Thoughts from vacay and important notes about Bike Happy Hour

The lake below Grinnell Glacier. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Hi everyone.

I had a very nice time away. Spent three wonderful days at Glacier National Park with my wife and three kids and took a clean break from news and social media and work. Now I’m eager to dive back into things here at BikePortland, but it will take at least a few more hours for my brain to kick back into gear.

While I wait for that to happen, I wanted to check in on an important issue that has come up around Bike Happy Hour. But before that, allow me to share just one thought from my trip to Glacier that is very BikePortland-related…

On our second day in the park we tackled the Grinnell Glacier Trail; a really tough, out-and-back hike up to the aforementioned glacier that sits at about 6,500 feet in a saddle between Mt. Grinnell (8,813 feet) and Mt. Gould (9,551 feet). It was the first time since I was a kid (and too young to understand) that I stood so close to a glacier.

Everyone there seemed to be having a great, even celebratory time. There were lots of selfies and a group of strong, daring young men were even jumping in the lake to stand on small icebergs. But as I think back, I can’t shake the feeling that that beautiful glacier is ground zero for the climate change crisis we are facing right now.

I didn’t talk too much about it during our trip because I don’t want to overwhelm my family (especially my kids) with a doomsday tone, but it has definitely shaken me up. The glaciers in this park have been melting rapidly in the past century due to rising temperatures. There were over 100 large glaciers in the park a century ago. Now there’s a good chance that there would be only tiny fragments left — or maybe even no glaciers at all — if my children ever returned to that trail with their children.

Seeing that glacier and dipping my feet in its icy, freshly-melted water — then breathing smoke and seeing a wildfire in the Gorge on our way home — has further radicalized me and has renewed my sense of urgency around fighting climate change. I have little doubt that my kids’ lives will be dramatically different than mine — and not in a good way. We don’t have time to wait!

… Deep breath … OK, allow me to shift gears to Bike Happy Hour…

Can’t wait to see everyone tomorrow (Weds., 8/2)! We can talk about how to use our transportation advocacy to fight climate change, or anything else that’s on your mind. I also want to mention two other important issues that have come up since last week.

Circled area is the zone of concern that is now off-limits to Happy Hour attendees.

First, we need to be more respectful of Work & Co., the business next door to Gorges Beer Co. They are cool with Happy Hour, but they are not cool with folks leaning bikes against their doors, making it hard for employees to come and go, standing on their tables, and then acting rude when called out for it.

So here’s the deal: Please don’t park or hang out on their tables. And do not block their door with your body or your bike. We’ll put up signs and erect stanchions to cordon off that area and I’ll have a Happy Hour regular there to monitor the situation during the event. There are other places to park and hang out. I recommend folks use the Rainbow Road plaza. Remember: We can spread out the Happy Hour love from the patio to the sidewalk and into the street!

On a related note, the popular Holman’s Bar & Grill on SE 28th just reopened. That’s great news on many levels, but since it’s right around the corner from the Bike Happy Hour patio and parking lot, it means we could see a lot more car traffic. Unfortunately, it appears the bar owners (and/or PBOT?) have made SE 28th entry-only and all patrons are being told to exit onto SE Ankeny. This is a big deal because, as you know, that block of Ankeny is the Rainbow Road which is supposed to be a carfree plaza.

If Bike Happy Hour crowds are moved from Work & Co., it means even more folks are likely to be enjoying the event on the street near the two driveways that will be much more active with drivers leaving Holman’s. I’m not sure how this will play out yet, but I wanted this to be on your radar. I have forwarded this concern to the owner of Gorges Beer and the PBOT staffer in charge of the plaza.

On a lighter note… Our new Regulars Club/name tag cards are here! Come find me if you need one.

See you tomorrow!


Bike Happy Hour
Everyone Welcome, Every Wednesday, All Year Long
3:00 – 6:00 pm
$2 off all drinks at Gorges Beer Co., Ankeny Tap & Table, Crema Coffee
All-ages and Family Friendly
Questions & Concerns: Jonathan Maus, 503-706-8804, @bikeportland on Social Media

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Lisa Caballero (Assistant Editor)
Editor

Hi Jonathan, welcome back! Maybe you know more about it than I do, but the parking lot adjacent to Gorges also belongs to Work&Co, so you can’t park there (at least that was what I was told when I tried). Do you know more about that?

Travis Preece
9 months ago

Hi Lisa! Travis from Gorges here. There’s quite a lot to tell about the different personalities involved in the parking lot, which I can share in person sometime.

Technically, yes. The parking lot now is for Work & Co. They have been great neighbors who love seeing the success of this happy hour. They are fine with us using it as long as we are respectful of their space and staff.

Lately they have reported a lot of disrespect of their space and staff. They’ve just asked that we try to do better. But if things don’t improve, they might be able to make this event more challenging.

Nick
Nick
9 months ago

There’s a lot of anti-kickstand sentiment in the “cyclist” community but I really love mine, and have added them to most of my bikes, really helps for situations like this where there’s not a great place to park a bike. And it’s great in general for doing minor adjustments or just not needing to find a place to lean your bike. (if you lock it up with a couple of friends bikes it’s pretty hard to steal a pile of bikes)

Along with fenders and a rack I consider kickstands to be one of the most valuable bolt on accessories.

Fred
Fred
9 months ago

It’s good that you were able to do something in Glacier Park. Last time I went there, the place was so mobbed with people – and their cars – that there was no place to pull off the road, anywhere. The parking lot at summit visitor center was blocked by an attendant who was shooing cars away.

Glacier needs a motor-vehicle reduction program in the worst way. And how ironic that we worry about the climate crisis and the disappearance of the glaciers while we drive drive drive.

I’m with you on the need to address the climate crisis. You have already done a lot with BP, but certainly more needs to be done – at all levels (international, national, and local).

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
9 months ago

Take the train…

John
John
9 months ago

I was curious, as I’ve never taken the train and that was crazy expensive sounding. So I just checked (partially because I might want to do this trip), and it looks like I can get a train from Union Station to West Glacier for two adults and a 3 year old (my family size) for a total of $497, and a 14 hour trip. I didn’t go all the way through checkout so maybe there are other fees. Also maybe the ride is hell, but I just did a cross country flight that turned into a 14 hour odyssey and the most cramped seats physically possible, so I don’t know if a train can get worse than that.

This sounds fun, I might try it.

adventurepdx
9 months ago
Reply to  John

I’m guessing the big discrepancy in price is Jonathan was quoting for private (sleeper) rooms whereas yours looks to be coach seating. Coach pricing is more stable whereas sleepers can have more fluctuation. When I priced sleepers for six for a couple weeks from now I got a total cost of about $7,000, expensive but lower than the $12,000 Jonathan quotes. Sleepers are expensive no matter how you do it, but it helps to look at it as a hotel room on rails.

I still am confused by the “six days of travel”, as the Empire Builder to Glacier is about 16-18 hours one way, leaving Portland in early evening and arriving the next morning, and on the way back leaving Glacier in the evening and arriving in Portland the next morn.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
9 months ago

I take the sleepers periodically if the trip is more than 8 hours and the option is available (sleepers are rare northeast of DC). The cheap ones (Roomette) you share the toilets and the one shower with other sleeper passengers, but you can get really good deals in the fall and spring when students are still in school, often not much more than coach, and it’s a really good deal if two people are traveling together, one on the lower bunk, the other on top. Food in the diner is free and part of the sleeper ticket – 3 meals a day, anything on the menu, but alcohol is extra. The first-class sleepers (Bedroom) have a toilet/shower combo the shape and size of a standing coffin, in the room itself. I last took the Portland to Spokane train in 2017 – they still required bikes to be boxed then – but the Seattle to Spokane train which I last took in 2019 has bike hooks – both trains join (or split) in Spokane. There’s an all-night diner inside the Spokane station in case you are hungry at 1 am.

The rooms lock from the inside, have 3-prong plugs, a/c & heat controls. The two lower seats convert into the lower bunk. There’s usually some space for baggage in the room and shelving outside for your other bags. A staff person makes your bed – I usually tip them $20 before I leave the train at my destination and leave tips in the diner even though my food is free.

Walking the trains between cars is a lot of fun, good exercise (a bit like a sea-tossed ship), there’s always an observation or lounge car for drinks and snacks, and the train stops for 20-30 minutes every 8-10 hours for crew changes and refueling (Bingen, Spokane, Whitefish, etc).

Carrie
Carrie
9 months ago

One of the really huge bonuses when we took the train through Glacier was that there were two NPS rangers on board and we listened to their talk for at least 4 hours. So informative and interesting and gave such great context about where we were traveling.

The College Student has been riding the train between Whitefish and Portland regularly the past few years and really enjoys the decompression time, the scenery, and it’s part of his literal break from school. I think the train is a viable option to the Glacier area — it’s only a few hours more than driving there and on the way there it’s overnight!

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  John

Hi John I am replying to you you can reply to the group you are right years ago I went to Glacier with the Nordic Club and slept in a room I went one time with my backpack and slept in my chair with my sleeping bag and pad I got a good sleep in the observation car there is a shuttle for the park I know there will be a lot of planning and Logistics to do you could get on the train in Portland OR Vancouver in the evening and eat breakfast and be at Glacier the next morning

Chris I
Chris I
9 months ago

We’ve done the Empire Builder to the Isaak Walton near Glacier in the past, but I honestly wouldn’t recommend it since Covid. Amtrak has equipment shortages and staffing issues. The end result is the removal of several sleeper cars from these trains, meaning the remaining sleepers are in extremely high demand, with prices to match. Hopefully things improve in the next few years, if they can bring more equipment back online.

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
9 months ago
Reply to  Chris I

I took the train even during the pandemic, and more often this year than in the past. There are still staffing shortages systemwide, not just for Amtrak but also switch operators for the freight railroads Amtrak runs on. However, there’s also been a lot of passenger train equipment upgrades, nicer coach seats, lots of leg room on the long-distance trains (and a lack of it on the NE Regional trains), and several new train routes have been added as well as greater frequency on existing routes. The availability of bike hooks on any given train is dependent primarily if there is a baggage car or not – most long-distance trains have them, but many east coast trains do not. Most East Coast stations north of Washington DC have high platforms where you simply walk straight onto your train like in Europe (or roll-off/roll-on your bike) but at most other US stations you have to step up to your train.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Spend a few minutes perusing climate movement organizer social media/blogs and you will quickly see post after celebratory post depicting consumption of meat, driving GHG-gas belching cars/SUVs, and flying passenger jets. Apart from the casual hypocrisy of this messaging, it betrays a lack of faith in the potential for solidarity to effect tranformative change.

Any climate warrior who does not feel meat-eating shame, driving-shame, and flying-shame is lying to themselves, according to my opinion.

PS: I don’t give the tiniest f*** what you do in private, but cohesive public messaging is essential to organizing for transformative change (revolution)

David Hampsten
David Hampsten
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

In my case, not only do I not own a car, but I never actually learned to drive one, so it has made it “easier” for me to use a train since I’m already “transit dependent”. I haven’t flown since 2015, but mostly because I haven’t needed to – I have pretty good train service where I live and I don’t travel as much as I used to. I get around almost entirely by bicycle, but again I’m “used to it” rather than trying to be Eco-conscious. However, I do help run a local bike coop and still do a lot of community advocacy here in Greensboro NC (as I did when I lived in Portland for 18 years) – and I’m very aware of the hypocrisy you mention – particularly when half of our bike coop members drive the few miles to our collective shop rather than bike.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  David Hampsten

Hypocrisy is just part of human existence in our dysfunctional poly-crisis reality. My comment was not focused on the myriad of ways we each do not live up to our core (or apsirational) values but rather about how we use social media “messaging” to excuse moral self-defeat and inadvertantly perpetuate dysfunction (e.g. high GHG lifestyles).

John
John
9 months ago

The problem of how to get to outdoor activities is a tricky one (RE: climate change). I used to think it just wasn’t something that enough people wanted to do for it to be a big problem, but I think that’s wrong. A lot of people drive a lot of miles getting to their outdoor activities and I don’t know exactly what to do.

Part of it (and this is like, wishful thinking if we had a functioning government) is a lot of destinations could actually just have mass transit. Like, the highway from here to the coast is often packed, and many of the destinations could easily be served by like two or three train lines and one north/south. People complain about the cost of building the tracks, but that’s just status quo bias. The highways themselves were incredibly expensive. And lumber companies had the coast range covered in rail at one point. It isn’t that big a problem to overcome, if our country just built things anymore.

And similarly, there are some big destinations the other direction. Better routes to Hood River and the area (I know the CAT exists but it’s nowhere near good enough). A rail line out there, also up and over Mt. Hood, etc, etc. That would put a big dent in the problem.

If your activity of choice is backpacking, I think it’s always going to be hard to get to a trailhead without a car. But if you rented, it wouldn’t have to be a long drive if we had better ways to get to nearby hubs like Bend and Mt. Hood, Hood River, etc. As cyclists, we can actually go long distances so just getting to Hood River or Bend is close enough.

This is something I feel like is rarely even considered. The camping and outdoor on weekends lifestyle was invented along with the personal automobile, and the two are just so tightly linked that alternatives haven’t been even contemplated. But I think we need to.

Addressing problems close to home for every day commutes is probably higher on the list of priorities. Maybe harder, because people already live here so it’s tricky(er) to build new stuff. On the other hand, “I drive places on the weekend” is one of the repeated excuses I hear about why people need to have a car, and it just increases the buy-in of car-centric life.

I don’t know. Long rant, because I think about that a lot, especially when stuck in traffic myself just trying to get out of town.

Michael
Michael
9 months ago

Or just imagine if gas was priced correctly.

Or the roads. Or the cars (registration & taxes). Or….

It’s crazy how much we subsidize driving when at its heart its a luxury form of transportation–notwithstanding the fact that we’ve made it a practical necessity, it still costs tens of thousands of dollars per year for someone to own, operate and maintain an automobile. For sure I think if it cost individuals what it currently costs society as a whole to do things like drive down the Gorge, to the beach, or up to the mountains to sightsee, swim, ski, camp, hike, and boat we’d figure out a way to connect people to activities in much more sustainable ways.

PS
PS
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael

If almost everyone owns a car, uses a car they don’t own, or benefits directly from road based transportation, how can the individualizing of a currently socialized cost raise the cost dramatically, unless you expect to keep all the current revenue sources in place while also charging the individual?

Michael
Michael
9 months ago
Reply to  PS

Well, to start, I’m not sure characterizing it as “almost everyone” is a correct framing. In Portland, approximately 1 in 8 households doesn’t own a car. But regardless, the biggest problem is that the cost of car ownership is diffused into other aspects of life. If you go out and buy a car, a significant portion of the cost of that car isn’t directly attributable to that decision, but is instead levied against you as some kind of tax. Now, there’s nothing wrong with using taxes to provide social goods, but arguably the state shouldn’t be using those taxes to actively incentivize private car ownership at the expense of other modes of transportation, given that a private automobile is usually the least efficient and sustainable method of getting from some origin to some destination. Plus, they’re extremely dangerous!

The subsidies and diffusion of cost also makes it harder for individuals to see the benefit of switching modes. For example, if I choose to bike to work instead of driving, I may save on fuel, maintenance, and parking, but that doesn’t get me out of paying the taxes on the six lanes of I-84 that I’m not using. And because the transportation network in the region is subpar and I have certain obligations requiring frequent travel around the region, it also doesn’t get me out of owning a car altogether. The personal benefit of the mode shift is diminished due to the decision to make the cost of owning a car a largely social one, rather than an individual cost. And sure, transportation networks benefit everyone, but do we really need 6 lanes of I-84? Do we really need I-5 to cut straight through the heart of downtown Portland? Do we really need to add another 2 lanes to the Interstate Bridge and expand seven interchanges? It seems pretty foolish when you consider opportunity costs.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael

 In Portland, approximately 1 in 8 households doesn’t own a car.

No citation is provided and the claim is grade A truthiness given that ACS mode share is based on trips to work.

Only 6.2% of Portlanders with jobs do not own a car (1) and many of these are low-income people who would like to own a car but cannot afford to do so.

(1) Census ACS: Table S0801 — COMMUTING CHARACTERISTICS BY SEX, GEOGRAPHY: Paces-Portland
https://data.census.gov/table?q=commute&g=160XX00US4159000

Will
Will
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

It probably comes from the Census Bureau, which asks:

How man automobiles, van, and trucks of a one-ton capacity or less are kept at home for use by members of this household?

According to responses to that question, there 13.7% of occupied housing units don’t have vehicles available.

https://www.census.gov/acs/www/about/why-we-ask-each-question/vehicles/

13.3% of the city is above retirement age, and 71% of folks age 16+ are currently working, so relying on worker commute data tells an incomplete story.

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Will

It’s actually 11.6%, but whatever.
https://data.census.gov/table?q=DP04%3A+SELECTED+HOUSING+CHARACTERISTICS&g=160XX00US4159000

My point is that YIMBYs use the household statistic to greatly exaggerate the very, very small numbers of Portlanders who are car-free as a lifestyle choice.

Will
Will
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

I’m seeing 12.2% +/- 1.1 for the 1-year and 13.7% +/- 0.5 for the 5-year. Curious to know where you’re getting 11.6% from?

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

It’s actually 11.6%

The number is probably smaller than 11.6%; if someone is old or infirm (for example), and has no car, but a family member shows up with theirs every time they need to go to the store, is that meaningfully different than having a car?

I’d argue not.

In fact, this very publication put the more meaningful number of households with “access” to a car at 92.2%.

https://bikeportland.org/2022/04/28/how-can-we-bring-zero-auto-ownership-out-of-the-shadows-352878

Phil
Phil
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael

It’s not just taxes though. When you go the grocery store, out to a restaurant, or rent an apartment, the cost of providing car storage for customers is included in the price, even if you didn’t drive.

If you take the bus, you’ll likely end up sitting in traffic caused by drivers, costing you precious time.

Then there are all of the externalities of fossil fuel use that we all pay i.e. climate change, wars for oil, poor air quality that we all suffer whether we drive or not.

Watts
Watts
9 months ago
Reply to  Phil

When you go the grocery store, out to a restaurant, or rent an apartment, the cost of providing car storage for customers is included in the price, even if you didn’t drive.

I’m not sure it is. Leaving the grocery store example aside, which I think is more complicated, neither apartments nor restaurants price their goods on a “cost plus” basis; they are going to charge what they think they can get for a meal or an apartment.

That cost would be the same regardless of how much they pay to maintain a parking lot, or heating system, or whatever. Sure, when they raise prices a business will often say they’re only “passing that tax increase along”, but what would you expect them to say?

pierre delecto
pierre delecto
9 months ago
Reply to  Michael

its a luxury form of transportation–notwithstanding the fact that we’ve made it a practical necessity

This statement is the epitome of bourgeoisie cognitive dissonance.

I think it’s fundamentally immoral that ‘murricans have made driving a practical necessity (and a survival necessity for the many low-income people who cannot afford to live in twee resource-rich inner-Portland) but this is the regressive reality we live in so describing driving as a “luxury” is an internal contradiction (and kind of classist).

Caleb
Caleb
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

It’s a “necessity” that many cannot afford, hence it’s also a “luxury”.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  pierre delecto

That doesn’t seem hard to understand to me, I think you’re giving it an excessively bad faith reading. I read it as saying it’s a luxury that we have twisted into being a necessity. I.e., it should be treated as a luxury but because we’ve screwed things up so bad, you basically need to drive. And in addition to that, it’s a necessity that a lot of people can’t afford.

PS
PS
9 months ago
Reply to  John

which is why the argument makes no sense. It is a necessity that is also a luxury, or should be? Luxury items are afforded by the wealthy, so we want to institute regressive policies because we want to feel good about who pays for roads? The subsidy exists because it is generally obvious that there is no more efficient mechanism for funding these costs without using income taxes and the obfuscation of costs is a feature not a bug. If you made people pay what it actually costs, you would either make it very difficult for the poor, or you’d do so on income lines and incentivize the people who subsidize far more than roads to leave.

mc
mc
9 months ago

Overall though, we need to talk more about just doing less recreating that is in a place where you will drive too!”

Did you not drive a fossil fueled powered motor vehicle to Montana and back?

I suspect you & many others don’t drive a car in town every day for every trip.

If everyone in PDX only used their cars for long distance trips, that’d make a difference in Portland. It doesn’t do anything about China emitting almost 3 times as much carbon emissions than the U.S.

In a recent talk on climate change by Bernie Sanders & AOC, David Wallace Wells said, “the average American fridge has a bigger carbon footprint than the average human in Africa.”

Reference – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SzEKxRvhOuU

In this video conference, Sheldon Whithouse talked about lawsuits against fossil fuel companies and big corporate polluters. Bill McKibbon informed me about the recent lawsuit by Multnomah County. https://www.opb.org/article/2023/06/22/multnomah-county-oregon-plans-sue-fossil-fuel-companies-billions-heat-dome/

It’s easy to focus on fossil fueled motor vehicles, especially if you’ve been car-free for 15 yrs due to climate change concerns, but carbon emissions from personal vehicles is only about 15% of the total carbon emissions in the U.S.

In terms of doing less, it’s why I choose to walk to wherever I can, then bike, the take public transit.

Not having any car driving expenses, I can work less and take 2 hr walks w. my dog to the store & back through city parks.

When I moved to PDX in 2008, I wanted out of the tech industry that often had me flying & driving around the country. I wanted a better quality of life w. a smaller carbon footprint.

It didn’t take me long to find people like Aaron Tarfman, who often said “Live simply, so others can simply live.”

There’s a variety of problems that need to be addressed and we need to keep developing and refining the social, political and economic solutions to catastrophic climate change.

blumdrew
blumdrew
9 months ago
Reply to  John

If your activity of choice is backpacking, I think it’s always going to be hard to get to a trailhead without a car

This is somewhat true, but there are incredible trails in the area you can reach by transit – particularly in the Gorge. Eagle Creek is ~1.5 miles from a bus stop on the Gorge Express bus. And if you can get to Port Angeles, lots of the northern part of Olympic National Park is bus-accessible (Elwha, Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, and the north coast). Leavenworth (which is served by the Empire Builder from Seattle) also has transit/shuttles available to the Enchantments.

In general, Portland doesn’t seem to think it’s worth the effort to create good outdoor-transit connections (just look at how pitiful the options are to Forest Park!). Other parts of the country have much better rural/outdoor transit connectivity, particularly the NE but also part of the Midwest. Cuyahoga NP is accessible by buses from Cleveland and Akron, Indiana Dunes NP gets like 10 trains a day on the South Shore Line, and the MTA Harlem line stops directly at an AT trial head.

People move to the PNW specifically for outdoor recreation, not having it readily accessible by transit ties people very strongly to their cars. And all it really takes for people to drive appreciably more is having a car.

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  blumdrew

Good information, thanks!

It looks like a combination of Amtrak and bus, I could leave home at 8:20am and get to Port Angeles by 4:10pm. Not too bad!

But yeah, your examples make it even more frustrating, because it isn’t even just some old world European countries that get it right, even other parts of this country can do transit better. All it would take is a few better bus/shuttle lines and really, I think one train line to the Oregon coast would do absolute wonders. Like I mentioned before, the routes to the coast are so so busy, and it would just be so convenient to hop on a train and go to the beach, it would be so worth it.

Jim Calhoon
Jim Calhoon
9 months ago

The reservation system has been in place for a few years (2021), which was when I visited the park. If you did not reserve a pass 4 months in advance, then your only chance was to try and reserve one at 8:00 am one day before. Both me and my son tried for three days without success. They sell out in a couple of minutes. The reservation is only required between 6:00 am and 3:00 pm May 26 through September 10. So, like everyone else when went in after 3. As we were driving up The Going-to-the-Sun Road I noticed a sign indicating bicycles were prohibited during the time a reservation is required. And I would not recommend the ride after 3 pm. The road is narrow with lots of vehicles big (tour bus big) and small. The good news you can bike into the park (no reservation required) and catch a shuttle bus from Apgar (West) to Logan Pass Visitor Center, then catch another shuttle to St. Mary Visitor Center (East).

Steve F Merants
Steve F Merants
9 months ago

leaning bikes against their doors, making it hard for employees to come and go, standing on their tables, and then acting rude when called out for it.

Disappointing, but this is exactly the type of reaction that dominates “social” group rides as well. TNR, WNBR, and just about any large group tends to act this way. What is it about the cycling community that lends itself to acting this way? I specifically avoid events like that because it makes me uncomfortable and embarrassed.

John
John
9 months ago

It’s the same thing that makes any large group of people have a few outliers that act a way you don’t like. Out of 100 people all entirely there on their own (i.e. not with any organization), you get 5 or 6 that do something annoying. Why do you feel like it somehow reflects on you or the group when a few people in the group do something they’re not supposed to? Same with the WNBR. It’s ten thousand people, how can you imagine getting that many people to ride all over the city and not have some of them get a little bit rowdy. It’s a party. Do you feel uncomfortable or embarrassed if a stranger gets drunk at a bar and makes a fool of themselves?

Also, in this particular case, the picture sure makes it look like there just isn’t enough bike parking for that many people.

But regardless, it really seems like this is just a “heads up, don’t do this thing”, not a big deal. No need to try and come up with a way to scold a bunch of people and generalize for something a few people did.

Pockets the Coyote
Pockets the Coyote
9 months ago

It’s far from being a cycling specific problem, unregulated and unmoderated any group or gathering can and likely will model these behaviors.

Some thoughts/observations: Active consideration of others and understanding them to be equally complex and important as ourselves is a challenging thing to learn and a reoccurring exercise in continued education. Even when this is well practiced, we can get caught up in the moment, our mindfulness slips or we can become complacent. As a gathering or crowd forms we often lose track of these considerations, and may fall into us v them patterns of thought, mix in the cocktail of endorphins and adrenaline from exerting ourselves or just being excited or a little socially anxious and it’s even easier to slip away from active and complex consideration of others. On the flip side we can also turn these outings into the positive and healing (passive or active) activities that we can all use from time to time simply by being present and modeling the practice of consideration, and setting the expectation that inconsiderate behavior will be addressed through reminders or direct action as necessary, not because we want to exclude or shame, but because we recognize that sometimes we could all use a reminder or a bit of redirection.

Damien
Damien
9 months ago

Great comment.

Active consideration of others and understanding them to be equally complex and important as ourselves is a challenging thing to learn…

…and, unfortunately, wholly un-American. ☹

cp_1969
cp_1969
9 months ago

I don’t think I’ve ever been on a group ride where people were standing on tables at a coffee, food or water stop. You must ride with some real hellions.

JD
JD
9 months ago

Hey Jonathan, it looks like you had a fun trip! I did that hike about 10 years ago and if it makes you feel any better, that glacier was actually smaller when I was there compared to what I see in your photo. I hope you got to go swimming, that was the most invigorating dip I’ve ever experienced!

Bjorn
Bjorn
9 months ago

Not surprising that Holman’s continues to be a bad actor in the area. I never went back after they came out against safety improvements on 28th, new owners maybe but sure seems like more of the same old bad actions.

SD
SD
9 months ago
Reply to  Bjorn

Never underestimate a bike rider scorned. I haven’t been back to Laurelhurst Theatre or Staccato Gelato.

emme
emme
9 months ago

Thanks for all your work and dedication to making happy hour so fun, welcoming and inclusive. I hope we can continue to be good neighbors and stay welcome in the area!

Rhillier
Rhillier
9 months ago

Glacier National Park is one of my favorite places on this planet. Hope you got to see some grizzlies during your visit – at a safe distance of course.

Upper Kintla
Upper Kintla
9 months ago

Glacier NP was conceived and built as a railroad destination on the Great Northern railway (thanks Teddy Roosevelt) and can still be one today. It is an amazing car free experience to travel to Glacier by train, particularly for a couple or two close friends willing to share a small berth.

A roomette (don’t get a full sleeper, they smell like you’re sleeping with a bathroom, because you are) is a fantastic option for two people and is somewhat more affordable when booked months in advance or if you look for the spring deals on amtrak.com. All “first class tickets” including roomettes come with full meal service. The dining on the Empire Builder is actually quite good (crab cakes, steak, good vegan options even).

But coach seats can be good too. I’ve done that quite a bit and the cafe car has plenty of coffee and beer and snacks and with a good sleeping bag and hopefully the window seat in the middle of the car and a good book or movie loaded it can be quite comfortable. The train is not the plane. They give you plenty of leg room.

Amtrak’s Empire Builder leaves Portland at 4:45 PM and arrives at the West Glacier train station the next morning at 8am. From there it is a 2 mile flat walk into the National Park, mostly on a MUP through the trees, to the town of Apgar. Apgar has many amenities including eateries, a hotel, lake swimming.

However Apgar’s best feature is the access to the Park afforded by the National Park’s public bus system. You can take the bus from Apgar all the way up and over the Going to the Sun Road to St. Mary’s **for free** (go get pie in St. Mary’s at the Park Cafe “Pie for Strength”).

There is a private Red Bus system which operates on the east side of the park from St. Mary’s going up to Many Glacier (which is where Jonathan and his family launched to Grinnel Lake on his hike) and down to East Glacier. That’s not free, but it’s there and it works well.

Or you can hitch. People will pick you up. They know you’re traveling/backpacking. Offer to chip in for fuel.

Or you can arrange private shuttle with Sun Tours, they are very good and very professional and if you’re lucky they’ll tour you through the Blackfeet Reservation which is it’s own slice of life.

The best way to see Glacier IMHO is by backpacking through the backcountry. The ranger office in Apgar is where you can receive your overnight backcountry permit (advance reservation highly recommended, but they always have some “day of” permits available).

Get your permit and then take the free bus to a trailhead and then you go backpacking for a few days in some of the most spectacular scenery available in the lower 48. I would tell you my favorites but a) it’s hard to go wrong and b) those are closely guarded secrets that I only reveal over a pint or two and c) I’m sure you can figure it out, and if not, call the ranger and ask for advice, they are very helpful.

At the end of your trip you come out at a different trailhead after going up and over some crazy mountain pass where your major concern might be protecting your snacks from the wanton marmots. And then you take the bus out. It’s fantastic! You didn’t have to do an out-and-back hike and you don’t need to worry about shuttling a motor vehicle to a different trailhead. You don’t need to worry about driving at all.

For getting back to Portland, do the Apgar to West Glacier trip in reverse, or come out at East Glacier where you can also get on the Amtrak Empire Builder (East Glacier Lodge is quite impressive with it’s full tree timbers). The train from Chicago arrives in the late evening and gets back into Portland around 11am the next morning. The Columbia River and Gorge look fantastic from the train, try to be on the south side of the train if you can.

Because you travel while you sleep on this trip you get more time in the Park. Compared to driving it’s two whole days extra and you arrive rested. It’s not quite as good as sleeping in your own bed but you just traveled 627 miles over twelve hours. And you don’t have to hassle with a car.

Someday I hope to put my bike on the Amtrak and head to Glacier to ride the Going to the Sun Road in early season before it’s open to cars. That seems like it would be a fantastic way to see the Park too. Logan’s Pass without the tourists; one can only dream.

My hope is that someday Glacier will *only* be accessible by using the bus or by bicycle. But that’s the kind of fantasy that ranks up there with things like our government instituting a proper carbon tax.

I hope you consider booking your adventure now. Hurry! The world is melting before our eyes!

source: I’ve done this several times, it’s one of my most favorite trips. My wife and I will leave on our fourth adventure by train there in a just a few weeks. Oh I can’t wait.

Upper Kintla
Upper Kintla
9 months ago

I hear ya. FWIW the train ride is statistically more dangerous than potentially encountering a bear and suffering an injury while walking and camping in the woods, but I do understand the existential concern.

There is a required bear video which you get to watch before you are issued your backcountry permit at Glacier NP. They teach you how to conduct yourself safely. The track record for Glacier is very very good, world class.

I have always carried the recommended bear spray in Glacier and other places when I have been hiking where I might encounter a bear. I don’t know of anyone who has ever deployed their bear spray or had a close interaction with a bear which would have warranted such and I know a lot of folks who have walked many many miles on trails in places you expect to see bears.

That said, a few years back I was in Glacier in early season at Red Eagle Lake cooking a tasty dinner and we had a bear walk right through camp 20 yards away from the designated cooking area. My wise companion was quick to deploy his umbrella to make himself look big. But I don’t think the bear cared much, it might have looked over at us but it seemed like it was just using the trail to get someplace and it carried on. Huge *#$!’ing bear, probably a griz. We were definitely freaked out. I think of that one when I pack my bear spray.

The real dangers are hypothermia/exposure, falling from a height, skin cancer from the sun, you know, the usual suspects. I still even with years of knowledge and experience will wake from sleep in the night and sit up in my tent and be very concerned: what was that sound?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fatal_bear_attacks_in_North_America

2023: 1 so far
2022: 0
2021: 2
2020: 3

It’s not zero every year but there’s no case for Vision Zero for Bear Encounters

Upper Kintla
Upper Kintla
9 months ago

Well that got my curiosity up so I went searching for the traffic death stats in Glacier NP.

This data shows Motor Vehicle Crash to be the second highest cause of death behind drowning between 2007-2018 for all National Parks..
https://www.psbr.law/nevada/deaths-in-us-national-parks/

That same study shows Glacier to have had 13.10 deaths per 10M visitors. An incredibly low mortality rate.

This next one is anecdotal but logs several MV crashes in Glacier in 2019..
https://www.nps.gov/glac/learn/news/19-43.htm

John
John
9 months ago
Reply to  Upper Kintla

Comment of the week!

These are some awesome ideas and it inspired me. The train ride from Portland to WGL seems just so convenient even compared with driving, etc. It’s not that long, and leaves late enough in the day to leave on a Friday (for some people). With my three year old, that kind of drive seems like a nightmare, and the uninterrupted overnight train ride would mean sleeping on the way. I hope to try this soon.

Travis Preece
9 months ago

I spoke to Sarah at PBOT yesterday and we’re working on solutions!

This Holman’s thing was a surprise to me. We’ve dealt for 3 years with the owners of Holman’s being anti-promenade and anti-bike. If you see a big black suv with odd blue lights, that’s Bill Crane and he has a history of driving down the promenade during peak hours to try to scare people.

We’re looking at options for bike parking, possibly finding a way to move the giant chairs (they are a holdover from a previous tenant) to help visibility, and even simply encouraging Holman’s to do the obvious thing and have people leave via their 2nd exit on 28th.

All ideas welcome.