2016 Disaster Relief Trials set for October 22nd

2016 Disaster Relief Trials set for October 22nd

2014 Disaster Relief Trials-58

The annual event tests the limits of bicycles as an emergency response tool.
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Bicycles — especially durable ones that can carry lots of stuff — will be one of the most important tools we have when a disaster strikes. They don’t need fuel, they can be carried over obstacles, they can haul lots of medical supplies and food, and they can even be used to generate electricity if necessary.

It’s been over five years since we first reported on how bikes can help us in our time of need. And now for the fifth year in a row a group of Portlanders has come together to organize the Disaster Relief Trials, an event that acts as an inspirational innovation catalyst and educational platform for our bicycle-oriented community.

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A competitor rolled through a water obstacle at the 2015 event.

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How much supplies could you load on your bike in an emergency?

This year’s event will be held on October 22nd in conjuction with the City of Portland’s Emergency Preparedness Fair at the University Place Hotel (which also serve as DRT basecamp).

Here’s the event description:

Portland cyclists are called to test their navigation, problem solving and load-hauling mettle on October 22th, 2016 in a disaster drill designed to showcase the relevance of cargo bikes to disaster relief. This year’s competition will again feature a “hub-and-spoke” checkpoint arrangement, centered in downtown Portland at the at the University Place Hotel. Riders will begin at the “hub” and return periodically to complete disaster relief challenges, making this year’s event especially spectator friendly. The LeMans start, barrier crossing, awkward load lashing, and harried relief cargo delivery will all be located at the campus hub. Between moments of DRT action, spectators can visit a Preparedness Fair sponsored by the Downtown Neighborhood Association inside the hotel. The fair will offer information and activities to get you prepared for any disaster.

All types of riders are encouraged to sign-up and get involved. There are separate classes for families, teams, electric-assist, beginners, and seasonsed disaster riders. Registration (which starts at $35) discounts are available for professional bike messengers and students. Scholarships are also available.

For inspiration and background, check out our coverage from past events. Learn more and register at the event’s Facebook and sign-up page.

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

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