Bike heroes prepare for disaster

SEATTLE — Madi Carlson’s main mode of transportation is a bicycle, and that includes her two young sons.

“The kids weigh 80 pounds, so everyday I’m already carrying 80 pounds of kids plus whatever kid gear they have,” said Carlson.

Carlson beleives, in an emergency, she could easily carry 100 pounds of food, water, or even lumber.

That’s part of the plan at Seattle’s first bike disaster drill.

More then 40 Seattle cyclists are peddling along a 10 mile course around the University District, learning what they can do if a major disaster, like a large earthquake, strikes. Because of debris, cars could be useless, but bikes and their riders could be lifesavers.

“Bicycles can ride around quicker,” said Tracy Connelly, with Seattle Emergency Management Agency. “Riders can

do damage assessment, deliver materials, and deliver messages in a quicker way.”

Bikes were critical during Hurricane Sandy, getting food to trapped residents and transporting medics to places vehicles couldn’t reach.

The Seattle cyclists are hauling lumber and sandbags through a course that also hasa few obstacles and gravel to navigate. The idea is they’ll be ready to help if the worst-case scenario hits.

Madi Carlson said she’s ready.

“Just riding a bike as my mode of transportation I kind of feel like a hero, but bringing life-saving supplies ten miles is going to make everyone today feel like a hero.”