Ask BikePortland

Welcome to Ask BikePortland, where we delve into your burning questions of etiquette, laws, and everything else. If you have a question, send it to us and we might feature it on the site.

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)

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Ask BikePortland: What’s the best way to carry a dog on my bike?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on May 23rd, 2019 at 9:19 am

There are many ways to carry dogs. (Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

With summer in the air and June just a few days away, it’s officially biking-with-your-dog season in Portland.
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Ask BikePortland: What should I do if a driver harassed me and police don’t take it seriously?

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on April 4th, 2019 at 2:49 pm

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

The latest installment of our Ask BikePortland column comes from a woman named Sabrina S. I’ve changed her name at her request.

Here’s what she asked via email earlier this week:

“Hi – I was hoping someone at BikePortland could give advice on getting help from the Portland Police Bureau (PPB) when confronted by dangerous drivers.

I was riding on Southeast Division Street with a friend. We were looking for a restaurant (which we couldn’t find) before heading over to the Clinton greenway. As we were on Division, a car came up behind us then went around us (plenty of room, not a problem). But then the driver started screamed profanities at us to get off the road. We continued on (legally riding on the street, well to the side) when the driver stopped, screamed, “You wanna fight, punk?” and then more profanities as we ignored him to continue on to our destination.
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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.

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Things people asked BikePortland this week

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) by on November 9th, 2018 at 5:09 pm

“I found a stolen bike the other day at the Rose City Golf Course. Any suggestions on what to do with it?

BikePortland is really neat.

One of many things about my role in the community that I don’t think most people appreciate or realize is how much of a concierge BikePortland has become.

From the mundane to the ridiculous and everything in between, BikePortland is the place people come with all sorts of requests and questions. I love that this happens. It’s a sign that people are aware of BikePortland and it reinforces how much this site means to our community. And as a reporter, this is how I find many of my best sources and stories.
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Tilikum passing: Which side is right for faster bikes?

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on October 4th, 2017 at 5:14 pm

Sunday Parkways September 2015-5.jpg

Ride right, pass left? Or the other way around?
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

I got a call this week from Portland resident Alec Boehm, who’s looking for advice on a question many Portlanders have grappled with over the years.

When people biking and walking have dedicated spaces on a relatively narrow multi-use path, should faster bikes pass slower bikes on the right, or on the left? And (by the same token) should people who expect to be passed keep to the left of the biking lane, or to the right?

You can see the same situation constantly on the Hawthorne Bridge, and sometimes the Broadway, too. Until this week, you could sometimes see it for northbound bike traffic on Naito Parkway’s temporary protected biking and walking lanes, too.

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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.:
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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.
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