Here’s the winner of the Tern/Disaster Relief Trials Greatest Load Ever contest

(Elle Steele’s loads: hay and bike camping gear.)

I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Portland has one of the deepest, most diverse and interesting cargo biking scenes in the world. From couriers to businesses, families to freak bike makers, and everything in between. We’ve had cargo bike happy hours, we’ve had cargo bike parades, the person who literally wrote the book on moving-by-bike lives here, we were the epicenter of the Dutch bakfiets revolution in America, and we even used to have a cargo bike maker based right here in town (RIP Metrofiets).

So when we asked to see your Greatest Load Ever for a chance to win entry to the upcoming Disaster Relief Trials, I knew we’d get some great submissions. I was not disappointed.

And the winner is… Elle Steele!


Elle receives free entry to the June 11th event along with a prize package from Tern Bicycles and a set of vintage steel pint glasses from DRT.

Asked why she wants to compete at DRT, Elle said, “To prepare for upcoming apocalypse(s), zombie or otherwise.”

And when we asked her to describe her Greatest Load Ever, Elle shared this story:

I rode to the pet store and asked how much a bale of hay cost.

“$8.09,” the clerk said.

“Awesome, I’ll take one!”

“Okay, where are you parked?” they asked.

“The bike out front.”

“….Do you have a way to carry it?…”


I go out to meet them at my bike. It’s being carried on a cart. The lady looks at my Yuba Mundo cargo bike and says “I’ll need to get some help.”

The thing is huge! I finally ask the right question. “How much does that weigh?”

“Sixty pounds.” (Yikes! I hadn’t anticipated it to be that big…)

What I actually say: “Oh. My kids weigh more than that.”

Got it home!

And Elle was so excited she entered twice. Her other submission was a bike-camping load she described as:

“This is all the camping gear plus two bikes for when the kids barf in the tent in the middle of the night and need to be picked up but you still have to get everything home.”

We love it! Thanks for playing Elle.

And here are some of the other great submissions:


Seba Saldaña (from Chile!)

A mattress and bed frame.

Living in Chile, with a culture of disaster, and as a cargobike aficionado, I’m a long time fan of the event. It’s so interesting to see different ways to apply the everyday experience riding our own bikes, and learning new ways to solve the “how to carry this stuff” problem. As I live so far, this submission is just symbolic.

Your Greatest Cargo Load Ever:

Helping a friend moving, I loaded his mattress and bed frame, carrying it on a single ride between the two houses (and, as a consequence of that day, with some friends started a cargobike collective for movings called @biciminga ✌🏾)

James Jennings

Why do you want to participate?

I love to carry stuff on my bike and help folks in need.

Your Greatest Cargo Load Ever:

Christmas trees, children, adults, and enormous amounts of purchases. Family doesn’t drive so pretty much haul it all. I used to ride for Portland pedal power.

Reuben Deumling

Why do you want to participate?

It’s rad. And I had fun in 2011

Your Greatest Cargo Load Ever:

Hard to pick there have been many. But hauling home a pallet of four Norwegian urine diverting composting toilets I had ordered (they wouldn’t ship them by boat so had to get them from Air Cargo at PDX). After going through customers, their forklift loaded them onto my bike trailer.

Roger Ames

Why do you want to participate?

Sounds fun

Your Greatest Cargo Load Ever:

Two large cases of Diva Cups destine for the post office. I’ve hauled a 17′ canoe by bike but didn’t get a photo.

Josh “Buckets” Fisher

Why do you want to participate?

My buckets and I can’t really compete in this awesome event against the big bikes

Your Greatest Cargo Load Ever:

Maybe not my greatest or largest but a recent tomato transport featuring founder Mike’s old school Cobbworks buckets (Oly represent!)

Fred King

Why do you want to participate?

To show that people in their 70s can hold their own.

Your Greatest Cargo Load Ever:

Set of drums, set of bass marimba resonator tubes

Thanks for playing everyone!

And don’t forget to join as at the DRT Pre-Event Social on Thursday, June 9th at Splendid Cycles.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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1 year ago

Way cool.
Wonder if someone mass produced e-bike versions of cargo bike how many people might opt to use those to go say get groceries instead of by vehicle.