This summer in Portland, we attended the combination Disaster Relief Trials (DRT) and Fiets of Parenthood. Both have always seemed to be more or less a Portland kind of thing in hypotheticals, although they turn out to be an everywhere kind of thing in actual natural disasters, like say, Hurricane Sandy. Something happens, and suddenly people can only get around on bikes.
In the meantime, why not practice? So for the last three years Portland (among other cities, but isn’t it always Portland?) has been running practice rounds, where people on cargo bikes (and in one case, a skateboard pulling a trailer) run around the city picking up water and supplies and hauling their bikes over obstacles. In the Portland 2014 DRT there was even an electric-assist class, and a “Replenish” class for families like us, who are not into extreme sports kinds of challenges and who are always dragging small humans around. San Francisco has reorganized this into slightly different classes, but they also have a family-friendly bent, with open, open team, citizen (read: family), citizen team, and e-assist classes. I like the team concept a lot.
I’m a bit late to be announcing this party—sorry, it’s been busy—but it’s definitely an event worth checking out if you are cargo bike-curious or already a fan.
Here’s the press release from Xtracycle, and a link to the event itself.
“Xtracycle is proud to be the presenting Sponsor for the 1st annual SF Disaster Relief Trials – 25 years and 2 days after the legendary Loma Prieta earthquake of 1989.
This event is designed to simulate a ‘critical supplies run’ 4 days into a disaster – cargo bikes being the tool to help procure food, water, medicine and supplies for our families, friends and neighbors in need.
On October 19 at 11am, come to the Presidio (Main Post Lawn, Montgomery Street) to see what a cargo bike can do. We will be commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake by displaying a fresh approach to citizen-led disaster relief. Cargo bikes have the greatest power to affect relief in dense urban environments like San Francisco.
DRT SF is being organized by Scott Perkins, the Neighborhood Emergency Response Team (NERT) leader for the Presidio Neighborhood. Scott is a dyed-in-the-wool family cargo biker who is excited to show off cargo bikes to emergency managers and neighbors alike.
San Francisco’s NERT program was developed as a reaction to the 1989 LomaPrieta earthquake: a program to empower citizens to address local disaster recovery needs when first responders are fully absorbed by severe emergencies. There are other fire department-facilitated citizen response teams throughout the country: elswhere known as NET or CERT or similar. As the DRT movement is focused on promoting neighbor-to-neighbor assistance, these citizen-involvement programs might be one of the best in-roads for making cargo bikes a conventional response tool. A DRT competiton will highlight the possibilities.”