Friday, February 17, 2012

Spokes for Survival - The Bug Out Bike

Unless you are in really good physical condition, bugging out on foot with a heavy pack may not be the best option for some people. If bad things happen and travel by motorized vehicle is not your best option, a bug out bike may be the alternative means of transportation that will get you moving fast without having to worry about buying fuel.

Cycling is a lot less physically demanding than walking and you can cover a greater distance in a shorter period of time on a bike. There are also numerous other advantages of using a bike as a bug-out alternative.

Bug Out Bike Advantages

1. Bikes are readily available in different types and styles that are ideal for all family members.

2. Bikes are reliable and most are easily repaired with a minimum of tools or effort.

3. Bikes normally require less maintenance than a motor vehicle.

4. Bikes have a large number of accessories available such as gear bags, headlights and water bottle holders.

5. Good quality bikes and gear items are available in price ranges that will fit almost any budget.

6. Bikes make traveling at night easier if you need to go in “stealth” mode.

7. Bikes aren’t affected by traffic jams and many styles can easily handle “off-road” terrain as well.

8. Bikes don’t normally require license plates, registration or insurance.

9. Bikes can be easily customized to suit your personal needs.

10. Bikes can be used in normal circumstances for recreational purposes and to increase your fitness levels.

Bikes can be a great alternative means of transportation for you and your gear in an emergency. You can even carry bikes in the back of your truck or on your vehicle with a simple bike rack. They can then be used should your vehicle become disabled. You can even attach a small trailer to your bike if you need to carry an even larger amount of gear.

Bikes can provide a simple, low cost, and effective means of transportation during a crisis.

Got pedal power?

Staying above the water line!



Anonymous said...

Definitely a big "+" if needed like you said. If it ever comes to having to haul water, rolling it along would be much easier than carrying it. Everybody's seen those pictures of people in 3rd world countries carrying incredibly bulky loads with them. An invaluable tool, no doubt about it.

Thanks Riverwalker.

One Fly said...

Ano touches on this. Heavy load and can't make that hill. You can push a bike.

This is the 3rd time matching the words!

Anonymous said...

Forgot to mention above . . .

no flat tires, the solid (tubeless) tires. Should look into these, there are some pluses and minuses. Lord Bison and Vlad had some good posts about them iirc. Especially if you go offroad, these could really extend the life of your bicycle.

John said...

Excellent points. For some, an adult sized trike may be a good mode of survival transportation, too.

Josh said...

For some, an adult sized trike may be a good mode of survival transportation, too.

That's why I keep one of these bad boys in the garage in case of emergency:

riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 7:08

Bikes are an important part of my various as an alternate means of transportation...

Thanks anon.


riverwalker said...

To: One Fly

It's going to be a lot easier to push a load on wheels than to drag a little strain on the old bones also.

Thanks One Fly.


riverwalker said...

To: anonymous 12:16

A can of fix-a-flat or a container of the green tire goo would work as well if you only had the regular type tires.

Probably be a good idea to have a spare tire and tube handy as well.

Thanks anon.


riverwalker said...

To: John

Being a senior citizen type myself, bikes make good sense to me.

Thanks John.


riverwalker said...

To: Josh

I really wasn't thinking along those lines...but a big wheel would be "low profile".

Probably makes good sense to the "younger" generation out there.

Thanks Josh.


Matt said...

Great series on YouTube on Bugout Bikes: Check out

Also, think about Viet Cong use of bikes to transport goods during Vietnam War...

Thx for your work Riverwalker!

Josh said...

I really wasn't thinking along those lines...but a big wheel would be "low profile".

LMAO. Sorry, I couldn't help myself after seeing the comment about an adult-sized trike. The first things that came to mind were big wheels and little red tricycles with pedals on the front wheel. I guess I’ve seen pictures of three-wheeled “bicycle” like vehicles in foreign countries (mostly poor countries), but I don’t recall ever seeing one here in America. They would probably be better suited to carrying gear than a bicycle with a backpack. However, they always look to me like they’d be pretty heavy.

I just did some looking online and found some here in the U.S. The ones I’m finding are either 1 or 3 speeds – that’s not very good. I think a mountain or hybrid bike (my road bike with tires the width of my thumb wouldn’t be a very good bugout bike!) with some type of trailer would be a good way to carry gear with you. You could probably pick up a used child carrier trailer pretty cheap from someone whose child has grown out of it.

Paul said...

First hi I've been reading for a while.
This is an area of knowledge for me so I thought I'd put in two cents. There is a great and well made trailer out there called a Beast of Burden (findable here they are one wheeled so they go wherever your bike goes without being too wide. Being a practical fellow I also built one many years ago out of two departed 10 speeds by using from the down tube back then putting the front wheels in the rear brackets. It towed well with a small child, their stuff and lunch. The bonus was I used the same size tires as the bike so I only needed to carry one spare.

riverwalker said...

To: Matt

Bikes are a pretty basic mode of transportation in a lot of countries. We've fell in love with automobiles and trucks and may forget that there are other fairly decent means of transport available.

Thanks Matt.


riverwalker said...

To: Josh

Figured you might be kidding...

I've seen the 3 speed three-wheelers at Academy with a good-sized basket on the back that looked decent. The old child carrier converted to a trailer might be a better option.

Busy right now trying to figure out the best way to mount my shotgun on the handlebars. lol

Thanks Josh.


riverwalker said...

To: Paul

Thanks for the heads up and the link. It never hurts to check all your options.

Might have to try building a bike trailer myself. I've got a few older bikes that need extensive repairs that might be better used for parts to make a trailer.

Thanks Paul.


millenniumfly said...

I would imagine bicycles have their place in a bug out situation but it wouldn't be a choice above even walking out. The biggest problem I would have is needing to take my bug out bags. Unless I worked to retrofit my bicycles to also store gear it's not for me. Regardless, bicycles should be considered for some people. Thanks for the thoughts.

Anonymous said...

If you really want to explore this option it's worth checking out there are guys that every year ride self supported from Canada to Mexico off road I think, that a setup that can handle that trip could adapt well to survival situations.

Psiberzerker said...

Even if you are in great shape, you'll get farther, faster with the mechanical advantage of a bicycle. For bugging out, though, a regular joe is as likely to die on a bike as on foot, because they assumed it's as easy as hopping on, and going.

Like any gear, guns, knives, and water purification, for examples, a bike is only helpful if you know how to use it. Not just for recreational riding, working out, even commuting, and shopping. Bugging out is a completely different scenario with it's own potentially lethal possibilities.

First of all, loading up a bike with all the gear you need to survive affects it's speed, calories needed to power it, climbing ability, and durability. if you snap the frame hopping a curb because it's overloaded, congratulations, you no longer have a bike. Time to unload it, and continue on foot, hopefully before it gets dark.

If you're not willing to go self sufficient touring, then don't bother getting a bug-out bike. Just hopping on with your gear is likely to wear you out so you can't set up camp, run you out of food so you starve to death, or strand you with more gear than you can carry because you broke too many spokes.

Pick a weekend, and do 1 overnight trip. Ride out, camp, and ride back. Learn to change tubes, and spokes at the roadside with the bike fully loaded. Take the roughest trail you can find with your pack, panniers, and/or trailer attached to see how these affect your handling. This is how you become a bicycle survivalist. No amount of gear can save your life, only you can. Proper training, and equipment only help you keep yourself alive.

riverwalker said...

To: Psiberzerker

You make some very excellent points. Like most things practice and actual training in its use is what makes your gear functional for its intended purpose.

Thanks for the great tips and insight.


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