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  1. #1
    powerfully luxurious chimivee's Avatar
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    Downtown PDX - Getting around and Bike Security

    My GF and I will be traveling from S. California for a couple of weeks, including a 3-4 day stay in downtown Portland. We'll have bikes with us and would consider using them to get around the city. Is this a good idea, or is walking/public transit easier? In general, how safe are locked bikes? GF has a GT flat-bar road bike, and I'd probably take my old Stumpjumper Pro or my CX. Not high-dollar bikes, but not $50 beaters either.

    I have a couple of "armored" cable locks like this:

    ONG-5025_300.jpg



    Thanks for any advice.
    Last edited by chimivee; 05-08-15 at 11:14 AM.
    - James

  2. #2
    Sore saddle cyclist Shifty's Avatar
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    Bikes are a great way to get around PDX, bike theft is a big problem. If you are smart about where you park and lock your bikes, odds are good that you'll return home with them. Park in sight of the streets, never in places where thieves have time and can't be seen. If you are careful and lock your bikes well you have the best chance. Make sure you have some insurance that covers the bikes, be covered if something happens, some peace of mind so you can have fun. Ask other bikers around for advice, you'll get good help that way. Water bottles, tool pouches, pumps are easy pickings, a small backpack is the place to keep these things.

    Have a fun trip, it's a fun city!!
    Those voices in your head aren't real, but they have some great ideas

  3. #3
    rigamortis tortoise LesterOfPuppets's Avatar
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    I'd only park in Portland with that lock if I could actually see the bike while it was locked up. At least you can snap a pic of the perp before they ride off on your bike.
    1980ish Free Spirit Sunbird fixed * 1996 Mongoose IBOC Zero-G * 1997 KHS Comp * 1990-ish Scapin * Lemond Buenos Aires Triple

  4. #4
    . tedder's Avatar
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    absolutely do not use a cable lock in Portland. The bike theft problem here has been rough. They are even known to saw through posts: Thief saws through PBOT bike rack to steal women's bike - BikePortland.org

    I'd feel comfortable with a non-fancy bike, as long as you aren't leaving it locked overnight.

  5. #5
    Junior Member
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    Absolutely get around by bike. Transit can get you to further out destinations, but you can go anywhere in the core city by bike in about the same time (sometimes less) than bus/MAX and you get to see/small/hear/taste more. Stop by any bike shop and pick up the Bike There map, $6 or so. It's available online, but I find the physical map easier on the street.

    Re: locks - of course theft is an issue, but don't let the constant fear ruin your trip. Bring your cable lock AND bring/buy a U-Lock. Each of you carry one, and use them in tandem. Use common sense (tips above) and enjoy a great city. Be sure to hit SE Clinton in the 20s, N Williams, VeloCult.

  6. #6
    powerfully luxurious chimivee's Avatar
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    Thanks for the insight. Good to know. Sounds like bikes are the way to go. Although, now I'm worried.

    Maybe a bike thief is the one I should be asking but... How bike savvy are these guys? Do they target anything in particular? Are they dismantling them and hawking off the parts? Will they steal a Motobecane just for the group set?

    I'm just trying to decide which bikes to take. I'd rather take half-decent bikes so we have the option to do some longer distance riding on other parts of our trip. I don't mind buying a couple of decent U-locks. I wouldn't leave the bikes overnight. But still, if the risk is too high, I can take a couple of beaters.

    Here's some options I'd consider taking (need to take 2) ...

    ~2001 Stumpjumper Pro - XT/XTR
    ~2010 GT Tachyon - Ultegra
    ~2004 Redline Conquest Pro frame build - mostly 105
    ~2004 Mercier (Bikes Direct) - Ultegra
    A couple of 90's steel heavy-ass beaters - 6 speed and single speed

    Most of these or older and/or not worth much more than a few hundred bucks. Still, aside from the last two, I'd be bummed if they got snagged.

    Thanks for your advice.
    Last edited by chimivee; 05-08-15 at 10:32 PM.
    - James

  7. #7
    Unobtanium-Based Lifeform calamarichris's Avatar
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    It's not like you're going to leave your bikes outside overnight, right?
    My GF and I just went there last September and had a stellar time! Best bike town EVER!
    Awesome brewpubs, brewery tasting rooms, and distilleries too. We even visited Sky of Velo Cult, which moved from San Diego to Portland. (He's a lot happier up there, and Portland deserves Velo Cult more than San Diego does.)





    New Deal Distillery's gin plus these French Picholine olives we discovered in San Luis Obispo on the way back, make the best martini I've ever tasted.


    The two brewery standouts were Salem Ale Works, Ninkasi, and Agrarian.


    You'll have a great time. If you don't want to worry about your bikes, or if you don't have junkers, there are bike rentals up there. I'm jealous.
    Quote Originally Posted by EvilWeasel View Post
    Well, if you are gonna carry a snapped frame all the way home. It might as well be light weight carbon fiber.

  8. #8
    Senior Member catonec's Avatar
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    renting bikes is a great idea.

    I would bring the bikes into your hotel room when ever you can.

    having just one lock is probably a bad idea. 2 or 3 GOOD locks will provide some protection but is in no way a guarantee.

    If you have renters or home owners insurance, theft of your bicycle from your vehicle is probably covered. Maybe call your agent before your trip and verify that or sign up for a policy. I pay a whooping $125 a year.
    2010 Kestrel RT900SL, 800k carbon, chorus/record, speedplay, zonda
    1997 Trek ZX6000, 6061w/manitou spyder, xt/xtr, time atac

  9. #9
    Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by chimivee View Post
    Although, now I'm worried.
    Uch, and your plane might crash, too. A meteor might hit the hotel and THE BIG ONE might break this side of the continent off. Get some good locks, lock 'em right, have fun. I've locked decent bikes up in the middle of downtown at night for a few hours and not had any problems (*knocks on head). Theft happens, and there is no way to prevent it short of Bromptoms that you carry with you everywhere under your armpit into the bathroom, grocery stores, etc. Ride, drink, enjoy. Bring the bikes you like to ride, Ulock the frame and rear wheels, use the cable lock on the front wheels (won't prevent theft, just makes the bastards look for an easier unlocked quick release).

  10. #10
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    Portland is a great place to bike in. Even mass transit (bus and light rail) is set up to accommodate bicyclists with bike racks for two on the front of each bus and interior racks in light rail cars. You may have to wait for the next bus or train to get your bike(s) on though. My advice is to take care yet don't worry. I agree with what's been said previously. In addition, I would recommend you replace QRs on wheels and seat posts with more difficult, more effort required solutions. Also take lights and other accessories off the bikes and take the panniers/bags with you. There are so many other bikes in Portland, it is easy to discourage thieves if you take some effort to make taking yours less attractive. Check out bikeportland.org . It is an amazing resource.

    Also, have a contingency plan in case. This can transform a catastrophe into a more bearable, though still unpleasant, inconvenience

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