do wonders for the reputation of
bicycling in Portland.
Now comes further proof of how lucky Portland is to have “B-Roy” on our team: According to an interview given by teammate Nic Batum to a French media outlet that was translated by fan site Blazers Edge, Roy not only loves to ride for training purposes, but he’s actually riding to practice as well.
Here’s the key quote from the interview (this is Batum speaking about Roy):
“… He’s a simple guy and it’s obvious. For example, he only has one car. All the veterans have two or three. I’ve already seen him come to practice on a bike… We live in Portland, a very green city. But seeing your franchise player arrive on a bike, in this environment, is pretty funny…”
I haven’t confirmed how often Roy is biking to work, but maybe it’s one reason why fans have noticed he’s lost some weight going into this season.
I hope Roy can exert as much leadership over his chosen mode of travel to practice as he has about the team’s play on the court.
I’m an unabashed basketball fan and I’m excited that there are efforts afoot (by myself and others in the bike scene) to strengthen the bike connection within the Blazers organization (stay tuned). Back in June I noticed that someone had put Blazer logos on the bike lanes near Rose Garden Arena. Last night at the Bike Commute Challenge results party, I noticed that the Trail Blazers office team placed a respectable 32nd in the highly competitive 100-499 employee category with 6.4% of days bikes in September.
The Blazers 2009-2010 Media Guide has a page that encourages fans to take the MAX light rail to the game. That’s great. But unfortunately, it also includes Portland’s #1 rate of bike commuting on a page that lists factoids to illustrate Portland’s “strange and eccentric roots”.
Here’s to hoping that Roy is the next Bill Walton (a member of the Blazers championship team in the ’70s), both in his public display of bike love and in his success in bringing Portland an NBA championship. If he does, I think the Blazers — and many of their fans in Portland — will stop seeing bike riding as “weird” and see it as a cool way to get around.
[Stay tuned for announcement of this year’s Bike to Blazers event!]