Cargo Taos (wittco posted on July 14th, 2013 )

Monday morning, early, my family will leave Taos, NM to head back to Portland.

This evening had me thinking ….

Many will argue that cargo-carrying bikes have their place in every city, and these people will often argue, with am almost disciple ferocity that would border on narrow-minded, that their vision is singularly beneficial. I agree that cargo bikes could find a home in almost any city, but this alone will not carry the change in transportation of goods and services in the city.

People put a value on being and early adopter. I have read and heard people going to great lengths to establish this inane sense of cool. I am not putting down early adopters. Someone has to be there. There can be a ineffective development of “me” verses “we” that can halt socially beneficial ideas.

Substantive change will come from being part of a city-wide change in transportation. A change that involves efficient and economically viable options that are both heathy and sustainable. This is substantial good because it is greater than one person and helps a city grow.

To help a city’s consciousness and future grow would be a grand thing.

Taos, New Mexico could be such a city. The geography of Taos is favorable. It is a small city so getting from one end to the other is easy which promotes the idea that cars are not needed for travel. Additionally, the terrain is flat, and distances between the little towns a person would travel on occasion are still short. Last week my family traveled to Arroyo-Seco for a Fourth of July parade. A person can get to any desired place in Taos within 30 minutes or fewer. A few beautiful hours to farther locations.

Economics promote the use of bikes. Taos is an economically depressed city. There is little industry here so saving every nickel and dime would be of great service to a family budget. Ownership of a car is a costly endeavor. A family cargo-carrying bike would save money if distances are short and the destinations are places like school, the grocery store, or library.

The weather is dry for a good portion of the year and even with snow, days are often dry with clear skies. If the rain of Portland or the hard winters of Chicago were a deterrent, Taos is ideal. Through most of the winter, my father is outside after 10 am in short sleeves carving wooden sculptures.

I recommend the long tail platform as the culture-changing seed for Taos. Long tails look and ride like traditional bikes. This will encourage people to see them as “doable.” Up-keep of a long tail can be done by a local shop without much research–the noticeable difference is the longer chain and cables. This allows a small city like Taos to be ready at the start with existing infrastructure. What will make a long tail most appealing to a consumer is that industry leaders in long tails (Xtracycle, Yuba, and Madsen) have bikes priced where people can afford them, the bikes selling for about $1,000.

Having said this about long tails, the numerous people in this town who can weld opens opportunities for long johns cobbled together from spare bikes and found metal. I imagine a week-long workshop with Tom LaBonty (Tom’s Cargo Bikes) would incite a dedicated long john following.

Every development plan will have hurdles. For Taos, the greatest is that cars are central to much of the movement of goods, services, and people. This trip to Taos is my fourth time. In each case I have stayed for over a month. This extended time lets me see how people love and play and I see cars as central to transportation. I do not see many people walking. It is easier to transition people from certain lifestyles to that of biking if people walk from place to place or ride the bus

As a closing thought, the area around Taos is beautiful. mountains surround the city and the sky is large and open. I would want to be part of this setting every day rather than being trapped in a metal box.

DRT 2013 Schedule (wittco posted on June 26th, 2013 )

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

July 12, 2013
JOE BIKE LAUNCH PARTY
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM

The new Joe Bike location is getting properly introduced to the community and we get to join in! Come meet all of the DRT folk before hustle-time. All DRT sponsors, participants and loved ones are welcome. Food and beverages provided.

2039 SE Cesar E Chavez Boulevard
Portland, OR 97214
(503) 954-2039

July 13, 2013
Cascadia Cargo Bike Fair and Disaster Relief Trials
Located next to OMSI’s Drive Revolution: The Future of Transportation

Location: ​Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) NORTH PARKING LOT
1945 SE Water Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97214

8:00 AM – 9:00 AM Cascadia Cargo Bike Fair EXHIBITOR SET-UP
9:00 AM Disaster Relief Trials RIDER PACKET PICK-UP
10:00 AM OPEN CLASS MAP AVAILABLE
10:20 AM CITIZEN CLASS MAP AVAILABLE
10:40 AM E-ASSIST CLASS MAP AVAILABLE

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM OMSI’s Drive Revolution: The Future of Transportation

11:00 AM Disaster Relief Trials OPEN CLASS START
11:20 AM Disaster Relief Trials CITIZEN CLASS START
11:40 AM Disaster Relief Trials E-ASSIST CLASS START

1:45 PM Disaster Relief Trials START LOOKING FOR OPEN CLASS FINISHERS

4:30 PM DRT Wrap up and Rider Acknowledgements

7:00 PM – 10:00 PM VELO CULT AFTER PARTY

Velo Cult opened their arms to the inaugural DRT, providing a fabulous staging area. DRT Portland has outgrown the Velo Cult space, but we haven’t outgrown our fondness for this singular bar/bike shop/grange hall. Join us to celebrate the outstanding evolution of the DRT and Cargo Bike Fair at this year’s after party at Velo Cult!

1969 NE 42nd Avenue
Portland, OR 97213
(503) 922-2012

DRT 2013 Essentials (wittco posted on June 25th, 2013 )

Disaster Relief Trials

What will DRT Portland look like this year?

Great question.

Here are the Disaster Relief Trials Twelve Essentials

1. CHECKPOINTS
Competitors visit in order (5) or more staffed checkpoints, creating a circuit. Checkpoint addresses, features, and order will be revealed one hour prior to start on laminated Rider Map. Competitors design their own routing between checkpoints. Because checkpoints are the only places that competitors must visit prior to finishing, the required circuit features below (barrier, water feature, cargo, competition monitoring) must be incorporated into these checkpoints.

2. BARRIER
(1) one-meter-tall barrier, to be visited by competitors after they accumulate at least 25kg of relief supplies.

3. WATER FEATURE
(1) water crossing, at least 15cm deep

4. ROUGH TERRAIN
(1) section of off-road terrain, rough enough to make most competitors dismount and walk at least once, 400 meters or longer

5. CARGO
50kg accumulated payload. Must include (1) dozen-egg carton containing (3) eggs, representing fragile relief supplies such as medicine vials. Any broken eggs result in a 10-minute penalty.

6. DURATION
Roughly (3) hours for the fastest competitors.

7. COMPETITION MONITORING
At least (1) mid-circuit checkpoint and the start/finish line checkpoint must be staffed by local ham radio operators who provide real-time competitor status information, recorded on a results board displayed at the finish line such that spectators have a prominent view.

8. RIDER MAP
(1) Laminated and annotated checkpoint map and 1″ spring clamp supplied to competitors 1 hour prior to start.

9. START
LeMans style start!

10. SAFETY
Competitors must comply with all traffic laws at all times to avoid immediate *or* post-competition disqualification.

11. MOTORS
A separated electric assisted bicycle competition class may be offered as long as the competition parameters include off-grid dead battery charging–with the charging phase starting as early as 24 hours prior to the start of the riding phase. Charging must be monitored at the start/finish checkpoint.

12. ELECTRONIC NAVIGATION DEVICES
Only the electric assist class may use electronic navigation devices. Off-grid charging of a dead device battery must be demonstrated.