The Disaster Relief Trials, an event that showcases the capabilities of cargo bikes in disaster response, will be bigger and better and this year. After a successful inaugural event last year (which has already spawned similar events in Boulder and Seattle), organizers have loaded up the event with new sponsors, new events, a larger expo area, a new location, and much more.
The idea behind the DRT is to put cargo bikes and their riders through a series of tasks that simulate how the bikes would function in response to a major natural disaster (such as an earthquake) when fuel is rationed and roads and bridges are impassible by motor vehicles. Last year, 30 competitors participated while a HAM radio-powered command center tracked their movements via a home base at Velo Cult bicycles in Hollywood.
The big news this year is that the DRT will take place at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry. Organizers have planned an expanded Cascadia Cargo Bike Faire that will be part of an OMSI exhibit on sustainable transportation. Also new for 2013 is the addition of an e-bike class into the competition. In order make sure the electric-assisted bikes operate under the same conditions (no power available) as the non e-bikes, the bikes’ batteries must be charged using some means of alternative or renewable energy. A solar power company will be on-hand to provide on-site charging prior to the event.
The 2013 DRT will have slots for 40 riders which will be split into three classes. They’ll set out on a 30-mile course that has been designed to “demonstrate and challenge the cargo bike’s capabilities in a disaster response situation.” Last year, the event attracted a range of set-ups from the tradition bike trailer to longtails, cycle-trucks, “bakfiets”, and others.
The Cargo Bike Faire will be significantly expanded this year and will include bike manufacturers, cargo bike-based businesses, and more. While the competitors are on course, several speakers have been lined up to entertain the crowds back at the fair. Among the speakers will be Joe Partridge of Genevieve Consulting (read our story on him here), resiliency expert Jeremy O’Leary, and Alice Lasher Busch, Multnomah County’s emergency management coordinator.
The event is slated July 13th. Learn more and contact event organizers via the event’s Facebook page.