Ask BikePortland

This is where your burning bike questions get answered. We share reader-submitted questions and then let the community weigh in with answers. Check them all out below…


Ask BikePortland: How can I connect with other riders in the time of COVID-19?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on August 12th, 2020 at 9:14 am

Friends at bike events. Remember that?
(Photo at 2016 Cycle Oregon finish line by Steve Schulz)

Are you feeling a bit lonely? You’re not the only one.

These warm summer months are typically peak season for Portland’s cycling scene. But during a time when the coronavirus dominates hearts and minds, most events and races have been cancelled. Usually bustling bikeways are sparse.

Events are the connective tissue of a healthy bike ecosystem. They’re where friendships are made and riding buddies are found. Crowded bike lanes make us feel connected to others and create perfect opportunities for impromptu chit-chat. (I can remember bumping into several friends and acquaintances on a typical weekday ride through the city.)

Reader Jason B is feeling the effects of cycling becoming far less social. He asked us on Twitter recently,

“How do cyclists connect with other cyclists when there are no organized events or any kind going on? In light of things like Cross Crusade being cancelled, I am curious how other cyclists are connecting.”


In follow-up messages Jason described himself as an introvert who uses cycling to be more social. “Being out on the commuter roads (like Williams Avenue for example) or racing is where I meet people,” he shared. After working from home for six months and with so many bike events scuttled, Jason misses those connections.

How is your mental health lately? Do you have any advice for Jason and others who are feeling isolated during these physically and socially-distant times?

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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Ask BikePortland: Where can I donate a used bike?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on December 9th, 2019 at 12:16 pm

Make your used bike do more by considering a donation.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Our latest Ask BikePortland comes right in time for the season of giving.

Reader Shelley G emailed last week to ask:

We have a vintage trike that needs to be cleaned up with a new tire and a paint job. We would love to donate it. Our desire is for it to be fixed up and then given to a kiddo in need. Do you know the best place for us to donate it to?

It just so happens Portland has several organizations that specialize in this exact thing. I asked a few of them to share how they handle used bike donations.
[Read more…]

Ask BikePortland: Why is PBOT closing so many crosswalks?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on July 9th, 2019 at 3:01 pm

Note the “No Crossing” sign.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

[Read more…]

Ask BikePortland: Know any good bike shed builders?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 29th, 2018 at 4:40 pm

Reader A.L. needs someone to build a bike shed:

We need to build/have built a secure bike storage structure in our backyard. Limited budget ($500-700). Do you have any recommendations for who to work with? Doesn’t need to be someone licensed, and probably won’t be with our budget, but at least reliable/does good enough work.

[Read more…]

Ask BikePortland: What’s up with Zidell and the future of South Waterfront greenway path?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 27th, 2016 at 9:30 am

City of Portland graphic showing path location in front of Zidell property.

City of Portland graphic showing future path location in front of Zidell property.

Today’s question (actually it’s more of a statement in need of clarification) comes from reader Douglas K.:

Zidell says they’ll be building just one more barge. That could clear one of the last major obstacles to completing the Willamette Greenway trail sooner than expected.

Could it? Many of you have contacted about this in the past few days. Here’s the lowdown and background on the issue:
[Read more…]

Ask BikePortland: What’s the correct way to cross the I-5 bridge?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on August 10th, 2016 at 1:21 pm

Policymakers Ride-39

There’s no great way to cross the I-5 bridge, but perhaps you can help our reader make it suck a bit less.
(Photo by J. Maus/BikePortland)

Publisher’s note: We’re going to try something a bit different for our Ask BikePortland column. Instead of us bringing in an expert to answer the question directly in the post, we’re going to see if you — our fantastic and smart readers — can help with the answer. Please share your insights and tips in the comments. Thanks! – Jonathan

Today’s question came to us via email from Greg S.:
[Read more…]

Ask BikePortland: Do I have to stop for red lights while riding on ‘Better Naito’?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 27th, 2016 at 2:19 pm

The cones and wide bike lane are temporary, the legal requirement to stop at lights is not.(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

The cones and wide bike lane are temporary, the legal requirement to stop at lights is not.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Ask BikePortland is a regular column. Browse the archives or drop us a line if you have a question you’d like us to answer.

Today’s question is about Better Naito, the temporary project that has created a two-way, 15-foot lane for biking and walking on Naito Parkway.

Reader Skip Winters lives in West Linn and commutes into northeast Portland (thanks to an electric bike he says). His favorite part of the ride is Naito Parkway, especially now with the generous amount of space and safety afforded by the new alignment. But he’s confused about the signals.
[Read more…]

Ask BikePortland: Who takes the fall for a fallen bike?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on September 21st, 2015 at 11:14 am

On-street bike parking downtown-17.jpg

When all you wanted was a parking spot and you ended up with a moral dilemma.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Have you ever accidentally knocked over someone else’s bike when you locked up your own? If so, what did you do about it? [Read more…]

Ask BikePortland: Is there a right way to confront someone who’s texting and driving?

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on June 18th, 2015 at 8:58 am

She could be behind you!

What to say?
(Photo: Raymond Clarke Images)

Welcome to the latest installment of our Ask BikePortland column. Read past articles here.

BikePortland reader Kim sent us a query that will be familiar to many people on the road, no matter their vehicle.

Today on my commute I observed a driver veering into the bike lane ahead of me. As I cautiously overtook the driver, I noticed her head skewed with a downward gaze and a cellphone in her right hand, actively texting. I felt anger at this dangerous behavior and yelled (loud enough to penetrate the rolled up windows) “Don’t do that!” and motioned to put the phone down. The driver was startled and didn’t know that someone was observing her.

[Read more…]

Ask BikePortland: As a driver, what does all that green mean?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 14th, 2015 at 10:03 am

Ride Along with Ali Reis-22

(Photo J Maus/BikePortland)

We get a lot of interesting emails here at BikePortland (and phone calls for that matter). And because we’re easy to find in search engines and we’ve been around for a decade or so, a lot of those emails come from people who aren’t daily readers or loyal fans. We often hear from people don’t even ride bikes and who just have something about cycling they want to get off their chest.

The question I want to share with you today comes via an email from David J., someone who identified himself as a driver. The subject of his email was “Autos and bikes”:[Read more…]