Riders In The Storm

Latest update November 8, 2013 Started on November 8, 2013
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The Bike Scouts Project is an initiative to create a network of Volunteer Bicycle Messenger teams in places around the Philippines that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change such Typhoon Yolanda in 2013.

November 8, 2013
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Expedition Background

The Bike Scouts Project is an expedition into the front-lines of climate change, using bicycles, drones, cameras, and mobile devices to create a documentary and a map of the many places in the Philippines that are both beautiful but dangerously vulnerable to the effects of a drastically changing climate.


The Bike Scouts started in 2013, on the day that Typhoon Yolanda made landfall in the Philippines. Within a few days, the first Volunteer Bicycle Messenger teams of the Bike Scouts deployed to Tacloban City and Samar Island and worked for four months to provide an alternative way to communicate for people that were isolated by the typhoon. The Bike Scouts teams also collected disaster data that was shared with it's media partner, Rappler, that also provided the Bike Scouts with access to the internet from "ground zero" through its satellite IP van. Bicycles allowed the Bike Scouts to access many places that nobody else could reach, and satellite access to the web allowed us to upload some of the most critical data and personal messages for families and friends of people that would have otherwise been out of touch for months.

Five years on, the Bike Scouts have grown into a community of volunteer teams that are local to the places where they serve throughout the Philippines. Many of these places are along the Pacific Ocean coastline of the country and are the most affected by annual storms. Most of these places are the most beautiful that anyone will find in the world, anywhere. However, because of their isolation, they are also the most affected. Some places can only be reached by boat, or by foot trails along the islands edge and sometimes they also go over mountains.

Using bicycles, and sometimes also on foot, the Bike Scouts embark on many different expeditions to reach these places and map the communities that are there. Bike Scouts is often the first and only organization that bring technology to these places that can genuinely help them become resilient and prepared. We share technology like drones for aerial mapping, bicycles for mobility, and we provide training and access to mobile apps that local communities can download for free and easily learn to help them connect, collaborate, and learn.

Our most immediate goal is to reach as many places along the Pacific Ocean coastline of the Philippines, and also other areas that are within what we refer to as the Philippines' "Typhoon Corridor," an area where all storms that have visited the country throughout its history have repeatedly caused massive damage and loss of life - to make a map of the communities, the surrounding terrain, and also to gather data about what is still needed to help create resilience and sustainability for people and the environment. By doing this work, we believe that we help communities become better prepared for the worsening effects of climate change. As an added benefit, Bike Scouts expeditions to these places will also help tell the story of adaptation and survival in some of the most far-flung areas using 21st century technology and the simplicity of bicycles. Please visit our website for more information: www.bikescouts.org #wearebikescouts #thisiswhyweride

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