‘Disaster Relief Trials’ will return for 10th anniversary event

Participants load and carry buckets of water at a checkpoint during the 2014 DRT.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

“Realism is the order of the day.”
— DRT oranizers

When Portland’s cargo bike scene began to gel in 2011, one of the coolest byproducts was something called the Disaster Relief Trials.

It was around that same time in 2011 when a terrible earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and several news outlets reported how sales and use of bicycles boomed in the aftermath. We grabbed hold of the story and began pushing the narrative that bikes could play a key role in Portland’s disaster response. Thanks to some amazing Portlanders who had just the right mix of search-and-rescue, prepper, cargo biking, and do-gooderism vibes, DRT was born and held for the first time in June 2012. It wasn’t long until the trend was recognized by even the City of Portland Bureau of Emergency Management (PBEM).


After a few years of silence, I heard from organizers last week that DRT is coming back! A date of June 11, 2022 has been set and judging from the planning that’s already going on, I can tell this is going to be a very good event. The basic idea is that people compete in different categories (family, e-bike, cargo/non-cargo bike, etc…) and must navigate a course that tests their skills. The obstacles include things like carrying your bike and cargo over a barrier, going off-road, loading awkward objects, wayfinding, and so on. The event is set up like a disaster recovery drill intended to simulate what emergency experts refer to as a “day 4 supply run”.

The 2022 edition will be based in the Cully Neighborhood and will be held in coordination with PBEM and the Cully Neighborhood Emergency Team (NET).

“DRT PDX ‘22 strives to make the strongest case ever for cargo bikes as supreme tools of citizen-involved disaster recovery,” reads a statement from organizers. “Realism is the order of the day.”

Mark your calendars for June 22nd and follow @DisasterReliefTrials on Instagram for updates. For more details check out

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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