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Intrepid Portlanders bike through snow, ice, cold (with a smile)

Posted by on December 16th, 2008 at 10:08 am

This man didn’t let a bit of snow and ice keep him from his commute this morning.
(Photos © J. Maus)

It takes a lot more than a bit of rare snow, ice and Arctic temps to keep some Portlanders off their bikes.

When the fluffy white stuff first started falling on Sunday, I got out of the house with my camera and notebook to see who (if anyone) was out riding.

Intrepid Portlanders riding in the snow-1

Eric Nixon

Just as I rolled out of my driveway, I looked up and noticed a determined looking guy on a loaded-up Xtracycle pedaling by. It was a bit tricky catching up to him, but once I did I met a smiling Eric Nixon. To my surprise, Eric had two full, 5 gallon water jugs (those are about 45 pounds each), and a few groceries in his bike bags.

I asked Eric if he went out just for fun or because he had to and he said, “a bit of both…I was out of water.” He also added that it was especially nice out because the roads were so quiet.

From the Piedmont Neighborhood, I pedaled (carefully) over to the New Seasons Market on N. Interstate. In one of the many bike racks, I noticed a couple packing up their trailer with groceries.

Intrepid Portlanders riding in the snow-5

All loaded up…
Intrepid Portlanders riding in the snow-4

and ready to go.

Sarah and Trevor Lavoie don’t own a car, and they considered walking, “But we thought it’d be faster to bike,” said Sarah. When I asked about the weather (as snowflakes fell from the sky), Trevor told me he’s from New York and that, “this weather is pathetic” in comparison.

With groceries in tow, and all bundled up, Sarah and Trevor rode off with smiles.

Intrepid Portlanders riding in the snow-9

Erik Haunold

I caught up with St. Johns resident Erik Haunold as he was leaving the market. A serious bike racer, Erik said he was hoping to get a three-hour training ride in. He missed a ride up in Forest Park with some friends (this one perhaps?) and said he wouldn’t mind if a few more inches fell.

Echoing the sentiment of many competitive racers this time of year, he said, “It’s a lot better than staying inside on a trainer.”

On that note I present to you the most recent adventures of Ms. Heidi Swift. Heidi is another racer (as well as an Oregonian columnist among other things) who didn’t let the snow deter her training schedule. With a helmet-cam (compliments of Wend Magazine), she and a riding partner went on a mountain bike ride through the snowy streets of Portland, topped it off with some very fun riding on Mt. Tabor, and set to holiday carols.

Here’s the video:

— See all our photos of Portlanders biking in the snow in the BikePortland Photo Gallery.

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    K'Tesh December 16, 2008 at 10:18 am

    My pics of sundays rides out on the westside are located on flickr:

    Saw a few cyclists, and lots of evidence of cyclists on my rides. Managed to loose control and hit the ground (spilled my coffee 🙁 ). Later, I did some grocery shopping to stock up my larder for the weather (and a new bottle of rum to help the time go by a little easier 😉 )

    Remember this…
    Rubberside Down (it just rolls better…)

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    Mark Allyn December 16, 2008 at 10:53 am

    The Nokian studded tires are holding up well!

    10 miles round trip on Monday (SE 42n/Lincoln) to Goose Hollow; then Max to Hillsboro Airport and 1 mile to Intel and retrurn) with no falls & only very minor slips.

    Doing same thing today. Seems colder, but not as much wind.

    The Nokian studded tires make everything much easier.


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    PJ December 16, 2008 at 10:59 am

    you should have come zoobombing with us.

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    Allan December 16, 2008 at 11:18 am

    It was nice to bike without cars around… I felt a bit bad for those without mountain tires. Yay for real winter weather (but let it melt soon)

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    Heidi Swift December 16, 2008 at 11:35 am

    Yee haw! What fun. I’m crossing my fingers for more. That climb up the south side of Tabor was miserable – the wind was really ripping through there.

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    peejay December 16, 2008 at 11:54 am

    Tabor was sure fun Friday night for MMR, but no snow then. We were hoping…

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    KWW December 16, 2008 at 1:00 pm

    Out of water? Sure it will give extra traction, but unless there is a special health condition, tap water is fine (and no conspiracy theory is gonna change my mind).

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    beth h December 16, 2008 at 1:02 pm

    I decided that since this was likely the best day to attempt it, I rode in from NE Portland. It was mostly okay, though slow going. I did go down hard near Sabin school but got back up and kept going. Maybe next time I’ll try it on a mountain bike…

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    peejay December 16, 2008 at 2:10 pm


    I second you on the water thing. Boggles my mind all the money spent on drinking water when we have some of the best city water in the country.

    I’m also amazed at how many people are so concerned about fuel costs (both internalized and externalized) when they buy water at a price greater than designer biodiesel, and an externalized cost worse than mercury. You ought to read up some time about Fiji Water.

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    db December 17, 2008 at 2:48 am

    yeah, thats funny! use gravel to keep the water clean then go buy water on slick roads.

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