2016 Seattle Disaster Relief Trials


Seattle’s Disaster Relief Trials will take place Sunday, September 25th, 2016 and will run from 11:00AM to 4:00PM, starting from the Alki Bathhouse in West Seattle. This year, the Seattle DRT will be held in partnership with Seattle Summer Parkways, Seattle Emergency Hubs and the Seattle Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS).

Press release and flyers for printing soon to come!

Why Participate?

Imagine the impact a nearby 8.5 magnitude earthquake and subsequent tsunami would have on Seattle. Buildings collapsed, roads in shambles, people displaced, services disconnected. Without roads that are passable to vehicles, how do we provide essential services to injured and scared residents?

Three things need to come together for disaster relief activities to be successful:

  1. The ability to communicate via HAM radio (Seattle Auxiliary Communication Service volunteers)
  2. The ability to move disaster relief supplies (Seattle Cargo and Family bike riders)
  3. Bases of operations (Community Emergency HUBs)

Enter, CARGO BICYCLISTS!  Bikes can traverse the city even when roads seem impassable, and can bring needed medical supplies, person-power, blankets, tools, water, and relief equipment to disaster victims all over the city.  In coordination with Emergency Community and Communication Hubs, these bicyclists will know where to go and what to do, so that their relief activities are targeted to where they are needed.

Join the Disaster Relief Trials to feel the empowerment of biking through the city bringing emergency supplies to grateful citizens!  For the Responder class the DRT is a race, and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers.

Basic Details

  • The Disaster Relief Trials will take place Sunday, September 25th, partnering with the West Seattle Summer Parkways event (in which Alki Ave is open to people and closed to cars, and there will be performances and in-the-street and parks activities galore), from 11am-4pm.
  • It is a fun, emergency preparedness event which mobilizes bicyclists to carry emergency supplies to and from six Community and Communication Hubs throughout West Seattle and White Center.
  • Each of the 6 checkpoints will include a cargo activity for the Responder class, and an emergency response mini-workshop for the Resilient, Family and Citizen classes, as well as for the public. The emergency response activities will be provided by partnering organizations.
  • Each checkpoint will include a ham radio operator (ACS volunteer), who will relay messages from station to station, and track the Cargo racers.
  • Additionally, each station will be staffed by volunteers from that community or communication hub who can provide relevant outreach to the local community, and can help activate the community for the event.
  • The riders will be required to go to the checkpoints in a certain order, and suggested routes along Greenways will be provided, to raise awareness about the local Greenways.

Participation Classes

All riders choose to participate in one of 5 classes. For the Responder and E-assist classes the DRT is an alleycat, and prizes will be awarded to the top finishers. The Resilient and Family classes are more leisurely, and you will have time to participate in family- friendly mini workshops (see below) at each checkpoint as you ride. “Citizen”, non-riders participate for free!

  1. Responder—30 miles, 100 lbs of cargo, all checkpoints/no workshops, timed with awards for top three
  2. E-assist—same as Responder, but with an e-assist on their bike, timed with awards for top three
  3. Resilient—30 miles, up to 20 lbs of cargo (water and food for volunteers), all checkpoints/all workshops, not timed, includes participation ribbon
  4. Family—10-30 miles, with or without e-assist, up to 20 lbs of cargo plus at least one child, minimum 3 checkpoints/workshops, not timed, includes participation ribbon
  5. Citizen—free or , no cargo or checkpoint requirement; enjoy as many workshops as they want, not timed, no participation ribbon

Cargo & Checkpoint Activities

Checkpoint activities include emergency response mini-workshops for the Resilient, E-Assist, Family and Citizen classes, as well as for the general public, including:

  • Zombie Apocalypse Survival
  • Wild Edibles Plant Identification
  • Emergency Sanitation (a dirty but very necessary job!)
  • Emergency Medical Aid
  • Shutting down your household systems in an emergency
  • Bike Maintenance In a Pinch
  • Tsunami Evacuation / Safety Information

Each of the 6 checkpoints will include a cargo activity for the Responder & E-Assist classes. Cargo items may include:

  • Buckets of water from the Puget Sound
  • Tools from the West Seattle Tool Library
  • Bags of Rice to be donated to Rainier Valley Food Bank
  • Wool Blankets
  • Apples, pet food, sand bags, etc.


The goal is to provide a realistic practice of how bicyclists can be a vital link in providing supplies to citizens, in cases where the roads are impassable to larger vehicles, within the context of educating the public and having a great time!

Opportunities to get involved:

  1. Staff a checkpoint and provide an Emergency Response activity
  2. Provide materials such as blankets, 5-gallon buckets, 5 lb bags of apples, burlap coffee sacks, or water filtration supplies
  3. Sponsor the event, and receive your name/logo on the DRT tshirt, website, and program
  4. Volunteer at the event for set up, take down, photography, or myriad other fun opportunities
  5. Partner with DRT in some other way that furthers the mission of fun, community-focused disaster preparedness!