TERN BICYCLES presents Disaster Relief Trials Portland

Thank you Tern Bicycles!


Experienced cargo cyclists are invited to test and display their load-hauling and messaging equipment, skills, and mettle under broken infrastructure and shelter-in-place conditions. Let’s give emergency managers compelling evidence of the cargo bike’s relevance to disaster relief. You can help.

Cully Park, Portland, Oregon ➖ June 11 9am-5pm

Register via our two step process before 11:59pm, Monday, June 6. Instructions at bottom.


It’s a disaster relief drill in the form of a cargo bike competition, simulating a day 4 supply run for neighbors in need. 

What will your neighbors need? Do you have a cargo bike? If you find out and you do, you may be able to complete an urgently-needed supply and message run, outlined by your local Neighborhood Emergency Team. You, along with a cadre of local disaster-resilient supply runners, have the potential to meaningfully contribute to a vital patchwork of citizen-provided disaster relief services. 


95% of major disaster victims are rescued and assisted by neighborhood volunteers, according to FEMA. The ratio of paid-for stand-by response professionals to citizens, in any locality, is always small when measured against the forecasted needs of large-scale disaster relief. Outside help is slow to accumulate and unpredictable in schedule and scale when disaster conditions transform cities into virtual islands, with the flow of outside assistance constricted during the first 2 weeks of rescue and recovery.

Portland’s ≈14,418 professional emergency responders will provide disaster relief services for ≈652,500 Portlanders if the 322 years of ascending Cascadia Subduction Zone tension is relieved on June 7, 2022. That’s a 1:45 ratio.

4 days later, on June 11, rapidly evolving material and communication needs will start to be understood. Satisfying those needs will be a large-scale all-hands-on-deck affair. The utility of private automobiles will be somewhat to completely diminished, depending on local conditions.

Sound the trumpets. Deploy the cargo bikes.

Required Equipment

  • cargo bike or bike and trailer
    • tuned and safety-inspected
    • 200lb(91kg) payload-rated
    • e-bikers must not use throttle mechanism, greater than 1000w motor output, or motor assist above 20mph(32.2kmh), per Oregon Bicycle Racing Association regulations
  • many straps + other cargo management accoutrement
    • plan for fragile/awkward/large/heavy relief cargo
    • 2-16’(0.6-4.9m) strap lengths
  • helmet
    • certified by Consumer Product Safety Commision for bike use
  • roadside repair kit 
  • lock
  • first aid kit
  • work gloves – earthquake rubble compatible
  • safety glasses
  • whistle – quickly accessible for short to medium distance communications
  • compass – quickly accessible for efficient navigation to Checkpoints
  • grease pencil – quickly accessible for all-weather all-surface written communications
  • cell phone – quickly accessible for urgent and emergency communications
  • snacks and water

Required Capabilities

  • proficiency in safely securing and hauling Category-prescribed payload, composed of fragile and/or heavy and/or unwieldy objects, for Category-prescribed duration
  • proficiency in safe, legal, and courteous navigation through urban and Rough Terrain environments, given a detailed map and exact addresses (cargo bikes become hand carts when terrain is unridable)
  • proficiency in fixing flat tires



  • 1 rider
  • 1 electric motor-assisted cargo bike
    • DRT PDX ‘22 is an Oregon Bicycle Racing Association-sanctioned event; accordingly, e-Bike participants must use equipment which complies with OBRA e-bike restrictions.
    • Throttle mechanisms which control electric motor assistance are not permitted.
    • Motor output must not exceed 1,000 watts.
    • Only electric motors which exclusively assist pedaling at speeds up to and including 20 miles per hour permitted. 
  • 1 e-bike battery charging system, off-grid
    • Photo and explanation of off-grid battery-charging system may be e-mailed to disasterrelieftrials@gmail.com prior to Eventbrite registration closure, 11:59pm Monday June 6 for a two minute time bonus. See Registration Process below.
  • Electronic navigation devices permitted only w/proof of off-grid device charging system.
    • If intending to use electronic navigation, photo and explanation of off-grid electronic navigation device-charging system must be e-mailed to disasterrelieftrials@gmail.com prior to Eventbrite registration closure, 11:59pm Monday June 6. See Registration Process below.
  • 7 Checkpoint circuit
  • full 50kg (110lb) payload accumulation
  • 2.5-5 hour mission 
  • eligible for DRT Cargobike Supply Runner endorsement

Mixed Vehicle Pairs 

  • 2 riders
  • 1 non-motorized cargo bike
  • 1 non-motorized regular bike
  • 7 Checkpoint Circuit
  • Full 50kg (110lb) payload accumulation 
  • 3-5 hour mission
  • eligible for DRT Cargobike Supply Runner endorsement 


  • 1 rider
  • 1 non-motorized cargo bike 
  • 7 Checkpoint circuit
  • full 50kg (110lb) payload accumulation 
  • 3-5 hour mission 
  • eligible for DRT Cargobike Supply Runner endorsement 


  • 1 rider
  • 1 non-motorized cargo bike
  • 5 Checkpoint circuit
  • <30kg (66lb) payload accumulation
  • 1-2 hour mission


  • 1-4 family-related riders. Your definition of family is our definition of family.
  • 1+ passengers
  • 1+ cargo bikes, non-motorized or electric motor-assisted
  • e-bikes must conform to E-bike Category motor assist restrictions
  • 4 Checkpoint circuit
  • <30kg (66lb) payload accumulation
  • 2-3 hour mission

Registration Process

  1. If you’re a professional bike courier, skip to 4 and indicate Courier + Category at the top of your Letter of Intent. Also list current employer and cumulative professional bike courier experience. Cargo fee waived.
  2. If you identify as female, BIPOC, or LGBTQIA, skip to 4 and indicate Representation + Category at the top of your Letter of Intent. Cargo fee waived courtesy of Berkshire Ginsberg Attorneys at Law.
  3. Register and pay $30 cargo fee at Eventbrite registration page.
  4. Send e-Mail, titled DRT Letter of Intent, to disasterrelieftrials@gmail.com:
    • All Categories
      • List your name.
      • List your emergency contact.
      • List your neighborhood.
      • List the date you or you and your teammates started cargo biking.
      • List the make/model of your DRT vehicle(s).
      • Feel free to share formative experiences and all else relevant from your cargo bike life/lives.
      • Attach photo(s) of you or your team and your DRT vehicle(s).
    • Family and Mixed Vehicle Pairs
      • List your captain, teammates, and team name. 
    • Family and E-bike Categories
      • If your DRT vehicle is electric motor-assisted, you may attach a photo of your off-grid e-bike battery charging kit for a 2 minute time bonus.
      • If you will be riding an e-bike and intend to use an electronic navigation device, you must attach a photo of your off-grid electronic navigation device charging system.
    • We’ll post your DRT Supply Runner stats and photos on social media unless you’d rather be stealth.
Practice at Cully Park Coffee Klatch, 6:45-10:15am every Tuesday before the event.