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Disaster strikes! On Sunday learn how cargo bikes will save the day

A few of the competitors signed up for the Disaster Relief Trials on Sunday.


On Sunday (Father’s Day!) there’s a Pedalpalooza event I’m really looking forward to: the Disaster Relief Trials (DRT). It’s been remarkable to watch how the event has gone from an idea among Portland’s thriving ecosystem of cargo bike enthusiasts to a full-blown event with great partnerships, sponsors, debuts of new products from Yuba and Xtracycle, and plenty of fun to look forward to.

(Photo: Ethan Jewett)

I mentioned this event briefly back in March when I shared the idea that cargo bikes could play a major role in disaster response. It’s well worth taking a closer look at what’s planned.

First, check out how organizers set the scene:

“In this Pedalpalooza event scenario, the Cascadia subduction zone fell, resulting in a 9.1 earthquake that spread quickly through the region, resulting in Portland area destruction and a tsunami that hammered the Oregon coast and felt as far as Japan.

It is day 4, your Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET) just heard on the HAM radio that recovery supplies have been palleted and are ready for pick up, but obstacles exist. The transportation infrastructure is compromised and fuel is rationed or not accessible.

When this tragic event hits Portland, it will destroy a good deal of the city. However, because of preparation and organization, Portland will be ready with a powerful team for disaster relief, bringing with them supplies, food, medicine, communications, and support. Filling in the gaps between city and government aid, will be relief teams that will arrive by cargo bike.”

And did I mention there will just happen to be a bunch of zombies running around?

30 people (six women, 24 men, learn more about them here) have already pre-registered to ride in the event. They’ll tackle a 30 mile course full of challenges and they’ll have to do it with a 100 pound payload of “vital emergency supplies”. Local HAM radio volunteers will be spread at checkpoints throughout the course to relay progress back to the start/finish are a at Velo Cult bike shop in Hollywood.

This will not only be a feast for bike/cargo-geeks, organizers will have a mini preparedness expo set up at Velo Cult. Thanks to partnerships with Multnomah County Emergency Management, Portland Bureau of Emergency Management, Multnomah County Amateur Radio Emergency Services, Oregon Air National Guard, Oregon Food Bank, and local cargo bike retailers, there will be plenty to see and learn at the event.

And of course the event is “100% child friendly” because cargo bikes and kids go together beautifully (not to mention many of the competitors first became interested in cargo bikes after toting around little ones). Families will be able to test-ride lots of different cargo bikes and get advice and tips on car replacement strategies.

The event is sponsored by Splendid Cycles, Joe Bike, Metrofiets, Xtracycle (who will debut their new SideCar), Skedco (rescue equipment), and Yuba (who will unveil their new Boda Boda model!).

Here’s the event flyer:

Which combination of human power and cargo bike configuration will save the world? How can bicycles play a key role in disaster response? Come to the Disaster Relief Trials on Sunday to find out.

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