Street Life

This is a series of snapshots about Portlanders who live and/or work on the streets and use a bike to get around, haul their belongings, provide shelter, and so on.

Hilltop “Jesus” and naked kisses: The Portland bike scene’s best missed connections

Posted on July 2nd, 2012 at 1:48 pm.

2012 World Naked Bike Ride - Portland-13
Hey wait! Let’s get a drink!
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

This guest post is by Michael Andersen of Portland Afoot, PDX’s 10-minute newsmagazine about buses, bikes and; low car life.

Summertime might not have quite reached the sky yet, but it’s sprouted in Portlanders’ hearts. I’ve got evidence.

Now and then, Portland Afoot publishes a feature we call “Craigsbest” – a selection of the weirdest and wonderfullest transit-related missed connections of the month, as posted on portland.craigslist.org. It’s a delicious, frequently hilarious little window into Portlanders’ inner lives.

A few months ago, I decided to try tracking bike-related connections, too. Unlike public transit, it turns out, bike-based flirting in Portland is extremely seasonal – and June seems to be harvest time. Last month, more than 50 posts mentioned bikes.


Meet Smokey Box; advocate, bike tourer, piano player

Posted on November 8th, 2007 at 3:39 pm.

Smokey Box
(Photos © Jonathan Maus)

The other day while riding down on the Esplanade near the Salmon Street parking lot, I noticed a man walking a peculiar bicycle and trailer set-up.

It was beach cruiser, with huge tires and massive ape-hanger bars, pulling an overstuffed cargo-trailer (tarp flapping in the wind) with a big, red ice-chest hanging from the rear.

At first I continued on my way, but something made me turn around. I’m glad I did.

I met the operator of this monstrous vehicle. He said he goes by “Smokey Box” and that he’s been living on the street since 1964.


Recycling by bicycle

Posted on July 10th, 2006 at 5:10 am.

recycle by bicycle

Meet 38 year-old Mike Colhour. He runs a successful scrap metal recycling business by bike. He rides around the neighborhood, collecting scrap metal and plastics from dumpsters and from the side of the road.

He’s been doing this for 10-15 years all over Vancouver and Portland. He recycles all kinds of stuff including glass, wire, stereos, toasters, and so on.

Once he fills his custom-made dual trailer system he cashes in his load at Metro Metals Northwest.


Cargo trailer ingenuity

Posted on June 21st, 2006 at 8:15 am.

homeless cargo ingenuity

Riding home today I noticed this peculiar trailer set-up. The guy who owns it was stopped and fiddling with his derailleur so I decided to introduce myself and take a closer look.

Allen (picture below), who calls his bike his home, has put together this hi-capacity cargo trailer for hauling cans, bottles, and other stuff he finds on the side of the road.


The bike move that never ends

Posted on May 18th, 2006 at 8:21 am.

random bike homes

Lately I’ve been seeing more and more bikes being used by Portland’s homeless population. I’ve started to get to know a few of them and hear their stories and experiences about their nomadic, rolling existence.

Sometimes I won’t meet the owner of the bike, I’ll just observe its load and marvel at the bungee cording skills that it takes to carry everything they own, everywhere they go.