Support BikePortland - Journalism that Matters

Photos: Riders in the fog

Posted by on December 5th, 2011 at 12:32 pm

A cold and foggy morning made for interesting conditions this morning — especially if you were on a bike.


Despite my body telling me not to stop moving (and generating much-needed heat) I snapped a few images on the Broadway Bridge this morning. While the frigid temps made me cringe at times, the fog made crossing the bridge eerily beautiful.

For some folks, the morning commute wasn’t all that great. There were several reports of icy spots. Two people reported went down on N. Flint just before Broadway and I also heard about icy spots on the Hawthorne Bridge (bridges are notoriously icy because they have no warm earth beneath them).

How was your ride this morning? I wonder, how does cold compare to rain when it comes to people deciding to leave their bikes at home?

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

66
Leave a Reply

avatar
27 Comment threads
39 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
48 Comment authors
Geraldspare_wheelEl BicicleroYoudontknowmeKristen Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Pat C
Guest
Pat C

I saw way too many folks riding around this morning without their lights on. Really need ’em on in this fog to stay safe (front and back, please).

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Left at 5:30am from Hollywood heading towards Gresham. It was foggy and icy nearly the whole way. No problems with traction, just took it very slow around corners and when stopping. Looking forward to an ice-free ride home this afternoon.

Steve B
Guest

Outstanding photos, Jonathan!

Spencer Boomhower
Guest

Beautiful shots!

“bridges are notoriously icy because they have no warm earth beneath them”

And from what I understand, the two crashes on N Flint were right around the steep part of the freeway overpass:

http://bit.ly/vCDNqR

So that’s probably why it was extra slippery.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I was curious if anyone out there had any recommendations for good tires that handle ice a little better? I know that no tire can be failproof. But any success stories with good winter tires with more grip?

Last year, biking back from something in SE, I hit a patch of ice as I turned a corner, and went down hard. I can’t help thinking, had I had better tires on my bike, I might have fared better! My current tires are just regular Bontrager Hard Case kevlar do-das.

encephalopath
Guest
encephalopath

Lots of impatient drivers not paying attention this morning on N Vancouver and making stupidly dangerous moves across the bike lane.

I was fully lit for exactly this eventuality, but it did little to induce better behavior from people behind the wheel.

Anton
Guest
Anton

Some drivers are outright hostile to bike lights. To wit: from yesterday’s ‘Rant and Rave’ in the Seattle Times “Rant To the bicyclist whose flashing strobe light reflected for blocks in my mirrors. Those blinding lights should be prohibited.”

Seems like you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Hopefully it will just be a matter of some drivers getting used to them.

Spiffy
Guest
Spiffy

I took the scooter this morning… it was slick… had my feet sticking out a few times… only went sideways once… took the long way to avoid a steep downhill…

I prefer warm rain over cold dry… the cold dry air makes it tough to breathe…

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

Studded tires are one thing that is pretty close to failproof. For our not-really-winter conditions one in front is generally sufficient. I ride with a front studder all winter and no longer have to worry about slipping in the middle of a frosty curve.

For non-studded tires, I find that (unlike on wet pavement) a tire with a modest “file” tread pattern generally does grab the ice a bit better than a pure slick. Rubber compound should make a big difference, too, but we’ll have to rely on tire-by-tire evidence here. I will say that I’ve found Ritchey SpeedMax cyclocross tires to be pretty decent on frost.

As for lighting … It’s not just cyclists who don’t have the sense to use lighting on foggy mornings. As is usually the case, it looked like about 1 out of 10 motorists didn’t have the wits to turn on their lights either.

Anton, it isn’t the brightness of bike lights that is driving people crazy — it’s how they’re aimed. I think this is becoming a serious problem now that powerful bike lights are finally available to the masses. Car low-beam headlights are designed to mostly illuminate the pavement, and have a sharp cutoff across the top to avoid blinding others. The reason high beams blind oncoming traffic isn’t because they’re brighter (they’re only a few percent brighter than low beams in most cases), it’s because of how they are aimed.

It’s fine to aim a $20 blinkie straight ahead to get attention. It is NOT okay to do that with a 500-1000 lumen light that approaches the brightness of a car headlight. Aim it down! If we don’t do a better job of managing our own lighting, the legislature is going to do it for us! And that will NOT be a good thing — just look at the ridiculous bike-lighting regs in Europe. FWIW, I’ve taken the further step of installing a 4″ long “hood” on the top of my bike light, which reproduces the sharp top cutoff that is common on car headlights.

daisy
Guest
daisy

I saw one of those folks go down this morning on N. Flint. She was just pass the overpass, or maybe on the edge of it. People already seemed to be going pretty slow. It was also precipitating there–it was like a very small snow shower. Plus on the Broadway Bridge, I saw a few folks walking their bikes, presumably because it was too icy for them. The roads were less icy in NW and SW than along the Williams/Vancouver area, where there were a lot of frosty leaves.

I knew it was cool this morning, but I didn’t realize how much colder it would feel than last week. Today I’ll be buying some new gloves, because waterproof isn’t enough for this temperature. I need some insulation.

Matt
Guest
Matt

Hardly any fog over here on the West side (Beaverton). Super beautiful ride though with the clear sky as the sun peeked over the hills and made all of the frost and ice come alive.

Ryno Dan
Guest
Ryno Dan

it was so beautiful this morning i stopped to snap a few photos too…

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

Fun ride this morning over the Hawthorne bridge. I don’t think I actually “saw” downtown until I was coming down the far side.

Chris W
Guest
Chris W

I set out after most of the fog had already cleared around 10am and headed north on the springwater from tideman to downtown and only encountered about 5 people on my way. I almost couldn’t find my gloves and that would have meant that I would have been driving, glad I found them! I got caught on the hawthorne bridge lift around 1030 and was stuck there in the freezing cold for about 10 minutes with a whole crew of other cyclists. Glad to see there were some others out there still on their bikes braving the cold like I was!

Anon
Guest
Anon

I’ve broken bones several times crashing in icy conditions. It doesn’t matter how experienced a rider you are — if your front wheel slips, you’ll go down hard, instantly. Riding slowly also makes no difference — in fact, I was riding slowly and carefully both times I crashed. Unless you’re riding on studded tires, my advice is just forget it. Not worth it.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

I’m sad I had to work today (well, thankful I have a job, really!) – I would have *loved* to bike to the top of council crest and look out at the city over the fog – the shots on the news this morning were beautiful.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Post title: was I supposed to hear “Riders on the Storm” after reading that?

Or maybe “Smoke on the Water”?

dan
Guest
dan

I left home around 8:30 this morning; the fog had lifted and the frost was mainly gone, though there were still a few patches. I was having some nice Cat 6 action with a guy on a single-speed Surly; I think we were about even, but he passed me at every stop by running the stop signs at more or less full speed.

No biggie, I would catch up after every stop…until we came to Ladd Circle. There was a car stopped at the stop sign, waiting for a woman, her small child, and a dog to cross in front of them (i.e., they were walking along the perimeter of the circle). I stopped behind the car, and my competitor went into the other (oncoming) lane to pass the stopped car, cut off the woman/child/dog, and run the stop sign.

Dang. The other stops he ran were kind of questions of style – no other road users impacted, but that last one struck me as on the rude side. I would have told him so too, but he got way too far ahead after that maneuver for me to catch up. 🙁

I’m going to call that one a draw though. Think we were about even if we both observed the stops.

Ryan
Guest
Ryan

I’ll take cold and dry over rain any day. My least favorite riding weather is when it’s rainy and just a little above freezing. I find it easy to stay warm so long as it’s dry, it’s just a matter of layering well.

JF
Guest
JF

I left the house at 8am this morning and had a crash on N. Willamette blvd on the bridge that crosses over the rail tracks by N. Ida.

There was a “construction workers ahead” sign in the bike lane mid bridge. Looked back for traffic, saw none, crossed the painted white line and then BAM. There was a thick layer of frost on the white line. I felt like an idiot.

JA
Guest
JA

No problem with the fog/cold, but the air stagnation out east this morning on the I-205 path is something I could have lived without… Looks like we get to look forward to that for the rest of the week, maybe…

e
Guest
e

i was one of the unlucky ones who went down on N Flint (youch!) this morning and just wanted to thank the 3 folks or so who were following slowly behind who stopped and asked to see if i was ‘ok’…and you always feel ‘ok’ right afterwards. but as i’ve had my share of slips on slick surfaces, it’s usually later in the day or the next day that you figure out that something isn’t quite right…

be safe out there!

Lynne
Guest
Lynne

Second the cold and dry over rain. But I’ll ride in either.

A few words on lighting – generator (dynamo) hub and light. Especially the LED lights. Never go out, don’t care that it is cold. No worries about batteries EVER. Yes, they cost money, but you can get a decent dynamo hub for less than $100 now. Considerably less.

pdxpaul
Guest
pdxpaul

I bit it on Killingsworth between Vancouver and Williams yesterday. Sore as hell today. Thinking about getting a motorized scooter.

Youdontknowme
Guest
Youdontknowme

I rode about as slow as I’m willing to ride and totally ate it twice, sliding 5-10 feet both times on the slick road. So much fun!

BRING ON MORE WINTER!!!

Gerald
Guest

I read this post when it was first published a week ago and since then have been ‘kind of’ careful when riding on Flint just before Broadway (part of my daily commute).

I’ve been riding pretty slow and steady, trying not to lean into turns – and *still* lost traction on Flint today when my rear tire slipped out from under me while turning from Tillamook onto Flint.

So – I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus above – and re-state that Flint is for real – and that being ‘kind of careful’ might not be enough when crossing over I-5 – and strongly suggest being *uber* careful when the temp gets down to 32 and below – *esp* if turning on to Flint from Tillamook or Hancock.