Candidates fix Portland’s flat tires at Bike Happy Hour

Group shot of the candidates. I added Sarah Silkie and Mitch Green in because they were in line for drinks when they photo was taken. See full list of candidates below. (Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Last Wednesday nearly 30 candidates for local office rode their bike to Bike Happy Hour. It was a powerful statement about how Portland does politics, and how — after years on the backburner — cycling will take a more prominent role in the future at city hall.

“Today there are no Democrats and there are no Republicans — we are all tire fixers!” said City Council District 3 candidate Jesse Cornett as he stood on a bench above the crowd and held a wheel above his head. Cornett was the spokesperson for one four candidate teams who had just finished a friendly competition to see who could fix a flat fastest.

It was the second stop on the 4 District Candidate Splash Ride organized by local nonprofit Bike Loud PDX. They worked with partner nonprofits Lloyd Eco District and Human Access Project on a ride that got candidates out on their bikes, in front of bike-riding voters, and ultimately, into the Willamette River. They met in four parks (one in each district) for a chat and then rode to our weekly Bike Happy Hour at Gorges Beer Co. on the SE Ankeny Rainbow Road Plaza.

NEW!! Watch the video below:

By the time all four rides rolled up to Ankeny, the scene was poppin’!

Aaron Kuehn from Bike Loud organized about 28 or so candidates into teams of four for the flat tire fixing challenge. The idea was for them to display leadership and collaboration skills while working together to solve a problem. We didn’t tell them ahead of time, so they had to figure it out on-the-fly if they didn’t know what to do.

Each team had at least one person who’d fixed a flat before, but they still had to perform under pressure. We gave them old-school tube repair kits, not quick patches, so they had to be patient and let the rubber cement sit a bit before applying the patch (if you know, you know). It was fun watching the teams work together.

After each team was done, they assigned a spokesperson to address the crowd.

“We were slow and steady,” recounted District 3 City Council candidate Angelita Morillo who represented Team 25% By 2030. “We had Mitch Green from District 4 reading instructions and making sure we were getting everything right. Teacher Tiffany [Koyama Lane] got snacks to give us sustenance… We were cheering each other on and as you can see,” Morillo added, as she pushed a hard tire, “extremely firm and well done.”

Turns out that was the only team that completed the challenge. All three other tires were flat at the end of the day.

Team Bike Bus rep and D1 candidate Steph Routh acknowledged her team’s shortcomings. “We were a little excited about the gluing process and we tacked it, but we did not tack enough. Mistakes were made, lessons were learned, but we move on with our mistakes,” she said.

Next up was Team Bike Share. “We were given a serious challenge,” explained team rep Jesse Cornett. “We got a tire with one little hole and a faulty valve. And we persisted and we got it all back together.” Cornett had explaining to do because (as you can see in the video), he was pumping the tire up and it exploded. “I think that’s surely because somebody put somebody from Multnomah County on our team,” Cornett said. “Just kidding. We love our county partners.”

And last up with D3 Candidate Daniel DeMelo who reported out for Team Vision Zero. He claimed their tire was fixed, but then deflated for some reason. “As it turns out, we need those long-term structural changes to actually make sure the wheel was fixed in the long-run,” he said. “Sometimes you can fix things fast, sometimes it takes a bit longer. With Vision Zero we’ve got a lot to work on.”

After the fun at Bike Happy Hour, most of the crowd continued the ride to Duckworth Dock on the Eastbank Esplanade where a warm sun, great company and live DJs got them in the mood to jump into the Willamette River.

Bikes, parks, politics, and a swim made for a pretty perfect Portland day. Thanks for everyone who came out!

Full list of candidates present:

Timur Ender (D1) @enderineastportland
David Linn (D1) @linndavidi
Steph Routh (D1) @steph4eastpdx
Sonja McKenzie (D1) @sonja_mckenzie_4pdx

Mike Marshall (D2) @mikemarshallportland
Marnie Glickman (D2) @marniemix
Sameer Kanal (D2) @kanalforportland
Laura Streib (D2) @laura4pdx
Nat West (D2) @iamrevnat
Debbie Kitchin (D2) website

Dan Gilk (D3) @danforportland
Matthew Anderson (D3) @mrandersonfor3
Tiffany Koyama Lane (D3) @teachertiffanyforthepeople
Angelita Morillo (D3) @pnwpolicyangel
Luke Zak (D3) @lukeforpdx
Jessie Cornett (D3) @cornettforportland
Daniel DeMelo (D3) @demelo4portland

Mitch Green (D4) @mitch4portland
Chad Lykins (D4) @lykinsforpdx
Eric Zimmerman (D4) @ez4pdx
Eli Arnold (D4) @eliforportland
John Toran (D4) website
Lisa Freeman (D4) @lisafreemanfordistrict4
Sarah Silkie (D4) @sarahsilkie
Michael Trimble (D4) @michael4pdx

Keith Wilson (Mayor) @keithwilsonformayor
Durrell Kinsey Bey (Mayor) @votebeyforpdx
Michael O’Callaghan (Mayor) website

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, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
Will the last bike commuter turn off their lights
14 days ago

and let the vulcanizing sealant dry before applying the patch (if you know, you know).

The patch sealant is almost always plain-old rubber cement (e.g. rubber dissolved in hexane and/or other aliphatic components) and is not vulcanizing in an of itself. The vulcanization reaction occurs when the softened/scuffed inner tube rubber forms disulfide bonds with the rubber patch — a process that is accelerated at high pressure* and/or temperature. This is why you should always ride your bike after using a rubber cement-based patch. And it’s also why adhesive patches fail so often.

You also don’t need to let the rubber cement dry thoroughly although it is helpful to let it sit for 10-20 seconds so that the inner tube rubber is softened.

*rubber cement patches are also more like to fail if you run low-pressure clinchers

Michael Mann
Michael Mann
13 days ago

Small squirt of cement, spread it around until it’s thin and even, drink a beer, apply the patch.

And go district 3!

13 days ago

I’ve been buying the Rema Tip Top patch kits for a while, and the instructions changed a few years ago: They used to indicate waiting 5 or 10 minutes, but new kits indicate you can apply the patch immediately after applying the cement. What materially changed? I don’t know.

13 days ago

If you use Tubeless tires, which in today’s technology are almost flawless, you never get flat tires. I ride them 1000’s of miles without thinking about a flat.
I would almost vote for a candidate that was savvy enough about cycling to know that and ride them just for that reason.

Mary S
Mary S
13 days ago

“Today there are no Democrats and there are no Republicans — we are all tire fixers!” said City Council District 3 candidate Jesse Cornett

That makes me chuckle. There isn’t a SINGLE Republican in this whole group.

Angus Peters
Angus Peters
13 days ago

Was it a joke? The Portland political landscape is so lopsided that far left progressives frequently try to “smear” more moderate (but still left of center candidates) as Republicans. This was done to Rene Gonzalez and Nathan Vasquez. The misinformation campaign against Democrat Rene Gonzales was particularly aggressive. I wouldn’t be surprised if the same folks start this up against those in the non partisan City Council race— like Eli Arnold (who’s a Democrat by the way).

13 days ago
Reply to  Angus Peters

The Portland political landscape is so lopsided…

…that it elected Rene Gonzalez and Nathan Vasquez.

Jose V
Jose V
13 days ago

Does kind of show though how there really is a limited amount of diversity of political views (and limited tolerance for wide ranging views) in Portland. We’re sort of like a left wing Jackson, Mississippi. Opposing views, dissent and discourse is constrained.

Mary S
Mary S
13 days ago

Well yeah to some degree. That’s just human nature. People tend to gather in cities and in happy hours with folks they have common cause with. Portland is no different.

Well, that was not true until recently. We were much more of a a “purple” city (and country) until recently. Due to the polarization of America people are now moving to where they want to have their values cherished. Unfortunately this leads to less diversity of thought and more intolerance. Portland, OR and Jackson, MS would both be examples of this concerning trend. This is a fascinating map to see the divide.

13 days ago
Reply to  Mary S

COVID and remote work appears to be reversing this trend, which may not have been as visible as early as 2021 (for those articles). A lot of remote workers have been moving out of cities, making everything a little more purple. It may still be TBD whether that makes a significant difference, but it is a change in velocity, at least.

13 days ago

It was great that the candidates willingly worked with the tires, even though most bike tires are biased.