Naked cycling to save the planet — Why not?
RICHARD ROEP E R firstname.lastname@example.org June 10, 2012 10:22PM
Updated: July 12, 2012 6:14AM
If you were driving downtown last Saturday night, you might have been caught up in one of the more entertaining traffic jams of the year, caused by hundreds of cyclists happily pedaling through the city.
Or at least semi-naked. Or sorta naked while sporting creative costuming.
It was the annual Naked Bike Ride, in which some of our bravest free spirits take off their clothes and take to the streets to promote, um, hold on here, I know they’re promoting something...
Biking naked for a cause
Oh right. “Freedom from oil and positive body image.” That’s how their website phrases it.
The Naked Bike Ride is “a people powered happening bringing radical attention against oil addiction...It IS an extreme free speech exercise trying to save the planet. It’s NOT Mardi Gras.”
OK. Freedom from oil, positive body image message. I vote yes on both.
“This is a non-sexual event protesting oil dependency, and repression of the natural human form,” explains the website.
And that’s true. Some of the semi-naked cyclists are young and gorgeous and their bodies are sleek and attractive. Some of the semi-naked cyclists are not those things. Either way, hundreds of individuals of all shapes and sizes a-jiggling and a-giggling as they merrily pedal around the city is hardly a modern-day Bacchanalia. You just have to admire the sheer boldness and the free-spirited nature of these folks.
Plus they’re civic-minded. Remember: This is all for a good cause.
But I still think the main takeaway from spectators who suddenly find themselves watching this happy parade is, “I just saw a thousand naked people riding bicycles.”
Maybe it’s near the
Statute of Liberty
Referring to the residual resentment of LeBron James and the Heat after the obnoxious manner in which James joined the team a couple of years ago, ESPN’s Jeff Van Gundy said this during last Saturday’s Heat-Celtics game:
“There’s a statue of limitations on stupidity, and I think two years is long enough.”
Yes. And a statute as well.
They’ll build a statue of James in Miami if 2012 marks the first of multiple titles for the Heat. He’s a nine-year veteran of the league, but he’s still younger than Michael Jordan was when the Bulls won the first of their six NBA titles.
As for Van Gundy’s statement, he’s got a point. I was among the 235,678 media commentators who blasted James and ESPN for that ridiculous announcement special, not to mention the pyrotechnic-filled celebration put on by the Heat before James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh had played a single game together. Overnight, the Heat became the most loathed (and envied) team in sports this side of the Yankees.
You hear a lot of stories about James and his entourage, and how he’s isolated from the real world now that he’s become one of the most famous, wealthy and celebrated athletes on planet. No doubt most fans outside of Miami were rooting for the aging Celtics to hang on for a Game 7 miracle in the Eastern Conference Finals.
But still. The level of vitriol still aimed at James and his team does seem overheated, sorry for the pun. There are convicted felons in professional sports who get a lot more love than LeBron James.
Sports fans hate their villains at least as passionately as they love their home team favorites — and it’s easy to dislike the Hollywood Heat and their overcelebrating ways. But James doesn’t really play like a villain — he plays like an all-time great. Nor do we hear stories about him closing down nightclubs every weekend or accidentally discharging a firearm at a strip joint or making multiple appearances in front of judges.
James is a magnificent player with a huge ego. If he finishes his career with six or seven MVPs and three or four NBA titles, are some fans — and not just in Cleveland — still going to be obsessing over his clumsy jump to Miami? If so, why?
In a sports world in which an awful lot of fans and media seem to have forgiven Michael Vick, what’s it going to take for James to get absolution?