A post DRT post (wittco posted on June 19th, 2012 )


This year’s Disaster Relief Trials harnessed the energy in Portland for cargo bikes and preparedness, two things for which Portland will be known.

Disaster Relief Trials (DRTpdx) started out as a conversation last winter over beers between Ethan Jewett, Mike Cobb, and Travis Wittwer.

DRTpdx morphed like Shmoo into several versions, ending on what was a super show of support for cargo bike prowess. A salient take-away from this event is that there is interest in organized cargo bike usage, and partnerships exist.

We were greatly pleased by local bike shops that lent their support; amazed by the sponsorship of national bike manufacturers; and honored to have organizations both large and small, government and private share their knowledge. DRTpdx brought our city together. Part of being prepared is preparing.

Behind the scenes, well before event day, rumors of riders creating partnerships were heard. This illustrates the sense of teamwork found throughout the event; the event was collegial, as well as competitive.

In a disaster relief situation, teams and groups will form in response to the needs presented. Teams are a valid response in a relief effort.

The greatest contention prior to event day was checkpoint #2—ROCK. This checkpoint had specific tasks that had to be completed by the riders, one of which had to be done solely. We spoke with several riders about this, listening to their statements that in a disaster, partnerships will occur to get over problems. Some riders adamantly spoke against the solo lift.

Yes, partnerships are good. However, for DRTpdx, we wanted diversity in the tasks. The first part of checkpoint ROCK required riders to take their bike and cargo over a 1 meter barrier. This lift was independent, and the only time that partnerships could not be used.

For realism, this lift represented a feasible barrier that a rider might encounter. This rider may also, just as feasibly, be alone when they encounter it. Now that the event is over, I suspect riders did not find the 1 meter solo lift as daunting as imagined. Below is Diana Rempe lifting her Metrofiets over the barrier. Prior to this checkpoint, Diana got a flat tire as a result of a puncture from a drill bit . I suspect she will keep the drill bit as a token of her awesomeness.

Disaster Relief Trials

Happily, I have only to do a short post because so many other people have posted their recap of DRTpdx. Below are the ones of which I am aware. If I have missed one (and surely I have), please add it in the comments.

eager start

And lastly, for you, what salient aspects came from DRTpdx? Please share them in the comments as we will take your comments and the lessons learned, and apply them to next year.

5 Responses

  1. Bill Stites says:

    Big thanks for an awesome event!

    I heard a rumor that there was some consideration for an e-bike category, and I’d like to encourage one for next year.
    I suppose the availability of electricity – or more accurately, charged batteries – needs to be vetted or projected to be a viable scenario.

    Various vehicle configurations will have pros and cons when directly compared or competed. The application of electric assist will tend to reduce travel time, but also intensify barriers, as in the 1-meter lift at ROCK. It will be interesting to see what kinds of vehicles are the overall winners [if there were to be more than one cargo bike category next year].

    I suspect it will remain the human power only vehicles, though that will be a function of the course design, which in turn, is a function of the designer groups’ assessments of likely scenarios … and overall philosophy of the event.

    Good work folks!!

  2. [...] bike was on display at the Disaster Relief Trials on Sunday and two Yuba employees rode them in the World Naked Bike Ride the night before (sorry, [...]

  3. [...] bike was on display at the Disaster Relief Trials on Sunday and two Yuba employees rode them in the World Naked Bike Ride the night before (sorry, [...]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>