SW Lesser Road - bike friendly?

Does anyone know if SW Lesser Road is bike friendly? Looking at Google Street View, there’s not a lot of shoulder. In the past I’ve ridden up Capitol Highway to the Sylvan campus then taken a pedestrian cut through to Jefferson Parkway and then down to Westlake Drive.

I haven’t ridden this area in about a year or so, and it looks like it might be icy later this week, in the AM. Side note - does anyone know the road conditions this week around there, has it been icy? So, I’m trying to avoid the big hill on Jefferson PKWY. Assuming there might be ice.

I do have a pair of studded tires, but I haven’t “burned them in”; the recommendation is to ride 20 miles on clean pavement to seat the studs. Otherwise, I wouldn’t worry as much. Still, slidey cars are a bother.


Lesser can be dangerous on the level of a cliff scenario. In snow and ice, I’d think of using a cyclocross set up of walking and riding on some SWTrails hike routes. Lesser reminds me of a slow version of SW Scholls Ferry Road to the north of Patton Road. Are you taking SW Lesser Road to avoid Barbur and Pacific Highway in order to get to downtown Lake Oswego, downtown Tigard, or Portland? Multnomah Village? If going to Lewis & Clark College or Burlingame Bikes or Sellwood, go east on SW Haines at Lesser to go through PCC to go on the path on SW 55th at Vacuna Street. Then cross SW 49th at Vacuna. Get to 35th Ave and then go north to Arnold Street which is for the purpose of going east (downhill) as there is no westbound (uphill riding) shoulder, then turn left on SW Lancaster Road, then turn right on SW Maplecrest Drive for the purpose of getting to SW Terwilliger Road and then use the nearby traffic light crosswalk to slowly go through the cemetery. If the cemetery is closed and you want to go along the Willamette River or to the east side, then back track to get to the legal and public-owned path of South Summerville Avenue in the Riverdale [Dunthorpe] neighborhood in order to use the traffic light crosswalk on South Riverdale Road and then to the Sellwood Bridge. Sadly, Metro and others seem lazy with regard to doing anything useful about the rusting Willamette Shore Trolley. The westside and SW part of town has very few designated shoulders or bike lanes so I’d recommend tough Panaracer-made Rene Herse tires and a Cane Creek seat post. SW Taylor’s Ferry Road just isn’t a nice place to ride a bicycle unless before 5:00 AM in June or early July or nearly anytime between SW 80th Avenue and SW Oleson Road, but it does have far less puddles and such than SW Barbur.

Hey Rick, thanks for the feedback. My destination was Kruse Way in LO. I have done in the past where I ride up Barbur, then Capitol Highway to the entrance of PCC Sylvian, then a bit farther on there’s a ped path that connects to Jefferson Parkway. Then ride Jeff Pkwy to Westlake Drive. The hill on Jeff Pkwy is really big, if there’s chance of ice, I’d prefer to avoid it.

I rode on Lesser Rd this AM. It wasn’t bad at all. Going down hill though, in a 25mph zone, it’s easy to stay with / ahead of traffic. Going up it would be a no go, because no shoulder. Jeff Pkwy is better for that. Lesser just reminded me of SW Hewett Rd, which is a very ‘spirited’ route. Lots of fun.

I’ve used a few different brands of studded tires (Innova, Nokian, and 45NRTH), and I think the need to break them in is overstated. The worst thing that can happen is that a few studs pop out of the tire and you need to replace them–and it’s never happened to me. You can allay your fears somewhat if you just inspect each stud closely. If it’s fully seated in the tire, it will probably stay there. If it’s askew, spray it with water (as a lubricant) and shove it back into its little rubber pocket until it sits all the way in there. Don’t go nuts cornering and braking super hard when you use your studded tires–you weren’t going to anyway since you’re riding on ice, right?–and I don’t think you’ll need to worry about them.

Thanks for the feedback Matt, I’ve been using studded tires for many years now. Never once had a stud fall out.

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