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Portlander gets global attention for bringing pedal-power to Standing Rock

Posted by on December 5th, 2016 at 12:46 pm

Cobb is name-dropped in a video published by CNN from Standing Rock that has over a million views.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Portlander Mike Cobb brought valuable cargo with him on his journey to Standing Rock in support of people fighting against the Dakota Access Pipeline. It wasn’t food or jackets or blankets — it was the ability to produce electricity with a bicycle and a bit of pedal power.

Cobb is well-known in Portland for his bike messengering and extreme biking skills (he’s represented us at the World Cycle Messenger Championships and I ran into him on the Oregon Outback last year), his passion for the potential of cargo bikes during disasters (one of the main organizers of the annual Disaster Relief Trials), and his entrepreneurial endeavors in the bike industry (he’s co-owner of Framebuilder Supply).

Cobb has a passion for expanding the potential of what a bicycle can do. Given that, Cobb’s offering at Standing Rock comes as no surprise — but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. And what better way to promote the idea that bicycles can save the world than by getting major exposure on one of the world’s largest media outlets.

A CNN correspondent noticed Cobb’s set-up and published a video report about it thaty already has well over one million views:

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This isn’t the first time we’ve seen the brilliant utility of a simple bicycle help people stay connected in adverse conditions. We covered a similar situation in 2012 in Manhattan’s lower east side when bike-powered charging stations came to the rescue following Hurricane Sandy.

In a Facebook post, Cobb says he’s dedicating his entire trip to the unflinching support he received from his friends, business partners and co-workers. “This effort would be impossible without my people enthusiastically burning the home fires in my absence,” he wrote. “I am overwhelmed with gratitude and feel truly rich in community.”

Way to go Mike!

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 –

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • CaptainKarma December 5, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Good way to keep warm!

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  • Cory P December 5, 2016 at 12:52 pm

    Mike is an amazing person.

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  • Chris December 5, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Truly awesome Mike!!

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  • Bill Stites December 5, 2016 at 1:32 pm

    Filling a huge need – brilliant. Thanks for representing, Mike!

    And kudos to Splendid for their ‘unflinching’ support, among others.

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  • Eric December 5, 2016 at 1:38 pm

    Mike Cobb = awesome dude.

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  • todd boulanger December 5, 2016 at 1:46 pm

    Nice! And it comes with free heating from pedalling!!

    [Though for true long term disaster prep…like Sandy, etc….I would love to see a set up that had a reclining seat for pedal power with a secondary hand crank (like the larger WW2 remote radio sets had in the Pacific Theatre).]

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    • Spiffy December 6, 2016 at 7:54 am

      and better gearing so you can get more generation out of less pedaling…

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  • Zaphod December 5, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    As always… nicely done Mike

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  • bikeninja December 5, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    Great Job Mike, and congratulations for your part in the recent victory of the forces of good over evil. ( Standing Rock Tribes defeating Energy Transfer Partners and their private security and law enforcement goon squads.)

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  • bikeninja December 5, 2016 at 2:53 pm

    Come to think of it I love the symbolism. Good vs Evil, just like on the streets of Portland. Good bike riders ( and bike chargers) attempting to save the plant vs those who want to suck every last drop of petroleum from the earth and spew its waste in to the darkening skies ( pipeliners or car drivers)

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  • S. Brian Willson December 5, 2016 at 6:44 pm


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  • Ayleen December 5, 2016 at 10:26 pm

    AWESOME! I was really hoping someone would shed some major attention on what Mike was doing out there. It is SO impressive.

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  • Vanessa December 5, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    Mike is the real deal.

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  • KristenT December 6, 2016 at 8:58 am

    I saw this on the CBS evening news the other night, and thought it was a very cool idea. I’m glad it came from locals!

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  • Todd Hudson December 6, 2016 at 11:12 am

    Way to go, Patches!

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