Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Snow doesn’t deter local cyclists

Posted by on December 19th, 2005 at 8:38 am

[Aaron Tarfmann on his way to the store]

Portland has seen a bit of snow in the past few days. Of course I’m missing all the fun down here in California, but through the wonders of the Internet I have come across a few photos and reports of intrepid Portland cyclists braving the conditions.

Check out Shawn Granton’s tale of his unexpectedly adventurous trip home. His advice for riding in the snow: “load up your saddlebags and keep a low center-of-gravity!”

And I just had this photo sent in to the sticker gallery. It was taken in a backyard in the NE Alberta neighborhood.

What are your snow stories? I’d love to hear about your experiences biking around snowy Portland…

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  • josh m December 19, 2005 at 9:12 am

    i thought about riding to work, since I sat waiting for my bus for an hour and 15 minutes. but by then(midnight), the roads were frozen over. I still have somewhat slick tires on my bikes, and my single speed only has a coaster brake at the moment, so that would be no good for ice. My roadbike has a flat back tire, and i wasn’t in the mood to pry that tire off again. But I am sure I will be doing that tonight.
    I went to sleep at noon(i work graveyard), it was all sunny, then woke up at 4 to be surprised w/ the snow. I was a bit bothered by it since I knew i’d have to work either way and it would cause problems.
    oh well. It’s basically gone now.

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  • Caroline December 19, 2005 at 9:26 am

    The Cat A men raced out 60 minutes as the snow began to fall and 20MPH winds drove the temp down to 15′ at Blue Lake Park. 115 people raced. Now that’s hard-core.

    On my way home I saw many cyclists on the streets, but most of them seemed to be stranded, walking their bikes homeward.

    Last year I tried riding home in that ice storm with my slick-tyred singlespeed coaster, but ended up walking it. This year I’m excited to give the geared cyclocross bike a try on the ice!

    Bike 365 days a year! Unless you have to walk it. Just be safe, and stay away from cars when the roads are icy. Portlanders CANNOT drive in snow and ice to save their lives.

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  • Jonathan Maus December 19, 2005 at 9:30 am

    Caroline, thanks for mentioning the Blue Lake race and congrats to you for the great result in your first ever “A” race (she got 3rd)!

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  • fournier December 19, 2005 at 10:04 am

    i made the decision last night to make the short ride from a friend’s house in NE to my place in N Portland. it was pretty easy going; the hardest part was the differing depths of the snow which made my rear wheel slip a bit. i took one spill on Broadway that knocked the chain off my gears, but was able to put it back on without any problems. (also, i was not hurt) made it home with no other problems other than frozen pinkies.

    snow is fun

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  • pdxrocket December 19, 2005 at 10:44 am

    I ride bike, but riding in the snow and ice is just plain stupid.

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  • el serracho December 19, 2005 at 11:10 am

    you guys are awesome – ‘cept you rocket:-)

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  • lennon December 19, 2005 at 12:02 pm

    I’ve got a brief write-up on my weblog (, but the short version is: skidding around on snow is a lot of fun, esp. on a fixie.

    Just stay out of traffic, and keep the speed low.

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  • Ayleen December 19, 2005 at 12:40 pm

    Stupid? Not if you have a lowriding chopper. My sweet little chopper (two 20″ frames welded) got me all around last night. Was it the extended wheel base? The fat tires? The low-to-the-ground? Or maybe just the killer custom sissy bar or hot style (cause you never know what does it some times)? I don’t know, but never did I slip and never did I slide until I misinterpreted ice for plain pavement – but I didn’t have far to fall.

    I took a nice residential ride last night, to the bar, to a friend’s house and home again.

    Oh, also, thanks to the great glove suggestions posted on, I got some toasty new gloves (Pearl Izumi Amfib) that kept me warm all night making this one of my total favorite moments riding in Portland EVER.

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  • dabby December 19, 2005 at 12:53 pm

    Wait, did i miss something? There was ice and snow?
    Oh yeah,that dusting of stuff on the ground this morning.
    My advice: Ride straight on slicks, with low presure if needed.
    I don’t advise changing bikes, ride what you are comfortable with.
    I personally do nothing diffrent on a icy day than on a sunny day.
    Oh besides being more careful.
    We were on track to play Bike Polo yesterday, but this weather started at 1:30, right before, so we cancelled for the good of the land……..
    New Year’s day? NO Cancel. No whining.
    Lot’s of muddy, or snowy, good times.
    See you there.

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  • Jim F December 19, 2005 at 1:23 pm

    Last time I tried to ride on snow, I almost broke my arm. After the second vicious wipe-out at a very slow speed, I decided to walk it.

    But my hat is off to you hardcores still out riding.

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  • Mike Schwab December 19, 2005 at 7:49 pm
  • steve December 20, 2005 at 1:17 pm

    i have a road bike, and i don’t think riding in the snow is either stupid or dangerous. half an inch of pure ice is a different story. so sunday night at around 7:45 i rode my bike, treadless 23c tires, from n. mississippi to ne 28th @ emerson, without a fall or incident. the only close call i had was some asshole who was going to throw a snowball at me as i passed, but i watched him the whole time i was passing and yelled at him to throw snowballs at cars. i would agree that riding side streets where the snow is less compacted is safer, unless the main streets have already melted from constant heavy traffic. and riding slowly, making each pedal stroke and turn very deliberate, helps alot too. also, after last years ice storm i got a flat tire from the rocks the city puts down to help CARS, so for the next few weeks while they are on the road, please be careful and TAKE THE LANE. i think every cyclist in the city who gets a flat tire from the rocks should send a bill to the city, imagine them getting tens to hundreds of complaints and bills. strength and honor.

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  • Jessica Roberts December 20, 2005 at 3:43 pm

    Yes, in light of the gravel I wanted to remind everybody to call 503-823-1700 if a Portland bike route needs sweeping! This is the 24-hour maintenance dispatch line, and though the storm cleanup may delay their response a little I’ve always found them to be incredibly responsive–I usually get a 48 hour turnaround on it.

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