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3 Ways LeBron Can Help Get Cleveland Biking

Lebron James often commuted to practice and games in Miami. Photo: JackNruth on Twitter

In Miami, LeBron often rode his bike to practice and games. Photo: @JackNruth

Well, the Decision Part II is official, and northeast Ohio’s prodigal son LeBron James is heading back to Cleveland. The most immediate result is that the Cavaliers are going to get much, much better.

Aside from his phenomenal basketball skills, LeBron has moonlighted as a bit of a bike advocate. For years, he’s held a charitable bike ride in his hometown of Akron. He and teammate Dwyane Wade crashed a Critical Mass bike ride in Miami. He also took to bike commuting to AmericanAirlines Arena during his time with the Heat.

Given all that, I’m hoping, somewhat indulgently, that LeBron can help push Cleveland’s vision for a more bike-friendly city forward. Here’s an optimistic assessment of what he could do:

1. Model healthy transportation

LeBron’s primary home is in the distant suburb of Bath. But he also has a smaller condo in a lakefront building in the city. It wouldn’t hurt to have our hometown hero, perhaps the best-known athlete in the world, setting an example for the community, young and old, by using a healthy and active form of transportation to get to work.

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Forget Alec Baldwin. How About Some Celebrity Failure-to-Yield Tickets?

Well that was fast. About an hour after Alec Baldwin was arrested after reportedly biking in the wrong direction on Fifth Avenue this morning, the story was all over the place.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Actor Alec Baldwin was arrested in Manhattan for riding his bike the wrong way down a street and for disorderly conduct, a law-enforcement official said.

Mr. Baldwin was allegedly riding his bicycle north on Fifth Avenue in the center of the street between 15th and 16th streets, the official said.

Police officers stopped him and asked him for identification, but he didn’t have any on him, the official said.

Mr. Baldwin then allegedly grew visibly upset with the officers, the official said. He was placed in handcuffs. Mr. Baldwin was taken to a local police precinct and was later released, the official said.

Sure, Baldwin is primo click bait right now, but consider this: Celebrity summonses are kind of a brilliant way to get the most bang for your enforcement buck. The public education value is sky high. Imagine if NYPD ticketed, say, Kim Kardashian for speeding, followed by a statement from the department along the lines of “Speeding kills, no matter who’s behind the wheel.”

Of course, there would have to be more enforcement against reckless driving for that message to stick. As of March, officers from the 13th Precinct, where Baldwin was arrested, had ticketed seven drivers for speeding this year. Meanwhile, NYPD locks up normal people after dumb bike stops on the regular.

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LeBron and Friends Reclaim Miami’s Streets in New Ad


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.”

James’s charity foundation has a program that links cycling and physical fitness to education in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, and we’ve written before that he and teammates Dwyane Wade and Mario Chalmers are regulars at Miami Critical Mass.

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.

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Leonardo DiCaprio Rides Citi Bike With Extraordinary Sense of Purpose

Somewhere in SoHo... Photo: Fan Girl

Everything I want to say about this event is in the headline. Enjoy 26 more photos of Leo riding a Citi Bike over at Fan Girl.

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Bike Activism Wins Championships

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.

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Eyes on the Street: Fresh Stripes in the South Slope

Photo: Brian Wilson

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.

DNAinfo reports that this project also includes…

…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:

Photos: Eric McClure

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D-Wade *Is* Traffic — Heat Star a Regular at Miami Critical Mass

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.

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My MSNBC Biking Story: Chris Hayes

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?

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Spot the Celebrity Bike-Share Planner

One of these bike-share workshop participants is the star of this classic Streetfilm.

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.

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LeBron James Bikes to Work “All the Time”

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:

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