Preparedness Response Bike (PRB)
In the evening of March 11, 2011 after the tragic earthquake and tsunami struck northern Japan, many bicycle were sold out in a matter of hours as desperate commuters attempted to make their way home after train and subway lines around the cities were bought to a halt. Closer to the disaster area bicycles were being used to move people and supplies, generate electricity and even to purify water. A small troupe of doctors in the disaster zone chose the bicycle as their main means of transport as bikes allowed them to access areas difficult to access by car. Even in Tokyo, weeks after the disaster many people without running water and were forced to walk to their local water distribution point every few days and carry heavy tanks of water back to their home. For this task many chose to balance water tanks on the back of their bicycles. The P.R.B is one attempt to create a bicycle primarily for use in post disaster situations. Produced by The Heisei Foundation, the bicycle has been designed with a large carrying capacity, in particular the ability to carry a tank of kerosene or water (10L / 20L), a low centre of gravity, long wheelbase and stable kickstand. Accessories including panniers and rack extensions can be used to increase the bikes carrying capabilities even further. The bicycles dynamo powered light can also be used to charge a mobile phone or portable radio. The wide, thick rubber tyres provide an advantage when riding over uneven terrain in uncertain situations.