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

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

IMG_2995

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.

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Here’s a closer look at the same photo:

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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.)

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Mike QuigleryA.K.fredlfAndyC of Linnton9watts Recent comment authors
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basketloverd
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basketloverd

Faux-fur steering wheel.

basketloverd
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basketloverd

Plus, it’s a tandem.

Racer X
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Racer X

…or perhaps more likely two frames welded together.

Alan 1.0
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Alan 1.0

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.

Jeff Ong
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Jeff Ong

I love that it’s taking a parking space!

9watts
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9watts

Well, claiming one, at least.

Mike G
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Mike G

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

Mark
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Mark

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

Pat Franz
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Pat Franz

Weird has deep roots here, yes it does!

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

Pete
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Pete

Bud Clark’s old bike?

CaptainKarma
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CaptainKarma

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.

A.K.
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A.K.
9watts
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9watts

absolutely hilarious. thanks for the link.

Al from PA
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Al from PA

Not sepia, but a faded Kodacolor print.

AndyC of Linnton
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AndyC of Linnton

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

A.K.
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A.K.

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.

fredlf
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fredlf

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

Mike Quiglery
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Mike Quiglery

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.