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Open Thread for riding conditions (12/24)

Posted by on December 24th, 2008 at 8:56 am

Snow can’t stop this multi-modal commuter out in Beaverton.
(Photo by K’Tesh via the BikePortland.org Photog. Pool)

And the snow just keeps on coming.

The roads got a brief respite yesterday, but with several more inches expected to fall today, we’re back to snow-covered streets and general mayhem.

Yesterday, I saw a guy on a fixed-gear road bike with slick tires riding over the Bryant St. Bridge as if it was just another day. He even pulled a track-stand while he waited for some walkers in front of him.

Are you still riding? Or have you hunkered in for good to wait things out?

Please use the comments below to let us know what the conditions are like in your neck of the woods.

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Comments
  • shawn. December 24, 2008 at 9:13 am

    After riding all last week, I’ve been walking/busing it this week until things start to thaw. Pushing the bike home through all the drifting, piling snow on Saturday was un-fun enough, don’t even want to attempt biking right now. I give plenty of props to those who are still riding!

    Buses this morning are actually running pretty durn frequently (the lines that ARE running, of course). The one benefit of living on NE Glisan during snowy days is the bus lines on snow routes. Not only can I take the 19 as usual, but I can also grab the 15 and 20! (Conversely, it must suck to live on Mt. Tabor right now and need to catch a bus, it’s a long walk to the nearest bus stop.)

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  • chuck December 24, 2008 at 9:19 am

    I rode to work today. granted, part of my commute is via MAX, so I didn’t have to ride far. I only lost traction twice. once when coming to a stop at 20th and sandy, then again when I hit the side of a rut in the road out near the Cascades MAX station. honestly, the worst part was catching the red line. it looked like they only had 2 trains running out there and back from the Gateway Transit Center, and it was packed. I bumped into someone on their way to Belgium for some sort of cycling race, and ended up having to carry my bike over my shoulder to get around all the luggage at my stop.

    thank goodness for my 24″. it’s doing a pretty good job of getting me around in this stuff.

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  • Val December 24, 2008 at 9:33 am

    Nope, haven’t stopped riding – though the varying conditions mean that large portions of my route have to be walked. It’s a bit ironic; once the lanes get cleared off, they fill up with cars, but are narrower than usual, with nasty slush and ice chunks on the side. This part of the ride for me is a mile of 10-12% grade that slows me down enough that I don’t feel like competing with two lanes of bumper to bumper impatience. As a result, I wind up walking in the postholed slush. No fun, but I get there. Coming down is lovely, though – especially today, when that whole section was closed off with emergency vehicles and road flares. Can’t stop the bike, though – strolled around cars that had been stopped long enough to melt the snow and ice on the road in car sized rectangles. Once past all that, it was almost boring. Things are highly variable up here in the Puget Sound area, but the reliability of my bike seems to be a constant.

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  • mountain cheese December 24, 2008 at 9:36 am

    Today’s was the easiest commute in a while. New snow = grippy! Mountain bike, low pressure knobbies. Been riding all over town (SE/NE/downtown) without much trouble. Used snowshoes to commute Monday, but it’s been the bike every other day since this started. I’ll be sad when it melts.

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  • Mike December 24, 2008 at 10:08 am

    Agree with mountain cheese:

    Today was a relative walk in the park.

    Rolled in from 60th and sandy to downtown and finally tapped my big chainring. No exposed pavement, just lots of good firm smooth pack.

    The key danger I’m seeing (aside from yourself and motorists) are the sewer-pipe-covers. The warmer flowing water in the sewers creates a melt (and then refreeze) on top of the covers in the roadway which creates these mini-ice-volcanoe-looking-hazards out there. The good news is you can see em from a distance because of the rusty tinge the snow mounds have, but it’s still scary to go around – or, sweet baby hay-seuss – or to go over them.

    Still no sign of rain yet. It’s 10:00 and there’s a lot of big flakes coming down downtown.

    Get out there while it’s still deep enough to make falling off your bike fun!

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  • Racer X December 24, 2008 at 10:46 am

    It is still nice flaky snow falling on the downtown Vancouver streets – so pretty bikeable with low traffic volumes.

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  • K'Tesh December 24, 2008 at 11:28 am

    Was forced to take MAX and the route 12 bus today (rather than take the canceled route 76 or 78 bus) to get to work today.

    After work, I’ll be catching a ride with my mom to a family gathering, so the iCycle wasn’t a good plan.

    I may be taking it on friday though…

    Let it melt, Let it melt, Let it melt…

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  • dan Kearl December 24, 2008 at 3:08 pm

    I rode this afternoon for my first snow ride with my cross bike and it was great! Much better than I thought it would be. The packed roads were pretty sticky, not much different than riding on loose gravel. I wish I had gotten out sooner this week.

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  • John Russell December 24, 2008 at 4:29 pm

    Well, I went on an urban adventure in Vancouver today, and any street that’s at least a collector or busier seems to be slushed over by now. Almost down to the bare, but wet pavement. The biggest problem was actually my own residential street, as it was just snow with next to invisible ruts. Scooting along with one foot on the ground, it was slow but manageable.

    The most rideable place was actually the Freeway. Thanks to WSDOT’s snowplows, most everything—even most of the shoulder—was clear.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/jr98664/sets/72157611610593028/

    Did I mention that one of those on ramps is an official bike route?

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) December 24, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    Things are tricky out there. Big ruts and icy bumps. Lots of slush that could be hiding potholes/manholes/icy bumps.

    Mountain bike and big knobby tires are recommended.

    I just rode a few miles from central eastside to NoPo. glad i have a front suspension fork.

    taking the lane is really the best option… just hold your ground and make them go around!

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  • Mark Allyn December 24, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    I had a nice delightful walk from the Hollywood Transit Center (42nd & Sandy) to my home at 42nd & Lincoln. This is close to 2 miles.

    I have observed the street surfaces of several streets (I did a kind of round about walk with a detour to do shopping) and I noticed:

    The surface of the major streets (39th, Stark, Belmont, Hawthorne, etc) are bare in spots and covered in slush in others.

    However, there are still bits of ice here and there that create deep ruts. Some of these ruts are beneath standing water, so they could not be seen.

    The side streets are starting to get packed down hard. They are bumpy and rutty.

    I also have noticed some very careless driving. I saw at least two SUV type vehicles going at excessive speed for these conditions (and I mean on side streets and not the bare pavement main arterials).

    I think that I have witnessed cabin feaver being released in an agressive way.

    Please! Please! Be carefull. Between the last minute shoppers and the cabin feaver being released, we have some dangerous driving.

    I plan to do some short riding later this evening (confining myself to the side streets) to go to Quaker meeting on Stark, and then maybe a ride with my lights on Peacock Lane, but I plan to stay off of the arterials.

    Xmas day should be quieter. If there is no snow and ice, I might try a more extended ride on Christmas morning.

    I am predicting Friday will be a real mad house. It is forcast to rain and I forsee some real serious standing water and slush.

    Another thing I see is yet more drivers on the road as more and more people are able to shovel out and get away from the house. Again, this will be yet another day of cabin fever being released and with the post Christmas sales, it will be bad.

    I plan to stay home on Friday; if anything, do only very local trips on side streets.

    Happy Holiday, Merry Christmas

    Luv

    The Master Of Light
    Mark Allyn

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