Nothing can describe the horror of a city that trembles and falls down, and nothing can describe the energy and urgency needed to bring it back on its feet. We are not as helpless or scared as before, and just like our ancestors in Tenochtitlán, we faced adversity with our hands and feet. We are present in streets, public squares, in the whole city and say out loud, “you are not alone!” “Nobody will be forsaken!” You could be me, or I could be you; you could be a relative. Even if I don’t know you, take my hand.
As the city became engulfed in a tense silence, we swiftly went out with our bicycles and made the city move again, reaching places not accessible by roads or because of gas leaks.
First, we corroborated the magnitude of the damage, and saw with our own eyes what had collapsed, damaged buildings, and to confirm rumors and fears. Some started to gather tools, food, water, and medicines. We moved them where they were needed, nonstop. We have been collecting supplies for victims in Oaxaca for some time now. We have a communication channel, backpacks, helmets, bungee cords, cargo bicycles, saddlebags, gloves, and lights we use every day to ride. We go out in groups, with friends. Some of us are co-workers, some others know each other from cycling groups and activism, some others met in the streets, through WhatsApp groups or Zello channels. Thanks to the strength of hundreds of cyclists, men and women, we were able to respond to the emergency, and go to wherever we were needed, day or night, for 70 hours nonstop. We learned this could be done in a better way, that we need to be prepared and better organized in case of a bigger disaster, of greater damage – in case the city needs us. This is why we want to systematize everything we learned, in order to be prepared and for the whole cyclist community to be ready to respond and support in the event of a similar situation.