Special gravel coverage

Blazers star Brandon Roy bikes to practice (and he’s not weird)

Posted by on October 9th, 2009 at 9:49 am

Roy’s talent, style, and popularity could
do wonders for the reputation of
bicycling in Portland.

In the few years he’s been in the NBA, the Portland Trail Blazers’ Brandon Roy has become a bona-fide star. That’s one reason why back in July 2008, we featured his love of biking on the Front Page.

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”.

Riding a bike is “weird”?! Not when B-Roy does it. (Detail from Blazers Media Guide)

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!]

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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

  • Bart King October 9, 2009 at 9:57 am

    Bill Walton wasn’t just a biking enthusiast… he was a published expert! http://tinyurl.com/ykkocw3

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  • froot dawg October 9, 2009 at 9:58 am

    Bill Walton used to ride at the Alpenrose Velodrome, I dont remember where but there is a pic of him out there on a HUGE track bike!

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  • froot dawg October 9, 2009 at 9:59 am
  • t.a. barnhart October 9, 2009 at 10:04 am

    let’s hope that unlike Bill, Brandon does not get his bike ripped off.

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  • nuovorecord October 9, 2009 at 10:14 am

    I remember Bill trying to ride his bike in the Blazer’s victory parade. That idea lasted all of a few blocks, as the Blazermaniacs swarmed him and he was forced to retreat to the safety of a car!

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  • Mike October 9, 2009 at 10:45 am

    Well, looking at the other things on the last it’s not actually very weird stuff: lots of good beer, an awesome book store, I’m pretty sure it’s not an insult to bicyclists.

    Brandon Roy is truly a quality guy. So glad we have him.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) October 9, 2009 at 10:48 am


    Before anyone starts off on the usual “BikePortland is whining and being over-sensitive again about a perceived insult to biking…” thing, let me just say that I never said it was an insult.

    I was simply pointing out that it’s unfortunate to include biking — a totally normal thing — in a list of “weird” stuff.

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  • LoneHeckler October 9, 2009 at 10:51 am

    froot dawg: Nice find!

    Walton was a hero in my youth – and helped inspire my love of bicycling. Local author Larry Colton documented his adventures accompanying Big Bill on an Oregon coast ride down highway 101, during the summer following the ’77 championship. The book is Idol Time, a fun read for anyone interested in Blazer history.

    There’s also an account of several players riding to Salem for a visit to the state penitentiary.

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  • cyclist October 9, 2009 at 11:00 am


    When you say that you think something is “unfortunate” you are implying that it is a bad thing.

    According to the poster above (#6) the list in the media guide includes:

    Good Beer

    Why is it unfortunate that biking is on that list? It looks to me like you’re going out of your way looking for a reason to complain when there isn’t one. Your defense of the complaint is pretty half-hearted. And before you get upset with me criticizing you, I didn’t say your complaint was bad, just unfortunate.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) October 9, 2009 at 11:07 am


    thanks for the comment. again, my intention was not to “go out of my way looking for a reason to complain”… i was simply trying to share some feelings about the media guide.

    I love the Blazers! I love biking! I love keeping Portland weird!

    (geez…. I sure miss the old days when every single word i wrote was not scrutinized like this.)

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  • RonC October 9, 2009 at 11:30 am

    (geez…. I sure miss the old days when every single word i wrote was not scrutinized like this.)

    Yes, I hear you. BTW, a proper ellipsis only has three dots…

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  • huey lewis October 9, 2009 at 11:32 am

    i always assume the “weird” bit really means cool. yes, weird compared to the vast majority of american cities (that often times really suck), but it’s all the stuff that makes portland so awesome.

    that last line in the last paragraph does come off kind of whiny. and i say this as i’m a pro whiner/complainer myself. given the rest of the list it seems like they are stoked on the bikers.

    If he does, I think the Blazers — and many of their fans in Portland — will stop seeing beer as “weird” and see it as a cool beverage to drink.

    If he does, I think the Blazers — and many of their fans in Portland — will stop seeing books as “weird” and see it as a cool way to entertain and educate themselves.

    If he does, I think the Blazers — and many of their fans in Portland — will stop seeing the simpsons as “weird” and see it as a cool show to watch as it is hilarious.

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  • jordan October 9, 2009 at 11:34 am

    I would love to get a reflective Blazers Sticker for my bike.

    Go B-Roy! Rip City!

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  • peejay October 9, 2009 at 11:38 am

    I’m looking forward to the next Bike to Blazer event. It’s pretty cool that they actually have good bike facilities at the RG, although it could always be better.

    As for BRoy, what would be awesome is if he rode to the games as well as the practices. From Lake Oswego, that would impress me.

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  • AaronF October 9, 2009 at 12:06 pm

    …but having the highest work commute rate isn’t “totally normal.”

    It’s exceptional!

    It’s unusual!

    Yay Portland!

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  • cyclist October 9, 2009 at 12:57 pm


    This article is labeled as news, not as an editorial. Do you feel that it’s appropriate to dedicate one paragraph of a seven paragraph news story to share your feelings about the media guide? Isn’t that sort of thing best left to an editorial?

    As a writer of news stories for a major (if local) community news source, you should expect people to hold you to a high standard if you wish to be taken seriously as a journalist. I’ve been reading this site for years, and it seems to me you do wish to be taken seriously as a journalist, as such you should expect (and welcome!) the level of scrutiny you currently receive. I’d rather you admit that you made a mistake, that your feelings about the content of one small section of the Blazers media guide doesn’t count as “News” in even the broadest sense of the term.

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  • d October 9, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    Here’s a great quote from Mr. Walton.

    “My bike is my wheelchair, my gym and my church, all in one. I thank my bike doctor for keeping my bike working. ”

    The Bike Gallery here in town was responsible for getting a huge, custom bike built (I believe it was a Co-Motion frame) for Blazers’ center Joel Pryzbilla. Both Greg Oden and Brandon Roy have ridden it in the past for training/rehabilitation. I wonder if they’ve got their own custom bikes now?

    Go Blazers!

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  • Mike October 9, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    Re: Maus

    No worries – I am a big fan of the blazers, bicycle commuting, and your blog! I just don’t think including bicycling on that list was unfortunate. In fact, I’d even go the other way and say that it was positive coverage: Bikes, Blazers, Books, Beer, and BikePortland. What a perfect city.

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  • 3-speeder October 9, 2009 at 3:43 pm

    Re #16 – cyclist: Blogging journalism is different from print journalism. Reasonable bias is appropriate in a news story for this medium. Why here and not in print? Because the immediate reader responses will help an uninformed reader identify how to evaluate the bias. In print, such feedback is too slow in coming and limited in space available. The resulting “objectivity” in a print news article can acutally be misleading, giving equal weight to a fringe opinion.

    I feel Jonathon is trailblazing in this sort of journalism and is doing an excellent job. He’s not perfect, but who is? Nitpicking is unconstructive. If you think you can do better, start your own blog.

    BikePortland exists to “inform and inspire”. It succeeds tr4emendously on both accounts.

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  • cyclist October 9, 2009 at 5:12 pm

    3-speeder #19: I disagree on a couple of accounts. First, this site has tags that are supposed help distinguish fact-based news stories (“News”) from opinion pieces (I’m pretty sure the tag is “Editorial”). The purpose of those tags is to help inform the reader know whether it is an “Op Ed” story (as it would be called in the newspaper world) or a real news story. I just don’t think it’s appropriate for the writer to, in his own words, “share some feelings” in a news story.

    If the writer is depending on the comments section to keep him honest, in my opinion the writer is being lazy, and isn’t worth much as a source of real news. The reason why most online journalism is still, in 2009, not being taken seriously by the mainstream press, it’s because bloggers do not hold themselves to the standards that the rest of the press hold themselves to. There are exceptions (Politico and TPM generally do a good job of offering fact-based journalism and providing good separation between news and editorials).

    As near as I can tell the mission of bikeportland.org is not to inform and inspire, it’s to be “one of the most influential and authoritative bike news sites in the country.” In order to achieve that goal, Jonathan has to be more than an advocate, otherwise he’s just another arm of the BTA.

    I agree that faux objectivity is silly, but there’s a real difference between news and analysis and pure opinion pieces. For instance, if the Blazers had a public stance about bicycles (“The Blazers think bicycling is a healthy way to get where you’re going”) Jonathan could do a bit of investigation and determine whether or not people within the organization actual back up their talk. Are there showers for employee use? How many people bike? He doesn’t have to hide his pro-bike bias, he just has to be fair and report facts, not opinion.

    I know this is rather long-winded. The point I’m trying to make is that if Jonathan fancies himself a journalist (and if you look at the About Us page, he does) then he needs to hold himself to the standard journalists hold themselves to. For the most part he does a good job, when he doesn’t he should be told that he’s not. If he holds himself to a higher standard his work will have more value, and the community in general will benefit significantly from that.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) October 9, 2009 at 6:58 pm


    I really do appreciate your feedback and I take it seriously.

    I hear your points loud and clear.

    I’ll keep this short and just say that this conversation needs to happen in person because there are many nuances i can share about my style of journalism and how it relates to my role in the community.

    thanks again.

    oh, and one more thing, I think I’ll go and add “Editorial” to the list of categories this story belongs in.


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  • Shake October 9, 2009 at 8:45 pm

    I love this site. Keep up the good work!

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  • f5 October 9, 2009 at 9:19 pm

    Enough with the pointless ranting already. Sheesh.

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  • Nick Littlejohn October 10, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    I wrote Brandon on Facebook to see if he might be willing to do some Blazers and cycling cross promotion.

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  • Dave October 10, 2009 at 4:53 pm

    He should look into an Oregon-built bike if he hasn’t already–Co Motion is excellent at building custom very-tall frames. Company principal Dwan Sheperd is a tall gent, and their tandem business keeps them stocking lots of oversize tubing.

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  • marc October 12, 2009 at 9:45 am

    for a trip down memory lane, check out FAST BREAK, a documentary on 77 blazers — its playing @ the NW Film Center Nov 11.

    there’s this great footage of Walton biking to California with a “No Nukes” T-shirt

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  • chelsea October 12, 2009 at 11:04 am

    (Oh my god, stop complaining people!) That is rad that he rides to practice. I hope his young fans see that and are inspired to get on their bikes too.

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  • JAT in Seattle October 12, 2009 at 3:36 pm

    I was visiting my relatives in PDX many eons ago and there was a radio interview with Bill Walton in which the host exclaimed dumbfoundedly: You paid $400 for a bike and it doesn’t even have a kickstand?!?

    I’ll never forget that (unless it’s a false memory…)

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  • […] in October, team leader Brandon Roy made headlines for biking to practice — and it wasn’t even a one-time deal. In July 2008, he told The Oregonian that […]

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