View Full Version : Street Car Rail Grooves: A Warning Please?

10-07-2006, 12:01 AM
Is it just me, or should their be a warning from tri-met about how dangerous the grooves created for the Streetcar are for cyclists? In addition to myself, I have seen at least three other cyclists bite it when tires get caught in the Streetcar's grooves. I understand that this could be included as a "regular" hazard that cyclists should look out for (like potholes, etc.), but wouldn't it be nice to have a little warning for the noobs out there who have yet to experience the sublime sensation of biting it on a busy downtown street?

10-07-2006, 01:15 AM
well, the first warning would be the tracks themselves. and secondly there are signs, big yellow ones, they show a cyclist doing a radical endo'. i used to have a shirt with that sign on it.

just kidding with that first bit btw.

TCR Punk
10-07-2006, 01:27 PM
"sublime sensation," Fantastic. LOL!! I love it. RxR not fun. always not good. I remember my first experience with them. I have my old ipod, cracked and broken from my spill, as a reminder, use EXTREME caution over trackes.

10-07-2006, 03:48 PM
lol yes, these tracks are aweome.

the front of my trackdrops hold the scars

10-08-2006, 02:59 PM

I do consider it one of the basics, as I learned about tracks at a bike rodeo when I was 7. That said, I cannot recommend this book (http://www.amazon.com/Art-Urban-Cycling-Lessons-Street/dp/0762727837) strongly enough. It is extremely relevant to riding in urban inner Portland.

10-08-2006, 08:02 PM
I feel the pain. I've bit it on 23rd street car tracks and on Nicholi's old unused rXr tracks.

After you eat pavement from them the first time it will be a long time before you do again, but ride over them enough and it'll happen. :eek:

10-09-2006, 07:51 AM
If you ve fell on the tracks and still have your teeth...

consider yourself lucky

10-09-2006, 11:05 AM
So have those of you who've fallen on the tracks caught a wheel in the track, or slipped on the smooth surface?

10-09-2006, 12:00 PM
And I thought I was the only one who had been thrown to the ground by these tracks...

Two weeks later and my road rash is just now going away. In my case, the track gap grabbed my front tire as I tried to cross. I was to the right of the tracks, and wanted to move to the center between the tracks to avoid curb debris. I've been over these tracks dozens of times and grew complacent I guess. My angle wasn't large enough this time.

Traffic was heavy, so I'm glad no one ran over me.

TCR Punk
10-09-2006, 12:40 PM
So have those of you who've fallen on the tracks caught a wheel in the track, or slipped on the smooth surface?

oh man, front tire slipped out. I got cocky was in a slight turn, damp conditions. Oh yeah, and watch out for wet man-holes, and shiny white stripes.

10-09-2006, 01:01 PM
I did a miraculously magnificent, hopping fishtail when my rear tire finally came free from the groove of some tracks in Portland. That's the closest I've been to eating it. Riding in San Francisco taught me to be wary of rails.

Jonathan Maus
10-09-2006, 01:16 PM
I hate to admit it, but once when my mom was visiting I took her on a bike ride on NW Lovejoy street. I should have been a better guide, but I took her East on Lovejoy. ...which has trolley tracks. She got nervous with cars coming behind her and ended up getting caught in the tracks.

The result was a trip to the emergency room...she busted up her chin pretty bad..but it has thankfully healed up and now you can barely see the scar.

10-09-2006, 03:34 PM
for my birthday, an old boyfriend was bringing me a heart-shaped pizza on his bike. by the time the tracks were done with him, the pizza was only theoretically heart-shaped, and he had a bad scrape on his knee. the thought definitely counted.

since then, i've been ridiculously cautious around tracks and so far no mis-haps.

my current boyfriend has tracked himself, too, but not in as romantic an endeavour (on his way to bank cubicle). maybe those of use who know how dangerous tracks are take it for granted that everyone else knows, too.

10-09-2006, 05:25 PM
I worry less about the tracks and find water drains to be much more dangerous. When riding in the dark they are much harder to see, no matter how good the lights I am using are.

Matt P.
10-10-2006, 08:33 AM
I haven't had an issue with the downtown tracks (yet), but I did have a spectacular crash in Sellwood on SE 8th. There are some decommissioned RR tracks in the street that used to go to a small factory (that was torn down in 2004 and replaced with condos). I was riding home earlier this year and it was raining cats and dogs. I crossed at about a 45 angle and my front tire slipped into the track gutter and sent me flying. Luckily, it was February and I was layered up pretty good, and the pavement was slick. No road rash, and I didn't even ruin the rain gear.

I was sore and bruised for a week, though.

10-10-2006, 08:44 AM
riding up the bus mall is so much worse than any tracks, for me. that whole road is eaten to shit

10-11-2006, 11:22 AM
three or four years ago i totally ate it on the trolly tracks by PSU just being lazy and forgetting i needed to handle them with care. in front of a bunch of people stopped at the light. i tore up the palm of my hand, ruined my pants, and got dangerously close to banging my head while being thrown off the side of the bike and to the ground. and this was when i was refusing to wear helmets like a lot of people in this city are still doing.

but other than that, i was fine. and my dear friend, sahar, cleaned my hand and bandaged me when i arrived at her house.

my roommate also had an experience with the street-car tracks. she was drunk (obviously not a good idea anywhere, but particularly in the vicinity of the tracks) and ate it, splitting open her head pretty severely, to the point where she can recall the sound of the blood from her head dripping on the ground as the point where she realized she was hurt.

10-25-2006, 06:56 PM
I had a close call w/ the MAX tracks this morning. Turning left from westbound Morrison to southbound 5th at about 6 AM, crossed the track at 45 deg angle and very modest speed, but my front tire still slid out, not enough to throw me off, but enough to almost bring me down. From now on, I'm crossing the tracks as close to 90 deg as I can. A Good Lesson.

10-25-2006, 10:16 PM
yeah i did the 45 deg angle cross over the other day and completely ate shit. i had NO idea that it would happen, i was just heading to work, BAM ripped my nice sweater, gash on arm thats a huge swath of scab still.

hate the rails so much

11-24-2006, 09:48 AM
I try and stay out of the lane with tracks when there is a choice. sometimes it feels wierd because the tracks are in the right lane but through most of downtown the traffic is usually going sl slowly that even a lard-ass like myself can keep up on a bike (admittedly I usally only go downtown mid day on my bike).

Joe Planner
03-04-2007, 07:42 AM
I ride a mountain bike and seem to be almost immune from the 'catching' effect of the tracks. Technically, my tires could get caught, but I'm still extremely cautious and go over the tracks at an angle. I flew over the handlebars while hitting a pothole while riding a road bike almost ten years back and I've witnessed three separate bike crashes on various sections of the streetcar route recently.

There are some missing sections of asphalt (potholes?) in between sections of track where the MAX and streetcar intersect at SW Yamhill and 11th and SW Morrison and 11th. These worry me more than the tracks because they're occur in such a limited section of the tracks. Watch out!