Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Portland’s new mayor biked to work in freezing temps for his first day on the job

Posted by on January 3rd, 2017 at 12:39 pm

Sunday Parkways September 2015-7.jpg

Wheeler in September 2015.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Ted Wheeler has started his tenure as Portland’s 53rd mayor with a bang. Or should we say, with a brrrrr.

Wheeler revealed on Twitter today (after being asked about it) that he rode his bike to work for his first day on the job. “This is Portland!” you might say, “That’s no big deal!” But consider this: When Wheeler left his home in the West Hills the mercury rose to only about 25 degrees. And there was a serious wind chill. And it was dark.

When we asked him how it went he said, “Cold, but the roads were dry and the stars were out.”

Riding a bike in an urban environment on a regular basis isn’t a pre-requisite for success as the leader of a major city; but it is certainly important. Given that nearly all policymakers have an automobile-centric perspective, it’s imperative that a non-driving worldview has a chance to work its way into our planning, policies, and priorities.

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Wheeler has a huge opportunity to capitalize on Portland’s fertile ground for biking and transportation reform. Our previous two mayors struggled to get the biking balance right. Former Mayor Sam Adams meant well and genuinely “got it” when it came to cycling; but he was so eager to be seen as bike-friendly that he emboldened haters and ended up turning the issue into an unnecessarily controversial political football. And Charlie Hales never seemed to move beyond politically-motivated bike photo-ops. Even when he did bike to work it was only because he was considering a re-election bid (the rides ended when he pulled out of the race).

Then there’s Wheeler: Not only did he bike in conditions many people (even regular bike riders!) consider crazy, he didn’t even announce it or ask the media to be there.

While we’re not completely surprised that Wheeler decided to bike to work today (given his triathlon training and his attention to cycling before he even entered the mayoral race); we couldn’t be happier. It bodes very well for how he approaches his job.

โ€” Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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122 Comments
  • eawrist January 3, 2017 at 12:45 pm

    Shocked and so hopeful because of this. Best of luck Wheeler! Separated bike lanes please.

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  • maccoinnich January 3, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    53 mayors in 166 years! We sure go through them.

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    • m January 3, 2017 at 1:05 pm

      4 year terms didn’t begin until the 38th mayor in 1913.

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  • Ben Schonberger (@SchonbergerBen) January 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Well, his name is “Wheeler”. What did we expect?

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    • Clark in Vancouver January 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm

      But does he know how to build a wheel? (Presumably an ancestor did.)

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    • Todd Boulanger January 4, 2017 at 3:44 pm

      As in “Big Wheeler”! –

      …when I first saw this article pop up…I thought he biked to work in shorts this week! Wow!…until I read the first para.

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      • still riding after all that January 4, 2017 at 9:39 pm

        How come no picture of Ted on his commute in freezing temps?

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  • mh January 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm

    Ditto. From some of us in the more-bike-friendly-than-most-of-town close in east side, WOW. I hate to say it, but I hope he appreciates the uninviting nature and roadways of much of the west side. Remember 8 – 80.

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    • rick January 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm

      Washington County transportation employees talked last spring at a CPO meeting about “working with” Portland to add more cars lanes to West Burnside to Catlin Gabel. Who knows if they thought of protected bike lanes.

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    • Todd Boulanger January 4, 2017 at 6:31 pm

      …with today’s weather…8 to 80 slogan sounds more like “degrees” F….

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  • RH January 3, 2017 at 12:52 pm

    Dang…I feel like a slacker! I didn’t bike today because of the temps and rumors of black ice. Nice work Wheeler!

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    • Alex Reedin January 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      From Lents to downtown along the Springwater, the black ice was just rumors.

      Except for (Trimet’s I would assume but who knows?) malfunctioning sprinklers on the north side of the underpass of the Tilikum for the Eastbank Esplanade connection to the Tilikum. That was a BAD sheet of ice. Those sprinklers have been malfunctioning for months, too.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm

        That spot was pretty bad.

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      • HJ January 3, 2017 at 10:47 pm

        There are some definite spots in the tunnels on Cornell. Not big enough to be an issue for cars, but wouldn’t want to hit them on my bike at speed. In general we get a lot more of that up in the west hills.

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      • was carless January 4, 2017 at 11:39 am

        Sprnklers along SE 17th leaked a tiny bit of water onto the street. Not much, but they may not want to be watering in freezing temps.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 4, 2017 at 12:58 pm

        I noticed that this morning too. Very dangerous. Can we call the PBOT SAFE hotline, or is this PPR or TriMet territory? PBOT usually takes months to get to safety complaints anyway (still waiting on a broken street lamp I reported months ago) so I’m not sure that the SAFE hotline is of any use in this situation anyhow.

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      • Matt S. January 4, 2017 at 8:16 pm

        Maybe it’s supposed to stop people from sleeping under the bridge. Not malfunctioning?

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    • JeffS(egundo) January 3, 2017 at 10:17 pm

      Street cred!

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  • dwk January 3, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    Good for him. It was a nice commute this morning, why wouldn’t he ride?

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  • Dick Button January 3, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    Beware of anything a politician says or does that resonates with you, because that propaganda is directed squarely at you.

    I got those vibes from Chuck on a Bike too, but I agree, this doesn’t feel that way. How did you get the scoop?

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    • PassingThru January 3, 2017 at 2:12 pm

      “Wheeler revealed on Twitter today that he rode his bike to work for his first day on the job.”

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  • rick January 3, 2017 at 1:03 pm

    Where in the West Hills? Was it the SW Hills by Council Crest Park?

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  • Brian January 3, 2017 at 1:09 pm

    I need to start a gofundme page for a mountain bike for Mr. Wheeler.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 3, 2017 at 1:16 pm

      that’s a great idea since the Off Road Cycling Master Plan debates are coming up soon and you can rest assured that the “no bikes in forest park!” supporters have already bent his ear.

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      • I wear many hats January 3, 2017 at 3:41 pm

        We can also bend Mr. Wheeler’s ear JM. Science and reason are actually good tools in the Forest Park debate. Metro was able to use science to more forward with cycling in their properties. The parks department can also.

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    • Spiffy January 3, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      he’s already got the forks for it, so you only need most of a bike… (and a set of city forks to replace the shock ones on his commuter)

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    • T.A. Barnhart January 3, 2017 at 7:36 pm

      no one’s a bigger fan of Ted than me (i started a FB page in March 2015 to get him to run for Mayor, well before he announced), but he can afford his own bike quite easily. if you want to honor his commitment to cycling, make a donation to Community Cycling Center.

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  • Lester Burnham January 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Another West Hills resident. Let’s hope he’s not as out of touch with the rest of the city as his predecessors.

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  • Caitlin D January 3, 2017 at 1:18 pm

    Way to go, Mayor Wheeler! That’s a promising way to kick things off.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. January 3, 2017 at 1:33 pm

    Good for him. It’s good for an elected official to get something other than a windshield perspective once in a while (or more, hopefully!) This also seems more genuine than Hale’s publicity stunt photo-op rides. Let’s see if he keeps it up all year. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • JOE P KURMASKIE January 3, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    today and everyday. A cool, dry, sunrise ride with my boys to school drop off and errands. The angle of the sun and clear skies reminds me of New Mexico winters in Silver City. Glad Wheeler is representing on bike. Hope it’s not a one off photo op but a lifestyle.

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  • Kyle Banerjee January 3, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    It’s sad that this is notable.

    For real progress, cycling has to seem normal than remarkable. There were a few icy spots to watch out for, but by and large the weather today was awesome for riding.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 3, 2017 at 1:59 pm

      This would be unremarkable in a country like the Netherlands or Denmark. If the end goal is to be more like them, then what we need is more elected officials to lead by example. Cycling for transportation is still not “normal” in America, but with a little effort, hopefully it will be someday.

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      • B. Carfree January 3, 2017 at 4:07 pm

        I can’t think of a single American city that I have been in or knowledgeable of that has ever had more than one elected official use a bicycle with any regularity. Sadly, the normal number of elected officials on a bike is zero. If Portland has just one member of the city council on a bike to go with Wheeler (assuming he keeps it up), it will be a trend-setter, or at least highly unusual.

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    • 9watts January 3, 2017 at 9:15 pm

      I’m not sure I understand the point of your grumpy comment. Wheeler biked to work (apparently over hill and dale) when it was 25F outside!! What is not to like about that?!

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      • Buzz January 3, 2017 at 9:40 pm

        Really? I would say those are purely brownie points; did PBOT clear his route for him also? Or don’t they use gravel on the roads in the West Hills?

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  • SaferStreetsPlease January 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm

    Wow. I’m often weary of politicians pandering to audiences, but this is kind of amazing. Perhaps even more impressive than the weather was that he rode through an area with some of the worst bike infrastructure (or lack thereof) in the entire city. Color me impressed.

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    • Alex Reedin January 3, 2017 at 2:03 pm

      I was fairly unimpressed upon reading that Wheeler revealed it on Twitter (perhaps Donald Trump has jaded me, but I was assuming a Twitter announcement that was only somewhat less attention-seeking than a press release). Upon clicking on the actual Twitter thread, it turns out that Wheeler only said he rode to work in a reply to someone who asked. That seems like he probably legitimately rode to work for reasons other than PR. Whoa.

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 3, 2017 at 2:15 pm

        bingo!

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      • Paul January 3, 2017 at 2:56 pm

        That or he’s smart enough to know that someone would ask.

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        • Alex Reedin January 3, 2017 at 2:59 pm

          I am cynical enough that that crossed my mind (or that the person asking is a plant!!). But Wheeler’s photo and tweet didn’t include anything obviously cycling-related that would prime people to ask that. I am optimistic enough that I’m hoping and assuming that it was not a PR stunt until other information indicates that.

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          • 9watts January 3, 2017 at 9:20 pm

            Let’s assume it was a clever ploy?
            so what? If he (on his first day) wants to throw his hat in the ring with the transportational cyclists I’m in. When have we seen this? I really don’t get the grumps here on this particular issue.

            If he’d cycled with a press corps on a sunny summer morning and had his chauffeur stuff his bike in the trunk to get back home, OK; but this was by all accounts pretty much an actual commute.

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          • Buzz January 3, 2017 at 9:43 pm

            OTOH, it’s a PR stunt until he proves otherwise.

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            • Stephen Keller January 4, 2017 at 7:31 am

              Political PR usually doesn’t inconvenience the subject with sub-freezing temperatures and the potential for icy patches. Also there were no media and staff members accompanying Wheeler on his ride to document the event. Sounds like he was just trying to get to work in a reasonable and timely manner. He may also have been looking at the forecast and saying to himself, “it’s today or not at all this week.”

              My hat is off to anyone who ventures out in such cold temps.

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      • T.A. Barnhart January 3, 2017 at 7:38 pm

        the more you get to know Ted, the more you’ll learn he is genuine in this regard. he’s a good politician, but his ego isn’t based on that. i think he’s having so much fun with his life he doesn’t need people to praise him for stuff like this.

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        • Buzz January 3, 2017 at 9:46 pm

          you think? I’m dubious any ‘Triathelete’ is really clued in to what urban cyclists need or want, and just because Adam (bless his absence) is the loudest voice on the blog, doesn’t mean he speaks for everyone…

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          • SE Rider January 4, 2017 at 8:01 am

            Can we stop with the stereotypes on here.

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            • jered January 4, 2017 at 10:17 am

              Whoa, I thought triathletes and the french were the last two groups of people we could still make fun of… I guess it is just the french now…

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          • David Feldman January 4, 2017 at 9:21 am

            Hey, I know a whole bunch of triathletes–exactly none of them do their training either cycling or runnning without a whole bunch of mileage on public roads. Especially given their sometimes irrational attachment to too-skinny tires, I’d say they have exactly parallel concerns to transportation cyclists. Ain’t none of us have a separate road system based on the kind of rider we are!

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          • Rain Panther January 4, 2017 at 10:56 am

            Believe it or not, sometimes “triathletes” and “urban cyclists” are the same people.

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          • Carrie January 4, 2017 at 11:29 am

            That is just the weirdest statement. I’m really confused at how they can’t be the same people.

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          • soren January 4, 2017 at 11:45 am

            imo, the only thing that would please all of the 1% who were riding year round before the whiny newcomers showed up is to have portland’s bike mode share drop to ~2% again.

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            • B. Carfree January 4, 2017 at 8:31 pm

              All the newbies would have to get off the lawn too. Oh, and do the obligatory initiation ride up hill both ways through the snow alternating with temperatures near 115F.

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    • AlliD January 3, 2017 at 5:20 pm

      As someone who lives (and rides) in the West Hills, I’m thrilled to have finally someone on the City Council who understands the needs up here. While I fully agree that the East side is in dire straits and needs millions of dollars of nonmotorized infra and safety improvements, I also get very frustrated at how ignored we are up here. A LOT of us ride here in the Hills–of the 13 houses on just my block, at least 7 of us ride regularly.

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      • Buzz January 3, 2017 at 9:47 pm

        Man, you roll over so easily…

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        • AlliD January 4, 2017 at 9:35 am

          What are you trying to say, Buzz?

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      • rick January 4, 2017 at 6:40 am

        There are very few traffic-calming measures that PBOT and BES have placed in both the West Hills and SW Hills. Lots of ruts on SW Scholls Ferry Road and SW Skyline Blvd.

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    • Matt S. January 4, 2017 at 8:18 pm

      This guy climbed Everest, come on, a bike commute in cold weather isn’t that big of a deal…

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  • Zaphod January 3, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    If you’re on this site then it’s more than likely that you’ve layered up and rolled out more than once in the dark of early morning on a cold day… maybe even today. Our mayor doing this speaks of a shared ethos. I interpret this as something of a measure of character, absence of laziness, the ability and desire to face the elements head on and simply get things done. This simple act has meaning.

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    • Kyle Banerjee January 3, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      I hope cycling doesn’t necessarily represent any of these things — better that people do it because it’s the best way to get around and is faster and more fun to boot.

      It shouldn’t require character, dedication, or ability to ride on a nice day.

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      • Austin January 3, 2017 at 4:14 pm

        It is a nice day, but it was also something like 25 degrees and really windy (I had quite a headwind through some of my trip over the West Hills from Beaverton to Downtown this morning).

        To ride on a day like today, when most folks won’t even go outside because of the cold does indeed show some dedication, if only because one owns the gear needed to a ride in this weather.

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        • Kyle Banerjee January 3, 2017 at 4:50 pm

          The cold thing is more of a perception issue than an actual hardship. If such were not the case, how come people don’t seem to have trouble standing/sitting outside for hours in colder weather to watch sporting events?

          Here was the expensive high tech gear I wore:

          1) Normal work pants for the office that I’d wear any day of the year. Reflective ankle strap to keep leg out of chain

          2) Normal button down work shirt like I’d wear any day of the year.

          3) Thin 14 year old balaclava

          4) 14 year old windbreaker light enough to be stuffed into my pants pocket. I fully unzipped it once I warmed up after a few miles

          5) 15 year old lobster mitt gloves

          6) Thin wool socks under regular cycling shoes

          My ride is neither long nor short (8 miles each way). It’s not as far as Beaverton over the SW Hills into Downtown, but I would have dressed the same for such a commute since one advantage of the cool weather is that swamping out work clothes is not an issue.

          BTW, I own plenty of high tech gear (I’m a product tester for Gore-Tex), including a lot of stuff designed for winter cycling. But using any of that struck me like using a chain saw to cut butter.

          A lot of riding (especially utility riding) doesn’t take nearly as much gear as people think.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. January 4, 2017 at 12:23 am

            how come people donโ€™t seem to have trouble standing/sitting outside for hours in colder weather to watch sporting events?

            Large quantities of alcohol, for one. ๐Ÿ˜›

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            • Middle of the Road Guy January 4, 2017 at 10:31 am

              I can’t believe we agree on something.

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          • Stephen Keller January 4, 2017 at 10:19 am

            Everyone is different. What works for you would leave me so cold, I could not think clearly. Right now, I’m sitting in a climate-controlled office wearing a 3-pound wool sweater and a stocking cap, wishing I were somewhere warm. Outside at 25 degrees F and coasting down the west hills, I’d be in serious trouble wearing as little as what you describe. Maybe on the uphill side, I’d be alright, but even there my feet would turn white in regular cycling shoes.

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            • Kyle Banerjee January 4, 2017 at 5:01 pm

              Hills are an issue. I also freeze on descents. But the tallest hills in Portland are only about 1000′ tall so you’re down in a couple minutes. Temperature differentials, humidity/precip, sun, wind, effort levels, and other factors are relevant for determining what to wear and carry.

              But freezing for a few minutes isn’t a big deal. A much bigger deal on the hills are on days like today where the roads are overwhelmingly dry but there is an occasional patch of ice or frozen moisture. Very dangerous because it’s tempting to ride like the roads are dry/normal when they’re not.

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      • Chris I January 3, 2017 at 8:28 pm

        Since I don’t work downtown, cycling is never faster for me, and I live less than 10 miles from work. Outside of downtown, the car is the quickest way to get around.

        I ride for other reasons, and many other people do as well.

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        • Kyle Banerjee January 4, 2017 at 9:17 am

          Even if that is the case, cycling won’t be much slower for the simple reason that the ride won’t take very long — particularly since it takes less time to get to/from parking for most people on a bike than a car.

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      • 9watts January 3, 2017 at 9:23 pm

        “It shouldnโ€™t require character, dedication, or ability to ride on a nice day.”

        Did the person to whom you are responding actually claim that?
        You’re insufferable today with your rain-on-the-parade vibe.

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        • Kyle Banerjee January 4, 2017 at 5:22 am

          Yes.

          Zaphod
          Our mayor doing this speaks of a shared ethos. I interpret this as something of a measure of character, absence of laziness, the ability and desire to face the elements head on and simply get things done. This simple act has meaning.

          Don’t get me wrong — it’s good that people ride. However, I don’t think it’s good that people regard riding in 25ยฐF weather as a big deal since that kind perception is exactly what keeps people from riding.

          It just so happens that one of my coworkers will ride her bike for the first time in a few months this morning. It is also below freezing today. She is riding because I convinced her that it truly is no big deal — and that she’ll get to work a lot faster than the bus which took her than 1 1/2 hrs each way.

          She’s not in shape, but I know she’ll do fine. And when she does, she’ll feel great and realize that what many people think of as hard/uncomfortable is the easy, fun, and best way in.

          The constant messaging that cycling is dangerous, requires any special capabilities, and/or implies any ethos keeps people from doing it. If we want more people doing it, the only thing impressive about riding to work should be how easy it is.

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          • SE Rider January 4, 2017 at 8:07 am

            On the flip side, continually telling potential riders that “it’s no big deal” doesn’t always work either. I get what you’re trying to do in normalizing riding, but most people will complain about walking in these temperatures (we’re in Portland, not Minnesota) and will think worse of cycling. I’ve complained about the temps every day riding to work over the last week. It’s disingenuous to not recognize it as a barrier for many. And I do agree with you that Wheeler riding to work shouldn’t really be big news.

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          • 9watts January 4, 2017 at 8:22 am

            “that kind perception is exactly what keeps people from riding.”

            I don’t agree. People right now AREN’T for the most part biking at 25F – just look at the places we’ve installed counters. Why can’t you look at this the other way ’round and allow that Wheeler biking IS or COULD BE a motivator to those very people you have in mind?

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. January 4, 2017 at 9:12 am

            I’m usually the first to complain about most things, and even I think it was cool that he rode to work yesterday. Riding your bike to work in 25ยบ weather many seen normal to you and I, but to most people we’re just “crazy bikers”. But if the mayor does, maybe it’s not so crazy after all!

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          • Kyle Banerjee January 4, 2017 at 10:09 am

            There is no doubt that the number of cyclists plummets in subfreezing temps and I also think it’s great that the mayor rides.

            But messaging is important. The mayor has done Iron Man competitions — something that less than 1% of the population could do on the best day of their lives. This reinforces the notion that this is an extreme activity for extreme people rather than a normal activity for normal people. It motivates people who think that kind of thing is cool, but it pushes away the vast majority of people who think individuals who do these things are nuts.

            Instead, people need to hear from those who understand their capabilities and what they face that they can do this and that the reason it sounds so crazy is that they’ve worked it up in their mind into something much worse than it is. They need to hear that it really won’t be that bad if they’ll just give it a shot.

            The temperature is a major barrier. But for many if not most people, the challenge is more in realizing that cool weather is way more comfortable than they thought.

            BTW, that out of shape coworker who I mentioned in another post did ride into work today. Some of her exact words included “It was actually kind of nice.” Her bike needed adjustment and wasn’t properly fit for her, so I helped with that. She intends to keep riding.

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            • 9watts January 4, 2017 at 11:07 am

              “it pushes away the vast majority of people who think individuals who do these things are nuts.”

              What is the *it* you keep referring to? Surely not his biking to work?

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              • Kyle Banerjee January 4, 2017 at 2:27 pm

                The “it” is holding up examples that people consider as extreme as ones to emulate. Normal people have no interest in extreme things.

                I guarantee the woman I talked into spending more time riding this morning than most of the people here do wouldn’t have done so if she’d read this article. You guys would have scared her away because she’d think that if a bunch of cycling aficionados think riding in 25ยฐF weather is badass, it’s definitely not for someone like her who is out of shape and hasn’t even been on a bike for a long time.

                She did great, she’s jazzed about it, and now she’s going to keep riding. People like her are much more likely to inspire others than people who are clearly outside the norm. To convince people they can do things, they need to know that others like them can succeed.

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            • SE Rider January 4, 2017 at 12:45 pm

              “The mayor has done Iron Man competitions โ€” something that less than 1% of the population could do on the best day of their lives. This reinforces the notion that this is an extreme activity for extreme people rather than a normal activity for normal people. It motivates people who think that kind of thing is cool, but it pushes away the vast majority of people who think individuals who do these things are nuts.”

              You’re reading WAY too much into this. I would be shocked if even 5% of the citizens of Portland knew anything about the Mayor’s triathlon background.
              Most people don’t like the cold. This is a truth that applies to so much more than cycling.

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              • Kyle Banerjee January 4, 2017 at 1:54 pm

                Few people like being cold. But again, that is largely a matter of perception.

                Example: Oregon beaches are crowded in summer. They are totally empty in winter. However, the water temperature is almost the same and the air temperature can be even warmer than it is on many summer days. The same people who think I’m totally out of my mind for going in the water in January think nothing of going in themselves or sending their kids in just because the name of the month is August.

                I’ll bet a lot more people know the mayor is a triathlete than know he rode his bike yesterday. I’ll also bet the vast majority that know he rode also know he is a triathlete.

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  • Hopeful January 3, 2017 at 2:13 pm

    Alright, Ted. Do you want to gain my trust? Because this is one way to gain my trust…

    On a side note, let’s make a deal. I’ll bike or walk to work everyday that you do, cool?

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    • Mike January 3, 2017 at 4:32 pm

      So, if the Donald was a bike rider would you think differently of him?

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      • 9watts January 3, 2017 at 9:24 pm

        weird.
        Trump has gone out of his way to diss biking, so, if you were asking me, no; I would think that he, Trump, was (for the one-thousandth time) being insincere.

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      • Buzz January 3, 2017 at 9:48 pm

        LOL

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  • jayson January 3, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    “When Wheeler left his home in the West Hills…”

    I wonder if he’ll ride home, too.

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    • T.A. Barnhart January 3, 2017 at 7:39 pm

      he’s ridden multiple Ironmans (one last September, i think it was), walked to the North Pole, summitted Everest, been part of mountain rescue…. i think he can handle Vista at the end of a work day.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 3, 2017 at 7:48 pm

        But would he want to ride on Outer Division?

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      • jayson January 4, 2017 at 1:35 pm

        Wow. I had no idea he had done those things. I’m impressed.

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  • Ray's daughter January 3, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Nice kudos to the new mayor.

    This gushing about him riding a bike in cold weather could use an additional shout out to the rest of us who didn’t think twice about riding out at 6:30am in below freezing temps BECAUSE IT IS NOT THAT BIG OF A DEAL.

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    • Lester Burnham January 3, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Not that big of deal? Really? I don’t know how far your rode or what kind of equipment you have, but putting yourself out there in these conditions isn’t exactly trivial. They’ve already reported one death from hypothermia.

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      • B. Carfree January 3, 2017 at 4:25 pm

        I’ve never heard of a cycling commuter’s life ending in hypothermia on her way to or from work. Has this ever happened?

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        • Middle of the Road Guy January 4, 2017 at 10:34 am

          I’ve gotten hypothermia once on a bike but it wasn’t a commute. It was coming down from Larch Mountain one winter. It was one of the more unpleasant experiences I’ve ever had.

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    • rick January 3, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      It gets cold riding downhill from the westside on steep roads at 30 mph.

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    • mh January 3, 2017 at 3:36 pm

      Below freezing temps aren’t bad, but I try hard not to go out on wet ice. If he does that, I’m not sure I want to know. I’d like someone who seems like a smart guy to keep that head and brain from hitting the pavement at least for his term in office.

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    • dan January 3, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      Yeah, I came in from the East Side and that’s easy enough, but coming down from the West Hills given the fast descent and high likelihood of icy roads is pretty hairy. Wonder if he’s got studded tires, how cool would that be?

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      • eawrist January 3, 2017 at 5:27 pm

        Pop a Wheeler?

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  • ElPana January 3, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    That is great!!! Looking forward to what Wheeler will do for the city.

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  • I wear many hats January 3, 2017 at 3:34 pm

    maybe now we have the political pull to get some bollards in the road

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    • SaferStreetsPlease January 3, 2017 at 8:09 pm

      Bollards? Try jersey barriers or curb protected bike lanes. Bollards are a facade imo.

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  • Buzz January 3, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    Let’s hope Wheeler can get PBOT to clean the gravel out of the bike lanes after storms faster than the last four administrations.

    As of today, I’m still seeing significant gravel in many high-use bike lanes, including the west-bound Hawthorne viaduct between SE Grand and the bridge, and on N. Interstate. These were the only two places I was able to directly observe, but my assumption is that if these bike lanes aren’t cleared of gravel yet, neither are most others.

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    • dan January 3, 2017 at 4:18 pm

      SE Madison between 11th and 7th is pretty bad too.

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      • Stephan January 3, 2017 at 7:16 pm

        Thanks for bringing that up — NE Vancouver from Rosa Park down to Moda Center had its fare share if gravel today. It is a good reminder where the city puts its priorities.

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        • Kate January 4, 2017 at 10:50 am

          Argh yes, it’s so annoying. Every morning I keep thinking today will be the day it’s gone, but alas. Between Rosa and Killingsworth is the thickest, I’m tempted to take a push broom out there over the weekend.

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    • T.A. Barnhart January 3, 2017 at 7:41 pm

      i contacted PBOT about that; eastside bike lanes are still filthy with gravel. so far, not happening. maybe i’ll bug Saltzman at Wheeler’s inauguration tmrw.
      or perhaps BP could have a section on “Sweep the damn bike lanes, PBOT!”

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    • SE Rider January 4, 2017 at 8:09 am

      It’s happening, but I imagine the holidays slowed progress quite a bit. SE 52nd and Woodstock are both now clear. NE Glisan is also clear.

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  • rider January 3, 2017 at 4:43 pm

    Riding in from the West Hills is actually harder than anyone here has indicated. It’s not just the ice, but all the snow and gravel that has gathered along the sides of the roads. The west side of Thompson road up to Skyline is filled with icebergs, gravel and dirt so the only option in many places is to ride in the travel lane of cars. Going down the other side is the same thing, and it’s easy to hit 40 mph down Cornell. It’s been my commute for 15 years. Depending on where he lives will determine the difficulty of his commute. Either way, nice job to him for getting outside today. It’s beautiful and treacherous all mixed together, like most bike rides are. That’s part of what make cycling so fun to me!

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  • Stephan January 3, 2017 at 7:13 pm

    Lots of people pay money to go skiing in such weather, or colder temperatures. Why is that considered normal, even fun, but going by bike is labelled crazy?

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 3, 2017 at 7:51 pm

      Lots of people pay to go mountain biking too. But skiing to work would still be weird. ๐Ÿ˜›

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    • 9watts January 3, 2017 at 9:30 pm

      Why do people drive to the gym?
      Lots of cognitive dissonance to go around when you stop and look for it.

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      • Kyle Banerjee January 4, 2017 at 6:07 am

        I don’t ever go to gyms or lift weights but I’ve asked a number of people this over the years.

        From what I can tell, there are multiple reasons. One is that you can focus on a specific workout. Another is that there are often other people or some specific program to motivate you. A third has to do with timing or transport. People also go because they like the controlled environment and social aspects.

        It’s hard for utility riding — or virtually any urban riding — to satisfy any of those needs. Also, aside from cardio base, the fitness that cycling confers translates poorly to other activities.

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      • rick January 4, 2017 at 6:40 am

        Lack of sidewalks on busy roads near the gym is one reason.

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        • 9watts January 4, 2017 at 8:24 am

          There are surely many ‘reasons’ in the minds of those who do this. My point, though, is that some may find those ‘reasons’ a bit, shall we say, curious.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy January 4, 2017 at 10:34 am

        Time constraints and trip chaining.

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      • Matt S. January 4, 2017 at 8:22 pm

        I swam for 1.5 hours last night, last thing I want to do is ride home in the super cold…

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        • Eric Leifsdad January 6, 2017 at 7:59 am

          Why not swim home?

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        • Emily January 12, 2017 at 2:35 am

          Ted swims across the Willamette. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • With Friends Like These... January 3, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    Adams “was so eager to be seen as bike-friendly that he emboldened haters and ended up turning the issue into an unnecessarily controversial political football.” BikePortland sounds very hard to please. Would the haters have been less emboldened with a bike hating mayor?

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    • 9watts January 4, 2017 at 8:25 am

      It isn’t bikeportland who is hard to please but the haters.

      “Would the haters have been less emboldened with a bike hating mayor?”

      Sam Adams’ term isn’t a hypothetical. He was actually our mayor. You tell me. Answer your own question.

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  • Mitch Besser January 4, 2017 at 7:37 am

    25 degrees? Whatever! Let me know when he rides in freezing rain and they haven’t cleared the streets. Now that takes guts. —- Just kidding. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  • Alon Raab January 4, 2017 at 9:26 am

    May this bike ride signal dedication to cycling, to cyclists’ safety and to environmental sanity.
    Enclosed is my article on bicycles and political leaders.
    http://theallrounder.co/2016/09/26/wheels-of-power-political-leaders-on-bikes/
    All the best in the new year- health, joy, peace and justice and may your dreams come true.

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  • X January 4, 2017 at 7:20 pm

    On day one, the new mayor took a:
    –car / motorcade to work.
    –bike / walk / bus to work
    Choose one! Perhaps it means nothing. So what?

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  • Vans January 4, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    As they say on many forums (maybe not this one), Pic’s or it didn’t happen.

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  • Smorg Cycle January 5, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    He didn’t announce it and didn’t ask the media to be there = no photo. ๐Ÿ™‚

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