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This is what it looks like when the sun comes out in Portland (Photos)

Posted by on April 5th, 2017 at 10:31 am

Waterfront Park in spring-4.jpg

Cherry blossoms are in bloom in Waterfront Park.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

One reason Portland has such a great street culture (by American standards) is that we cherish the sun. Unlike places where it hardly ever rains, we do not take the presence of that life-giving orb for granted.

So it’s no surprise that after months of record-setting (even for us!) rain and cold and darkness, Portland streets came alive when the sun came out last week. A sunny Friday coincided with the emergence of blossoms on thousands of trees throughout the city. As per tradition, I grabbed my camera, hopped on my bike and set out to see how Portlanders responded.

In a short loop along the Willamette River I saw many heartening scenes of a city that loves cycling. People of all ages pedaled all types of bikes. Waterfront Park was wonderfully chaotic due to the cherry blossoms being in full effect. And my goodness Biketown is popular!

Here are a few more photos…

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I’ve been a Portlander long enough to know we’re not out-of-the-woods weather-wise until July. But it sure feels good to be on the other side of winter. Here’s to more sun — and fun — on bikes from here on out!

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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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

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Kate
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Kate

Yes, friday was a SCENE! I was trying to get home from South Downtown and tend to take the waterfront path the whole way to the Steele Bridge. I was trying to keep a good attitude weaving and dodging the blossom spectators, dogs, runner, people managing to stare at phones/texting while also bikeshare riding/weaving. I had to just come to a complete stop several times. I’m so glad people are out enjoying our fair city, I will be even more glad when that Naito two-way bikelane goes back in so I can avoid all the revelers.

Joe
Guest
Joe

I Portland!

Alan Love
Guest
Alan Love

Did you accidentally the whole thing?

disastronaut
Guest
disastronaut

Omg, look at all those Nike-sponsored bicycles people are having fun on! Someone please put a stop to all this joy and convenience!

9watts
Guest
9watts

Cute.
But hijacking evident bike joy for your political jab seems like a cheap shot. Or are you suggesting that fun without corporate sponsorship is impossible or invalid?

I despise vandalism of the bikestations as much as the next person, but that doesn’t erase misgivings one might have about the ongoing intrusion of corporations into ever more facets of our lives. Your post makes a hash of all these important, in some cases subtle, or countervailing issues.

I love your post, Jonathan. Delightful to see so much joy.

Adam
Subscriber

Yep. It doesn’t seem to occur to many people here that it’s possible to agree with the message while disagreeing with the methods.

Tom
Guest
Tom

What is so bad about having corporations? Without them there would be mass unemployment, mass starvation, and skyrocketing crime. Most corporations will not survive if their intrusiveness exceeds their value to the public consumers. This is decided by the public at large, not by a single individual who does not like a particular corporation.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Are you for real?!

Gosh, I’m glad corporations rescued us from all those evils.

Tom
Guest
Tom

A Nike co-founder donated over 100 billion to a wide range of efforts to help climate change, poverty and disease, including locally $100 million to the Oregon Health Sciences University Cancer Institute, and another $125 million to the university for cardiovascular health research.

But I bet you did way more than that to help society with all those comments you made.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Do you want to talk about what a creep Phil Knight is here? We can, but this doesn’t seem like a good place to do it at all.

$$ don’t impress me in the slightest.

9watts
Guest
9watts

Like Mr. 45 you also seem prone to exaggerating (by, apparently, a factor of 50)
http://www.oregonlive.com/business/index.ssf/2016/10/phil_and_penny_knights_charita.html

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

We live in such a wonderful Corporate Amusement Park.

Adam
Subscriber

But you have an iPhone so all opinions of corporate intrusion are invalid!

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

“rain and cold and darkness”

These are my favorite things about Portland! Don’t knock ’em! I know I’m in the minority but I’m dreading the so-called “good” weather. I like it when it’s quiet and I loathe the heat. Summer is for party people. Winter is for people who think grey suits Portland (and Oregon) better than anything. 🙂

p.s…nice photos, Jonathan

Adam
Subscriber

I’m with you. Cloudy and drizzly please! The sun is too bright.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Yeah, Adam H! 🙂

KristenT
Guest
KristenT

Beautiful pictures!!!

todd boulanger
Guest
todd boulanger

Oh no! Not sunny “portland + cherry blossom + bike porn” 😉

Now more people will want to move and live in Portland…now that the grey is going…

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Jonathan,
second paragraph should read “per tradition…” not “as per…”

q
Guest
q

If seeing “as per” makes you go “grrrrr”, you may have aspergrrrr syndrome.

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Training wheels, a doll, the river and Mt. Hood, all in one photo is simply too much awesome. Beautiful shots.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I love it all, but it is actually the beautiful days that convince me that bike commuting has a limited audience.

The waterfront was a madhouse, but there were far more cyclists everywhere which suggests that weather is a bigger deal than infrastructure — especially when you consider that there are also more cars when the weather is good. Likewise, when the ride isn’t short and easy, not many people want to ride. Even on the best day of the year, hardly anyone who works at OHSU rides up the hill. While that’s a harder than average climb, it doesn’t take much to really thin the herd.

In all honesty, I like riding in slop. Don’t get me wrong. I love being dry and not being coated in grime that works like grinding paste on my bike. But between the rain cleaning the air and emptying the routes, it’s a decent trade.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin
Kyle Banerjee
Guest

Are you suggesting that the infrastructure changes significantly every time it rains, temps drop, or it gets dark as any one of these factors, let alone combinations, cause dramatic differences in the number of cyclists?

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

No, I’m suggesting:
(A) Infrastructure and other cycling factors controllable by government policy, such as density/proximity, bike-to-transit parking, enforcement of traffic laws, etc. have a much larger effect on cycling mode share than climate
(B) Secondarily – cities with good controllable cycling factors (described above) see smaller drops in cycling when the weather turns bad than other cities with similar weather but worse fair-weather controllable cycling factors

I think that’s a reasonable conclusion from the graphs in this article plus other observations of global cycling mode share:

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2016/01/winter-bike-riding-seasonal-cycling/426960/

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I’m still not following. In the article, they talk about measures to keep snow and ice off, mentioning that over 3 cm of snow — an amount that causes sheer mayhem everywhere in Portland — discourages cyclists.

We rarely get snow in Portland. However, we frequently get light rain which washes away the majority of the cyclists. The good weather brings out more drivers as well as cyclists, so I find it a leap of logic to suggest the infrastructure or greater feelings of insecurity are keeping them away. My consistent anecdotal experience is that people really don’t want to get wet and talking them into going out in the rain is hard. Likewise, cold is a hard sell.

The weather here is mild, and Willamette Valley residents are sensitive to weather that deviates outside a narrow range. Ask someone from outside the area about what people here call heat, cold, humidity, snow, a downpour, etc and the response will most likely be a chuckle.

Alex Reedin
Guest
Alex Reedin

Our weather is not all that different from the weather in Amsterdam or Copenhagen (aside from that theirs is worse – they get more snow), yet way more people bike there. Is your explanation really that we are weather weenies? I think it makes a lot more sense to think the clear, observable differences in the built environment and enforcement regime are the main causes, rather than a different cultural sensitivity to bad weather. Yes, cultural differences are real, but one needs to present some sort of actual evidence of a cultural difference, not just assert that it exists.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

My explanation really is that we are weather weenies.

I love being outside and spend quite a bit of time doing something in the outdoors every day. And I love sharing what I think is a great experience, so I’m always encouraging people to walk, run, bike, ski, paddle, or hike with me — I’m very happy going out with anyone for whom it is their first time out to well conditioned and experienced individuals.

Add even a teeny bit of anything and practically everyone wants to change the plan or even bail. I’ll try everything to get them to go out anyway and sometimes I succeed, but normally I fail. Interestingly, every single time I’ve succeeded, whoever was with me was glad they went.

If it truly is the built environment, why has the number of people on bikes and foot differed so dramatically this week on the waterfront, the bridges, and the bike lanes near the center? The temperature has been very similar every day, the only real difference being some slight rain.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

…you mean newcomers are weather weenies, Kyle. 🙂 The rest of us all went to Outdoor School and grew up playing outdoors in the puddles, happily. Completely agree with you about the superior merits of getting out in the so-called “inclement” weather! 🙂 I find the thing hemming me in and keeping me inside more and more is teeming humanity, and that summer in Portland (and much of Oregon) now is just about the most miserable, to-be-avoided thing ever.

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

I gotta admit I found the winds a little on the brutal side during my morning commute. I got pelted with debris while I worked hard to maintain a pitiful pace in low gear on a path covered with downed branches in several areas.

Still beats driving any day 🙂

The climb up Marquam hill was actually one of the easier parts of the ride because it shielded me from the wind (downtown wasn’t that bad either).

soren
Guest
soren

“hardly anyone who works at OHSU rides up the hill.”

only a masochist or someone interested in training/exercise would choose the hill over the tram. (and i say this as someone who has ridden up that hill ~4100 times)

Kyle Banerjee
Guest

That’s what everyone says, but I disagree.

Under normal circumstances, it’s the fastest and most pleasant way. With the tram, you have to wait a few minutes for it to come and load, another few for it to run while you stand packed like sardines, another few to unload and walk through the building. If your endpoint is anything other than the building at the base, you need to use the bike valet, etc, that adds additional time to the trip.

Even if you’re coming up the hill from PSU on transit and have zero wait, the bike can be the same or faster. With favorable lights, it takes me 10 min to bike from PSU to the center of OHSU. The bus obviously climbs faster, but you either get dropped off on Terwilleger where the time gained is erased while you walk the rest of the way up, or the gain gets erased while the bus works its way around.

Going down is no comparison.

Sometime back, I was challenged on this forum to riding from the base of the tram up the hill while someone else took the tram. My coworkers are interested in the same test. I’ll remind them of it and post whatever happens here. My prediction is that whoever arrives first won’t by much.