Cargo bikes are used to haul everything from yard debris for landscape projects to furniture during a move.
Carbon-conscious parents use the large, sturdy bikes to transport their families. And last week a small contingent
of the Portland bicycling community, aimed to add “emergency supply vehicle” to the long list of functions performed
by cargo bikes.
After a disaster strikes, one of the most important tasks is getting help and supplies to those who need it. But
when obstacles like fallen trees or rockslides prevent other response vehicles from reaching a group of survivors,
we believe that cargo bikes can play an instrumental role.
A bicycle carrying 100 pounds can go many, many places that a vehicle can’t.
To test the feasibility of including bicycles as an official component of a large municipal disaster response
effort, the Portland Office of Emergency Management sponsored this year’s Disaster Relief Trials. Participating
riders were tasked with locating and retrieving emergency supplies along a 30-mile route around the city of
Portland, and then returning the supplies to the starting location. Along the way, various obstacles were set
up to simulate real-world disaster scenarios.
The iEPN annual “Cargo Bike Races” (to be held in Las Vegas NV at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway) invites the
Cargo Biker community to participate in an annual event designed to demonstrate the capabilities and reality of
an alternative means of transportation.
The Cargo Bike Race Annual Event is currently structured as a four day and three night Olympic style event,
whereby Bikers from all over the country come to face the grueling challenges of the “Disaster Alley” obstacle
course filled with competitive events like relay races, time trials, medical evacuations, supply runs, and much
The state of Florida for example has 67 counties and each county selects their Bikers from among professional
agencies and schools (rewarding kids for other iEPN programs) to attend the event and see who takes home the
symbolic Trophy of “Disaster Alley”.
The Cargo Bike Races to be certain is a mega opportunity for public-private partners to participate in
multifaceted marketing campaigns that is part of the iEPN Revenue Engine. Not only is Disaster Alley news
worthy but the media and advertising frenzies help message awareness which in turn builds community resiliency.