More from the bikes/disaster front

More from the bikes/disaster front

Disaster Relief Trials -77

Ready for the apocalypse.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

Along with women on bikes, another major biking theme that has gone from trend to full-fledged movement in 2012 is the connection between bicycles and disasters. From our local efforts here in Portland, to national attention thanks to hurricane Sandy, this is an idea whose time has come.

Check out the developments below, all of which underscore the momentum the bikes/disaster connection has going for it.

Local filmmaker Joe Biel of Cantakerous Titles is working on a documentary about last summer’s Disaster Relief Trials event. Joe filmed the event while being pulled in a cargo trailer and earlier this week he released a trailer of the forthcoming documentary:

Disaster Relief Trials Trailer from Cantankerous Titles on Vimeo.

Speaking of the Disaster Relief Trials, meetings are already underway to make the event bigger and better this year. Also, word on the street is that some folks in San Francisco plan to hold a similar event and there’s even a major corporate sponsor sniffing around.

We all know the work of publisher and author Elly Blue. Guess what the latest title in her quarterly Taking the Lane series is? Yup, Disaster! Bicycling through the apocalypse. According to Elly, contributions so far include, “the story of someone who happened upon a small disaster and found she was able to help. Another navigated a health crisis in her carfree family by bike. Others report on the aftermaths of floods and storms that have affected entire regions. Another examines her family’s response to the economic crisis in Greece.” For more info (and to secure your copy!), check out the Kickstarter campaign underway to fund the project.

And just when I thought the bikes/disaster phenomenon couldn’t get any bigger, look what I found in my mailbox yesterday: The latest edition of Portland Afoot, which just so happens to be “The Apocalypse Issue.” The excellent lead story is by Bill Lascher. In it, he paints a dire picture of what could happen if Portland is hit with the big earthquake or tsunami-related event many predict. But after disaster strikes, Lascher writes that thanks in part to bicycling, “that’s when we’re likely to discover that Portland will be better off in an apolocalypse than it looks.”

Here’s an excerpt:

“Another tool in Portland’s disaster arsenal has drawn more attention: its robust bike culture. Indeed, the earthquake appendix [from a Portland Bureau of Emergency Management report] says bicycles may be the “most practical” way for anyone to get around if a quake damages pipelines… With maybe 5% of pedal trips in the city already happening on bikes that can haul cargo – that’s the rough estimate from Clever Cycles’ Eva Frazier – Portland is unusually ready for action.”

While it’s great to see this continued attention on how bikes might play a role when disaster strikes, my hope is that it reminds people to get themselves prepared. On that note, the Bureau of Emergency Management launched a big effort this week that included a map of emergency communications locations. It might be a good idea to print out that map and stuff it in your emergency supplies.


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