Wednesday, February 01, 2012

LeBron rode his bike to the game

O.M.G.! LeBron James rode his bicycle to the game that he was playing in? He did what?!?!?!? Rode a ... bicycle?

ESPN "reports":
Word trickled out during Sunday's game that LeBron James rode his bike to AmericanAirlines Arena. Traffic was backed up because of a nearby marathon and LeBron decided to take another mode of transportation. The ride took 40 minutes and he safely arrived at the arena with plenty of time to spare.

Wait, wait, wait. Let me get this straight. A professional athlete used a pedal powered vehicle to go from point A to point B in one of the US's flattest and warmest cities, just like Dutch and Danish kids, adolescents, adults, and geriatrics do every day throughout much of the year (including the far-colder fall, winter and spring)?

Why is this news? Because he didn't drive and sit in traffic, having to go around the marathon course along with all the other cars? Seem like a smart option to me to ride his bike.

As Bike Snob pointed out in his original take on this:
I'm not sure if they're amazed he was able to do something a typical Dutch grandmother does on a daily basis, or that he didn't get run over by a car, or both, but in any case it's a sad reminder of just how developmentally challenged our relationship with cycling is here in Canada's steer head belt buckle. I'm also not sure why James opted for the "Cat 6 scuba diver" look (especially given the fact that he's in Miami, where it seems like his usual basketball uniform would have been a cooler and more comfortable choice of attire) but I'm sure he had his reasons. In any case, I certainly don't mean to criticize James himself for his mode of transport; rather, I just wish I lived in a country where this wasn't considered in any way remarkable. (I also wonder if ESPN would have found it funny if James was hit by a car and sent flying into a barbed wire fence.) Even the "smugness media" is excited about it, even though James appears to be one of those infuriatingly un-smug "vehicular cyclists" who wears a helmet and doesn't ride in tweed.
I am still amazed that people think that it's strange that I don't own a car and that I ride my bike throughout the year. The question of how else am I going to get to town if I didn't ride my bike throughout the year apparently doesn't occur to them. Still, I do it - not to cut through marathon-induced traffic jams - mostly to not have to pay for a car:
  • gas (~$1000/year)
  • insurance (~$750/year)
  • registration (~$100/year)
  • maintenance  ($150-$1000/year)
  • parking (~$200/year)
  • Total ($2000-$2850/year)
Compare this price to quarterly maintenance costs ($100-$200/quarter) and the financial incentive is clear. Add to this the distinction of not having to set aside extra time to do exercise (included in University fees if I do it on campus, or $1200/year at a gym), and the incentive becomes even more clear.

Although I don't know how long of a commute LeBron's was (that took him 40 minutes), I can say that I am one more person for whom bike commuting is not so strange (and feel that if others didn't look at it as a freakish thing to do, then there would likely be better bike infrastructure and commuter bike options around).

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