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UPDATE: Headed to the Gorge? Watch for tacks in the road

Posted by on May 15th, 2008 at 11:39 am

[UPDATE: 5/16, 10:30am – ODOT has responded. Read full story here.]

“The cyclist-haters out in the Gorge are at it again, spreading tacks across the Historic Columbia River Highway.”
–From a BikePortland reader email

With weekend temps promising short-sleeve weather, many Portlanders are planning to head out on their bikes and take in the grand vistas of the Historic Columbia River Highway beyond Troutdale.

Unfortunately, from two reliable reports I’ve gotten in the past day, some Troutdale and Corbett residents aren’t so thrilled about bike season.

In what has become something of a yearly ritual, certain residents along the popular bike route have once again scattered sharp tacks on the shoulder hoping to dampen the cyclists’ day with an untimely tire puncture.

This is why the Historic Highway is
so popular to ride on.
(Photo © J. Maus)

I first heard of this phenomenon from Cycle Oregon ride organizers. Most communities are thrilled to have 2,000 cyclists roll through their area, however some Troutdale residents expressed their disdain by throwing tacks in the shoulder — forcing Cycle Oregon volunteers to sweep the entire area before riders went through.

Now, according to two BikePortland readers who ride a lot of longer distance routes in the area, they’re at it again.

Red arrow marks area where tacks have been thrown into the shoulder.

One reader emailed to say, “the cyclist-haters out in the Gorge are at it again, spreading tacks across the Historic Columbia River Highway – this time around Tad’s Chicken & Dumplings – I heard from a friend that he ended up with tacks in both front and back tires, couldn’t repair the damage, and ended up having to walk his bike back to Troutdale and take a bus home.”

Another reader said there were “lots of tacks on the highway from Troutdale to the Stark Street Bridge,” and added that on a recent group ride, they had nine flats on six bikes, and a few other cyclists were repairing tires at the same time.

If you’re planning to pedal out to the Gorge via the Historic Highway this weekend, keep an eye out, and bring extra tubes and patch kits (or maybe even a broom).

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  • a.O May 15, 2008 at 11:43 am

    This is unbelievable. Two things (1) From whence comes this HATE? and (2) maybe we need to go find who\’s doing this and introduce them to aunt SUE.

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  • J May 15, 2008 at 11:45 am

    Reminds me of the people who sabotage MTB trails (high test fishing line across the trail, etc). Amazing.

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  • john May 15, 2008 at 11:54 am

    time for a letter to Troutdale\’s council.

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  • Grimm May 15, 2008 at 12:05 pm

    How dare cyclists use the roads (usually the shoulders) that they pay for. And I hate they ride places and spend their money in places like the Corbett market to refuel with drinks and water. What jerks!

    For crying out loud. Are people along the corridor just so bored they have nothing better to complain about than they have to go around cyclists? Christ, we all paid for a freeway that is nearly exclusively for cars that is a mile away, what are they so upset about?

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  • Vance May 15, 2008 at 12:06 pm

    I\’m in agreement with a.O. I\’m a little surprised to hear the authorities haven\’t taken action. Transportation sabotage is serious business. Bet we hear about something now.

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  • Schrauf May 15, 2008 at 12:18 pm

    No, I bet we don\’t hear about any action, until autos begin getting flats. Which is unlikely.

    What are cyclists doing on this road anyway? Don\’t they know all those cars need to get where they are going as quickly as possible? =)

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  • Aaron May 15, 2008 at 12:24 pm

    I think they should be tacksing drivers more than cyclists.
    but all humor aside there is greater resentment for cyclists. The Corbett store has stopped offering to refill water bottles (though if you want to refill your gas tank, they\’ll gladly oblige).
    There is going to be a certain amount of anger as fuel prices rise, against cyclists who (real or imagined) don\’t pay for gas.

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 12:31 pm

    Yes, because cyclists who don\’t buy gas are reducing demand, thereby lowering gas prices…Oh, wait, economics makes cyclists the friend of beleaguered motorists…Hmmm, now they\’re going to have to find another reason to hate us.

    Or maybe they can just use the excuse that they don\’t understand economics.

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  • xb May 15, 2008 at 12:33 pm

    how totally lame.

    hmm…. hang a huge magnet out in front of your bike? haha

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  • Jeff May 15, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I used to mountain bike in the 80\’s and early 90\’s in Marin County, CA. The hikers hated the bikers so much that they\’d bury spike strips in the trails so you couldn\’t see em til it was too late.

    Nice, the sense of entitlement people have.

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  • scdurs May 15, 2008 at 12:38 pm

    They have been doing this for years. I have usually seen the tacks between Springdale and Corbett. I\’ve also been yelled at by motorists. It\’s usually indistinguishable, but I get the main idea; we are not welcome up there.

    By the way, I can\’t blame the Corbett Store for not wanting to fill water bottles for free. They SELL water in bottles, so why would they want to give it away? Don\’t be cheap, just buy the water and support the local economy. Then maybe they\’ll be more welcoming to us. Don\’t give them any more ammunition.

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  • R May 15, 2008 at 12:39 pm

    Ah, the Annual Corbett Hates Cyclists and Wants to See Them Dead festival of flat tires has begun!

    In August 2003 some criminals seeded Louden Rd with tacks. This road is part of the Portland Wheelmen\’s Torture 10K route. Cyclists easily reach 40+ mph as they travel down Louden (I know I do). Several flats were reported because of these tacks.

    This surface treatment has been repeated of over the years in Springdale and other places near Corbett.

    This matter was discussed in depth on the Cycle Oregon board a couple years ago when the ride was due to pass through the area.

    Glad CO took care of themselves.

    I\’ll just pack more tubes and patches.

    I suggest we hold a suburban mass ride and loiter in Corbett, but spend no money in the Hate Town.


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  • chuck May 15, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    Jeff: My uncle did a lot of mountain biking in Marin County as well. He did tons of photography for the local MTB mag down there when things were just starting to pick up. He\’s got a friend that was one of the first single speed mountain bikers in the area, if I\’m remembering right. Does the name Bainbridge ring a bell at all?

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I\’ll bet it the owner of the Corbett store could make a profit selling things to cyclists– water, energy bars, bananas, whatever– cyclists would be welcomed, at least at the Corbett store.

    Or maybe the store is selling tubes. 😉

    Note to Corbett store: Start stocking items cyclists need.

    Note to cyclists: Start buying things you need in the places you visit.

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  • nuovorecord May 15, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    The Gorge Highway is primarily a recreational highway, except to the relatively few people that live up there. I can understand the local\’s frustration with hoards of cyclists slowing them down, but there are plenty of other tourists in CARS, oohing and aahing over the various sights, that are befouling the road as well. Somehow, they seem to get a pass on the hatred? Seems to me that if you live on a designated Scenic Highway, you\’d kind of have a clue that it\’s going to be a tourist attraction. I don\’t get it.

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  • a.O May 15, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    So, I don\’t get it either. I guess the answer to my question is that there really isn\’t any rational explanation for this kind of behavior. Right? I haven\’t heard any legitimate reason here explaining why people should be *that* upset with us (yes, I do this ride).

    Also, am I the only one who is outraged by this? I guess I see this as a manifestation of the attitude that we don\’t belong on the road and that they can assault us or do whatever else they want to us. That\’s the kind of crap that keeps people off bikes and that I don\’t stand for. Am I overreacting here (yep, been known to happen)?

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  • brewcaster May 15, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    Amazing, absolutely amazing. Jealous much?

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 1:07 pm

    a.O., people wee throwing tacks in the road to harass cyclists back in the \’90s– the 1890s.

    But you\’re right, it is irrational, and it is outrageous that one demographic of tourists is singled out for abuse, based on their choice of vehicle. It would be far more rational to heap abuse on tourists in their SUVs. 😉

    But scdurs in post 11 has hit upon an important point– the more positive impact cyclists have on local economies, the more welcome they\’ll be (even if a few irrational types do continue to hate cyclists for keeping the price of gas down, making the roads less congested, etc.)

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  • Diogo May 15, 2008 at 1:08 pm

    a.O – no, you\’re not the only one. This is outrageous. We should put some cameras there to find out who is doing this shit, and then a bunch of us should go there and beat the crap out of them.

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  • Keith May 15, 2008 at 1:12 pm

    I like rixtir\’s ideal. Hmm a bike shop in Corbett.
    Hey..those slow moving tractors clog up the road as well out there, I wonder if they they have problems with framing nails??
    All seriousness aside, I imagine a big noise in the media or travel papers explaining how this particular area is unfriendly to visitors could affect the dollars spent there.Money usually is a big motivator.

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  • a.O May 15, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Rixter, I\’m aware that this is a long-standing practice, but I like to cling to the fiction that we\’re becoming more civil over time. Believe it or not, I am actually trying to further that goal, though I am aware of my failures.

    And I hold the very firm belief that, unless this kind of stuff stops, bike rides in the Gorge (and everywhere else) will only be undertaken by a few hardy sould such as myself rather than becoming a great pasttime and transportation choice for everyone. Further, it\’s discreet situations like this where that difference is made or lost.

    People seem eager to tell stories, speculate on the motivation, or mock the impotent rage – but what is to be done?

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  • a.O May 15, 2008 at 1:15 pm

    sould = souls

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 1:23 pm

    Well, I think we\’re being marginalized, and I think what we need to do is marginalize those who would marginalize us.

    That means we need to hold ourselves to a higher standard– we need to be courteous to other road users on the historic highway, and observant of the traffic laws.

    We also need to be seen as a desirable asset to the local economy.

    Doing those two things keeps us from being marginalized, and if there are still some haters out there anyway (and we know there will be), it is they, and not us, who will be marginalized.

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  • Bjorn May 15, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Portland has a number for sweeping up things, does ODOT have a similar number. Maybe some calls would at least get the road swept more regularly.

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  • BURR May 15, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    Tacks on the shoulder? Take the lane!

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    Well put, BURR. 😀

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 1:44 pm

    Actually, that points out an interesting dilemma. The obvious solution to tacks on the shoulder is to take the lane. But doing so furthers the impression that we are discourteous scofflaws, leading to further public resentment of cyclists. Drivers won\’t be able to see that there are tacks on the shoulder (assuming that they\’d even care), or that we\’re entitled by law to take the lane because there are tacks on the shoulder (assuming that they\’d even care). All they\’ll see is an arrogant cyclist taking up the entire road when there\’s a perfectly usable shoulder, thus confirming their negative perception of cyclists.

    So what are our options, then?

    Take the lane and public opinion be damned? That will only lead to more resentment…

    Avoid the highway altogether? That will only be letting the terrorists win…

    A third way? If so, what? A public information campaign? (Terrorists attacking tourists in the Gorge?)

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  • Pete May 15, 2008 at 1:50 pm

    Just like you needed to show an ID to buy spray paint when tagging got out of control, maybe stores should force customers to show bikes before they can be sold tacks!?

    Seriously though, letters to city councils in Corbett and/or Troutdale and Chambers of Commerce may help bring the matter to light. Maybe something along the lines of \”as a cyclist I\’ve made the decision to reorganize rides away from your area and avoid all business within your city due to the clear message being sent by your residents that we are not welcome there. I will utilize communication within the biking community to broadly advertise that (Troutdale/Corbett) residents aggressively dissuade bicycling by placing tacks and nails on the roadway on popular touring routes.\”

    I heard on KINK FM this morning about bicyclists in LA staging dangerous rides on the freeway weaving in and out of stop-and-go traffic and posting the video to YouTube. The announcer likened it to Critical Mass events, where \”cyclists block the roadways in order to assert their belief that they *should* be allowed to ride on the streets.\” (emphasis mine, knowing we *can* ride on streets in accordance with ORS). Anyway, back on topic, using media contacts might also help this make slow news day filler.

    I live further out in the Gorge and haven\’t had to endure any tacks (yet). Just rednecks throwing trash and running us off the road, vertical drain gates, shouting and honking drivers, etc. No tacks though.

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  • a.O May 15, 2008 at 1:54 pm

    I respectfully assert that being a courteous road user and spending money in local establishments is not going to solve the problem – the vast majority of cyclists I see riding there, myself included, already do that.

    The third way is BTA and other organizational contact with relevant authorities in the area and some sort of public dialogue with the community to draw out these elements and address the issue directly. Or probably better ideas I haven\’t thought of yet.

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 2:01 pm

    Being respectful and law-abiding won\’t solve the problem by itself, a.O. You\’re right about that.

    What it will do, however, is remove the one charge against us that sways opinion in public debate, and that will make it easier for us to marginalize the haters, and engage in the kind of advocacy you\’re suggesting.

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  • ambrown May 15, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    I agree with rixtir. For whatever stupid reason they are attempting to keep us off the road, we\’d be wise to figure out why they don\’t like cyclists. Perhaps some cyclists have been rude in the past, cut people off, not been as courteous as I\’m sure everyone on this board is.

    While we should definitely contact the local council, I think that encouraging other cyclists to be as friendly as possible isn\’t a bad idea either.

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  • Eric May 15, 2008 at 2:05 pm

    @18 – Section 10 of the statewide 1899 Bicycle Tax (italics mine):

    Such paths shall be constructed in such a manner that they will not materially interfere with any road, street or crossing, and when so constructed it shall be deemed a misdemeanor for any person or persons to in any manner injure or deface said path, to place tacks, glass, wire, iron, sticks, stones or any other object or substance upon said path whereby the safety of the path is imperiled or injury to the bicycle or any part thereof, or to the rider, or to a pedestrian, result or is liable to result. This provision is not to prevent ingress or egress to any field, yard, lot or other place, to road crossings or the driving of loose stock; providing, the loose stock is not wantonly driven upon said path and due care is taken to prevent injury to paths by loose stock being driven along highways. Any person injuring any path provided for by this act shall, upon trial and conviction, be fined not less than ten dollars ($10) or be imprisoned for not less than five (5) days, or both, in the discretion of the court.

    They were pretty serious about protecting the paths!

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  • Jeff May 15, 2008 at 2:12 pm


    Sounds like it may have been before my time. Things were already well under way when I started riding there. Still, if you ever get down that way with a bike (or not, rent one), the fire roads around Mt. Tam on a sunny day are truly one of the Bay Area\’s lasting treasures….

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  • Anthony May 15, 2008 at 2:21 pm

    \”…maybe we need to go find who\’s doing this and introduce them to aunt SUE.\”

    Aunt Sue? How about uncle Beat The Hell Out Of Them?

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  • a.O May 15, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    @ #29:

    I don\’t think it will do that, Rixter, because there will always be some red herring example to point to of someone on a bicycle who broke some rule, or who was perceived to have broken some rule and because that accusation is really an excuse, rather than a legitimate concern (mostly), and is used by people who are not being rational anyway.

    That said, I still think it\’s necessary but just not sufficient to get the job done. So I guess we agree there, as usual.

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  • Jason P. May 15, 2008 at 2:26 pm

    One word: CALTROPS!

    (Uhhh…I\’d never do this…but motorists should be aware that it\’s a two way street…)

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 2:27 pm

    Necessary, but not sufficient to get the job done. Well put, and agreed.

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  • matt May 15, 2008 at 2:30 pm

    If this is happening in consistent places, I\’m sure someone can rig up and plant some cheap cams (a la the CVS cams) to record the crime. Public relations aside, this needs to be prosecuted.

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    By the way, there\’s a somewhat-related issue in Iowa, where a cyclist ws killed during RAGBRAI, and his estate settled with a county for $300,000. The county really only paid a $5,000 deductible on its insurance policy, but the County Commissioners were so outraged that they banned RAGBRAI, and other counties have also talked about doing something to limit their liability. Nevertheless, every other county in Iowa still welcomes RAGBRAI. The reason? Every town along the route reports boosts of up to $2 million in the local economy. Iowa towns WANT RAGBAI, because it\’s good for business.

    Something we can learn from.

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  • Jessy May 15, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    Funny how a few days ago there was a HUGE story on the news about a bunch of people in an apartment complex who had their tires slashed…

    Where\’s the news now (besides on Why aren\’t they covering this? It\’s pretty much the same idea/problem…

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  • nuovorecord May 15, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    Maybe part of the solution is to start knocking on doors of the residents or stopping on a ride to talk to the locals? Not necessarily to find out who exactly is spreading the tacks or to get vengeance (\’tho that would be nice). But rather to acknowledge that we cyclists realize that there seems to be some hard feelings towards us and we\’d like to start a conversation to see if there\’s a way we can all get along. We have a right as cyclists to use the road, but we have a responsibility as citizens to look for solutions, too.

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  • pushkin May 15, 2008 at 2:44 pm

    come on guys, there is no realistic way to stop the tack throwing from happening.

    and forget about actually catching someone in the act.

    i wish it were otherwise.

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  • Adam May 15, 2008 at 2:48 pm

    For as beautiful of an area that this is it is not always very cyclist friendly. While on a ride about a week ago heading out to Women\’s Forum, a friend and I had an encounter with an angry driver. Out of nowhere he takes a right turn onto a street and off the highway all the while honking like mad and yelling at us. We didn\’t cut infront of him, he was just mad he had to slow down a little to make his turn. Excuse me for delaying your oh so busy life by half a second!

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  • Zaphod May 15, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    I\’ll never understand the anger and hatred that we cyclists experience. I can\’t think of any other activity, be it recreational or functional (i.e. commuting) where such anger is generated.

    In any case, it would be easy… quite easy for all of this tack mayhem to be caused by ONE person. So enforcement is the probably the best approach in bringing this to resolution.

    I can think of a handful of ways that the tacks might be traced back to the person. Alternatively, a reward might work as well as the person surely has bragged to his buddies. i.e. $500 is a strong motivator.

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  • Hillsons May 15, 2008 at 3:34 pm

    Updated road kit: tubes, pump, wooden bat.

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  • Kirsty May 15, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    That\’s so sad. I have also had a glass bottle thrown at me from a moving car as I was biking near Multnomah Falls.

    Somehow, driving got to be the American people\’s way of venting their frustrations on anonymous people. I don\’t really understand it.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) May 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    \”Where\’s the news now (besides on Why aren\’t they covering this?\”

    I\’ve had call/email from KGW and KATU tv so far… might be on the evening news.

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 3:52 pm

    Expect copycats.

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  • Ron May 15, 2008 at 4:03 pm

    Not saying this report is wrong, but I _just_ returned moments ago from a ride from NoPo out to Larch Mountain and back, along this very route, and while we experienced a couple of flats, we saw no tacks on the road. Maybe they\’ve cleaned them up at this point.

    Was an awesome day for a ride — snow on Larch stopped us at mile 9 up the road. Fairly horrible head wind heading west on the way back.

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  • joeb May 15, 2008 at 4:15 pm

    This is really annoying. My passive aggressive desire would be to sweep up a pile of these tacks, locate the rightful owner and redistribute them in his front yard to assist his riding lawnmower. Flip flop season… no I’m not that kind of aggressive. And the kiddies… Changed my mind. I like a.O’s aunt SUE.

    I have never had a flat with Bontrager Race Lite Hardcase tires. I put 3200 miles on the first set and am currently at about 2300 on the second set without a flat. I ride through glass all the time and picked up a non-malicious tack (just litter) one day that was deflected through the sidewall. I pulled it out and kept going. The tires eventually wear out from all the cuts in the surface, but never a puncture.

    Now I’m probably jinxed for Reach the Beach on Saturday.

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  • Chuck May 15, 2008 at 4:21 pm


    Actually, I\’ve already been down Mt. Tam. I saw a production of the Wizard of Oz, then bombed down those fire roads. There\’s actually a family video around somewhere that my mom took that has me and my brothers all coming around this one corner, and I completely ate dirt. good stuff that I\’ve been meaning to convert to digital. 🙂

    I\’ve been wanting to come back down again and ride. haven\’t been down there since I\’ve gotten back into riding seriously.

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  • toddistic May 15, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    How tacky! (I couldn\’t help it!)

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  • John May 15, 2008 at 4:31 pm


    I was one of the folks involved in the tack attack yesterday — three in my front tire, one in rear. Out of our group of twelve riders, all but one had flats. There was another group which came through at the same time which had the same experience. Morning rain and mist on the shoulder made the pavement and dirt so dark that no one could see the black tacks (except for those they pulled out of their tires). The tacks only appeared to be on the road shoulder next to the river. Those coming down from Corbett and Springdale had no problem. Did you use this section of road on your ride today?

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  • Neil May 15, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Hmm, I couldn\’t find a link, but KATU had a story on this about 4 years ago. I remember it quite well because it featured some PWTC members I knew.

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  • Blunderplank May 15, 2008 at 4:46 pm

    First of all, this isn\’t hate, it\’s a prank. Comparing this action to beating up of a gay person or segregation based on race is bound to alienate people who are borderline supportive. You can also ask yourselves why you somehow think you\’re somehow immune to the same exact treatment that everybody else gets which is occasional ribbing. Should you somehow be put on a pedestal because you\’re \”saving\” the environment?

    And calling them terrorists? Please.

    I also see a comment above that mentions that bikes are a good transportation choice for \”everyone\”. Not a few, not a bunch, everyone. Assuming that your choice is somehow the choice of others is bound to raise a bit of a stink with some. Or most as Americans typically have freedom of choice and like it. It\’s interesting to note that a quick search over the years shows that the same poster has mentioned in the past that anybody who doesn\’t agree with his own choice needs to \”get out of his city\”.

    No, that\’s not going to annoy anybody.

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  • patrick May 15, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    it\’s cold comfort, but you could always take SR14 (on the other side of the river) or I-84, at least to get past Corbett.

    we were planning on going out to Ainsworth on a bike camp, but maybe we\’ll go to Champoeg instead.


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  • cdotbois May 15, 2008 at 6:24 pm


    +1 !

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  • KTesh May 15, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    A few words:
    Thorn Resistant Tubes
    Kevlar Belted Tires
    Tire Slime

    Heavy as hell, but if you\’re riding on a highway/freeway for long distances, it sure beats walking.

    I\’ve thought of trying to fit a powerful Rare Earth magnet near the front of each wheel to try to \”catch\” tacks/screws before they get to the rubber.

    Now, when the saboteurs are caught, I think that they should be forced to run a marathon naked thru broken glass.

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  • Russell May 15, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    Wow, Blunderplank where does the line cross from a prank to maliciousness? A prank is something funny, not something destructive. This \’prank\’ as you term it has the potential to cause serious harm – what if someone\’s tire punctures badly enough that they lose all traction and wind up collecting those tacks in their body? And no, a prank does not occur over and over and over again. Once might be funny. But doing so multiple times is wrong. Why don\’t you post your address here and a group can come over to play a \’prank\’ on you? You seem so fond of them.

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  • KTesh May 15, 2008 at 6:54 pm

    A prank should make (forgive the pun) a point, but should never harm someone, or damage property.

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  • rixtir May 15, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    Note to Blunderplank, re use of the word \”terrorist\”: Look up \”tongue in cheek.\”

    There\’s always some satisfaction to be gained in turning the frenzied rhetoric of the mouth-breathing crowd on the right (and let\’s be honest, that\’s where all the bike-hate is coming from) against that crowd.

    Did you know that every time they buy gas, they\’re supporting terrorists? And if they\’re not with us, they\’re against us?

    And shouldn\’t we be asking why they hate America?



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  • Donna May 15, 2008 at 7:13 pm

    My boss is a roadie and she told me about this a couple of years ago. I\’ve never spent money in Corbett since.

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  • mark May 15, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    I say civil disobedience.

    Lets have a huge slow ride that blocks all traffic through that areas avoiding the tacks by riding the middle of the road at

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  • beefa May 15, 2008 at 7:48 pm

    Mabey the Corbett residents are really V.C. fans and are protesting bike lanes in general.

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  • KT May 15, 2008 at 8:24 pm

    Jonathan suggested taking a broom… sweep the tacks into the road.

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  • scdurs May 15, 2008 at 9:18 pm

    As I mentioned before (#11) I\’ve seen tacks on the road many times up there. Retaliation by being a nuisance will only inflame them and cause worse action on their part. You may be ok in your protest group, but the next cyclist to come along has to endure their wrath by being run-off the road or something worse. We need to remain more mature than they are.

    Someone mentioned that most cyclists support local businesses. I tend to disagree. I have seen many groups blow through a business using their restroom, taking free water, making a general mess, then leaving without spending much money. If you use the \”facilities\” have the respect to at least buy a snack or leave a tip. Businesses offering a free restroom could become a thing of the past if the abuse continues.


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  • Mark Allyn May 15, 2008 at 9:24 pm

    Unfortunately, I think things like this will get worse.

    Gas prices are going up. Food prices are going up. Real estate is cratering. The economy is on the edge of an abyss the depth of which is unknown but feared. Even though I don\’t purchase any, I do notice the gas prices going up as I pass the stations during my ride.

    Joe \’Six Pack\’ American is running out of fuel and options.

    And Joe \’Six Pack\’ American is getting angry.

    And what is a good, easy, and defenseless target to which to vent your anger is that bicyclist who (to them in their anger slanted eyes) is carefree.

    I am beginning to see beligerance during my daily 40 mile commute from SE PDX to Hillsboro Airport.

    As it is, right now, I am looking to change my commute times so that I am not on the road during the peak of traffic (which also is the peak of anger and beligerance).

    Folks, I think we may be in for a long haul. Sure, it is best to show courtesy and caution, but be mentally prepared for more of this stuff and maybe worse.



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  • Bikes a lot May 15, 2008 at 10:37 pm

    We are probably going to replan our regular alternate month Troutdale ride to go somewhere else this time because of this incident. This will cost the General Store in Troutdale the sales they normally see from our group every other month.

    We, and all other groups making similar changes, should probably let the affected businesses know. They are in a better position to apply local pressure than we are.

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  • BURR May 15, 2008 at 10:54 pm

    personally, I\’d boycott the entire area

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  • James May 15, 2008 at 11:21 pm

    That sucks. I\’m with the folks who suggested retaliation in kind above. They throw tacks on the shoulder? Fine, we throw nails, caltrops, or something else that can puncture car tires in the road. At the very least, that will get an ODOT street sweeping crew out there. Might bring some law enforcement too.

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  • Keith May 15, 2008 at 11:29 pm

    You know Mark, I think you are right but I think it goes a lot deeper. I think the underlying anger with everyone is higher now than I can remember.It just ain\’t gas either..its food prices house prices job insecurity and so on. I believe I was more easy going eight years ago than I am now. I have to commute farther for less money and benys. The person who claimed he is a uniter and not a divider has divided us beyond anything Reagan could have dreamed of. I got a 16 year old who isn\’t doing so hot in school and he is leading me to believe he thinks the army is cool, and more of a prospect than collage. He is the most gentle kid I know and I tell him he\’s going to be a human bullet catcher but I don\’t think it\’s sinking in. I don\’t think I am just bitch\’n either..I think allot of people are same position and worse. It seems there is this whole us vs them with a vengeance mentality ad it\’s ripping us apart. Blahh I\’m done

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  • Jean Reinhardt May 16, 2008 at 7:35 am

    Screw the Gorge–ride out in Columbia County instead. A few years ago I was on a long solitary ride in the coast range, stopped at the Deer Island store for food to get home on. Clerk to me \”You one of those Seattle to Portland riders?\” Me: \”Yeah, I\’ll be doing that in a few weeks.\” Clerk: \”Great, you guys paid for our vacation the last few years.\” Locals appreciate cyclists with appetites!

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  • Rachel May 16, 2008 at 8:47 am

    I\’m from Corbett, and I resent those laying out the tacks as well as those of you who are putting us all into the same category. I enjoy biking here and in Portland, and it\’s sad that the actions of a few people have earned a bad name for all of us. I love seeing bicyclists pass our house on the way to Louden and hope you will consider that not all small-towners are small-minded.

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  • Rachel May 16, 2008 at 8:49 am

    And I\’d love to fill up ALL of your water bottles!

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  • Bah! May 16, 2008 at 9:19 am

    James – if you retaliate in such a manner, all you are going to end up doing is hurting alot of people who have nothing to do with the tack issue. That\’s the level you\’re going to stoop to?

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  • Donna May 16, 2008 at 10:07 am

    Rachel, government officials are always more responsive to local residents. Perhaps something might be done if people are convinced the tacks aren\’t worth lost revenue.

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  • Sue May 16, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I have to agree with Donna.
    Rachel, please say something to your local officials. You can start the change in attitude.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) May 16, 2008 at 10:44 am

    ODOT has responded. In case you missed it… Here\’s the full story.

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  • Lynne F May 16, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    I ride through there several times a year; fortunately have never found the tacks.

    I do notice an interesting parallel behavior going on here though –

    Non-cyclists lumping us all in a homogenous bunch, and holding us responsible for the few that blow stop signs, etc. We don\’t like that much.

    I see some are holding all of Troutdale/Springdale/Corbett responsible for the few tack-strewers. And holding them all responsible.

    Let\’s not dump it all on Rachel, here.

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  • zilfondel May 16, 2008 at 9:47 pm


    I remember in my podunk Oregon hometown people would shoot cats when they got bored during summer.

    … 😛

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  • Todd B May 16, 2008 at 11:17 pm

    Thanks ODOT for being very responsive to this safety request.

    Sadly…I have not had the same level of service with my requests for shoulder sweeping along my commute route (SR500). They say they will get to it in a few months (vs. days if it were a request for a city street). And you should see some of the big junk on SR500! It often has a bigger diameter than my wheel width.

    (SR500 is a direct and \’level\’ route to my new job site.)

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  • Todd B May 16, 2008 at 11:19 pm

    I was writing about WSDOT (SW section) in the post above about SR500.

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  • ray thomas
    ray thomas May 17, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    Irony here is that idiots who seed tacks are taking \”revenge\” against us for using \”their\” roads. However, because the tacks on the roadway get stuck in the tires of passing mtorized vehicles, leaving the tacks on the shoulder for us to ride over, the best solution for us is to ride in the roadway to avoid a flat, which of course only makes our presence more of a potential obstacle to the idiots who think they are doing something to make us go away. While this may not be much consolation to any one who gets a flat, there is at least some symetry in the way it works out.

    If anyone ever finds out who did this I will volunteer to sue them for all of us who got flats, for our time and hassle, as well as punitive damages.

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  • wsbob May 17, 2008 at 5:28 pm

    Throughout these comments, isn\’t there a lot of assuming going on about how the tacks on the roadway came to be there, and why? Has anyone responsible for the tacks ever commented here or talked to a person that someone commenting here might know and heard the story from?

    All of you that got tack related flats might do well to think carefully and remember any cars or people that were nearby and maybe driving slowly when you flatted and were making repairs. If a person really did this deliberately for kicks or malice, just like arsonists sometimes enjoy hanging around to see the fires they lit, so might the person responsible for the tacks be in the area watching to see who got hit by his work.

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  • Bob May 17, 2008 at 8:48 pm

    I was yelled at, and even almost punched in Corbett for ridiing abrest. Maybe we should police ourselves. The guy was right! (sorry) We had at least 6 cars behind us including a tractor. The tractor was the yeller> I believe the othyers were tourist.l He said its fine if we ride single file as far over as possible. Needless to say we had 6 flats on 4 rides. Maybe he was right

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  • Dabby May 17, 2008 at 11:48 pm

    I think that those here posting comments about changing routes, plans, etc, for the future for fear of getting a tack in their tire are simply pandering to the person/s who has been doing this since what? The 1980\’s sometime? (the first I remember hearing about this problem anyway)

    This is certainly the work of one or two irritated, and by now, older, resident/s of Corbett.

    A decreased presence on these roads would possibly make the person think that, due to his/her \”tack\”tics, and press coverage, they are finally making a difference and keeping the damn bikes off \”their\” road.

    Whereas an increased presence, an \”A Ttack\” of this problem, will once again remind the tack spreader/s that the cyclists are certainly not going to go away, no matter what.

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  • Duncan May 18, 2008 at 1:10 pm

    \”A Tack\”… ow… that hurt.

    I think you are right though. More bikes= more presence = more acceptance.

    I like the lonely road, lack of shoulders/closing passing aside, its a wonderful feeling to pedal along and hear nothing but the sound of birds (and your own panting). I don\’t think that we should give up on this route because of this issue. being within easy reach of that kind of ride is something I really enjoy about Portland.

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  • Joe V May 18, 2008 at 8:11 pm

    Its just not worth the problems. We have a nice rt along Marine Drive. NO LOG TRUCKS there. These guys are moving and it scares the hell out of me. I got two flats along the Sandy River. I\’m not going where I,m not wanted. How much do you really think we spend up there? Myself $3.50 for a bottle of water, banana and a energy bar. To say we provide monies (for our flats) to the communities is absured.

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