Bills S Scott pedals his way to practice
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP)
As the parade of hulking SUVs, pickup trucks, and expensive cars make their way down One Bills Drive to the team's facility every morning before practice, Buffalo safety Bryan Scott cuts a curious figure on the horizon.
Scott's hard to miss: He's the one on a speed bicycle, dressed in a tight-fitting black racing suit with a fancy aerodynamic helmet to match, and has everything he needs stuffed into a pack on his back.
''Yeah, it's different,'' said Scott, who elicited giggles and jokes from his teammates when he first pulled into the locker room in August and leaned the bike next to a wall near his stall. ''Not too many guys ride their bikes to the facility. But it's a lifestyle for me, actually.''
Scott's the only Bills player to ride his bike to work, and he's fondly earned several nicknames. There's ''Lance,'' as in Armstrong, to the far more innovative title given him by defensive end Marcus Stroud: ''He's the head of go-green initiative of the Buffalo Bills.''
It's all in good fun.
''It's his way of doing something different,'' Stroud said. ''Hey, I support him. It's a good way to stay in shape.''
Just don't expect many to start joining Scott on the open road any time soon.
''No,'' Stroud said, with a laugh. ''Absolutely not.''
And that's fine with Scott, an eight-year NFL veteran, whose happy-go-lucky, try-anything nature makes him a popular teammate and an upbeat figure on an 0-5 team. A versatile backup who's played both safety and linebacker, Scott most always has a smile on his face, even as he's missed the past two weeks with a knee injury.
''Oh, the first time I came in here with all the garb on and everything, yeah, they were laughing, taking pictures,'' Scott said. ''But it's all in fun. Some of the guys they're interested in the bike, so they might get one.''
Scott became a cycling fanatic in June, when, on a whim, he purchased the 17-pound Sport GT Carbon bike at a cycling store near his home in Georgia.
''I picked it up and it was so light, and I was like, 'This is pretty cool,''' he recalled. ''The next thing, I was back in the store buying all the gear and pedals and shoes and I just started riding.''
For emphasis, Scott reaches for a silver pair of racing shoes, one of three pairs he has stuffed in his locker. He's already joined several cycling groups in Georgia and Buffalo.
The benefits include staying in shape - Scott estimates he rides between 100 to 150 miles a week, including his five-mile roundtrip to work. And he's also noticed an affect on his pocketbook in the gas he's saving by cycling as opposed to driving his Cadillac Escalade.
And yes, Scott can see the irony in his two modes of transportation.
''I need the four-wheel drive to get around here in the winter,'' Scott said, while noting he drives a Nissan Maxima when he's home in Georgia.
Then again, Scott's bicycle didn't come cheap. He estimates having spent $7,500 on the bike and accessories, including an iPod holder and speakers.
The best part about cycling is the freedom.
''It's amazing, how you view the world differently,'' Scott said. ''Places that you've driven before, you pass everything so quickly. Then, all of a sudden when you start bike riding, you notice little things just around your neighborhood. It's pretty cool.''
Speaking of cool, he's already made plans for when the Buffalo weather turns sour.
Pulling out a magazine, Scott turns to a page to show off a roller he's purchased which attaches onto his cycle and turns it into a stationary bike.
Defensive tackle John McCargo got a big surprise from Scott one recent morning. As McCargo was turning into the Bills main drive, Scott pulled in front on his bike and raced him to the security gate.
Scott easily won, but it wasn't much of a race because, as McCargo noted, he was too busy laughing.
''I thought he was racing in the Tour de France with that outfit on,'' McCargo said. ''But there's nothing wrong with him riding a bike. It's definitely cool. I guess if I lived that close, I might ride a bike.''