December 28th, 2011 | by COREY PEIN News | Posted In: City Hall, Transportation

The City of Portland's Winter Cycling Advice Sucks

frozen cyclist
As a notorious skinflint who bikes through the winter, I sympathize with the spirit of these "cheap ways to stay warm and dry on a bike" tips from the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

But when it comes to the particulars of the city's well-meaning winter biking tips, I'm left cold.

Consider this advice to reuse rubber dish-washing gloves as rain gear:

"While not breathable," the city's Commuter Central blog concedes, "kitchen gloves are 100 percent water repellent and dry easily. I learned on my inaugural ride that they're not the best at repelling the cold, so I would suggest a pair of glove liners to keep your hands warm."

This is bad advice. Even the unnamed author admits that it's unworkable, given the implied danger of frostbite, and the fact that your hands are likely to pick up the "aroma of mildew."

Besides which, PBOT apparently didn't get the memo: Kitchen gloves are unsustainable, per the Portland Water Bureau's recent guidance regarding the virtues of energy-efficient dishwashers over hand-washing.

There's more helpful advice for the DIY masochists out there:

Outraged by the markup at your local bike shop? "Use old lawn signs to create fenders."

Think galoshes are too mainstream? "Use plastic bags over your feet to keep your shoes dry."

That last one would be easier, if the city hadn't just banned plastic grocery bags.

There must be a happy medium somewhere between dumpster-diving for rain gear, as the city all but suggests, and the $1,000 Gore-Tex overpaid-bike jock uniform.

Failing that, there's TriMet.
 
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