Hurricane Sandy: Bikes & Disaster Relief

What can a bicycle be?“A machine that is uniquely able to leverage and amplify human effort.”

I was absolutely shocked by the destruction Hurricane Sandy caused in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, etc. As a native South Floridian, I grew up with ‘Hurricane Days’ rather than snow days. It was odd to go a year without one. More than odd, actually. Absolutely bizarre. After years and years of being slammed by these spiraling storms, hurricane prep became fairly routine.

It’s interesting that there haven’t been many major storms hitting South Florida in the past several years. Are the tides (or wind currents) shifting, I wonder? This is pure speculation, but it seems to me that more and more of these storms are headed northeast to make their landfall debut. How do hurricanes even work, for that matter?

Then Hurricane Sandy came along earlier this year to bombard New York. Manhattan flooded, power went out, gas stations rand out of gas, and so on and so forth. To be absolutely frank, I thought the news channels were over-hyping the storm in the days leading up to it. Now I bite my tongue.

With all things stagnant in New York City, bicycles had a chance to shine. From an article in The Atlantic CITIES titled The Power of Bicycles in Disaster Relief, Sarah Goodyear writes about bicycle utility:

“In the early days after the storm, when the trains and buses stopped running, bikes were one of the few reliable ways of moving people, objects, and information around streets choked with debris. They don’t require the gasoline that people are still lining up for hours to get. They don’t need to be charged up – just add some basic food to a human being, and you can power the legs that turn the cranks.”

Weeks later, relief rides are continuing.

And a video on Hurricane Sandy by Bicycle:

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