(Photos by J. Maus/BikePortland)
What happens to all of Portland’s bike riders when the worst snow storm in years hits the area? I was curious too so I spent a few hours out there with my camera tonight.
Turns out many people took the riding as a personal challenge. Bundled up like they were climbing a mountain, most the riders I saw pedaled through the storm with equal parts concentration, determination, and smiles. I did see quite a few people that had thrown in the towel and decided to walk their bikes as the snow continued to fall.
And I couldn’t blame them. The conditions were some of the toughest I’ve experienced in my 10 years as a Portland resident. As the evening commute picked up steam, so did the snow. And the wind howled too, driving the flakes horizontal and making it difficult to see and keep the bike upright. The snow so far is extremely dry and fluffy, so riding in the deeper sections is akin to sand. Your tires get squirrelly and you just have to hold on and pedal through it.
Then there was the traffic. People in cars were backed up all over the place tonight. I-5 was jammed. SE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd and Grand were at a standstill. So were the Broadway and Burnside Bridges (in both directions). Meanwhile, the bike lanes and paths were free and clear. I had pretty smooth sailing all over town on my bike. That is, except for N Williams Avenue where the snow in the bike lane was deep and had become quite slippery. Eventually myself and a few other riders simply rode in the left lane where the traction was better.
For more perspectives on what tonight’s commute looked like for people on bikes, check out more of my photos below…
We’ve got a lot more snow and other interesting weather to come in the next few days. Let us know how you’re dealing with it.