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need prep advices on Portland commuting

Old 03-31-22, 09:20 AM
  #1  
totalnewbie
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need prep advices on Portland commuting

Might get the opportunity to move to Portland OR for work. Very likely I will be living in the city outskirts and rely on MAX light rail and/or bus for work, with the last miles at both ends by a folding bike (Tern Verge D9) I want to be well prepared for what the commuting would be like:

1. Drizzles/rain: I bought a used Tern with disc brakes specifically for the weather. for those who have used disc and rim brakes, would you say disc brakes do make a positive difference in safety? What about tires, any benefit in changing out the treadless tires for something with more treads/grips in wet. If so any tire recommendation? (my tern runs CST 37-451 now)

2. what is the "norm" for carrying a folder onto a MAX light rail? The Tern Verge D9 I have (running 451 wheels) fold a little bit bigger than a typical 20" like Dahon. Do other passengers in general accept/despise such practice? (Don't want to be too much of a nuisance) Is there a bike specific car? (eg. Caltrain in the Bay area has a bike specific car that pretty much all bike commuters jam into with bikes stack one over the other)

3. For buses (city/local) do they usually have a rack in front of the headlights (like a lot of San francisco buses) that I could tie my bike onto? If buses don't have racks, similar to the question above, what is the "norm" for carrying a folder onto a bus?
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Old 03-31-22, 09:41 AM
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Polaris OBark
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I'll let "PDX" people answer, but in general Portland is arguably the best city in the country for bike commuting. There are also a lot of resources for doing that on the internet. (My kid lives there and bike-commutes, so my info is second-hand).
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Old 03-31-22, 10:49 AM
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I can only answer your first question, yes, discs work better and more consistently in the wet. It's noticable.
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Old 04-01-22, 01:31 PM
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Hey totalnewbie, welcome (possibly) to Portland! I've lived in Portland for 21 years and have biked and bussed all those years.

Here are my answers to your questions:
  1. Disc brakes are better for wet weather braking, but good rim brakes also work well. As for tires, increased tread is not going to help you in the rain on paved surfaces. I haven't had any issues with my slick tires, but if you are concerned, I'd look for tires that have a more "sticky" compound.
  2. I wouldn't worry too much about your bike on the MAX. There are designated areas near the front and rear door of each car for bikes, four hooks to a car. (The old-style cars that feature stairs have no hooks.) Technically there is a max of six bikes to a car (trains are usually two cars, sometimes just one car, and never more than two) and it's supposed to work out that four of those bikes are on (or near) the hooks, two in the handicap area (so long as there is no one in those spots). During busy times you might see more bikes than permitted, and passengers generally don't mind.
  3. There are bike racks on the front of each Tri-Met bus. Each rack holds two bikes. Folding bikes are allowed inside as long as they are a) true folding bikes and b) folded up before/when boarding.

You should check out the official bikes and transit policy for more info:
https://trimet.org/bikes/index.htm

Hope this helps!
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Old 04-01-22, 11:19 PM
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Originally Posted by adventurepdx View Post
Hey totalnewbie, welcome (possibly) to Portland! I've lived in Portland for 21 years and have biked and bussed all those years.

Here are my answers to your questions:
  1. Disc brakes are better for wet weather braking, but good rim brakes also work well. As for tires, increased tread is not going to help you in the rain on paved surfaces. I haven't had any issues with my slick tires, but if you are concerned, I'd look for tires that have a more "sticky" compound.
  2. I wouldn't worry too much about your bike on the MAX. There are designated areas near the front and rear door of each car for bikes, four hooks to a car. (The old-style cars that feature stairs have no hooks.) Technically there is a max of six bikes to a car (trains are usually two cars, sometimes just one car, and never more than two) and it's supposed to work out that four of those bikes are on (or near) the hooks, two in the handicap area (so long as there is no one in those spots). During busy times you might see more bikes than permitted, and passengers generally don't mind.
  3. There are bike racks on the front of each Tri-Met bus. Each rack holds two bikes. Folding bikes are allowed inside as long as they are a) true folding bikes and b) folded up before/when boarding.

You should check out the official bikes and transit policy for more info:
https://trimet.org/bikes/index.htm

Hope this helps!
adventurepdx, thanks for your advice. this is exactly the info i need. I have commuted for a few years in SF with bike/train/bus combo and there were accepted ways to do certain things, so I just want to get an idea what the local conditions are in PDX. any other cycling/commuting related tips you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 04-02-22, 04:46 AM
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Discs are nice, but not generally a deal-breaker. People rode rim brakes for decades, a century, without corpses littering the ditches, hard shoulders etc b/c of that.
Discs are less influenced by weather and require less hand effort for a given amount of braking.
Treads do little to improve wet grip on clean roads for bicycles, as bicycles canít hydroplane under reasonable circumstances.
Treads do make a difference on mixed surfaces, and can help considerably if you encounter leaves or sand/dirt on the road. Or pretty much any kind of particles.

Last edited by dabac; 04-02-22 at 04:51 AM.
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Old 04-02-22, 03:28 PM
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adventurepdx
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Originally Posted by totalnewbie View Post
adventurepdx, thanks for your advice. this is exactly the info i need. I have commuted for a few years in SF with bike/train/bus combo and there were accepted ways to do certain things, so I just want to get an idea what the local conditions are in PDX. any other cycling/commuting related tips you could offer would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks! Portland is a good city to bike commute in. It is by no means perfect, but better than a lot of other American (and Canadian) mid-size cities.

But a lot of it also depends on where you'll be. Not knowing where you'll probably end up, I can't really give good advice.
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Old 04-06-22, 02:00 PM
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Great links above and perspective here. Iím new to PDX as well. Cheers
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