Monthly Archives: April 2012

SurvivalComments (wittco posted on April 27th, 2012 )

Head on over to SurvivalTopics and check out the comments. There is a discussion thread on the Disaster Relief Trials.

(a) what is your overall impression, (b) what can we learn from this, and (c) what statements can be made?

I find the dialogue, even though it is a thin thread, intriguing.

COMMENTS: 4 Comments »

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CATEGORIES: Cargo Bike Writers

Disaster Relief Trials (overview) (wittco posted on April 23rd, 2012 )

DRT logo banner

In 2001, the Nisqually, Washington intraplate earthquake reminded the Pacific Northwest that we live in an earthquake zone. The 2011 Tohoku 9.0 earthquake, and the destruction that resulted, was another reminder. Most recently, the 6.9 in the Gulf of California that we live in an earthquake zone. We live with these reminders. Some people prepare. Others continue life as normal.

But normal life will not last forever.

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.

The Cascadia earthquake will happen. The issue is whether we will be prepared. To start that conversation with real action, we have constructed the Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) event for Pedalpalooza 2012.

NET Bikes

Enthusiasm for the DRT has spread like … well … like the aftershock of an earthquake, but without the destruction, as people have posted their thoughts on this event: see the extended reading list at the end of this post.

We did not plan on sharing event details until early May, but given the interest we were pushed like … well … like a seagull caught in a tsunami, so we have endeavored to give you a glimpse of the particulars.

June 17, 2012
10 am – 6 pm
Location of start/finish is Velo Cult
1969 NE 42nd Avenue, 97213

Selected RIDERS can expect a 30+ mile course with challenges and a total payload weight of 100 pounds. Contact us to be a rider.

SPECTATORS can expect an entertaining and informative afternoon. Head out to one of the challenge locations and see how rider and bike face the situation. Hang out in the staging area to see the riders race off and return.

At the staging area, we will have disaster preparedness information from local organizations and groups. View the riders and bikes before and after the event. Several cargo bike shops and builders will be on-hand for test rides or information. Lots of photo opportunities. Food will be available through cargo bike related vendors.

The event is 100% KID FRIENDLY as many who use cargo bikes do so for family reasons.

THE COURSE, generally speaking
* Staging area at Velo Cult
* Head to Oregon Food Bank
* Down Marine Drive
* To Cathedral Park
* Over St. Johns Bridge
* Cross Burnside Bridge
* Arriving back at Velo Cult

There will be Obstacles:
* “Rubble” obstacle, forcing all riders to dismount and separate payload from vehicle
* Off-road section(s)
* Bumps and hassles

THE 100 POUND PAYLOAD
* Various food aid in boxes or buckets
* Medical aid
* Propane tank
* Fuel
* Tent/supplies

Disaster Relief Trials PDX

THE RULES
* Alley cat style, except all traffic laws must be followed
* Helmet mandatory
* “Cargo bike” means any bike that hauls cargo (clarified April 24)
* Trailers welcome (added April 24)
* Human powered
* Self-sufficiency, i.e., rider fixes all mechanical break-downs
* One rider, i.e., rider rides the whole course on same bike
* Pre-race bike safety check
* LeMans style start, with disaster-specific complication, causing riders to break up
* Two, 15-rider waves: Citizen Class (non-competitive), Open Class (competitive)
* Committed rider, rain or shine

If you are interested in being a rider or lending support, leave a message in the comments, or contact us at transportPDX[@]gmail[.]com

The out-pour of support and generosity from businesses and the bike community to make this event possible illustrates the enthusiasm that the Portland area has for its beloved cargo bikes.

Some of the riders this year (added May 22)

We will post four+ additional articles on this year’s Disaster Relief Trials: (a) specific course and payload, (b) riders and their bike set up, (c) invitation just before the event, and (d) a recap of the day’s adventure.

We will use the hash tag #DRTpdx (May 14, hashtag changed, thanks @TacomaBikeRanch) on the day of the event to communicate up-to-the-moment details. Sign up for our RSS/email feed to learn about this and future activities.

Extended reading list where Disaster Relief Trials is mentioned

Pedalpalooza calendar of the Disaster Relief Trials event

Joe Bike shared the idea and garnered interest among the cargo bike world

BikePortland followed with a focus on the Neighborhood Emergency Team

Bike Snob NY poked fun at Portland, twice, and then cited Portlandia

Homeland Security News Wire shared the vision

FOX12 television even gave the event a head nod
with some interesting comments below their post (worth checking out).

(added May 2) Emergency Management: Sustainable Practices Created Disaster Resiliency in Portland, Ore.

(added May 14) Map of Event

Anita, thank you for the subtle revisions (May 28)

Family Biking Workshop this Saturday, April 21 (wittco posted on April 19th, 2012 )

Will, a TRANSPORT/land writer, picked up his green Tom LaBonty creation a few weeks ago. He shared his thoughts on riding a long John-style cargo bike, and the sage advice from Tom to “ignore the bike and watch the horizon.”

We are aware that some people are concerned that the handling of a cargo bike will be too weird. In Will’s post, he mentions the subtle handling differences that come with a cargo bike, but points out that riding a cargo bike is not hard. Our goal is to inform and educate people about cargo bikes.

New Yuba Setup, April 2012

By some stroke of serendipity, Katie Proctor, seen above on a Yuba long tail, is teaching a workshop on Family Biking. Information on her workshop is below.

Seeing others with cargo bikes and assorted hauling set ups for children and cargo may help you determine what is right for you. See you there!

Saturday, April 21, 2012
Woodlawn Swap & Play
704 NE Dekum St
10 am – noon

Are you bike-curious? Don’t let your children hold you back! This two-hour workshop will give you the knowledge and confidence you need to hit the road by bike with your kids onboard. We’ll discuss equipment, rules of the road, route selection, winter riding, and strategies for successful trips with kids of all ages. Biking with kids is a great way to get more exercise, see your neighbors, reduce your gas budget, and bring more joy into your life. Whether you’re hoping to take pleasure rides on weekends or give up a family car, this workshop will give you the information you need to get started!

Workshop is $7 for Swap members, $10 for non-members. Printed materials, coffee, and snacks will be provided. Come with questions, worries, and obstacles—we’ll tackle them together! RSVP to Please RSVP to jleckhart@me.com

About the instructor: Katie Proctor has been car-free since moving to Portland in 2009. Her kids are 2 1/2 and 9 months old and get around by bike, bus, train, foot, and occasional Zipcar. She coordinates Kidical Mass, Portland’s monthly family bike ride, and believes the world would be better with more bikes in it.