Photo courtesy of Yahoo! News

This post was written by our summer intern, Clay Volino

Basketball’s best bicyclist is coming to town–almost. Though many of you Bay Area readers know SoCal is lower in quality and geography, the bicycling community should take hope in the fact that LeBron will soon head to California.

Just after his first year in the NBA, LeBron kept a commitment to his other favored form of exercise. James’ first-ever charity work was a 2005 bikeathon in his hometown of Akron, Ohio, where he donated bikes to local students and rode with them around town. He donated proceeds from the event to the community, with a third going to the YMCA where he built his basketball skills. Later, he renamed the event Wheels for Education, tying it into his initiative to keep local kids in school and lead them on a track toward college.

The man who fans call King James still pursues his love of biking. In the off-season, he told Bicycling magazine, that he takes a spin with friends “three or four days a week.” Upon moving to play in Miami, fellow bicyclists often spotted him riding on the city’s multi-use paths and protected bike lanes on his way to games. (Even if you’re a revered 6’8” basketball star, good bike infrastructure can make all the difference in comfort, apparently.)

LeBron’s new contract with the Lakers may give him more money and yet more opportunities for stardom on the court, but it doesn’t offer such a pleasant ride from his home to the game. Perhaps a photo of James dodging traffic on a smog-choked highway will help support the push for better bicycle facilities across LA County and the state; and we can sure hope LeBron will embrace a starring role as bike advocate in the Golden State (but…not with Golden State). And LeBron, if you’re reading this, you always have a friend in SVBC when you visit the Bay Area. We’ll join you for a ride.