The Worst Day of the Year Ride is February 11th

From the Portland city archives: A tall bike on Union Avenue in 1980

Posted by on August 12th, 2014 at 8:22 am


Kickstand included.
(Photo: City of Portland Archives)

Tall bikes look great in sepia, too.

Local freelance reporter and BikePortland friend Lee van der Voo came across the above photo in the City of Portland’s archives and sent it along. It was taken in the parking lot outside the former Winchell’s Donut House at 5601 NE Martin Luther King Boulevard, now home to Geneva’s Shear Perfection barber and beauty salon.

“It’s from 1980, during a PDC project on what was then Union (now MLK),” van der Voo writes.

Here’s a closer look at the same photo:


It’s hard to tell what that is dangling from the handlebars — a lei? A tutu? In any case, it’s nice to know that even in this town, some things never really change.

(And if you happen to know whose bike this is or was, please let us know.)

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

  • basketloverd August 12, 2014 at 8:27 am

    Faux-fur steering wheel.

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  • basketloverd August 12, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Plus, it’s a tandem.

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    • Racer X August 12, 2014 at 10:10 am

      …or perhaps more likely two frames welded together.

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      • Alan 1.0 August 12, 2014 at 2:06 pm

        Yeah, two frames plus a few more tubes, but I’d call it a tandem instead of a long-tail tall-bike because of the crank and pedals for the stoker. Hard to tell for sure, and I’m sceptical how well it would work, but it looks like a single loop of chain might connect all three gears in a triangle.

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  • Jeff Ong August 12, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I love that it’s taking a parking space!

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    • 9watts August 12, 2014 at 9:46 am

      Well, claiming one, at least.

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  • Mike G
    Mike G August 12, 2014 at 9:55 am

    Maybe it was owned by the founders of Voodoo Doughnuts doing some early field testing.

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  • Mark August 12, 2014 at 10:03 am

    I’m guessing that’s a steering wheel with a fuzzy cover.

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  • Pat Franz August 12, 2014 at 12:10 pm

    Weird has deep roots here, yes it does!

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  • Bella Bici August 12, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    How is it not tipping over on that kickstand?!??

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  • Pete August 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm

    Bud Clark’s old bike?

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  • CaptainKarma August 12, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    Probably a steering wheel. We had tall bikes back in small-town Midwest USA in the dark ages of the hippie era, and bicycle steering wheels were necessary along with a banana seat, for the bike to be “complete”. We also had PPVs or people powered vehicles. Lightweight fiberglass pedal cars with side by side seating. The cops didn’t know WHAT to do about them, so they banned ’em of course.

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  • A.K. August 12, 2014 at 3:15 pm
    • 9watts August 13, 2014 at 7:47 am

      absolutely hilarious. thanks for the link.

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  • Al from PA August 12, 2014 at 5:20 pm

    Not sepia, but a faded Kodacolor print.

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  • AndyC of Linnton August 13, 2014 at 9:05 am

    Too cool!
    Are there any Winchell’s in Portland anymore? Not that it’s that big of a deal, just trying to remember.

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    • A.K. August 14, 2014 at 2:21 pm

      I don’t think there are, HOWEVER, I think that the Heavenly Donuts on Lombard is a former Winchell’s – someone can perhaps verify or correct that assumption.

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  • fredlf August 13, 2014 at 9:56 am

    Reminds me of the old Mojo Nixon song,
    “Standing outside of the Winchell’s,
    Feeling very existential.”

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  • Mike Quiglery August 15, 2014 at 7:03 am

    I have a photo of a bunch of bikes lined up in front of the old Coon Chicken Inn out on Sandy taken in the late 40s. Now, if somebody could tell me how to scan and post it? The photo quality isn’t very good anymore. On the other hand, realizing how politically correct things seem to be, might cause too much of a stir.

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