like a great idea. I do still have working knees and would be interested in the tour. Let me know if you make it happen, my email is pienovi@pdx.edu.

    Thanks,

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    buzz June 12, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Good story. I am also a basketball junkie as well. Since anyone can organize his/her own pedalpalooza ride, I think it would be great if one of the Blazer players did one

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    Mike June 12, 2009 at 11:45 am

    I’m a huge Blazer fan and love to play myself. I would definitely be down for some kind of biking/basketball playing event.

    As I’ve been going to Blazer games the past few years, it didn’t take long for me to realize that biking was by far and away the fastest way to get to a game. The bike parking is RIGHT NEXT to the will-call/ticket booth and 100ft away from the entrance. Easy. Much faster than a crowded MAX train and you don’t ever have to worry about parking.

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    John Lascurettes June 12, 2009 at 11:46 am

    I’d love to see more Blazer fans biking it in, if just for the fact it would lighten the CF that happens with cars converging on the quarter at game time. That’s the only time I ever feel seriously threatened by cars (coming up Broadway/Weidler to Williams on my way home).

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    BikingViking June 12, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Five knee surgeries? I’ll stop complaining about my two surgeries. I miss playing basketball like nobody’s business, and have to experience my block shots vicariously through Joel Pryzbilla.

    Growing up in PDX, the Blazers were the only game in town. I’ve followed them through the good times and bad, and it’s exciting to have the team on the cusp of greatness again. Regardless of how well they play, it’s nice to have the team support the biking community.

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    BRd June 12, 2009 at 11:58 am

    My daughters and I either ride or take the Max to the Blazers game we go to.

    I would be up for any biking plus Blazers event.

    Even better if the event is in June when the Blazers are playing in the NBA finals.

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    carlos June 12, 2009 at 12:13 pm

    sounds fun, sign me up!

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    RonC June 12, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    Where is the official bike parking area for the Rose Garden? Is it reasonably secure? Does it ever fill-up? I remember seeing some racks near the entry to the Garden Garage on Dexler Way. Is that it, or is there more?

    Biking in and back from Mt. Park on winter evenings might be a stretch for me, and even more of a stretch for my wife. (Would make for a very late night!) But an occasional Sunday afternoon game might be possible. You can add me to the list of PDX riders who are die-hard Blazer fans, but I won’t hold it against anyone if they’re not on that bandwagon either. We all have our character flaws… 😉

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    Joe Metal Cowboy Kurmaskie June 12, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Anyone who is up for a loose balls bike ride/tour some weekend or afternoon this summer should email me: mtcowboy@teleport.com We could hit a few courts – put a little distance between them so we’d get a bit of riding between games, then grab drinks and/or food at a pub. Heck, sounds like my childhood riding all over again, cept that now we could carry the ball in a pannier instead of trying to hold it in one hand and steer with the other… and I’m legal to drink now 😉 Have been for more time than I’d like to admit.

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    peejay June 12, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Ron:

    The bike parking is (as stated above) next to the will call section of the box office. There are about two or three dozen staples, in an area that looks very safe and secure, away from the surging post-game crowds, but open enough that a thief wouldn’t feel too comfortable. There are probably a few RG employees overlooking the area now and again. Riding to and from a game is pretty easy, but the people can be a little more unruly after a game (win or lose), so be on alert for peds more than cars. Taco Bell on Weidler WILL NOT serve bikes from the drive-through, so you may need to collect your Chalupa through the cooperation of somebody in a car. Or, give away your coupon and get a real taco from a real taco stand. That’s a way better way to honor the Blazers!

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    joe June 12, 2009 at 1:21 pm

    hoops nut here, too. maybe we could try out bikehoops where, you know, you try to play basketball while riding. sounds impossible.

    maybe some of the players can join any number of rides to raise publicity/money? bridge pedal, obviously…

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    kelsey June 12, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    i love the blazers and biking! i’d love to see the two combined in any way. i’ve ridden my bike to several games, and agree that it is the best way to get there, no crowded MAX to deal with, or heinous parking.

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    stevfarns June 12, 2009 at 1:46 pm

    Jonathan, thanks for the story. I’m an employee of the Trail Blazers and an avid bike commuter. I probably average 3 days a week year round and we’re slowly growing in numbers here.
    5 knee surgeries is over the top man. Like BikingViking above, I’m capped at 2 and not planning on another any time soon.
    Thanks for the support and see you all on the road!

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    Little Red Bike Cafe June 12, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    We love bikes and the Blazers and are so excited to read of this partnership. Way to go Jonathan! Rip City all the way, Baby!

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    Angela K June 12, 2009 at 6:37 pm

    OK, I have to admit I’d love the Blazers more if Danny Green and Wayne Ellington head this way…my true love is TARHEEL basketball, born and raised in the Phil Ford era. 🙂 That being said, I think mixing bikes and b-ball is a great idea for Portland, for biking, for sustainability…all around basically. Thanks Jonathan!

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    Troy June 12, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Love the Blazers and bikes. I know it’s a good fit for me, and seems like a good fit for two prominent identities of Portland.

    For a couple of years I thought Blaze should ride out on a tall bike during breaks and dunk as he rides by the hoops. Get some of that bike spirit on the court.

    The bike Channing rode in that commercial belongs to a good friend of mine. He works in the Blazer’s marketing dept and he’s known around the office as the guy who bikes in often and he has a garage full of bikes. They needed one without any blue in it and the only one that met that criteria and wasn’t in pieces was a crappy beach cruiser that he rarely rode. He brought the benchwarmer in for Channing and if you watch the commercial closely Channing doesn’t even pedal because his knees would hit the bars. But now his cruiser is obviously totally famous, which is rad.

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    Kevin June 13, 2009 at 9:36 am

    Go Blazers! I love riding my bike to games for all of those reasons mentioned above. I would like to see the staples covered, though. Since a bulk of the season is during the winter, it sucks to come out after a game to get on a wet bike and ride home.

    I have always marveled at how many people ride to games,it never ceases to put a smile on my face!

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    Erik June 13, 2009 at 10:56 am

    I can think of 20 people off the top of my head who would sign up for a bike to the blazers ride. Make it happen!

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    Yodan June 13, 2009 at 2:07 pm

    Go Blazers!! Me and my crew would be down!

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    Shawna June 14, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Count us in! We live just a few blocks from the Max stop at 60th, and it’s still faster to ride bikes to the Rose Garden for Blazers games. I hope the Blazers don’t trade Channing Frye! That guy is a great ambassador for the team. Also: B-ballers have the most awesomely huge bikes. I would love to watch Yao ride this thing:
    http://tinyurl.com/6es477

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    jered June 15, 2009 at 10:19 am

    Biking to Blazers games is the way to go so fast and so much easier.

    I find the bike parking area to be sketchy. It is a bit too dark and a little too hidden with the planters. I would add three times the light and cut out all the foliage and add a camera on the area. My wife and I double lock our bikes whenever we are out together and we came out of a blazers game to find her lock GONE, they didn’t mess with the second lock!

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  • […] in June, I pointed out how bikes and Blazers “go great together”, but it will take more than one eager advocate to make a lot of noise for bikes at the Rose Garden. […]

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  • […] bikes and Blazers? Why not? Both are a major force for good in our city and by tying them together, great things can happen. […]

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