The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

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)…


*Image removed by request.

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-41

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-29

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-39

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-38

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-37

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-36

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-35

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-42

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-33

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-32

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-31

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-30

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-40

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-28

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-27

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-26

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-25

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-24

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-23

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-22

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-21

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-20

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-19

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-18

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-17

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-16

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-15

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-14

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-13

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-12

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-11

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-10

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-6

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-5

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-4

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-3

People on Bikes NE Couch at Burnside-8

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 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

  • Travis Fulton September 14, 2012 at 11:47 am

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

    Recommended Thumb up 10

  • Mindful Cyclist September 14, 2012 at 11:49 am

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

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Syzlak September 14, 2012 at 11:52 am

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

    Recommended Thumb up 4

    • dweendaddy September 14, 2012 at 12:15 pm

      And only 1/39 with dynamo lighting??

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    • anon September 14, 2012 at 12:32 pm

      5/39 with headphones on. I will never understand that.

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      • Sunny September 14, 2012 at 1:02 pm

        Some find it less aggravating to being yelled at or forced to listen to loud, obnoxious cars. The added concentration has to be weighed against the benefits of car sounds warning of their presence. Personally I don’t ride with earphones, but in the past they’ve created a sense of calm that lessens the fear and distraction of being among car traffic. I don’t really on sound to prevent the car behind me from running me over — I have mirrors for that.

        Recommended Thumb up 8

      • Steve B. September 14, 2012 at 1:29 pm

        Yeah! Why aren’t more people listening to music on their commute?

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      • Eric September 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm

        I am one of the 5. My excuse/rationalization is that I am listening to podcasts (i.e., human speech), not music, so the auditory density of the content is much lower, making it easier to hear noise around me. That being said, I still feel guilty about it sometimes.

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        • John Landolfe September 17, 2012 at 9:28 am

          Oh, I’d say you’re being a little hard on yourself. You’re safe and legal. You’re not under social contract to *appear* safe to strangers on the Internet 😉

          Recommended Thumb up 4

          • Timmy November 9, 2012 at 4:31 pm

            Not everyone with buds in is drowning out the traffic sounds.

            I *always* ride with my earbuds in. And I never have the music on. I just need to hear my ringer on my phone, since I am on call 24/7, and my hearing isn’t good enough to hear the little iPhone chiming away in my pocket. Also the answer button on the buds makes taking calls and easy “hands free” task.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Jerko September 16, 2012 at 10:00 am

        I listen to death metal or punk when I ride!

        Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Doug Morgan September 17, 2012 at 5:33 am

        Yah because driving a car with the stereo loud is dangerous some how? Well what’s the difference on a bike? Am I supposed to listen for cars? I have a mirror and I watch for them. By your flawed reasoning the deaf shouldn’t cycle. You don’t have to understand it because it isn’t dangerous to listen to the radio on a bicycle either. I have over 60,000 miles cycling to prove it.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

      • jd September 17, 2012 at 7:17 am

        Same reason drivers listen to the radio. Commuting is boring and music is awesome.

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      • John Lascurettes September 17, 2012 at 11:51 pm

        I can still hear more of the sounds around me with headphones on and music playing (at a low volume) than anyone in any car can hear with the windows up even with their radio off (and who drives with a radio off?). Seriously, I can hear my tires on the pavement (when their not drowned out by motor vehicles).

        Recommended Thumb up 4

    • becky September 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

      3/29 on Mixtes!

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    • fiat_luxe September 14, 2012 at 2:21 pm

      Definitely too many wearing headphones. Do people really do that?!

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • ADS September 15, 2012 at 10:28 am

        People listen to music in their cars with the windows up. Somehow they manage. Get some mirrors for your bike and you’re good to go.

        Recommended Thumb up 14

      • indy September 16, 2012 at 2:39 pm

        I do for GPS directions. Phone is usually mounted or in my bag.

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    • chucklehead September 14, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      That’s a much better ratio than usual (helmets).

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • browse September 14, 2012 at 12:00 pm

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

    Recommended Thumb up 8

  • 9watts September 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm

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

    Recommended Thumb up 8

    • Alan 1.0 September 14, 2012 at 2:04 pm

      Power Grips are a costume? 🙂

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Spiffy September 14, 2012 at 2:39 pm

      he’s my new idol…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • thedr9wningman September 15, 2012 at 10:54 am

      It’s just how I dress… My main point is that you don’t have to dress like a sports hero/super hero to ride a bike. Bikes are functional and a part of my everyday life. So I just wear what I wear and bike. So, it isn’t a costume… it’s just me being Portland…

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • pengo September 16, 2012 at 8:33 am

        I hear this one from time to time and don’t quite understand it. Given that literally everybody in the above photos (even the guy on the SUPER hot indyfab carbon bike) is wearing casual clothing, is this really a point that needs to be made? I ride daily for both transportation and recreation and have a cycling related job and don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody tell anybody else that spandex/technical clothing is a necessity for cycling, just that it can make sense for certain types of riding. In fact, people wearing “sports hero” clothing are probably a small minority on Portland streets. I’m not trying to knock you, I’m just genuinely curious as to who is telling you this or where you’re getting this impression. I like the bike, by the way.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Andrew K September 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

    People always look so pretty on a bike.

    Recommended Thumb up 21

  • cycler September 14, 2012 at 12:17 pm

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

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Greg September 14, 2012 at 2:19 pm

      I’ve seen #20 before, and I also ride my Kruis all the time 🙂

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Alex Reed September 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      I think I know the gentleman from #20!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • thedr9wningman September 15, 2012 at 10:55 am

      But it is so comfortable. I love that bike!

      No, it isn’t wrong… I think they’re just not ‘normal’ bikes. I only saw 2 in Amsterdam when I was there for 4 days… not a common bike at all.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Andrew K September 14, 2012 at 12:25 pm

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Schrauf September 14, 2012 at 12:26 pm

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

    #28 needs a pump, big time.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • Spiffy September 14, 2012 at 2:41 pm

      I see this when I’m on the bus all the time without a pump… and when I’m on my bike and have a pump I never see it… *sigh*

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • A.K. September 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm

      Resistance training!

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • daisy September 14, 2012 at 1:06 pm

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

    Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Sunny September 14, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    People on Bikes: Naked Bike Ride edition

    Recommended Thumb up 9

  • Andyc September 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    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?

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Scott September 14, 2012 at 1:10 pm

    #6 Corndog

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Terry D September 14, 2012 at 1:34 pm

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

    This makes me smile….good job.

    Recommended Thumb up 4

  • A.K. September 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Love the orange masi SS on #30…

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • spare_wheel September 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    #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.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • chucklehead September 14, 2012 at 2:20 pm

      I noticed the Indy Fab also. Best damn bike in the lot.

      Got an old 1999 IF Planet X. it’s still my favorite bike.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Eric September 14, 2012 at 2:29 pm

      I am #38. And yes, you are probably right. 🙂

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • Timmy November 9, 2012 at 4:38 pm

        In the meantime, at least show a little more seat post! Gah! Your gonna ruin you knees like that.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • BellaBici September 14, 2012 at 2:07 pm

    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)

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Alex Reed September 14, 2012 at 2:32 pm

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

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • anon September 14, 2012 at 2:50 pm

      Love the shorts but the Igloo made me cringe a little. Doesn’t it look like it’s providing extra front braking power?

      Recommended Thumb up 2

      • Paul in the 'couve September 14, 2012 at 10:04 pm

        Hey, I’m guessing he curates a collection of classic vintage coolers. Awesome stuff! Mixing the eras too – the White belt … and RB-1 a Playmate cooler, the best of every era.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Joe September 14, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    TGIF ya’ll

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Joe September 14, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    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!

    Recommended Thumb up 3

  • Kevin Wagoner September 14, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    That first picture is awesome

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • Jim Lee September 14, 2012 at 6:08 pm

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

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • peter haas September 14, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 2

  • mark kenseth September 14, 2012 at 9:36 pm

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Opus the Poet September 14, 2012 at 10:16 pm

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

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kaylarrrrr September 14, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 13

    • Sunny September 15, 2012 at 1:40 am

      “She was riding a bike, so she was asking for it.”

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 15, 2012 at 7:18 am

      Hey kaylarrrrr,

      Sorry your bad was made worse by being included here. If you’d like to be removed, just email me at and tell me which one is you.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • thedr9wningman September 15, 2012 at 11:02 am

      I kinda feel similarly. It is pretty weird to see a picture of yourself on the web and have someone on Facebook tell you. But I think a part of it is our completely lack-of-privacy culture. What are you going to do? You can’t control all images of yourself and you can’t control what other people do. There is a certain amount of just acceptance I think that needs to happen here. I know that Jonathan doesn’t intend any harm in this. He’s just documenting what he sees as a sociological documentation of what is.

      And you can’t control other people’s judgements of who you are or how you look. Plus, who cares what others think? It has little bearing on who you are.

      Instead of being upset, I find it easier to just accept and be OK with it. There’s really nothing I can do about it.

      Be well…

      Recommended Thumb up 7

  • Michelle September 14, 2012 at 11:20 pm

    @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.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • WeenK September 15, 2012 at 12:58 am

      A nicer way for your readers to approach this article would have been for them to be nice to the subjects of the photos. And I’m a bit surprised you didn’t say as much.

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • are September 15, 2012 at 12:15 pm

        not sure which critique might have applied to decisions kaylar has made, and i actually think one legitimate function of this feature can be to highlight fairly common practices that could present safety issues.

        but i did note earlier in this thread several completely inappropriate remarks that would fall into the category of what kaylar refers to as “catcalls.” on the one hand, it might be a good idea for jonathan to delte these, but on the other (if the people posting were not effectively anonymous) it might be good to leave them up so that mikemike, spiffy, and dmc can be exposed to some public shaming.

        Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Brrr September 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm

      The “nicer way” would be not to assume you have permission to publish someone’s picture before actually getting it.

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  • Kaylarrrrr September 15, 2012 at 12:42 am

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Sunny September 15, 2012 at 1:36 am

      Translation: some people are sensitive to unflattering photos of themselves in public. Please guess which is me and delete accordingly.

      Recommended Thumb up 16

  • Gib September 15, 2012 at 1:25 am

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

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Rol September 15, 2012 at 12:09 pm

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

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Elmira Gulch September 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      At least we still have Ankeny.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Timmy November 9, 2012 at 4:47 pm

      LOL, I lived in PDX for five years, and I think it took me nearly that long to learn how to say it properly.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Kaylarrrrr September 15, 2012 at 4:01 pm

    @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.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 15, 2012 at 4:33 pm


      As anyone who has read this site for a while will tell you, I take comments and I take the protection of subjects in my stories very seriously. I have photographed many naked rides and have always respected requests to remove images without hesitation when I’ve been asked to.

      In this case, I regret if some of the comments have made you uncomfortable. Again, happy to remove your photo if you’d like.

      Also, I just went through and deleted several comments just to clean things up. But for the record (for folks just reading this) none of the comments were blatantly inappropriate in my opinion. I think – and correct me if I’m wrong Kaylarrrr — this was more a matter of you feeling that I put you in a position of public scrutiny without your permission, more than it was about people saying lewd/crude things about you. Right? (And I still don’t even know which image is you!)

      Thanks again for the feedback.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

      • are September 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm

        how is someone “drooling” over the image of a woman’s legs not blatantly inappropriate?

        Recommended Thumb up 6

        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) September 16, 2012 at 8:13 am

          it’s all about context and tone are. Thanks. The comment was deleted along with a few others and the photo has been removed by request of the subject.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Sunny September 15, 2012 at 10:08 pm

        Jonathan, when someone stares you down and is not smiling, it might mean they don’t want their picture up.

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    • Sunny September 15, 2012 at 5:31 pm

      This is all so confusing. Now with the deleted comments, it makes me look sane.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

    • are September 16, 2012 at 7:50 pm

      if that is directed at me, i demand examples

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    • are September 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      a quick duckduckgo search turned up the stuff you are talking about, and while i do now understand your comment was not directed at me, i will suggest to you that the fact that someone posts material of a particular flavor elsewhere on the internet does not imply that she is inviting people to abuse her here. and i will suggest to jonathan that he might consider monitoring comments calling another commenter a “hypocrite” and suggesting she “get mental help.”

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  • Brrr September 15, 2012 at 6:31 pm

    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.

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  • Steve September 16, 2012 at 6:21 am

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

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • danielle September 16, 2012 at 8:42 am

    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!

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  • JL September 16, 2012 at 10:16 am

    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.

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  • dmc September 16, 2012 at 11:04 am

    People are so sensitive these days….

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  • Seaners September 17, 2012 at 2:32 am

    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.

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  • mpp September 17, 2012 at 5:11 am

    Watch out #4, you left your bag open!

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  • peejay September 17, 2012 at 8:22 am

    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.

    Recommended Thumb up 11

    • Eric September 17, 2012 at 9:31 am

      peejay, thank you for restoring my faith in the internets.

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Caroline September 17, 2012 at 4:51 pm

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

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  • jwwz September 21, 2012 at 10:07 am

    too many helmets

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