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People on Bikes: Inner southeast Hawthorne

Posted by on February 10th, 2020 at 11:42 am

People on bikes, Southeast Hawthorne Blvd, Friday February 7th.
(Photos © J. Maus/BikePortland)

I apologize. Somehow, three years have passed since I did a proper People on Bikes.

If you’re new to BikePortland, this is something we’ve done since 2011. Most of them are from Portland but we’ve taken the idea afield as well with episodes in New York City, Copenhagen, and even Colombia (thanks Michael!). The idea is simple: Freeze bicycle riders in time to give us a better understanding of who’s riding, what they’re wearing, what they’re riding, how they’re riding, and so on.

Think of it as a form of voyeurbanism.

In my opinion, you can tell a lot about a city’s bike and street culture by simply observing its bicycle riders: Are they mostly older? Younger? Are riders mostly shes? Hes? Theys? Do they ride cheap, drop-bar “ten speeds” or flat-bar MTBs? Helmet? No helmet? How many e-bikes do you see? Do people look experienced? Afraid? Calm and cool? Stressed out or blissed out? Would a People on Bikes in southwest or outer east Portland look different?

I also think images of real riders — as opposed to staged or stock photos — adds substance and humanity to what is often just a blur through our streets. I wish people who mostly drive would take time to look at images like this. I think it would help build respect when they realize these are real and beautiful people, just like them, and not just “that damn cyclist who blew by me”. But I digress… Let’s get to the images.

Here’s who rolled by on SE Hawthorne between 6th and 7th in about a 20-minute span on Friday afternoon (click to enlarge):

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Thanks for looking!

— 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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El BicicleroJohn LascurettesidlebytesJONASMarshall J Habermann-Guthrie Recent comment authors
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Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

Dude on the electric one-wheel can really shred.

Watch out!

D'Andre Muhammed
Guest
D'Andre Muhammed

not one single person of color?

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Bike commuters in inner-SE Portland. Are you surprised?

D'Andre Muhammed
Guest
D'Andre Muhammed

I guess I shouldn’t be. It sure goes to show how unwelcoming that area is to any ethnic diversity.

PTB
Guest
PTB

What do you mean by this? This is a series of pics of people riding bikes past a fixed point for 20 minutes. How is this indicative of racial intolerance? What needs to happen in your opinion to make a person of color ride their bike past JM at the right time? Sorry, that’s snarky. I don’t see what you see here is all.

David Hampsten
Guest

I live in a city that is 43% black and over 55% of our cyclists are black, but of course my city isn’t Portland, it’s not even on the west coast; you can tell because everyone in these photos, and I mean EVERYONE, just happens to be biking while white. And everyone in these photos is using bike-shop-quality bikes, not the department-store quality bikes that make up over 90% of the bikes out there, you know, like Next, Magna, Roadmaster, etc that poor people can barely afford. So clearly we are talking about a wealthier part of Portland – a nice sample slice of the top 10% of America.

It would be interesting to see a similar sample in Gladstone or Beaverton.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I used to live and work in Beaverton. I think there is a lot more income disparity there. You would see far more carbon race bikes and less of what you see in these pictures – utility bikes. I wouldn’t say these people are wealthy (very affluent by defantion), because they are commuting *out* of downtown on *bikes* to go home. And while they are bike shop quality bikes, they aren’t weekend biker bro carbon bikes. The really affluent white people in Portland a) live in closet sized apartments in the alphabet district or b) live in multi-milliondollar mcmansions in Laurelhurst and drive Muskmobiles or German cars.

That said, I do think the level of wealth expresses some comfort. Because bike shop bikes are more expensive than department store bikes, at least up front. But you get what you paid for.

Jason
Guest
Jason

I’m sorry you feel that way.

CyclistofColor
Guest
CyclistofColor

This impulse to judge everything in Portland only on whether there is a person of color there is such a waste of time. Portland has been doing it for awhile now and it is not working out. We are not advancing equality or social programs or the safety net. It is just another thing for Portlanders to talk about and pat themselves on the back when someone of color shows up.

Yes, capitalism is a moraless system that concentrates wealth in the hands of the few. Yes, we have a history of structural racism and because of that we need a more comprehensive social system than even scandinavia and reparations are not a bad idea. But we are not going to get to those things by only judging the worth of something on whether black people are there. Yes, talk about why there are no people of color. But just because there are no people of color does not mean it is a bad thing.

In order to get to a more equal society in a democracy we need 51% of the vote to change the rules. We are not going to do that with the identity politics that exist in Portland right now. People are going to stop showing up because they are fearful that if someone goes to something and there are no people of color they are a racist. Yes, understand racism and work to dismantle it. But work to dismantle it and not just think everything in Portland is wrong because there are so many white people. Most bikes were written by white males, are books wrong? Let’s make Portland the most equal city in the country and pass a lot of taxes and show that an equal city is better. And a great way to help do that is by not requiring everyone to own a $10,000 a year car.

Dween
Guest
Dween

Welcome back, People on Bikes. Great series.
Some things change (ebikes, scooter, one wheel), some things stay the same.

bikeninja
Guest
bikeninja

My favorite is the e-biker that has their saddle set so low they could not pedal if they wanted too.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Which one? What about the really girthful gentleman on the bike 6 sizes too small?

Jason
Guest
Jason

That’s a little too close to fat shaming, which is not what I was trying for. I was going for the “hey his bike is too small, isn’t that funny”, but that’s not too nice either. One of those posts I would delete if I could. But nooooooo BikePortland.Org is hard core that way. Comments indelibly etched on the internet for eternity.

Steve Scarich
Guest
Steve Scarich

Over here in Bend, where e-bikes are becoming quite a thing, my unscientific observation is that less than 10% of e-bikers pedal their bikes (at least when I see them). The ones that I see pedaling most often are delivery people on cargo bikes, who are lugging big loads, and also look very fit.

Marshall J Habermann-Guthrie
Guest
Marshall J Habermann-Guthrie

This comment smacks of a little disdain for e-bikers in general. Wouldn’t you rather every person in a car were on an e-bike even if it meant that they never pedaled? IMO, e-bikes are right-sized transportation solution that should be celebrated 10x and anyone sneering from through their Tesla windows with the cycling vanity plates should take a look in their rear view mirror.

maxD
Guest
maxD

voyeurbanism is a really good portmanteau!

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

I love portmanteaux! Especially in Portland, where we can have Portlanteaux.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

That sweet Univega with the quill stem and downtube shifters (#13) is awesome. One could ride that all the way back to the 80’s while listening to Duran Duran—not that I condone the use of a Walkman while riding…

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Arrrrgh! I always forget about the perma-nest feature here. The above was a general comment, not a reply. Is “permanest” a good portmanteau?

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

So, I think the discussion of race and diversity can be helpful, if only to understand where people (of any color) are coming from. I don’t think we can blame the photographer for who happens to ride by during a shoot, unless we can show that he was actively avoiding taking pictures of non-white riders. The flip-side of this, however, would be if the photographer went out of his way to find a non-white rider to splice into this photo set. I need help understanding where deliberate attempts to show diversity cross over into so-called “tokenism”, and how someone intentionally doing the former could avoid being accused of the latter.

It seems to me that if one wants to take photos of “people on bikes”—which is a great feature, by the way—one would want to find a place where there is an abundance of people riding bikes. As has been pointed out, given the city’s, ahem, history, people of color tend not to show up in all the same places as lots of bike riders do. I don’t want to even speculate on the many underlying reasons for that.

It sounds as though Jonathan is up for using hyper-local photographers to locate areas where one can find people riding bikes without “trying” to find people of color. Let’s see what comes of that.

El Biciclero
Guest
El Biciclero

Well, the reply nesting just never stops

JONAS
Guest
JONAS

More people on e-bikes please! I don’t know about you guys, but 1/3 to half of the riders I see are now on ebikes, and there seems to be a diverse demographics with those riders as well!

..and I agree, definitely need more photos of people of color. I recall earlier people on bikes were low on this category. Its not THAT rare to see minorities on bikes. You can do it, Johnathan!!!

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

There’s two people I see along my commute home on e-bikes. That’s out of the 20 regulars or so. So not 1/3rd more like 1/10th in my experience. I see more people on scooters and electric boards than ebikes.

bendite
Guest
bendite

Ebikes are low powered mopeds.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Carbon bikes are ultralight running shoes.

Bendite
Guest
Bendite

A car with its windows down is a four wheeled motorcycle.

Jason
Guest
Jason

An eighteen wheeler is two hobos playing ‘dueling banjos’ on Saturday night while a donkey brays.

Becky Jo (Columnist)
Member

OMG I loooove this! I totally watch every cyclist and wonder who they are, where they’re going, what their biking habits are… everyone is so different. This is awesome.

JONAS
Guest
JONAS

Just did an audit of people of color/minorities on Bikeportland main page. You have to go back to January 23rd to see a person of color who is a cyclist. However, and please correct me if I am wrong, but not one photo of a person of color “riding a bike” on main BP page for months??

On that January 23rd post of a person of color, comments were pretty negative. No wonder D’Andre feel unwelcomed.

Well, I’m sorry, too! and hope D’Andre always feel welcome in my community. Take care out there.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Most cyclists are white and male. I can understand why. I am white male and I feel threatened by vehicles sometimes. I can’t imagine what it would be like if I was a woman or an ethnic minority. Driving a car would be much more secure, what with the locked doors and all. That’s just the world we live in. Can we change it?

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Let’s not also forget that Portland is one of the whitest major cities in America — a byproduct of its deeply, overt racist past and of its insidiously subtle present.

Jason
Guest
Jason

True, I grew up in Oregon and there were maybe two African American classmates in school. This was in Eugene, so, not a small town per se. But yeah, Oregon was founded as a racist utopia.

PTB
Guest
PTB

HEY PORTLAND IS HELLA WHITE EVERYBODY. AND WAS FOUNDED BY RACISTS. Just feel like we can’t beat this one to death enough so I’m gonna shout it for you.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Point was: People are complaining that Jonathan didn’t capture any POC as if it was intentional or insidious. There simply isn’t that many POC in Portland (compared to anywhere else I’ve ever lived) and there’s a reason for that — and the fault is not Jonathan’s.

You must be fun at parties.

John Lascurettes
Subscriber

Also, this just happened in West Linn. So let’s not pretend racism is gone in Portland or its metro, m’kay?

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/black-oregon-man-told-his-boss-about-discrimination-work-then-n1135011

Christian
Guest
Christian

The photo for 2/6 (the headline about getting funky with friends) is centered on a person of color, if we’re getting into auditing. The overall point stands: Portland is overwhelmingly white, and that’s reflected in its cycling population.

Rod B
Guest
Rod B

How do you even know which people are “White”? Race is a self-identification thing, is not a science-based category, and you can’t always tell by looking (just like you can’t tell gender identity by looking). I know people who consider themselves Native American who hate it when people assume they are White – blood quantum requirements should be a thing of the past. I am a POC of multiple heritages and no one ever guesses my heritage/race correctly. I wish people would stop their race obsession, stop focusing on labeling everyone, and instead focus on real actions to forward equity, making sure that EVERYONE has access to essential things like housing and health care.

Kiel Johnson (Go By Bike)
Member

The rise of electric bikes! Also love all the creative ways people use to carry their bags on bikes. So many of our bikes in USA are not designed to carry items.

ChadwickF
Guest
ChadwickF

Thanks for bringing back this feature. It’s neat to suss out a little information/ see peoples’ daily bike habits, even if it is a little more trivial than the bigger overall questions. Mine this time: gloves versus no gloves in February.

Jim Lee
Guest
Jim Lee

JM:

I am old, white (Irish), male and despise DSLRs

Guess that means I’m out of the running.

Amy
Guest
Amy

Jeeze, why does it have to be pointed out that pictures of people riding bikes aren’t diverse enough? Really? Has that what culture shaming has come to? Lucky Jonathan’s not taking pictures of people walking dogs! Who knows what kind of insensitivities might be found!

The pics were, in my un-woke view, cool. Loved the guy riding a cruiser! Cycling shorts are for losers!

Thanks for sharing what my other daily bike commuters are riding.

Jason
Guest
Jason

Hey, whoa! No one was claiming to be woke. 🙂

D'Andre Muhammed
Guest
D'Andre Muhammed

What if all the cyclists were male? Then what would you think? There is a whole lot of talk in this city, but painfully little real understanding.

JONAS
Guest
JONAS

D’Andre Muhammed
What if all the cyclists were male? Then what would you think? There is a whole lot of talk in this city, but painfully little real understanding.Recommended 2

^^^ my thoughts exactly^^^ Muhammed gets it.

BP is appears to be unwelcoming to POC for simply expressing their opinions.

idlebytes
Guest
idlebytes

How do you know which comments come from POC? Unless someone states it or has a photo of themselves I don’t know how to tell one from the other. Also 24 people isn’t really statistically significant. If they were all photos of men I don’t think it would mean anything other than 24 male cyclists road past Jonathan in a 20 minute period.