When our favourite Governator, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was photographed earlier this year riding a bike in Melbourne, social media had a mini-meltdown. Some may even argue that it was the greatest promotion the City of Melbourne’s blue hire bikes had ever received. The reality is that Arnie is a known cycling fan and he is far from alone when it comes to celebrity riders, but there was something about the moment with the tram (and possibly lack of helmet) that caught the media’s eye. It raises an interesting question: aside from the feats of professional cyclists, what other ‘bike moments’ have caused a stir or left an imprint?
Where great ideas are born
When asked about the development of his ‘Theory of Relativity’, Albert Einstein replied, “I thought of that while riding my bike”. I think we can leave this one here. Geniuses ride bikes obviously.
Speaking of great ideas, the late Leonard Nimoy (possibly better known as Spock on Star Trek) was the butt of many cheeky lightbulb moments from his former colleague William Shatner. It turns out Mr Shatner, or Captain Kirk, had a penchant for pranks; most especially when they involved Leonard’s bike. The video above explains all and is worth watching if you’ve got the time – gives insight into their quality friendship and fun personalities.
The classic image
Of the great number of Hollywood stars, few have captured the imagination of the public like Audrey Hepburn. Her beauty and style made her a fashion icon – not only in her generation, but for all time – while her humanitarian efforts have been acknowledged well beyond her years. Which specific Audrey look comes to mind will vary depending on the film you remember first, but everyone can picture her riding a bike. And perhaps most frustrating to the rest of us, she looked beautiful in all of them, and set a standard too high for anyone else trying to look classy on a bike. As a side note, Kim Kardashian attempted to recreate one of Audrey’s classic bike photoshoots in 2014, but fell short … literally … fell over … proving that the fashion gods do exist and they have a sense of humour.
While former Friends star and rom-com specialist Jennifer Aniston is a well-known cycling fan and often seen riding around the streets, it was in an interview a few years back when she casually mentioned that she had worked as a bike courier in New York City that the media saw her bike riding in a new light.
She was quoted as saying that she “was pretty fast on the bike, but not very good on the directions” and so was often late with her deliveries. Imagine cursing the late arrival of your documents only to find out later that it was delivered by a Hollywood star… almost sounds like a movie.
While perhaps not generating the same interest as Rachel … errr … Jennifer, Liev Schreiber also worked as a bike courier before making it in Hollywood. It’s an interest that he not only maintains to this day, but his wife, Naomi Watts, credits him with getting her and their children actively riding. Courier and recruiter – well played Liev.
That’s going to hurt
While we’d like to think that every bike moment would be a positive one, there are occasions where the attention comes from less happy situations. Although many people were pretty unhappy when a new album from U2 magically appeared on their Apple devices against their will, I don’t think anyone would have actively wished for the bike accident that would follow. In what Bono himself describes as a “freak accident” the front man and professional activist/preacher/sunglass offender suffered a broken arm in six places and fractured his eye socket, hand and shoulder blade after an accident in November, with fears that he will never be able to play the guitar again.
While Bono flirts with the idea of being a politician, an actual politician in John Kerry broke his femur recently after hitting a curb in south eastern France. Although it would be easy to assume that the break may, in part, be due to Kerry’s age, a personal friend was quick to point out that he is actual a genuinely serious rider. After all, the climb Kerry was attempting when he crashed, the Col de la Colombière, is one of the toughest in the Alps.
Forever on film
Bicycles get a fairly regular run in mainstream films but once in a while there is a scene that manages to grab the audience. Sure, The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz had some quality bike moments, but if I had to cast a vote… well, it’s a tree-way tie between Nicole in BMX Bandits, ET trying to get home, and Kermit riding through the park with Miss Piggy in The Muppets.
In 2012 AFL superstar and all-round legend Jonathan Brown was riding with former Wallaby and dual Rugby international Matt Rodgers. Brown had been dropped by the group and whilst riding through a roundabout he was hit by a car. The 195cm, 104kg centre half forward, who had a terrible record with injuries, walked away with 10 stitches in his elbow. The car however, was not so fortunate. It was towed away with extensive damage to the front and driver side window.
Social media quickly got a hold of the story, most people sympathising with the car… one tweet reading, “thoughts are with the vehicle hit by Johnathan Brown this morning on the Gold Coast”. Fellow AFL spearhead Tom Hawkins tweeted, “I hear BIG Jonathan Brown got hit by a car whilst cycling on the Gold Coast! #poorcar” Brownie’s reputation as one of the toughest footballers to ever play the game only enhanced with this run-in.