Riders brave a snowy commute

A view of traffic approaching the Hawthorne Bridge this morning.
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(Photos © J. Maus)

Portland just can’t seem to shake its snow habit.

What started as a light dusting early this morning has continued throughout the morning commute and big, fat, wet flakes continue to fall all over the metro area.

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On my way into our office in the Central Eastside this morning, I stopped and snapped a few photos of the bike traffic. I wanted to document it because after (and during) the last heavy snow storm back in December, it seemed like the Bureau of Transportation had forgotten that people still ride bikes, no matter what the weather.

See more snowy commute photos by browsing the “snow” tag in our photo gallery.

Did you ride your bike into work this morning? How was it out there?

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John Lascurettes
13 years ago

I debated for a while whether to ride the commuter bike with slicks or the mountain bike with studs this morning. I eventually settled on commuter bike since the weather reports all insisted that it was to melt by this afternoon.

It was a little thicker on top of Alameda ridge than it was downtown.

It really wasn’t too bad overall. I took corners (particularly one tricky one) really slowly and carefully. I gave myself plenty of stop time at intersections, but otherwise, I rode normal.

I just need to remember to leave work before the temps drop below freezing tonight since I have the slicks.

I also worry that if enough snow piles up, freezing or no freezing temps, there will be slick conditions on the way home.

jv
jv
13 years ago

I rode in early when it was just a light dusting, so no change really in my commute (or my tires). If we see more of this I’ll probably switch out my front slick for a knobby. I personally like the snow – it slows car traffic speeds down a little. Ice is a different matter…I am not as much a fan of that.

sue
sue
13 years ago

I had a great time riding in the snow! I only rode the first day we had the last big snow, and regret that I chickened out. This is fun! I just wish that drivers would realize that they should turn on their headlights. Every third car I saw, literally, did not have it’s headlights turned on.
I say, more snow!

Travis Wittwer
13 years ago

I did not ride the kids into to school in this morning, but will ride them out this afternoon.

mmann
13 years ago

I was at work before it started so I missed the fun. I know I sound grumpy but more snow means more gravel. Grrr.

m
m
13 years ago

yeah, I’m kinda over this whole snow thing. I had way more than my fill with all the stuff we already got. I haven’t left yet, but I’ll be leaving in a minute and it looks like it’ll be an easy trip, even though I do have to go to outer NW from inner NE/SE.

canuck
canuck
13 years ago

I moved back to Oregon from Wisconsin after four winters there. This is not what I expected, but at least we won’t see 100 inches here.

Telecommuting has it’s benefits..

Angela
13 years ago

We had a blast riding to an ultrasound appointment in the snow while our girls walked to school with a neighbor. Great memories!

peejay
peejay
13 years ago

Speaking of the city forgetting people ride bikes in the snow – how about drivers forgetting also. At 7th and Madison (2 blocks before Jonathan’s picture), I had an SUV drift into the bike lane and just camp out there, right in front of me. I hand-smacked his side mirror and rode around him.

On the other side of the hill, I chickened out on the Barnes Road downhill, and took the 62 bus instead. Glad I did; most people had half their cars in the bike lane.

Smaledog
13 years ago

Since I heard the reports that it would all melt by this afternoon, I took the regular road commuter with slicks out instead of the mountain bike. Took turns a little more cautiously. The only problem was some real wheel slippage / tracking in some sidwalk grooves on the Espalande ramp down to the Steel Bridge lower deck, but I kept it upright.

r_dawg1021
r_dawg1021
13 years ago

I had the same thought process as Smaledog. I knew it was going to snow and just banking on that fact it would melt for my ride hom,e at 6:30 there was no snow so the hills were fine, I can’t say the hills on the ride home will even be ridable. I may end up shouldering the bike for my 9 mile commute home..nothing like sharing a lane on Murray!

beth h
13 years ago

Last night, I swapped in a new rim on my wheel (using opriginal spokes and hub ‘cuz they were still fine). Just in time!
This morning, I rode to work in the freshly-fallen snow. Mostly it was fine, though I did have one harrowing moment at 15th near Ainsworth when a Trimet bus began falling backwards down the hill and fishtailing. I got out of the way in time and we both just sort of stared at each other with near-horror looks on our faces. I smiled and resumed pedaling, with no other drama.

The snow is already melting at the shop and it feels about ten degrees warmer than when I left the house. Amazing.

Marissa
Marissa
13 years ago

All I have to say is all y’all are crazy for riding in the snow. I’m a die hard commuter, Oregonian transplanted to SF – and I’ll cycle thru anything but SNOW… props to you all.

John Lascurettes
13 years ago

Speaking of PBOT forgetting bikers: has anyone seen the St. John’s bridge lately?

Zaphod
13 years ago

Took the kid to kindergarten with in the quiet of a winter wonderland taking it easy.

Later in the day I was riding like I stole it popping onto sections of snow and sliding the back end of the Xtra.

I did witness a person in her car, head in hand as her car was smashed against a parked car. Probably only cosmetic damage but served as a wake up to stay safe out there.

I think the key to safety is first, stay off of main roads and second, unambiguously take the lane when on larger roads.

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
13 years ago

“Speaking of the city forgetting people ride bikes in the snow – how about drivers forgetting also. “

perhaps it’s because the bike lanes were still all white with snow and essentially invisible.

davidio
davidio
13 years ago

Things haven’t been 100% sunny in my life the past couple of days, but a mere 5 mile commute this morning in the snow put a huge smile on my face. I’ll take this over rain any day of the week.

John – I’ve ridden the SJ bridge recently, and been astonished that I didn’t get a flat on my skinny tires in the short distance I stayed on the raised sidewalk. I normally don’t ride the road surface over that bridge (especially west-bound – can’t quite match 45mph going up), but have been going the low road for now.

justa
justa
13 years ago

i don’t really get too worked up about riding in the snow, but i was really excited to hit up mt. tabor tomorrow and i don’t think conditions will be optimum after all. shoot!

Mikael
13 years ago

Lovely to see people riding in the snow, but some people also seem to forget that they can do so in their normal clothes instead of all that ‘gear’. It’s just snow, after all.

K'Tesh
K'Tesh
13 years ago

STILL putting up with gravel all over 99W (Tigard to Sherwood) rode the fog line there and had several uncomfortable moments when traffic built up and people couldn’t move to the left. Perhaps somebody else should complain about nearly getting run over there, cause nobody’s listening to me.

Started todays commute (Beaverton to Tigard) with light dusting of frozen rain which pelted me all the way in. The further I went, the whiter the trail (Fanno Creek) turned.

I’m praying that ODOT didn’t lay out any more gravel here in Washington County, ’cause it’s taking them long enough to get the old stuff up already. =(

KJ
KJ
13 years ago

I rode in from Goose Hollow to the east side where I work. it was a total blast, but on the approach tot he Hawthorne on Madison, all the cars were in the bike lane, So I just took the lane.
It was a great way to start the day, regardless. I saw a lot of other riders out too.

Maculsay
Maculsay
13 years ago

Just got back from a bike run to Home Depot. It’s always fun to ride, no matter the weather, except for a sheet of ice. Then it’s really fun! As usual, HD was a ghost town. What would I do without Wald folding baskets…

Liz
Liz
13 years ago

Nice, easy ride for my NE -> N commute, just took it a little slower than usual and took extra care to avoid those manhole covers. So happy not to be sitting in a car crawling southbound on MLK or at a standstill on I-5 South.

GlowBoy
GlowBoy
13 years ago

Peejay (#9), I really don’t recommend hand-smacking someone’s mirror. A few years ago I had a driver chase me down and attempt to assault me after I did exactly that for blocking the bike lane. Fortunately I repelled him and got the cops there quickly. The other guy got a very long lecture and referral for prosecution. I got a much shorter lecture, informing me that since I initiated contact the DA would be unlikely to prosecute.

Sorry for the OT post … back to winter riding. I rode yesterday, with plenty of ice in the west hills. Fortunately the studded tire on the front made it pretty much a non-problem. Would love to have ridden today, but couldn’t due to schedule issues.

Paul Tay
13 years ago

Plenty of snow here in Tulsa too! Three inches of sleet on top of an icy sheet is really not that bad, even with 27″ slicks. Sleet has the same traction as sand. Just keep yer elbows loose. Roll da tire tracks.

Opus the Poet
13 years ago

You guys got it good, here in Dallas TX things are starting to freeze into a solid sheet of glare ice. Studded tire time, but no LBS selling studded tires… I’m walking (very slowly and carefully).

Opus

joel
13 years ago

rode in (regular work bike, not cargo), mostly pre-snow, and then rode around for the duration downtown. most of it seemed pretty wet and kinda squished out of the way. most downtown streets were pretty much clear, thanks to car traffic. really wasnt enough snow today to require any change in my riding, just a good chuckle as i marveled that weve now had, what, 3 weeks worth of days where measurable snow was either falling or on the ground, so far this winter? and well over 20″ cumulative snowfall? crazy.

red hippie
red hippie
13 years ago

Wife woke me up at 6:30 saying that the tv weatherman was saying I had 30 minutes before it started snowing. 6:48 and I was still in bed. Finally got up and out by 6:57 with only 3 minutes until the snow- apocalypse was meant to descend.

I started to get hit immediately by small, almost imperceptible flakes of snow, but my Nike eyeglasses me from going blind. I persevered and reached the spaghetti bowl by 7:17 where i saw other riders tracks in the barely perceptible snow. I considered putting on the chains, but there was no guy with a floor jack around, so I kept going into the near white-out conditions.

7:20 and I was staring down Greeley and felt the fear rise in my soul. I started my roll out and soon was roaring along at 20 mph wishing I had Rudolph to guide my sleigh. Dodging a FedEx truck ramping up from Swan Island, I felt elated as the snow seemed to let up and the road cleared but I had one obstacle left to go, the dreaded ramp up to Interstate.

Some how I made it up the ramp and tipped my helmet to the memorial while turning into the flow of Interstate Traffic. All was quite as I chased the maxx down and saw the uncomprehending looks from the passengers. Little do they know of the freedoms of bike commuting in the winter.

Soon I made it to the Broadway bridge and felt instantly safer as I reached the green safety boxes and measure of increased traction. It was all down hill from here to work, arriving at 7:48.

I can’t believe I had made it, but thanks to my showers pass jacket and pants, and the grace of god and Sam Adams i had made it.

Cheers,

all

ps. Saw Sam on the Street today. He had a smile on his face. It made me feel better.

half pint
half pint
13 years ago

My bike only has slicks,and my rear brake is out of order. Somehow I only bit it once at the bottom of Salmon. Thanks to the driver and the biker who made sure I was okay (a bruise is all I have to show for the fall). A couple blocks later I ran in to Jonathon(not literally) taking pictures…Was almost hoping to see my pic on the website.

half pint
half pint
13 years ago

Just realized I’m in two of the photos. I guess I got my wish…

Todd B
13 years ago

Too bad I missed the snow fun.

Though it was a bright blue sunny day riding around Long Beach CA on the way to the airport and back to Portland (and the grey wet).

Sadly I did not see any bike lanes in Long Beach yet. Stil no bike news there.

John Russell
13 years ago

Nice and clear out when I set out for school at 7:00 am on Tuesday. Then while, sitting it class, it just started coming down. Thankfully, the roads were just wet by the time I had to ride home. Maybe I’ll start leaving some zip ties at school in the future so I won’t be stuck without chains.