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Disasters deliver infrastructure disruption and human suffering. The former exacerbates the later. We have limited money and we have limited political will to invest in “stand-by” disaster response resources.  We are left vulnerable.

Nowhere exists a local government with a stockpile of supplies and cadre of response professionals big enough to adequately deal with Hurricane Katrina or Haiti Earthquake-scale disasters….and no one is able to predict that big disasters are behind us. On the contrary, earth science professionals from many disciplines are willing to predict that climate change is increasing the likelihood of disasters. Within this state of imperfect and imperfectable preparedness, facing a growing need in growing population centers, what can we do to soften the blow of disaster-damaged communities?  How can we reduce the future suffering and death created by fuel shortages, clogged and damaged roads, electricity outages, water and food scarcity, over-taxed first responders, and communication system failures?

ANSWER: we invest in resilience.  Disaster resilience is largely about infrastructure grid independence, but also about smart urban development, education, and strong coalition among community groups.  Prime tools of grid independence  (and therefore resilience) are solar panels, gardens, rainwater collectors, and bikes.  These tools not only prepare a community for disaster, but also create more livable communities, save money, and reduce carbon footprint: resilience is attractive in the short-term, invaluable when disaster strikes.

“Community resilience” is a fresh concept that is being promoted and embraced in modern society, but the movement is young.  Not dialed-in. Now is the time to refine and expand the definition. Disaster Relief Trials is a dramatic visual statement arguing for the relevance of cargo bikes to the resilience movement. In peace time and disaster time, cargo bikes work.

Cargo bikes are light, small, and inexpensive yet highly capable of hauling big loads with relative ease. They operate efficiently without any power or sophisticated transportation infrastructure. They not only transport relief goods, but also people and messages. These disaster response-compatible qualities need to be proven in dramatic style over and over again before we can permanently erode the “bikes are toys” paradigm. Once we achieve “toys and tools”, we can start to make practical steps to incorporate cargo bikes into municipal disaster plans.

Disaster Relief Trials makes the case with exuberance and fun: cargo bikes are powerful tools for community resilience.



20 thoughts on “About

  1. John nurse

    Is a bike with a 4.5′ trailer that is able to carry a few hundred pounds worthy of this competition? We can haul some shit! 😀


    • antload

      Absolutely! The 2012 Citizen Class victor, Meghan Sinnott, pulled a 200lb-rated Blue Sky Cycle Cart. The modularity and versatility of trailers is invaluable to disaster response scenarios.


    • antload


      Thank-you so much for reaching out. We are ramping up for 2016 and would love to have your help. For some reason I can’t make your e-mail address or phone work at this moment, but hope to talk soon. -Mike


  2. I’m working with my local Office of Preparedness for an event in Memphis, TN. I have questions regarding logistics, insurance, logo, sponsorships and support. Could someone please contact me? Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is Christine Delfin, citizen journalist and volunteer digital media form the Philippines
    I would like to ask you, for the contact email of the organizers of Portland Oregon’s Disaster Relief Trials.
    I need to contact them ASAP. My country just experienced a week long monsoon rains (it’s not even a storm) but some bridges were already cut off, though there are no casualties, there was heavy flooding everywhere. I am going to start a civilian action team across the country (Philippines) who will do a hands on rapid response and relief that will be utilized when a real typhoon strikes our country again.
    I need a briefing from the Portland Team so I can teach my team how to do it, too.

    Best regards,
    Christine Delfin
    Citizen Journalists Radio

    Liked by 1 person

    • antload

      disasterrieftrials at gmail dot com

      Phone of Mike Cobb:
      (Three six zero)eight two three – nine two five three

      Just returned from backpacking and I’d love to talk. Thank-you so much for reaching out.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you so much for the response. We (The Philippines) are currently dealing with a Typhoon (International name: Lionrock) which entered our country’s area of responsibility two days ago. Our main concern here is flooding. Would love to be in touch with you soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. David Hoffman

    DRT 2016?
    As volunteers with CERT Eugene, we heard that you had not asked us to help with DRT 2016. Your website is still last year’s, 2015. Schedules are filling up. I am looking forward to my fourth fun time. What’s happening?
    Please respond (hopefully positively) to our coordinator: patence.m.winningham@ci.eugene.or.us


    • antload

      Hi David,

      We’d love your help. There are tons of smart, talented, interested people and organizations that we have not invited. Our group needs help, even in asking for help.

      DRT PDX 2016 is set for Saturday, October 22. We are aiming to launch registration by September 22. We have our checkpoints and themes outlined for the first ever downtown core DRT. New this year is a checkpoint dedicated to vulnerable citizenry with mobility and maintenance medicine needs.
      Please text and call me for robust conversation about how to blow this thing up. (360) eight two three – nine two five three.

      Your enthusiasm and relative expertise are gold to us.


    • antload

      BTW, I’ve heard that DRT PDX has not been invited to help with DRT EUG. What’s up with that? I’m twirling my hair, waiting by the phone…

      -Mike Cobb, DRT Founder


  6. Pingback: Photos: Disaster Relief Trials – Cargo Bikes check-in at West Seattle Hubs | West Seattle Be Prepared

  7. Jane Lopez

    Larimer Connects in Colorado is watching your Disaster Trials, hoping for your success and looking to organize a similar event Fall 2017 during our annual Family Safety and Emergency Preparedness Expo.


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