This morning’s transcendent sunrise felt like a hard-earned reward from Mother Nature after days of soggy cycling.
Tuesday afternoon was a doozy, weather-wise.
It’s not often I’ll opt out of a bike ride, but I hopped on light rail to make it to a meeting downtown. Why? The conditions were: dark, windy, wet, and cool (just cool enough to need a jacket, just warm enough to make you sweat in it). I can handle each of those variable by themselves, or even two or three of them at once. But when all those factors get together I look for non-biking options if I’m able.
What prevents a wet and shiny nose?
Is it something on your bike like fenders?
Or is it waterproof cycling clothes?
Let’s talk about the weather.
With the onset of the rain this week, it’s always good to review some ‘best practice’ tips for dealing with the weather, while still enjoying your ride.
If you thought it was bad last week… a new storm is headed our way.
Below we’ve pasted the warnings just sent around today by the Portland Bureau of Transportation and the Oregon Department of Transportation:
SEVERE WEATHER ADVISORY: PBOT WARNS PUBLIC TO EXPECT HEAVY RAINFALL DURING THURSDAY MORNING COMMUTE, USE CAUTION
(Dec. 16, 2015) The Portland Bureau of Transportation warns the traveling public to be prepared for heavy rainfall Thursday morning that could create hazardous traveling conditions.
The National Weather Service has advised the Portland area should expect 3 inches of rain in 48 hours, with the heaviest precipitation coming from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday. The Bureau advises people traveling by car, by public transit and by bike to expect wet roads and slippery conditions.
People driving are urged to use caution and slow down, especially when driving on wet roads. Slow down to avoid damaging nearby private property and splashing travelers who may be walking or biking. We urge people driving to not drive through standing water, especially near creeks and other bodies of water. Turn around safely and use an alternative route.
Travelers must obey road closure signs for their own safety and for the safety of PBOT crews. Driving through flooded roads could cause your vehicle to be swept away or stall in the middle of the high water. People driving who ignore street closures and drive through barricades face fines of up to $1000. As of Wednesday, only two roads are closed in Portland: SW Montgomery between SW Vista and SW 14th Avenue, and SW Hamilton near SW 39th Avenue. They are both closed for repairs from damaged caused by storms last week. City crews are prepared to close additional flooded streets if necessary.
In the event conditions prompt PBOT to close roads, the bureau will make that information available to the public. For the most current updates on road closures, follow PBOT’s Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/@PBOTinfo A Twitter account is not necessary to view the listings. PBOT’s website will also be updated at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/transportation/ with weather-related road closures in Portland between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m.
Residents are advised to notify PBOT of debris, mud, rocks, trees, or branches blocking a road by calling our 24/7 maintenance dispatch hotline at 503-823-1700.
During a heavy rain event, many people may report the same incident. Residents may find it more convenient to report using the PDX Reporter App on Apple and Android smartphones. To report standing water on a roadway, use the category Plugged Storm Drain/Inlet. To report rock or mudslides or other debris blocking a travel lane, use the Debris in Roadway category. We strongly encourage the public to submit photos with their service requests, because that helps PBOT crews assess changing conditions as they respond to reports.
With leaves largely removed from city streets, road flooding that may occur may be the result of too much water in the system in too little time.
City crews have stocked sand pile and sand bag locations for any Portland resident or business owner who wants to protect their property from flood damage in the Fanno Creek and Johnson Creek watersheds. Sand and sand bags are provided at no charge; you must bring your own shovel.
The following locations are stocked:
* SE 88th Ave just south of Holgate Blvd in the parking lot at Lents Park,
* SE 111th Ave and Harold St at the southeast corner of the intersection, and
* SW 42nd Ave and Vermont St in the lower parking lot of Gabriel Park.
PBOT will have extra crews working overnight on Wednesday and during morning hours on Thursday. Crews are prepared for the need to clear debris from storm drains, unplug storm drains that have underground blockages and close travel lanes as needed.
Know Before You Go: Be ready for a new round of flooding and high water
More rain and the threat of snow and freezing rain on Mount Hood and in the Columbia River Gorge could make hazardous driving conditions in the days ahead.
The National Weather Service is forecasting a lot of rain in the Portland area, up to three inches, with the heaviest punch coming from 4 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday. That could translate into high water on the roads, snow on the Cascade passes, a slushy mix on Interstate 84 in the Gorge and perhaps some icy roads near Hood River.
Travelers in the region should use extreme caution for this mix of wintry weather by checking conditions on their route at www.tripcheck.com. Weekend travelers setting out on Christmas travels should be extra careful.
For those of you who’ve moved to Oregon in the last year: yes, every winter is like this.
Just kidding. But this soggy, blustery week has certainly given us a reminder of what we do to pay for those long summer evenings. In Monday’s open thread about riding through the day’s downpour, BikePortland reader Pedal PT offered a list of simple suggestions for rainy riding. They’re a perfect introduction to a commute that can be surprisingly fun.
After some very cold weather last month things have now gotten wet. Very wet. Streets throughout the city are flooded, we’ve seen at least one closure due to a landslide, and of course as a result traffic is even crazier than usual.
So, how are you holding up out there?
The other day I did a fun post with some back-of-the-envelope math to estimate what it might look like if every Portland bike commuter switched to a car for one day. Here’s a tidbit I didn’t have room to include: massive temporary shifts from bike to other modes already happen regularly.
They happen every time it rains. Rain eliminates about one in three bike trips citywide, to be precise.
Portland was pelted with a serious storm this weekend. High winds and heavy rainfall lasted throughout all of Saturday and Sunday and while forecasters say the worst is over, this morning’s commute was far from a cakewalk.
But like always when the weather turns tough, there are still a lot of Portlanders who will bike right through it. I headed out with my camera this morning to capture some of the action.
Sideways rain hammered the bike commuters I saw this morning in north and downtown Portland. Yet while the number of riders was down significantly from an average weekday, there was still a relatively steady stream of people on bikes. In addition to rain and wind, they had to dodge fallen tree limbs, curbside lakes, and all manner of debris on the road.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)r
OK folks, it has begun. After an unnaturally long spell of dry and sunny weather, some wet and cold weather is here. This morning’s commute was probably the toughest one since the end of last winter. While I’d love to think that we all pay it no mind and continue on our merry biking ways, it does have an impact.
The bikeways are much less crowded than they were just a few weeks ago. Last week was the lowest count of trips on the Hawthorne Bridge recorded since the new counter went in back in August and Saturday’s 1,536 trips was the lowest ever recorded. But, as a photo shared by the BTA this morning shows, lots of folks are still riding!
For those of you who press on through the darkness, wetness, and the cold, what are your secrets?