Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Winter weather snow-pen thread — Updated

Posted by on December 29th, 2009 at 3:03 pm

Traffic on I-5 through North Portland was not moving at around 4:30.
Photo Gallery
(Photos © J. Maus)

It’s the first snow of the season!

First snow of the season-1

Allan Folz didn’t expect snow on
his jaunt to the store.

I’m writing from North Portland and we’ve got a blanket of the white stuff on our streets and yards. Our neighbor and friend Allan Folz (in photos above) was riding home from the store and got caught in the unexpected flurry. It seemed like this snow was a bit unexpected and I have a feeling lots of folks left home on their bikes this morning without expecting it would be a slushy ride home.

Feel free to share the weather report from your part of town… and let us know what type of two-wheeled snow adventures you’ve got planned (I hope some of you are still planning to go on the Downtown Neon Light Ride tonight! update: ride has been cancelled).

Here are a few more photos (full gallery here, see updates below):

First snow of the season-11

First snow of the season-7

First snow of the season-13

— 3:30pm: The Oregonian says the snow should turn into rain later tonight. But as of right now it’s still dropping big flakes in North Portland.

— 4:40pm: Just returned for a foray around North Portland/I-5 area. Still snowing hard. It was hard to see without goggles. Lots of snow accumulation on the ground. See full photo gallery 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

  • rixtir December 29, 2009 at 3:11 pm

    I had no idea it was going to snow. I wasn’t completely unprepared, but still, it was a cold ride home through a facefull of snowflakes.

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  • amos December 29, 2009 at 3:19 pm

    Looks like the Neon Ride was canceled 🙁

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  • John Lascurettes December 29, 2009 at 3:21 pm

    The ride home should be fine. It’s above freezing outside and will be for the rest of the week (even at night).

    Still, I might put the studded tires on the mountain bike, just in case I need to pull it out later.

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  • cold worker December 29, 2009 at 3:27 pm

    let the hysteria begin.

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  • Burk December 29, 2009 at 3:45 pm

    That is really coming down!

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  • Andrea December 29, 2009 at 3:46 pm

    I am heading home in an hour or so to North Portland from downtown. Do the roads feel slippery to folks?

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  • rixtir December 29, 2009 at 3:55 pm


    It wasn’t sticking to the roads when I rode home. Just like riding in the rain as far as tire to road contact.

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  • Paul Souders December 29, 2009 at 3:56 pm

    I just rode from downtown to SW PDX up Terwilliger. Downtown was fine but turned slushy/icy by Hamilton Ct. I’m watching cars spin out on the *slight* incline up our street right now.

    Still rideable up here but I had a couple minor spills: ice under the snow. Cars are losing control which is scarier.

    So above 350′ it’s getting slippery.

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  • toddistic December 29, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    So stoked off the unexpected snow. My track bike which hasnt seen much action since track racing season was over is going to get some action if the snow sticks around tomorrow morning with some nice mud2 cross tires.

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  • Jackattak December 29, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    I have the unfortunate task of commuting from beautiful Downtown Portland to BeaverTron as my workday commute, and MAX it.

    However, I walk from the Goose Hollow MAX stop to the South Park Blocks and I did not come prepared for this today!

    Expecting a slushy walk home tonight. 🙁

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  • amos December 29, 2009 at 3:58 pm

    I’m on SE Hawthorne and it’s sticking and piling more than I expected. Looking forward to an exciting commute!

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  • Mark C December 29, 2009 at 4:08 pm

    I’m on NE 33rd just south of Fremont. The side streets are white, and 33rd is getting pretty white as well. Still big flakes coming down.

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  • David E Hollingsworth December 29, 2009 at 4:19 pm

    I just got in from a short ride in NE. I was fishtailing at stops & starts on my “road” tires (marathons) until I figured out that I needed more front brake and to downshift as far as I could before stopping. I wished that I had my mountain tires on. I normally ride around 15mph, but for this I kept below 10. YMMV (heh)

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  • Jackattak December 29, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    I have watched the temperature drop from 38° to 33° (now, as of 16:23 PST) in about 2.5 hours.


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  • rixtir December 29, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    It’s definitely sticking now.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor-in-Chief) December 29, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Just returned from a nopo foray in the snow. Still snowing big flakes and lots of snow on the ground. definitely not just a flurry. cars are moving very slowly. noticed all bike tracks up on sidewalks… maybe not a bad idea.

    i’m uploading some new photos now.

    be cautious out there… and have fun!

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  • aljee December 29, 2009 at 4:35 pm


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  • IanO December 29, 2009 at 4:54 pm

    I just had a fun early commute home on my Azor Opa. No problems with traction or wet (my rain pants are always in the panniers) but I had just bought a new Nutcase: no brim! My glasses were frosted within a few blocks. Luckily, I live in Portland, which has Ye Olde Bike Shoppe on every other corner. I ducked into the Bike Co-op on Ankeny, nabbed a naff little brimmed cap and was good to go.

    I gotta say, it is a nice feeling to be able to soldier up a hill when other cars are spinning out. It also feels great getting and giving thumbs up to all the other intrepid bikers I passed on the way.

    Rubber side down, everyone!

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  • joeb December 29, 2009 at 4:58 pm

    It looks like typical slushy slop or Portland “snow”. Probably not a bad ride. It is disappointing, but this is where I decide not to mix it up with cars. I guess I’ll leave the bike at work and enjoy a book on the bus for once.

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  • Dave December 29, 2009 at 5:35 pm

    It started snowing on me while I was strapping some plywood to my cargo bike in the NW industrial district. It was snowing pretty heavily all the way to home in SE. Nothing was sticking on the roads except on the movable part of the Hawthorne bridge. I’m glad I had a load, it kept my heart rate up and speed down so I didn’t get too cold.

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  • Natty December 29, 2009 at 5:43 pm

    A belated welcome to winter, Portland!
    Cycling in the snow may be a little slower, but it’s no cause to stop. Here, on the other side of the continent, there remains ~2ft of snow despite the warm weather and rain in the past week.

    With strong winds and temperatures falling back to seasonal norms (0-5F) tonight the Hakkapeliitta’s will get to prove themselves on the hills tomorrow.

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  • p8ntballbiker December 29, 2009 at 5:47 pm

    geez, never have I wished I rode to work today then today! woke up late so i had to drive. Snow came and my 10 minute 3 mile commute turned into a 1 hour snail trek. I coulda been home in 20 minutes on my bike even in the snow!

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  • Matthew December 29, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    It’s beautiful out there. Rode from Lloyd Center area to North Portland (200 ft level) and passed cars stuck and others waiting to get stuck. It’s good going out there at this elevation provided you stick to the fresh snow, which isn’t difficult as auto traffic seems to be sticking to well-worn (and visible) trails in the main lanes. Avoid the ruts.

    Memorable moments: Unlocking my bike at work, and having people on their way to their cars chuckle at me saying, in sarcasm, “Won’t YOU have a fun trip home tonight!” Well, yes I did, thank you, and faster than a lot of them.

    Kudos to the couple in a Subaru with a bike rack who slowed down next to me on Interstate Ave and offered me a lift. Much appreciated, but I was having too much fun.

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  • Andrew Holtz December 29, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    I was unprepared, too. The ride home along NW Skyline through Sylvan was slow… and a lot of walking… because I had my smooth tires on. But I was still going faster than the cars… that were completely stopped in many places. Even chains don’t help when cars are spun out in front of you.

    At Sylvan, cars and trucks were driving on the bike/ped cut-through path to Humphrey and Hewett… because spun-out cars were blocking Humphrey at Scholls Ferry.

    Good example to keep in mind the next time someone whines about bikes-only infrastructure.

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  • KJ December 29, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    Rode home from OMSI(work) along esplanade to Williams which was a mess so took Rodney north then headed east on Going. I live near 30th and Killingsworth. Was a decent ride. Got hit by a snowball on Rodney and Skidmore, those boys thought what was great fun (men? I am not sure how old they really were) I laughed but did not engage,I figured a larger volley migth follow.passed a group of walkers one said loud enough man I don;t think I’d bike in the snow” wanted to say back well then my ovaries must be bigger than your balls but I refrained. Saw firemen making a snowman on the esplanade and one on a corner in NE.
    Passed a few stuck cars while riding up hill with ease.
    It was real pretty. chilly. if it’s still around in the morning I will bus it though. That was slow going. And yeah, worried about cars spinning out the whole way. But I am sure they were worried about me sliding out too.

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  • Blazer December 29, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Can I ride in the snow with my road bike – Continental Gatorskin tire??

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  • John Lascurettes December 29, 2009 at 8:05 pm

    I was mostly worried about getting out of downtown and heading up Broadway east of the bridge.

    I found that with my road tires, I had better control in the deep snow than in the packed snow.

    One car rolled down its windows and the passenger gave me a Simpsons-esque “HA! HA!” I have no idea why they thought I was worse off than them. I was making much better time than most people in cars or on transit.

    I went up NE Regents up the Alameda ridge. One car passed me as I very calmly and controlled went up in my lowest gear. He got about halfway up and slid backward into the curb. I passed him on the left. I resisted giving him a “HA! HA!” There were two other cars stuck on the same hill. I don’t know why people without chains or AWD were attempting it.

    When I got home, my bike was packed with more snow than I expected and so was my helmet. I was comfortable. I had on rain paints, waterproof shoes, a rain shell and snow gloves; plus some wool base layers.

    I got home and my son was playing in the snow in the front yard.

    My wife rescued two women who’s car got stuck on our street. Gave them some canvas shopping bags to replace their paper grocery bags and they hoofed it to the bus on Killingsworth and 42nd.

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  • Burk December 29, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    o.k., I’m heading home. Wish me luck and thanks for the conditions update, this site has more info than KOIN 6.

    I also got a few shots of the snow from my office window (as in video):


    Couldn’t help myself…

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  • Nana on a Bike December 29, 2009 at 8:34 pm

    Okay BikePortland you got your photos now get inside and stay warm.

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  • Tony Fuentes December 29, 2009 at 9:20 pm

    Rode from Lloyd Center to Concordia at 5 pm. I have intended to let the bus do the driving for me but it was clear that the wait was going to be too much so I got back on the bike.

    Honestly, it wasn’t that bad (not that I would do it willingly, mind you). Some slipping but no falls. Braking was a process.

    I rode on the sidewalk in areas were the auto driving was making me nervous. A lot cars (and buses on the route I had intended to ride) were stuck and sliding on the hill between NE Failing and NE Prescott on 15th.

    Once I was north of Alberta, I finished the trips on side streets which were quiet and absolutely lovely. That part of the trip was actually relaxing.

    Overall, my travel time was about twice as long as normal.

    P.S. Sorry for the double post, I messed up and posted this to the Spokane discussion initially; feel free to delete that comment.

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  • Stig6 December 29, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    Riding through the snow/slush on the Springwater with 23mm gatorskins around 4pm. That sure was interesting. No problems, pedaling smoothly is key. Don’t use the rear brake at all unless you absolutely have to and you can always let some air out for more contact.

    Could get icy overnight especially in bike lanes where cars have strayed and crushed the snow a bit, and areas exposed to wind. The wind chills are well below freezing out East.

    Take care in those corners. Even at low speeds the front wheel can wash out without warning if you’re not careful.

    It’s fat tire time. Take care out there.

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  • AdamG December 30, 2009 at 12:26 am

    Please don’t ride on the sideWALKS… Riding on the street with homemade studs is the way to go tonight, I only passed by 2 cars in 80 blocks.

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  • Joe December 30, 2009 at 9:11 am

    bet that should on the fwy pic if safe would have been quicker by 2 wheels. just my 2cents 🙂

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  • matt picio December 30, 2009 at 9:18 am

    AdamG (#32) – riding on sidewalks was sometimes necessary yesterday evening, with the gridlock and cars not able to see the painted lines on the road. There was more than a few times where the gap between car and curb was less than a foot.

    The bike lanes were the place to be last night, though – much better traction than in the road ruts, definitely one of the times where the bike lane was demonstrably safer.

    I rode 6 miles in lower Beaverton and Tigard, and was not passed by a single car. Much of the area was completely gridlocked, except for bikes.

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  • Joe December 30, 2009 at 9:39 am

    yes riding on sidewalks can be safe! need to have some understanding of it. sometimes
    the safest spot when lanes and cars are just not right! as always be safe

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  • Tony Fuentes December 30, 2009 at 5:03 pm

    @AdamG I don’t have homemade studs or store bought studs. Even if I did, I doubt I would’ve rode on them in the AM in anticipation of an unexpected snowstorm affecting my ride home at rush hour.

    Also, riding in the street on the sections of NE 15th where cars and buses were sliding around is something I don’t have the balls for….studs or no studs….so I guess congrats to you on being a studlier stud user than I would be.

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  • kevin December 31, 2009 at 11:56 am

    I was loving watching it come down while I was having coffee at the Denver ST Cup N Saucer cafe and also loving the fact I rode my cross bike with the cross tires still on. I got a face full of flakes riding back home to Vancouver WA but it was worth it! 🙂 Yay for biking!

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