Esplanade closure begins February 1st

People on Bikes: In the cold in Ladd’s Circle

Posted by on January 23rd, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Welcome to our latest installment of the People on Bikes series.

On Tuesday, I stood out in the very chilly early morning air to photograph folks riding through Ladd’s Circle at SE Harrison. I saw a steady flow of bike traffic, which is to be expected in this very bikey corner of southeast Portland. I loved seeing all the different ways people tried to combat the cold. One very useful thing about these photos is that you can learn a lot about gear and preparedness simply be seeing how others dress. It’s also fun to compare this set of images to the warm and sunny shots on the Esplanade back in May.

If you’re still riding this time of year, hopefully these photos will remind you that you’re not alone. If you’ve stopped riding due to the weather… Well, these photos show there’s really no excuse to not be out there!

Have a look for yourself…

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-40

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-39

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-38

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-37

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-36

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-35

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-34

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-33

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-32

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-31

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-30

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-26

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-29

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-28

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-27

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-24

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-25

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-23

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-22

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-21

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-20

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-19

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-18

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-17

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-16

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-15

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-14

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-13

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-12

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-11

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-1

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-9

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-8

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-7

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-6

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-5

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-4

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-3

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-2

People on Bikes Ladd's Circle-10

For more shots like this (and fun commentary from readers in the comments), check out our People on Bikes story archive.

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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. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • Zaphod January 23, 2013 at 5:04 pm

    I rolled that circle three times today on the big machine…a new record.

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  • LoveDoctor January 23, 2013 at 5:36 pm

    #12 and 16; the rider so nice you tagged him twice? I will admit, he is quite charming, and a nice set o’ wheels to boot.

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    • Case January 23, 2013 at 5:59 pm

      I don’t know, he looks like one of those self loathing cyclists…

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      • Caleb January 24, 2013 at 3:03 am

        “He” looks like two different people to me. Have I missed something?

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    • Spiffy January 24, 2013 at 8:01 am

      different people, but I like #12 for being so cheery… and yeah, his bike is nice…

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 24, 2013 at 8:46 am

      Hey LoveDoctor. Good eyes. Thanks for catching that. Indeed I had a repeat. I fixed it last night (hence some of these replies). Cheers.

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  • pixelgate January 23, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    Zero style :/ I miss when you were posting these from NYC.. those were rich with personality

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    • Chris I January 24, 2013 at 8:12 am

      This is why i love living in Portland. We don’t have to worry about being constantly judged by everyone for the clothing we choose to wear.

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      • A.K. January 24, 2013 at 9:29 am

        Instead, you’re judged by how often you drive a car or if you shop at Wal-Mart. Just swapped one set of values for the other…

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        • Craig Harlow January 25, 2013 at 11:12 am

          Well… the one is a matter of personal taste, while the other is a matter of individual contribution to serious larger problems that impact us all.

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    • mikeybikey January 25, 2013 at 11:33 am

      I wouldn’t say zero style. I see some style on #s 6,7 & 29 for example. Yea its not NYC style, but for Portlanders on bicycles.. its pretty good IMO.

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  • sabes January 23, 2013 at 7:17 pm

    Did any of them stop at the stop signs?

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    • are January 24, 2013 at 12:20 pm

      what an excellent and highly relevant question. thanks.

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  • Chris Shaffer January 23, 2013 at 7:46 pm

    I was hoping to see my daughter, she rolls through every day on her way to and from Cleveland High School.

    Boo on the haters, this is a fun and nice photo set.

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  • tnash January 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    if it’s under 40 degrees then my eyes will water all day, how do people Not wear goggles when it’s that cold?

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  • Ross Williams January 23, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    “very chilly early morning air”

    It was -24 F here yesterday in Grand Rapids MN – with winds +10 mph. There were still a few hardy souls on their bikes. I wasn’t one of them.

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  • TonyH January 23, 2013 at 8:32 pm

    Figures. I’m home with a cold when you take the pictures here!

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  • kittens January 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    land of a thousand Bern’s!

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  • SilkySlim January 23, 2013 at 9:29 pm

    Hybrid commuter bikes for the win!

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  • nut4squirrel January 23, 2013 at 11:05 pm

    I was surprised how many folks were wearing bike helmets. Definitely not Europe.

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    • pixelgate January 23, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      Never underestimate the illusion of safety 😉

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      • lyle w. January 24, 2013 at 8:41 am

        You wanna meet me for coffee and check out the illusion of safety on my helmet? It’s a 2×2 inch skidmark where I did a header at about 20 mph after hitting a storm drain on Barbur a few months ago.

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        • A.K. January 24, 2013 at 9:33 am

          Get that bad boy replaced if you’re still wearing it, helmets are “one crash use only” things.

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        • gutterbunny January 24, 2013 at 11:57 am

          So is your example one in which we can take that the helmet saved you from your own bad riding habits?
          I mean come on – slowing alittle down and missing the drain you wouldn’t have “needed” the helmet.

          Common sense and good riding skills are way safer than helemts.

          (btw none of those lids seem to have been either of the 15 of so helmets that passed consumer reports testing though many were ones that didn’t pass—-just a something to roll around in your helemt)

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          • gutterbunny January 24, 2013 at 11:59 am

            sorry my fingers got a head of me, only 2 of 15 helemts passed the testing…

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            • Alan 1.0 January 24, 2013 at 6:11 pm

              I’ve found that rolling up my cuffs is just as good as hemlets.

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          • pixelgate January 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm

            It never ceases to amaze me the number of riders wearing helmets who also 1) run stop signs, 2) run stop lights, 3) have earbuds in, 4) “casual ride” without their hands on the handlebars, 5) roll through stops when cars clearly have the right-of-way, etc, etc.

            For all this championing about safety you’d think the helmet wearing crew would ride with a little more caution. Like I said, never underestimate the illusion of safety. These folks strap a piece of styrofoam to their head and suddenly feel invincible.

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            • are January 24, 2013 at 12:18 pm

              these are still photos taken at a part of the circle that is some considerable distance beyond any stop sign

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              • pixelgate January 24, 2013 at 12:46 pm

                And this is relevant how?

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              • are January 24, 2013 at 5:19 pm

                your items one, three, and five, had to do with rolling stops. this is relevant to the subject photo spread how?

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            • ScoBu January 24, 2013 at 12:54 pm

              Ahhh, the helmet debate again…I have spidered two helmets and in each case came away without so much as a headache (though some bones were not as lucky), so the wearing a helmet debate is a moot point for me. As is this idea about riding safer equals no need for a helmet. One of my examples includes getting a flat tire going into a corner. Not sure how ‘safe riding’ would have prevented that. As for the helmet equals invincibility, that may be true for some people. But in my experience the air of invincibility was there long before the helmet.

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          • El Biciclero January 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

            Well obviously not crashing is pretty much always safer than crashing. Is assuming you will never crash safer than taking precautions in the event you do?

            I have some 30-40 mph descents on my way to work–on roads with 40 mph speed limits and no shoulders. Which is safer: riding the brakes so I can keep it under 20 and maintain a nice 20 – 25 mph speed differential with overtaking traffic while taking the lane, or keeping up with traffic while descending at 40? In which scenario might my “poor riding habits” necessitate wearing a helmet?

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          • pengo January 24, 2013 at 1:11 pm

            Lord. I realize I’m probably just taking the bait here, but are you saying that whenever a cyclist hits the ground and is injured it’s entirely their own fault and would have been prevented if they were “better” at riding a bike? Honestly, yes or no?

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            • gutterbunny January 24, 2013 at 5:09 pm

              Feel free to do an online check of all the helmet info. But I’d suggest that you check out for news and analysis of helmets and the results of helmet laws. And go figure, they aren’t trying to sell you anything.

              Briefly I base my opion on anlysis of helmet laws, the fact that the helmet makers don’t back up their procucts via disclaimers on the product, and the fact that very few ever pass any kind of indepenant testing.

              Truth is for a helmet to be really effective, you’d be shopping for them at motorcycle shops and not the LBS.

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              • pengo January 24, 2013 at 5:35 pm

                The question was not “Do you think a helmet will prevent all injury and if not does that mean they have no place in cycling?” Your comment strongly suggested that you think the cyclist is mostly at fault in any situation where they’re injured in a wreck, especially a wreck that results in a head injury, because they’re not as skilled at riding a bicycle as they should be. I’m just wondering if that’s what you believe.

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              • gutterbunny January 24, 2013 at 10:00 pm

                I was refering to one incident in which was pointed out as an example of how a helmet saved his life in this thread. And honestly, I think cyclists are often (though not always) at fault for the accidents in which they are involved in. Too many are willing to try to make “statements: about who gets to use the road and when, but common sense will tell anyone with even half a brain cell that it’s Darwinism at it’s best on the streets. And no offense but being right legally doesn’t do you any good when your getting ran over and dragged under a jacked up pick em up truck. And a few are more than willing to take those chances to prove a point. Cars will always win, duhhhhhh. And in most deadly crashes wearing a helmet will have zero effect in the outcome other than makeing your mess easier to clean up for the emergency responders.

                Kinda of like stolen bikes too. Most the stories I’ve heard from people end up admitting they didn’t lock them up. I’ve never had a bike stolen, but I always lock it up, and lock it up propperly (30+ years of nearly daily riding btw)

                But the truth of the matter is that helmets are only designed to protect you from non collision accidents at low speeds ( 10- 15mph or less). Ie falling (not tossed off or sent flying from an accident) off your bike. Which is exactly why the makers of those fashion accessories don’t have guarnetees or insurance policies taken out on thier users.

                Part of being a safe rider is to realize the limits of your equiptment and to think that a peice of foam and plastic is going to save you if you biff it at more than 20 mph, or that you’ll survive a head on with a tractor trailor then your an idiot,

                And the stats don’t lie, yes head injuries go down in numbers with helmet use (by a few percentage points), but not nearly as much as ridership goes down (usually between 30% to 50% depending on how well the helmet laws are enforced). So your odds of being in an acccident actually increase with more people wearing helmets, for numerous reasons – less concern from passing motorists to riders taking more chances.

                And as in the above mentioned example of a scraped helmet if the foam isn’t compressed the helmet didn’t save your life. And really on most the helmets you can punch foam to render it useless.

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              • spare_wheel January 26, 2013 at 3:50 pm

                gutterbunny, i think you should change your handle to “guttermouse”. for me “transportation” is not about thigmotaxing along the side of the road, eyes darting back and forth in fear.

                and you really have no clue what you are talking about when it comes to bicycle helmet testing. anyone who has ridden competitively for years has hit pavement or dirt at speed. i have broken quite a few bones but none of them have been in my skull. i credit this 100% to the 5 helmets i have absolutely trashed hitting pavement or dirt.

                and its hilarious to see you dismiss bicycle helmets because they are not tested at speeds higher than 15 mph. in fact, even motorcycle helmets are tested at only a 3 meter drop (~17 mph). there is good science behind this.

                “I’ve never had a bike stolen, but I always lock it up, and lock it up propperly (30+ years of nearly daily riding btw)”

                I have been riding on a near daily basis for 30+ years. I have had 3 bikes stolen that were locked up with krypotonite u-locks.

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              • pengo January 26, 2013 at 11:04 pm

                For some reason I can’t reply directly to your longer comment below, so I’ll do it here and I’ll probably fail to be brief:

                -Yes you were talking about one incident, but the haste with which you were ready to throw the blame on the rider leads me to believe this is your default position when it comes to bike wrecks.

                -Nobody’s suggesting that anything outside of staggeringly good luck will save you if you collide head on with a tractor trailer. A helmet does not change the outcome of a deadly crash because by definition that crash results in your death. It may have changed the outcome of a non-deadly crash though. Cars actually will not always win when it comes to the traumatic brain injury sweepstakes. I draw that conclusion in large part from my own experience. I might by whatever your definition of skill is suck at riding a bike, but I guess I don’t suck bad enough to have died when I got hit and I do credit the fact that I can type this message on my own to a helmet. It’s not so much about one’s life being saved as it is giving one’s brain more of a chance after an impact to the head. If I die in a crash I die, but if I don’t I’d like to be able to feed and dress myself without assistance afterward. I don’t understand why it’s all or nothing. You could probably punch my head hard enough to render it useless too, though it would be far more difficult if I were wearing a styrofoam fashion accessory. And if it makes the difference brainwise for myself or someone I care about (or someone I don’t particularly care about for that matter) I could give a rat’s what it does to ridership statistics, though nobody here (including myself) is advocating a helmet law and I think those percentages are dubious anyhow.

                -If someone rides like a jerk with a helmet on, they’ll do the same without one.

                -In what instance does a maker of safety equipment take out insurance policies on its customers?

                -I would ask you to expand on “Darwinism at it’s best on the streets” if I thought there was an actual point there but it does tickle me to think that you’re out there every day imagining yourself battling it out as one of the strongest survivors in the tarmac food chain so I couldn’t let that go by unacknowledged.

                -Everything that spare_wheel said.

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    • John Landolfe January 24, 2013 at 8:45 am

      Our roads are definitely not Europe’s.

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      • spare_wheel January 26, 2013 at 3:21 pm

        yes. very few of our inner city street plans date back to the middle ages.

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    • Elliot January 24, 2013 at 9:02 am

      About 80% of Portlanders wear a helmet when they bicycle, even though helmets aren’t required by law for people 16 and older. (

      As a completely unscientific anecdote, 80% is a better compliance rate than among the kids I see my neighborhood for whom helmets are actually required. Of course, parents are responsible for making sure their kids have helmets and use them appropriately. Just goes to show that education can have a stronger impact than legislation.

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      • Rol January 26, 2013 at 8:10 pm

        Compliance with what?

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  • Andrew K January 24, 2013 at 6:45 am

    yaaay! I roll through this area every day so seeing these pictures is fun. Unfortunately this time of year it is dark when I’m going through both at the beginning and the end of my day.

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  • Andrew L January 24, 2013 at 6:53 am

    What is the Portland definition of ‘chilly’?

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    • jj January 24, 2013 at 9:05 am

      Tuesday morning, when these were taken, it was just about 30 degrees.

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    • dan January 24, 2013 at 1:45 pm

      If you have to wear more than a rain jacket, it’s “chilly”. You may begin feeling superior now.

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  • Edwin January 24, 2013 at 7:00 am

    What kind of bike is #2? Some kind of dutch mini-velo??
    Love this series!

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  • Mike Quigley January 24, 2013 at 7:57 am

    Most look like they’re definitely not enjoying themselves.

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    • El Biciclero January 24, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      I wouldn’t say “definitely”…

      Ever watch the players in a basketball game? The musicians at a live symphony performance? A sculptor at work? The audience at a suspenseful movie?

      It’s perfectly possible to enjoy something while not grinning from ear to ear.

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    • tnash January 24, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      I was enjoying it, but see above. I stay warm w/o sweating

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  • Jim Lee January 24, 2013 at 9:04 am

    Ladd Circle is almost precisely 250 meters around with just the proper banking inside to serve as our other velodrome.

    Not long ago some dude did a century there!

    I spent the morning in Palio drinking coffee and reading the NY Times. Not tough enough to ride.

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  • deborah January 24, 2013 at 9:42 am

    Always love the people on bikes pics! Thanks for standing out in the cold to snap and share Jonathan! People sure have some gorgeous bikes…esp 12,16,18, 28 I’m looking at you!

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  • thomas cappiello January 24, 2013 at 11:05 am

    there’s not even any snow on the ground!

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  • nuyorgonian January 24, 2013 at 11:06 am

    Two observations: 1. a good head cover and warm gloves go a long way. 2. Does anyone else get that weird feeling in the crotch when you wear jeans? Hey, who can recommend warm biking gloves that don’t cost half a paycheck?

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    • Brian January 24, 2013 at 12:02 pm

      I have worn REI/novara headwind gloves for the past three winters and they are great, at about $25/pair. I have gone through 2 pairs in that time. Depends on your threshold but for me they work down to temps in the 20’s all by themselves.

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    • are January 24, 2013 at 12:15 pm

      any decent lobster claw, that is, two-fingered mitten goes a long way, by allowing your fingers to keep each other warm. sugoi makes one. there are others.

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    • Paul in the 'couve January 24, 2013 at 1:17 pm

      Just go to the hardware store or the auto parts store and get some “Chilly Grips” Latex coated Acrylic. $4.99 most places. Although some thinner ones are even less. I just discovered them myself and was excitedly telling my brother who lives in Idaho about them and it turns out he’s been using them since last year. I’ve ridden at night on some of our coldest days, had ice in my mustache, and these gloves have kept my hands warm even when they get damp.

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    • dan January 24, 2013 at 4:19 pm

      Kinco High Visibility Waterproof gloves – I think I paid $12 for mine down at Sanderson Safety in inner SE. They’re stiff and lacking in dexterity at first, but after they break in, they’re great. Reflective strips on the backs of the gloves so cars can actually see you signaling after dark are a bonus.

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  • Joe January 24, 2013 at 11:22 am

    I see green people 🙂 yay

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  • Kris January 24, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I’m surprised by the number of scarves and balaclavas. I tried wearing them briefly when I lived in places where it got properly cold, and always wound up sweaty and uncomfortable. The only kind of head cover I’ve felt the need of in Portland is some type of ear warmer.

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  • Will Radik January 24, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Got a Showers Pass jacket with the velcro-on hood. Does a damn good job of keeping me warm along with some windbreaking outer pants.

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  • Mark Gamba January 24, 2013 at 12:28 pm

    Nice clean pans Jon! and a good photo essay to boot. It’s funny how the guy riding the surly was, well surly. 🙂

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  • Adam January 24, 2013 at 3:33 pm

    I really like the ski-goggles! I also love all the thin balaclavas I’m seeing. They look like they would fit under a helmet very well. I will have to look into getting one of those.

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  • Craig Harlow January 25, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Love the look on the face of the Big Dummy rider. Get that alot, Jonathan? :^)

    It’s always fun to scan your P.O.B. pics for interesting and familiar bikes and people–good feature.

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  • Hau January 25, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    Hey, #27 is Jordan! Yay for middle schoolers on bikes. I would love to see the People On Bikes series include more families and kids.

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  • nels January 25, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    I can’t stand it when I see bikers in all black. I live in a small biker town in Oregon, and one rainy night I was making a run to the grocery store. Came with 12 – 15 of hitting a father pushing a baby stroller, everything in black. How egotistical to think that just because YOU know you are there that the whole world does too. I have never quite gotten over that experience, as you can see. PTSD over what I almost experienced. Hope his baby outlives dad. Wear brights/lights. PLEASE!!!!

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    • Adam January 26, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      I think the same logic applies to cars too. I think silver-cars should be banned. In a state like Oregon, where it rains, and everything looks grey for much of the year, a grey/silver car is almost impossible to see on some roads. It’s not just cyclists who need to keep themselves visible. Motorists need to make sure they are seen, too.

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    • OnTheRoad January 26, 2013 at 4:41 pm

      Almost as good are the people giving turn signals while wearing dark clothes. Thanks for signaling, but you realize that no-one can see your arm signal unless you have something reflectorized on that arm.

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  • Mindful Cyclist January 26, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    I can tell these riders are a little more seasoned. I do not see one bike that really is in need of an air pump.

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