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People on Bikes: The Couch curve

Posted by on September 14th, 2012 at 11:43 am

See them up close below.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

It’s been way too long since the last installment of our People on Bikes column, so before this sunny and warm weather leaves us for good, I figured it was time for another one.

This morning I rolled out to NE Couch (say “cooch”), where it makes that sweeping bend just before the Burnside Bridge. I sat in the grass across from the bike lane for about 25 minutes, snapping up as many people on bikes as I could. I saw a mix of bodies and bikes; but not the quite the diversity I’ve seen at other locations (like Waterfront Park). While it’s a semi-popular bike traffic, going west on NE Couch and entering downtown via the Burnside Bridge isn’t exactly a place where the “interested but concern” feel comfortable. We know the problems at Couch and Grand; and then there’s the Burnside Bridge freeway and how it unceremoniously dumps you into downtown (don’t get me started).

What I saw at NE Couch were a lot of fast bikes with skinny tires and people who were fit and looked like expert riders. It was an interesting contrast to the three kids on scooters and moms pushing strollers that I saw on a bike boulevard earlier this morning. I was also struck by how many women were riding. Nationally it appears that just 21% of people riding are women; but that number is higher in Portland (31% at last official count). I bet we get close to 40% when next year’s numbers come out.

Take a look for yourself (prepare to scroll)…

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*Image removed by request.

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-41

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-29

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-39

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-38

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-37

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-36

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-35

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-42

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-33

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-32

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-31

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-30

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-40

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-28

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-27

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-26

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-25

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-24

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-23

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-22

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-21

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-20

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-19

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-18

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-17

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-16

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-15

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-14

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-13

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-12

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-11

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-10

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-6

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-5

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-4

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-3

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-8

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People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-1

Like seeing People on Bikes? Check out past editions here.

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

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TimmyjwwzJohn LascurettesCarolineJonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) Recent comment authors
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Travis Fulton
Guest
Travis Fulton

Nice man, you’ve got the action bike shot dialed in.

Mindful Cyclist
Guest
Mindful Cyclist

Well, the one time I was actually there when you were taking pictures, I was missed…. 🙁

Syzlak
Guest
Syzlak

5/39 people cycling without helmets
25/39 people with everyday bike features (fitted with fenders and in some cases racks and upright handlebars)

browse
Guest
browse

I love it! I hope this becomes a weekly feature!

9watts
Guest
9watts

#20 is my favorite character/costume of all of these to date.

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

People always look so pretty on a bike.

cycler
Guest

Is it wrong that when I saw #20, my first thought is “I’ve never seen a Kruisframe actually being ridden” ?

Andrew K
Guest
Andrew K

Whenever I see these features being posted I start thinking it would be fun to set up my big 4×5 view camera on a corner and capture bike riders going by. It would be tough, but if everyone going by followed a roughly similar path it would be possible.

I’d probably attract all sorts of attention though.

Schrauf
Guest
Schrauf

More Portland bike commuter porn! I vote for a weekly feature.

#28 needs a pump, big time.

daisy
Guest
daisy

I love these! And I desperately hope I am never ever in one of them!

Sunny
Guest
Sunny

People on Bikes: Naked Bike Ride edition

Andyc
Guest
Andyc

I always love looking at this feature. This time I’m checking out the different ways people carry their bike locks. #18, doesn’t that bounce around a lot?

Scott
Guest
Scott

#6 Corndog

Terry D
Guest
Terry D

The sociologist in me just loves this pictorial snapshot of our wonderful “sub-culture.”

This makes me smile….good job.

A.K.
Guest
A.K.

Love the orange masi SS on #30…

spare_wheel
Guest
spare_wheel

#1 and #8: seeing soles wrap around pedals makes my feet hurt.

#34: lugged carbon IF XS! want.

#35 would be better off not wearing a helment.

#38 needs bigger bike.

BellaBici
Guest

Love this feature, Jonathan!!! Really enjoy the diversity of riders with the commonality of the enjoyment of bicycling.

Your photography is right on. These posts always make me smile and infuse me with hope. Thank you. (oh, and thanks for taking the time to number the photos, enjoy reading other people’s eagle eye observations and wit)

Alex Reed
Guest
Alex Reed

Whoa, look at #29 stylin’. I wish I looked that good on my bike… 🙂

Joe
Guest
Joe

TGIF ya’ll

Joe
Guest
Joe

I love this. I’d love to find the BMI of average people riding bikes and people in their cars. I bet it’s a big difference!

Kevin Wagoner
Guest
Kevin Wagoner

That first picture is awesome

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Did not see that many lookers on the SunRiver paths this morning.

peter haas
Guest
peter haas

Jonathan, I echo the love for this photo series of bike commuters. I always check and see if you photographed anyone I know or at least recognize. Today I had a pleasant surprise when I saw that you caught me! I had to tell everyone in my office…”Check out rider number 21! “. You made my day! Thank you.

mark kenseth
Guest
mark kenseth

Nice! I ride the Couch Curve often and this morning was one of those oftens, but 6:30am must have been too early for JM. I have the same worries about riding that route, before and after the bridge, but I have to add to those worries the broken glass and other bits in the bike lane of the Curve. All the cars going through the turn push the bits toward the bike lane.

Opus the Poet
Guest

I saw what looked like a modern Pedersen (#20), and a Cattrike Trail (#19).

Kaylarrrrr
Guest
Kaylarrrrr

I appreciate that you are Documenting Portland bike culture and all but I’d really like to know why it’s okay for you to post these pictures of people without any sort of permission. Being one of these people, I especially don’t understand why any of these commenters think it’s their job to criticize the way we choose to ride our bikes. It’s hard enough getting cat-called on my bike while simultaneously avoiding death by ignorant drivers, but to put my photo on here so that Internet trolls can tell me what I should/should not do and even worse, their opinion of what I look like, is ridiculous. You all need lives. If you want to talk about bike culture, I’m all for it but geez Louise be respectful.

Michelle
Guest
Michelle

@Kaylarrrr A nicer way to approach this would have been to ask Jonathan to remove your picture.

Regarding permission, if you’re in a public place a photographer/journalist is within his legal rights to photograph you.

http://content.photojojo.com/tips/legal-rights-of-photographers/

Kaylarrrrr
Guest
Kaylarrrrr

Well that sucks as I happened to photographed the same day I got food poisoning and collapsed in public. So thanks. It’s good to end my day with a bunch of random strangers judging me for the decisions I choose to make. Another commenter even said she’s glad when she sees her picture NOT in these posts. Would you go up to someone in real life and tell them what you think about them over something like this? Would you go up to someone smoking a cigarette and tell them how horrible it is? This is no different than religious people going door to door telling you there beliefs whether you want to hear it or not. People are allowed to make their own decisions. Just because this is the Internet and no one can see you doesn’t make it okay. I didn’t ask for this. This is a terribly vulnerable position to be caught in so if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything. Thanks.

Gib
Guest
Gib

#26- Love the “sapphire” Lemond. I have the same bike. Nice to see another out there.

Rol
Guest
Rol

Don’t reveal the secret pronunciation! How will we pick out the out-of-towners?

Kaylarrrrr
Guest
Kaylarrrrr

@sunny you just proved how immature many of these comments are. And for the record the picture of me here is awesome, I’m upset that it comes with all of this snark and judgement from people like you. Anyway, if you feel like trolling, you should try reddit, it’ll be more entertaining for you, I’m sure.

I appreciate that other people realize the inappropriateness of some of these comments and I hope that you can remember that these are real people with feelings and to try and be kind.

Jonathan I hope that in the future you can take more effort and responsibility in the moderation of your commenters as I feel this is your job. I hope you realize that many of your subjects may not enjoy what you are doing to them by opening them up to public discussion for something as trivial as this. Though it is apparently within your rights as a photojournalist to do this, you should try and be more aware of how it effects these individuals.

Brrr
Guest
Brrr

Sad to see so many conforming to the styrofoam hat hysteria. Happy to see I’m not the only one who has figured out you can hear the traffic better with earbuds in blocking out wind noise.

Steve
Guest
Steve

Minus the helmet on the woman in shot #16 and you have a true Dutchie. =)

danielle
Guest
danielle

just another person with the opinion that what you did here is creepy, inappropriate, and honestly, uninteresting. you took a bunch of pictures of white people on fairly nice bicycles. this is not news. and you managed to piss some women off. but i guess we are used to being pissed off at bike men, so keep it up!

JL
Guest
JL

I quickly found several posters by googling there “name” Easy to tell who is commenting the way they do and why.
If you want to be so anonymous and private try actually keeping your stuff private especially on the internet.

dmc
Guest
dmc

People are so sensitive these days….

Seaners
Guest
Seaners

I like the pant leg clips on the guy in photo #5–very sleek looking. It’s definitely a good idea to keep bike grease off quality denim.

mpp
Guest
mpp

Watch out #4, you left your bag open!

peejay
Guest
peejay

Hey world: if you see me in public, you can take my picture, and you can talk about me, even if it’s mean things. I’ll do the same to you, but I’m usually a pretty nice guy.

Love the pictures, Jonathan. Keep it up. You have this thing just right.

Caroline
Guest
Caroline

Great cross-section of folks! Fun to look at. 🙂

jwwz
Guest
jwwz

too many helmets