Looks like the new LeBron James Nike ad that debuted during “Sunday Night Football” last night was at least in part the star’s idea.
The spot portrays the two-time NBA champion performing his off-season workout regimen, accompanied by hundreds of kids and adults on bikes as he rides through Miami. Bystanders watch or join in as the swarm of non-motorized humanity takes over the streets and disrupts highway traffic.
“They allow me to have a lot of input on the spots that come out and they’re basically geared to who I am and what I do on a day-to-day basis,” James told the AP. “It was great to put that together.”
The Heat played the Nets in Brooklyn twice in the preseason, and will be at Barclays and Madison Square Garden a few times this year as they go for the three-peat. We wouldn’t be surprised if LeBron already has a Citi Bike fob.
Miami Critical Mass, November 2012. Photo: Craig Chester
I normally root for the underdog in the NBA Finals unless the Knicks are the favorites (like that will ever happen). And I would have enjoyed seeing Tim Duncan claim one more ring. But I’ve had a soft spot for LeBron, Dwyane Wade, and Mario Chalmers since the news broke last year that they like to drop in on Miami Critical Mass when the schedule allows.
“It gave my body a different type of conditioning challenge,” Wade told Men’s Journal this spring. “I had one of my best games of the season after a Critical Mass bike ride.” I’m glad these guys repeated.
So, now that the off-season is here, can the Heat’s stars do something about Miami’s awful, car-centric streets? By all accounts, the transportation bureaucracy in Miami is especially brutal for livable streets advocates — layer upon stifling layer of different jurisdictions, with the heinous Florida Department of Transportation suffocating everything underneath them. If any celebrity spokesperson has the power to break through and shake up the street design status quo in South Florida, it’s gotta be four-time MVP, two-time champion LeBron.
Over the weekend, crews finished striping new bike routes on 14th Street and 15th Street in Brooklyn, creating a safer east-west connection between Prospect Park West and Third Avenue on the southern end of Park Slope. These are painted, unprotected lanes, except for the westbound stretch between PPW and Eighth Avenue, which is sharrows. Reader Brian Wilson sent in this photo of the new stripes on 14th Street by the Park Slope Armory.
…painted crosswalk extensions on 15th Street at both Eighth Avenue and Fourth Avenue to make crossing distances shorter for pedestrians. On-street bike parking, benches and planters will be installed on 15th Street outside the Armory entrance, according to the DOT.
Here’s a look at the preliminary markings on 15th Street. It looks like this lane will help guide cyclists to ride outside of the door zone:
Via BikeBlogNYC, the Miami Bike Scene recently posted this post-game clip of Dwyane Wade in which the All-Star Heat guard shares his fondness for going on bike rides with thousands of other people. On Friday, it seems, Wade and teammates LeBron James and Mario Chalmers warmed up for the next day’s match against the Brooklyn Nets by going on a 20-mile Critical Mass jaunt through the streets of Miami.
Transit Miami’s Craig Chester snapped a group shot:
That’s 60 percent of a championship starting line-up right there, and the Heat won 102-89 on Saturday. Might a new training regimen for Deron Williams be in the offing?
We knew James likes to ride his bike to the arena on occasion. Turns out D-Wade is getting to be a regular on the last Friday of every month. Here’s a short clip of him from September’s ride:
If these Heat stars ever make the leap from group rides to advocating for safe streets, Miami could sure use the help. And we know a few good bloggers who’d be happy to show them the ropes.
Hat tip to reader Stephen Arthur for sending along the news.
Here’s an intriguing promo from the cable news network that’s ahead of the pack when it comes to livable streets. MSNBC host Chris Hayes is pitching his show with a foreshortened look at his Brooklyn-to-Rock Center bike commute. You’ll have to forgive the sidewalk riding that bookends the trip.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, the Brooklyn Bridge bike/ped path, and what appears to be the Henry Street bike lane all make appearances. Looks like a great commute, but I highly recommend that Chris invest in some panniers for his rear rack. Any other tips?
It was another evening of hands-on bike-share station planning at Manhattan Community Board 2 last night, as New Yorkers hunched over maps of SoHo and Greenwich Village, marking the best places to site bike-share kiosks.
If you live or work in the bike-share service area, you really ought to mark your calendar for the station planning meeting in your neck of the woods. There’s something very gratifying about the process that NYC DOT and Alta Bikeshare have put together for people to rate different sites. Each time you put a sticker on the map, you’re shaping the bike-share system in a small but tangible way.
The other thing is that you never know who else will show up. Last night, former Talking Heads frontman and one-time Summer Streets spokesperson David Byrne was in the house, marking up a map. If the pattern holds, it looks like Jay-Z will be on hand for the Manhattan CB 6 workshop later this month, and John Franco and John Starks might turn up at Brooklyn CB 2.
This Twitter photo of LeBron James biking to American Airlines Arena before facing off against Derrick Rose and the Chicago Bulls last night has gone viral on sports news sites all over America.
There are some interesting sociological currents swirling around LeBron James, bike commuter. While the photographer labeled James a “manchild” for taking to Miami’s none-too-friendly streets on a bike, the prevailing sentiment in the ESPN comments section seems to be that the sight of LeBron riding to work will help rehab his public image.
After the Heat edged the Bulls, James told reporters in the locker room that bike commuting is pretty routine for him. In fact, he seems to enjoy talking about the bike ride more than the basketball game:
Before Streetsblog goes offline for the Thanksgiving weekend, I’d like to reiterate my unsolicited advice for Jennifer Lopez: There is an easy and, I believe, highly effective way to control the damage from the revelation that you did not actually film this Fiat 500 Cabrio commercial on the streets of the Bronx.
For those just tuning in, The Smoking Gun broke this story last night. J Lo filmed her close-ups for the Fiat spot in Los Angeles, while a body double kept the driver’s seat warm for the actual footage from the Bronx, and a digital effects firm added a few touches of computer-generated boogie-down fakery — all to make it seem like Lopez was actually driving around her old neighborhood, on the streets that “inspire” her.
The sophisticated operation to spare J Lo from having to venture out to her home borough is not just great NYC tabloid fodder — it’s national news. So, on to the image rehab advice, which is pretty simple: J Lo needs to film a bike ad in the Bronx. Here are three reasons why this is a great idea:
Big points for being down to earth. The suggested retail price of the Fiat 500 Cabrio is $26,000. It’s not a Benz, but it’s kind of an ostentatious display when you can get just about anywhere you need to go in NYC with an unlimited Metrocard and a bike. Even a very nice new city bike, if J Lo were to pitch one, won’t set you back more than $600 to $1,200.
The playing-with-kids scenes will be way more believable. Even before The Smoking Gun story came out, the Fiat ad didn’t exactly scream authenticity. That part where the kids run and skip next to a moving motor vehicle with J Lo inside? Didn’t seem fun. A group ride with J Lo would actually look like a good time.
Trendsetting. As far as I know, there are no big-time celebrity endorsement deals with the major bike manufacturers, nor are there any bike ads on TV. Probably because the bike industry has a lot less to throw around than the car companies. J Lo wouldn’t be doing this bike spot for the payday, she’d do it to be a pioneer.
I say this all as a big “Out of Sight” fan and a devout viewer of American Idol Season 10 (at least until Haley got voted off). And I didn’t even get to the part about biking being healthy, good for the environment, and a much better fit than personal motorized transport for the Bronx streets that inspire J Lo.
Stewart talks up cycling as transportation with Emilia Crotty of Bike New York
In addition to nerve-wracking weather, one sure sign of spring is the re-emergence of the bicycle as pop culture totem. If you’re on many catalogue mailing lists, you’ve probably seen them — gleaming utility bikes and cruisers at the ready as toned and tanned models relax at the outdoor cafe or by the pool. And they’re not just props — furniture and housewares retailer CB2 has its own city bike, developed with a Florida-based manufacturer ($499; details at Treehugger).
Coupled with poll data and legislative action showing general support for human-oriented public space and transportation initiatives, it’s enough to suggest that the bike-hating American public is mostly a myth, conjured and nursed by out of touch politicians and conflict-craving, auto-driven media.
Enter Martha Stewart. In advance of Bike Month, Stewart invited Emilia Crotty of Bike New York into the studio for a thorough lesson on cycle maintenance, followed by a bike and schwag giveaway (congratulations Georgiana Powell of Moscow, PA). Turns out Stewart is a cyclist herself, as are, at least for this segment, many members of her studio audience.
If this isn’t a marker of cycling for transportation becoming a more mainstream American activity, it’s hard to imagine what would be.