It's been a challenging week transportation-wise here in Portland. First we were hit by snow and strong winds, then freezing rain, then a blanket of ice. After that, we had to trudge through tricky slush-piles. Now, thankfully, the weather is getting back to normal; but one last challenge remains: gravel. (more...)
Winter Storm 2014
With the worst of the snow and ice storms behind us, the roads are slowly returning to normal. That is, unless you are trying to walk or bike.
As auto traffic volumes return to normal, people are finding that the conditions of bike lanes, neighborhood greenways, and off-street bike paths are full of a dangerous mix of slush, snow, and ice. This isn't a surprise given that it's the current policy of the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT) to only plow major roads and arterials. (more...)
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
When snow falls on city streets it eventually melts and goes away thanks in large part due to the self-plowing effect of motor vehicle tires. But where cars and trucks don't go, the snow remains as visual proof of unused roadway space.
As we enter the fifth day of a major storm here in Portland, the snow that has accumulated since last week is now beginning to melt. Over the weekend, temperatures stayed below freezing and the metro area was covered in a layer of ice. Those conditions presented a set of challenges on their own. Now, with temps climbing just a bit above freezing, the Great Thaw has begun in earnest.
I rode from north Portland to downtown this morning and here's what I experienced...
Residential streets remain a big challenge to ride on. It's easier with larger, aggressively treaded tires; but for the most part a lot of snow and ice still remains. PBOT does not plow residential streets, and they don't get much auto traffic, so they will be the last ones to be clear of snow and become easier to ride. Neighborhood collector streets, like N Ainsworth shown below, are a bit better as long as you take the lane and ride in the wheel rut created by auto traffic.
With the City of Portland and other agencies telling everyone to stay indoors due to the sheet of ice that has blanketed our town, I couldn't wait to leave the house this morning and see if I could still ride a bike.
So, I went out to my shed, pulled down my mountain bike and headed out. Turns out it's not as bad as I expected. That being said, if you do plan to play around the neighborhood on your bike today, here are a few tips to consider.
- The bike I'm using is a 29-inch mountain bike with 2.2-inch knobby tires. Either a similar mountain bike or a fat bike is highly recommended.
- Lower your tire pressure to get more traction. Less air means more of the rubber and knobs on your tires will come in contact with the ground. More contact the better.
advantage of a snow day.
(Photo courtesy Phillip Ross)
Snow! It's everywhere and it keeps coming down! I know many folks in other parts of the country more accustomed to snow are laughing at us; but here in Portland the amount of accumulation we're seeing is pretty rare. It's stayed cold and dry enough for several days that the entire city is covered in several inches.
To us, this is sort of a big deal.
Parks and streets have been transformed into winter wonderland scenes and with the weekend upon us, and many events cancelled (including The Worst Day of the Year Ride, see below), people are getting as much snow-play in as they can. And for many of you, that means biking. Very fun biking. (more...)
Update: The Worst Day Ride's organizers said Saturday that they've canceled Sunday's event completely (making various earlier misreports about the cancellation retroactively accurate, I suppose). People who'd bought places in the ride will get automatic entry in next year's.
As of Saturday afternoon, the National Weather Service expects another 4 to 8 inches of snow to fall by Sunday afternoon, plus freezing rain and ice in some areas, on top of the three to five inches that fell Friday and continued to pile up Saturday.
Here's the announcement from their site:
Alas, Mother Nature wins this round. We have been forced to cancel the event, or more accurately, postpone for one year. Worsening weather conditions and a forecast of freezing rain tomorrow make for unsafe conditions.
Your safety and the safety of our support staff is our number one concern, and conditions have dictated that it would be nearly impossible to guarantee the well being of everyone during this event.
We appreciate your understanding of this decision and want to thank you for your support by guaranteeing your entry into next year’s Worst Day of the Year Ride.
In its voicemail message Saturday, Good Sport Promotion said an email in the next week will contain instructions on how to claim next year's ride. It didn't mention whether cash refunds will be available on request.
Our original Thursday night post follows.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)
With yesterday's storm finishing up over night, we woke up to several inches of snow covering Portland streets. Before the next storm makes it way to us something this evening, I headed out today to see what was going on. (more...)
(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
What happens to all of Portland's bike riders when the worst snow storm in years hits the area? I was curious too so I spent a few hours out there with my camera tonight. (more...)