People on Bikes: Cold Commute Edition

More photos below.
(Photos © J. Maus)

Twas a bit nippy on the ride into work this morning. Perhaps the coldest commute we’ve had in quite some time around these parts. Frost was visible on the road and leaves and it was hovering near freezing when I left my house.

With all the scarves, gloves, and other methods people use to stay warm while riding, I thought it’d be fun to resurrect our People on Bikes series. I snapped this series on SW Broadway just before Davis in about 15 minutes. Check out the riding portraits below (I’ve numbered them in case you’d like to reference a specific one in the comments)…

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-1

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-2

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-3

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-4

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-5

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-6

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-7

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-8

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-9

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-10

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-11

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-12

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-18

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-17

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-13

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-14

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-15

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-16

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-19

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-20

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-21

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-22

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-23

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-24

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People on Bikes- Cold Commute Edition-25

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Richard Masoner
12 years ago

I really enjoyed these as you uploaded them to Flickr to this morning. In the mid 30s in Portland today?

There’s a guy I regularly ride with who amuses me with his weather bike wear here in California. When it drops down below about 60°F, he dons full on plastic pants and jacket, bulky fleece hat and long finger gloves. Last night, it was maybe 50 and he had thick ski gloves on!

A.K.
A.K.
12 years ago

Ha! I don’t understand how people ride like that? I get really hot when I ride, and perhaps some people are the opposite, they run cold? I dunno.

My personal motto is to wear less and ride harder to stay warm, I just can’t stand bulky stuff while riding.

April
April
12 years ago
Reply to  A.K.

I personally run fairly cold. I feel like I’m almost always wearing more layers than other people around me.

What *really* sucks is when it’s cold and I’m layered up and then I ride, say, up a hill or something. My trunk can be sweaty, but my fingers/toes/nose will still be painfully cold. Bleh. I’m getting better at this, but still.

BicycleDave
BicycleDave
12 years ago
Reply to  April

Glove liners keep my fingers warm when it gets really cold.

Nick V
12 years ago

Pearl Izumi lobster gloves. Don’t leave home without them.

April
April
12 years ago

#7 is either a knitter or knows someone who is! Nice legwarmers (socks?) and mittens!

Champs
Champs
12 years ago

Need to hook up with #24, show her my tool, and break a little some of that off. I mean seriously, that chain is way too long.

Kristen
12 years ago
Reply to  Champs

Wow! Until I got to the second sentence I thought you were saying something very dirty …

Tony
Tony
12 years ago
Reply to  Champs

Superb.

P Finn
P Finn
12 years ago
Reply to  Champs

chain tension, rather than length, is, in fact, the issue here. TMYK

Spokesy
Spokesy
12 years ago
Reply to  Champs

I was hoping someone was going to catch that right away! Someone know who she is and get a hold of her? She will be so much happier and realize how much better her commute will be if we nip that one in the bum.

I mean, there’s something for giving someone a “little slack” with their bike maintenance, but she’d appreciate it if we tightened up on her a lil’

lyle
lyle
12 years ago
Reply to  Spokesy

The chain also slacks like that if she’s right in the middle of a gear change as the picture is being taken. That would probably be the more likely scenario.

Paul
12 years ago
Reply to  Champs

Props! Your mechanic’s generosity is very kind and attentive. But that comment is so awkward. Anyway, ride safe, and keep that tool well protected.

Dave
Dave
12 years ago

Rider number 4 is hotttt! I love those jeans. Reminds me of my Levis 511 commuters. It is nice not to have a flapping jacket. Today it was 27 F as I rode my a.m. commute here in Cbus, OH. I wore my fleece lined leather mittens and just a yellow midweight fleece jacke over my butterfleece midlayer. Black stretch chinos stay outa the chain… its all good.

Kenneth
Kenneth
12 years ago
Reply to  Dave

I hate it when people start rating the girls, my favorite is #22. She looks ready to rumble. No doubt on her way to a bike swarm.

Thomas Le Ngo
12 years ago
Reply to  Dave

Number 6 is better. Faces are overrated.

michael b
12 years ago

On my bikes, I use toe cages (per photo 10) and have made covers that fit over them out of heavy waterproof nylon. The covers stay attached to the pedals, so you don’t have to keep track of them. You slip your toes in and they stay dry and suffer far less wind cooling effect. Highly recommend. I also wear snow gaiters and with this combination stay pretty dry and warm.
Neoprene gloves, such as kayakers wear, are great.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago

#6, yeah.
Stay away from TSA, Police Tutrles, etc. though.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago
Reply to  9watts
daisy
daisy
12 years ago

This is my first fall commuting, and I’ve been surprised by how little I really need for my 3-mile commute, especially if it’s not raining. What I’d love to find are bike commuting pants like the Levi’s 511s, but made for women.

Randall S.
Randall S.
12 years ago
Reply to  daisy

If it makes you feel better, from what I understand the 511s aren’t really made for men either. I’ve read many complaints about the legs being way to narrow.

That said: Outlier makes a good women’s riding pantaloon, but it’s a little pricey. Ah… that’s the only one I know of offhand though.

daisy
daisy
12 years ago
Reply to  Randall S.

Yeah, the Outlier pants for women look good but cost $180. That’s more than I paid for my rain pants and rain jacket combined.

Betabrand makes a women’s version of their Bike to Work pants, but only in khaki, and, more importantly, apparently completely out of stock. They’re $80, so more reasonably priced than the Outlier pants.
http://www.betabrand.com/womens-bike-to-work-pants.html

Mike Fish
Mike Fish
12 years ago

No matter the temp, I still just roll up my jeans to keep them out of the chain and trust my leg hair to keep me warm. It’s fine unless it’s raining. Then things must be done.

Nick V
12 years ago
Reply to  Mike Fish

I have to respectfully disagree. If hair kept one warm, then I could ride topless if you know what I mean and I think you do. But I’d be cold if I even tried that going downhill during the summer.

Mike Fish
Mike Fish
12 years ago
Reply to  Nick V

The calves are different than “other parts!”

Kristen
12 years ago

I love riding in nippy weather. This is the first year I’ve been equipped for it, and I’m so glad not to be constrained by cold and rain. Just the purchase of a fleece headband, late last winter, made a huge difference as I can wear it under my helmet to protect my ears.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago
Reply to  Kristen

Yeah, about the only way the Springwater Corridor isn’t jammed.

CharlieBurr
12 years ago

Rider #1 is a charming bagel server at Kettleman’s, who assures me that the recipe won’t change.

Randall S.
Randall S.
12 years ago

Wowsa! I hope I don’t look that intense when I’m riding.

#24 need her chain shortened, or her derailleur adjusted. Let her know if you know her!

Also, all 25 of you look great.

Tom M
Tom M
12 years ago
Reply to  Randall S.

Intense is one word, I prefer focused, as in focused on getting to my destination and stop that wind chill!

I thin most of us get that look in cooler weather, especially when riding alone. The smiles just come easier when there’s some to ride with.

Tony H
Tony H
12 years ago

‘Twas cold, indeed! A preview of more to come, I’m sure.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago

Quite a few people might as well not have been wearing helmets given how far off their head/far back on their head their helmet was.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago
Reply to  Paul Johnson

Paul,
who besides #2 are you thinking of? I was actually surprised at the fraction that were or appeared to me to have their helmet pretty securely on their noggins.

OnTheRoad
OnTheRoad
12 years ago
Reply to  9watts

19 and 21 have their helmet sitting pretty high. Probably get wrenched right off in a crash.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago
Reply to  9watts

1 and 2 both have their helmets pushed back, 5, 19, 21, 23 have their helmets quite high thanks to headgear under their helmet, and 10 has both going on.

Jram
Jram
12 years ago

it’s amusing to me how strange a facial expression can look when it’s frozen in time. some of the looks captured are just comical (namely 13 & 18).

Schrauf
Schrauf
12 years ago

I love these photo streams. Reminds me of Urban Weeds, but for Portland bike commuters rather than Portland “pedestrians” – http://www.urbanweedsblog.com/

Jonathan, would you say photo streams like this are a good cross section of the people passing by you at that point in time, or do you favor photos of more interesting people/bikes? I’m just curious how accurately the photos portray Portland bike commuters at the time and location you are shooting. Not that there would be anything wrong with editing out some photos – it’s not meant to be a research project. =)

Paul H
Paul H
12 years ago

I stopped for the light at Washington and 3rd at about 6:30 this morning and another cyclist pulled alongside. We chatted about the cold, then I noticed he was wearing shorts. Not knicks, but geniune above-the-knee shorts.

Bikesalot
Bikesalot
12 years ago

I think most of these folks are riding a lot less than 12 miles with a mountain at both ends.

Travis
Travis
12 years ago

Hit my first ice of the season and went down, watch out on those turns!

Champs
Champs
12 years ago
Reply to  Travis

Tell me about it. Had to pull up from a sharp right at some speed when I looked down at the pavement. That’s a flashback to Minnesota, almost any day between now and April.

Spokesy
Spokesy
12 years ago
Reply to  Travis

Did my first ice spill 12/1 as well! 90 degree left hand turn going at speed out of traffic. Still trying to figure out how I skinned up my elbow to the point of bleeding, but my two jackets, underarmor and shirt remained impervious to the road. Minivan lady thought I was down for the count, but I just couldn’t get unclipped!! Doh!

Travis
Travis
12 years ago
Reply to  Spokesy

Wow! Impressive!

Deerhart
Deerhart
12 years ago

But won’t they freeze to death without a helmet on? I don’t understand.

Mindful Cyclist
Mindful Cyclist
12 years ago

I must still have a lot of Montana blood in me even after 7+ years here. I pedaled down to the MAX with my windbreaker, flannel shirt, and a thin pair of water resistant pants over my work slacks. And of course the ear band as my ears do get cold quickly and always have.

The only thing that got cold for me were my fingertips and toes. I saw some very well bundled people up today on Ankeny a well.

Lots of wet leaves, ice, the freezing fog. It was a hairy commute. I nearly wiped when I got off the Sunset Transit and made a turn, but did write myself thankfully.

Tom M
Tom M
12 years ago

Thankfully Portland isn’t nearly so cold as say Minnesota. There you really do have to watch for frostbite.

Alaska has the Iditabike, and then there’s Ride the Divide, what about Portland?

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
12 years ago
Reply to  Tom M

Zoobomb. Duh.

Paul Johnson
Paul Johnson
12 years ago
Reply to  Tom M

Complaining about the cold when the valley almost entirely lacks winter. Seriously, this hasn’t even hit windbreaker weather for me yet.

jeremy
jeremy
12 years ago

I love these shots. I’m shorts every day–rain, sun, cold, snow. I find rainpants make me sweat, pants get too wet (not today obviously) and keep me cold, but shorts: cold at first, dry quickly (as do my legs down from the knees. Secret advantage: 5 year old on back of xtracycle to keep me working hard!

ambrown
12 years ago

Sent the link to my buddies in Minnesota – they are laughing at us pretty hard right now. “I could wear a tshirt in the thirties!”

oliver
oliver
12 years ago
Reply to  ambrown

Zero degrees- New York landlords finally turn up the heat. People in Scotland have the last BBQ before it gets cold.

thefuture
thefuture
12 years ago

#11 put a lobster on it

JRB
JRB
12 years ago

Let home about 7:15 this morning for the 4 mile ride from NE to downtown. Didn’t get cold but I did hold my breathe a few times worried about black ice.

spare_wheel
spare_wheel
12 years ago

the chain on #8 has seen better days.

Chris
Chris
12 years ago

Since we’re rating them, #7 has to be my fave!

Kenneth
Kenneth
12 years ago
Reply to  Chris

Now I had to look again, definitively the most stylish of the girls. Gloves, socks and those shoes!! And lots of hair, it’s a toss up.

andyk
andyk
12 years ago

im suprised so many people wear helmets! kinda disappointed.

PorterStout
PorterStout
12 years ago

My wife suggested it might be too cold to ride today and that I might perhaps take the bus instead. As if! I don’t think most folks realize how warm you get once you really get moving.

tn
tn
12 years ago

under 40F and I need ski goggles, otherwise my eyes are puffy & tearing up all day…guessing i’m the only one?

dwainedibbly
dwainedibbly
12 years ago

Nice looking bunch, but after reading the comments I may have to go back & take another look…. 🙂

Isn’t that NW (not SW) Broadway & Davis?

I’m surprised that none of the helmeted riders are using a helmet cover, especially the ones wearing well-vented, sporty helmets. It’s a great way to block some of the chill on your head.

April
April
12 years ago
Reply to  dwainedibbly

Speaking for myself, I find helmet covers to be…um…kinda dweeby-looking. I prefer a wool hat under my helmet, or a hood.

I also have a Nutcase helmet now, which only has a few tiny holes. A helmet cover wouldn’t do me much good.

A lot of people here are saying it looks like people’s helmets are ill-fitting, but I think a lot of is an illusion caused by hats. I have one hat that’s super-thin, but because it covers my ears, it makes it look like my helmet is too small of a sudden. Fits the same, though.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
12 years ago
Reply to  dwainedibbly

As for the helmet cover, I’d say it’s one more piece of gear to keep track of when you don’t use it, while a hat underneath can be worn after you get off the bike. I’m pickin’ up what you’re layin’ down, though. Sheldon Brown swore by taping the holes for winter, so you’re not the only one in favor of un-venting. Well, actually, if no one’s taken the hole-taping torch from Sheldon, you may be the only one.

dmc
dmc
12 years ago
Reply to  dwainedibbly

When it gets this cold or when its raining, I’m always wearing my helmet cover. I also don a pair of homemade hel-muffs. Its a great combo and I never have to adjust my helmet.

dan
dan
12 years ago
Reply to  dmc

Pictures of said hel-muffs, please! I was just thinking that I needed so make something like that last night, biking home with my helmet jammed awkwardly over thick fleece earwarmers.

MSB
MSB
12 years ago

I like the wool helmets; fashionable and “safe”.

Andycigarettes
Andycigarettes
12 years ago

#3! Shoes! No rain in the winter!? Just a little cold? Count me all sorts of in!

Alan 1.0
Alan 1.0
12 years ago

8 backpacks
7 shoulder bags
7 panniers
0 combinations
3 no visible baggage

I’m ignoring the little yellow kit bag on #5.

Mindful Cyclist
Mindful Cyclist
12 years ago
Reply to  Alan 1.0

#23 is carrying an invisible bag.

mh
mh
12 years ago

What’s with all the riders with racks on their bikes wearing backpacks? Do people really want their shirts to stick to their backs all morning?

Natty
Natty
12 years ago

All,

Let’s put cold in context 🙂 Up here in the Great White North, we have yet to see cold (-10C / 14F has been my coolest commute this autumn). I have just mounted my winter tyres, but have yet to break-out the insulated cycling boots and ski gloves. typically bundling-up before it hits -20C (-4F) only leaves me overheated and sweaty, which then creates problems if traffic delays are encountered (during which you cool-off).

Doug Morgan
Doug Morgan
12 years ago

I picked up a pair of very inexpensive shooters fleece mittens. Fingerless gloves on the inside with a mitten to go over the fingers. I put on cycling gloves under and glove liners when it’s really really cold. They also ring right out when the get soaked and are quite warm when wet.

When you take these mittens off, pull from the bottom or you get to resew the mitten back on. What do those lobster gloves cost $75 and these are less than $10 and give you easy access to your fingers, that might be handy, pun intended.

I don’t find it that cold. I lived in Idaho and the cold is no big deal as long as you carry your water in a jersey pocket, unless you want to chew your water.

cycler
cycler
12 years ago

I’ll say that my favorite new cycle accessory are “ear bags” – little ear warmers that “snap” over your ear. With limited holes in my bern helmet, I find a liner hat or the snap in liner are too warm once I get going, but my ears do get cold when it’s below about 30. Only problem is that the straps tend to knock them off, which I’ve solved by sewing little “leashes” which snap around the helmet straps- so even if they fall off my ears, they aren’t lost.

9watts
9watts
12 years ago
Reply to  cycler

cycler,
can you say a bit more about these ear bags? Where do you get them? I want some too.

Thanks.

Doug Smart
Doug Smart
12 years ago
Reply to  cycler

My wife made a set of these for me last year. Great! Haven’t attached them to my helmet yet for this season. Prior to that, I had been coveting a set of Helmuffs.

BicycleDave
BicycleDave
12 years ago
Reply to  cycler

I use 180s ear muffs. They’re made to save your hair do, but this makes them work great with helmets as they go around the back of your head.

Breesa
Breesa
12 years ago

I love this series. More, please!

lyle
lyle
12 years ago

I was riding towards downtown behind the prototypical fixie rider on Interstate blvd last week at about 10 at night, when it was around 25 degrees. Sporting jorts and headband.

Passing a fellow biker at a high rate of speed rarely feels that good.

Thomas Le Ngo
12 years ago

The cold dry air wreaks havoc on my ears, nose and mouth, so a face mask is actually a necessity for me. I used to be able to go without one, but maybe age is just catching up with me.

Paul H
Paul H
12 years ago

The conditions this morning, Mon., Dec 5, were far worse for me than last week’s. There was hoarfrost in the bike lanes and on residential streets for nearly the length of my 12-mile commute. I nearly crawled on descents and around corners. I saw one rider near the north end of Springwater who’d fallen taking at a corner (she was OK). I might delay tomorrow’s commute to wait for the sun to rise and thaw the roadways.

gerald schuldt
gerald schuldt
10 years ago

Burrrrrr yes, but it’s really not all that cold! Here in the land of the Nanuk, or the most N.E. PDX SUBURB ie Spokane WA my commute this morning was more typical of January and February weather @ 9˚F with a wind chill that I won’t bother to commute, I mean compute & no lycra to boot. Standard issue for today’s daily fashion statement: On top; Outdoor Research WS Peruvian cap topped with a hand made wool hat I bought on my last trip to the PDX bicycle show, also a 20 year old REI neck gaiter. Just below on torso; an icebreaker tech T layered with a 200 w zip t overtop, followed by my other layer, an Arteryx Alpha LT jkt. Down below: covering my bottom; capalene leggings under cheap non-designer jeans & Smartwool hiking socks tucked into Keen Siskiyou WP ankle high shoes. The only variance for colder and or wetter conditions is on top a ski SCOTT goggle and below an OR Packlite Gortex angle zip pant. –cheers and spin hardy!