Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Open Thread for riding conditions (12/23) – Updated

Posted by on December 23rd, 2008 at 2:03 pm

Due to bike lane conditions like these,
PBOT advises to take the lane.
(Photo © J. Maus)

Please use this post to report on riding conditions in your neighborhood.

I’m on a walk right now and several main roads have been cleared of snow. While that’s good for folks in cars, it also means the bike lanes are full of piles of snow and slush. Without much new snowfall and with cold temperatures remaining, many roads are much more slick and icy than in past days.

The Bureau of Transportation’s latest statement about the storm (released yesterday) makes no mention of bicycle travel. In a statement released on Sunday, PBOT acknowledged the bad condition of bike lanes and issued this warning:

“Bicyclists are advised to ride cautiously with traffic because many bike lanes are covered with plowed snow, gravel, and road debris.”

A major thaw isn’t supposed to begin until this coming weekend and until then, biking will remain a tricky proposition.

What are the riding conditions in your neck of the woods?

— See all of our storm coverage here.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Paul December 23, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    I did a test ride on my street in SE. Portions were fine where tire tracks had packed a nice route, but on less traveled roads the snow is still too soft.

    I saw a couple of cyclists on 39th by Hawthorne, traffic is pretty slow and the road is no longer two full lanes, more like 1.5 each way, so there is a shoulder to use there.

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  • K-Man December 23, 2008 at 2:56 pm

    FYI: Henry Abel reported that CCX Natz are going to be held in Bend next year.

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  • Mike December 23, 2008 at 3:16 pm

    Rode in from Reed College to downtown. I had a 26×2.2 homemade studded tire on the front and a 26×1.3 slick on the back. Front was good where it could grip in but the back didn’t do so hot.
    As expected, the side streets were lousy – not packed down enough and too soft. Things got better as I got closer in, esp. from Seven Corners to downtown. That part was actually fun.
    Haven’t decided if I’ll ride or bus home tonight.

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  • Fred December 23, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    In SW (Hillsdale – Gabriel Park) I have been taking the lane to ride. Motorists have been very patient and courteous, even the bus drivers. The main roads are packed snow and ice with some instances of loose snow and slush.

    I have been sticking to the less traveled roads despite being harder to ride to avoid the heavier traffic.

    Yesterday was the best because so many people seem to leave their cars at home and walk. When it snows it seems that many in SW walk to avoid driving, most out of necessity because of the hills.

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  • R-diddly December 23, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    I stayed home from work today because WORK F*$*ING SUCKS. Oh and also there’s some snow.

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  • mark December 23, 2008 at 3:45 pm

    i’ve mostly given up on riding and just walked everywhere. I rode a few blocks here and there since Sunday but the streets in my block are well over a foot deep, my mt. bike would be much better with grippier or studded tires.

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  • Dena December 23, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    As long as you aren’t in any big hurry, the side roads in the NE Piedmont area are fine for riding. There’s about 3 inches of packed snow (in some places more), but it wasn’t terribly slick this afternoon–a little fishtailing, but not crazy dangerous or anything. I had to walk/carry my bike through a few messy intersections, but I still got to the grocery store (about a mile away) much quicker than if I’d had to wait for a bus, and had a great time doing it! Enjoy the snow! 🙂

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  • pabstslut December 23, 2008 at 4:25 pm

    Here at Metropolis Cycle Repair world headquarters (N Williams & Page) I’ve counted 17 cyclists (including 1 tandem) between 11am and 4:25. Yes, it’s that busy.

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  • K'Tesh December 23, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    TriMet’s route 76 and 78 busses, as well as the 88 were canceled this morning.

    To get to work in Tigard, I had to:

    MAX from Beaverton Transit (sans bike)
    Catch a route 12 to Tigard
    Walk about 1.5 miles (downhill, which hurts more)

    Returning home:
    Mom to the Rescue! =D

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  • beana December 23, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    I’ve been x-country skiing into work and have encountered several cyclist along the way. Most are dumb asses without a helmet!

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  • jv December 23, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I’ll be riding back home in a few minutes…taking the Broadway to Williams route that I do every day. Maybe the folks at Metropolis will get to count me as #18 today! It is nice with so few cars, though I wish I had better front lights, as details of the snow/ice equation get a little tricky to see at night.

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  • Shake December 23, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    I rode to work every day last week from Sellwood to the Max to Beaverton and then to work. Everyone thought I was crazy.

    And now this week I’m having to help shuttle people to other areas so I haven’t been able to ride at all this week which has been really bumming me out.

    Tonight when I get home with the company van I’m jumping on the bike and heading to the beer store. At least I’ll get some snow action, and it’ll end in beer.

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  • Andrew H December 23, 2008 at 6:01 pm

    Skyline from Sylvan to the summit before Cornell is well plowed and was easy to ride on a hybrid with knobby tires. There are some spots where drivers have run up against the now berm and kicked fresh snow into the travel lane.

    Traffic was light… and a mixed bag as far as attitude. I pulled over to let vehicles by as soon as I could and most drivers were okay… but not all.

    SW Humphrey is fine, although there is more traffic now… and things are tight when there are vehicles going both ways.

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  • joel December 23, 2008 at 6:09 pm

    roads last night looked like they were getting more packed down, so i rode the cargo bike in this morning via the usual vancouver/flint/broadway route. lots smoother out there, but more cars. took me about 30 minutes from mlk/killingsworth to stumptown, where it usually takes about 20. took the lane on the broadway bridge cause the sidewalk was inaccessible.

    riding around downtown (and i did a lot of it today – we werent busy, but we had enough work to keep me scrambling about without a break save lunch all day) was also smoother, but the car-borne idiot count was WAY up. seriously, there were a bunch of nutjobs out there who should just stay at home and not drive when things are like this, and im a pretty unflappable rider. people need to read the lines at the bottom of the screen in those 4wd truck commercials that say “professional driver on closed course. do not attempt.” WAY too many people driving like theyre in the movies, churning up otherwise perfectly rideable corners into fluffy gunk.

    basically, i rode a 8 hour cyclocross race today, on the cargo bike, in traffic, with up to 100 lb loads. sans shouldering, though, but with lots of dismounts at full speed. if it werent for the Mad Cross Skillz ™, i may have run into some problems.

    ride home was about the same. n williams was freaking awesome though. totally take-the-lane speed run. metropolis probably missed me, cause i went by at like 445, i think.

    tomorrow, i get to take a break, and hope i can catch my flight out to visit family, and maybe get some riding in in even deeper snow out in the sierras. wish me luck!

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  • Paul Tay December 23, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    Hey, anyone game for a nekkid ride on New Year’s Day?

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  • Natty December 23, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    Correction for PBOT bulletin:

    “Motorists are advised to drive cautiously with traffic because many bike lanes are covered with plowed snow, gravel, and road debris.”

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  • JH December 23, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    I love riding my bike but I’ll wait for the snow to melt.

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  • SkidMark December 23, 2008 at 7:23 pm

    Haha at joel’s joke about 4WD truck drivers. The most well-behaved one I saw was a dude driving a modified Toyota rock crawler, probably because he understands the limits of his machine and the terrain.

    I had a fun time riding my fixed MTB around and I can count myself as one who rode by Metropolis Cycle Repair. The Max was crowded going to Beaverton, I had to wait for a train empty enough for me to get my bike on (@ Goose hollow) but they were coming regularly about ten minutes apart.

    It’s really not that bad out there, most drivers are driving accordingly, and people on the street seem a little friendlier. It was a good day.

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  • Zaphod December 23, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    The Xtra finally met its match yesterday only on certain sections of 15th where it was soft, slippery and with deep grooves. I kept it going but flailed around which I did not enjoy one bit. The machine was rallying through the thick stuff with a full load from Trader Joes.

    Today I hit it on the mountain bike and it was like riding any dirt fireroad. With colder temps, thicker tires and less mass I was rippin’ it. The only dangers are cars and the pockets of ice caused by the compression of car tires in a rut. Riding the nice mountain bike was a welcome change to the truck-like handling of the Xtra.

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  • Larrythenurse December 23, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Tried to ride into Portland from West Linn/ Highway 43 and I-205. I had a 26×2.1 homemade studded (3/8″ sheet metal screws)tires on the front(26×2.1)and back (26×2.0.) Crossed on the Oregon City bridge and worked my way over to River Rd. Got to Sellwood in 1.5 hrs (usually 40 min range.) On the packed streets, especially River Rd., it went great. Cars were almost always respectful. (I did think of making a “GIVE WIDE CLEARANCE” sign but didn’t.)I learned real quick why the Inuit have so many words for snow. You have to be more on guard for road conditions than any type of riding I’ve ever done. Had a blast and managed 24 miles in a bit over three hours with only one minor wipeout.

    Now here is some serious ice riding: http://www.digave.com/videos/ice-web.mpg

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  • Nate December 24, 2008 at 6:39 am

    I have been riding almost everyday in the snow. My bike has slick tires, no knobs and no studs. However, I have been able to get around pretty well on it. The snow is easy to ride in, but the ice … well, be ready to fall. So far I have only fallen twice. (Another time I jumped of my bike as it was falling and was able to keep my feet.) Still it was GREAT fun!!!!

    My Advise: If you do go out riding in the snow and ice, be ready to fall. Oh, and HAVE FUN!!!!

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  • Kevin Wagoner December 24, 2008 at 8:41 am

    I don’t see any bare pavement in SW Burlingame. I haven’t tried riding yet…but might today…just for fun of course. I did see one bike go by the house the other day…it was making good progress.

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