Alternative Bug-Out Vehicles

Left Coast Chuck
By Left Coast Chuck June 4, 2018 08:29

Alternative Bug-Out Vehicles

Claude’s note: This is the forth part of article written by one of our most respected readers and opinion leader, Left Coast Chuck. Here is the first part, the second part and the third part.

RECUMBENT BIKES

At one time, a recumbent bike held the world’s record for the most distance traveled on roads in 24 hours. “Wow!” you say. “That’s the bike for me.”

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of Moving

Well, there’s a catch. The recumbent bike was highly streamlined, and the rider was not your average weekend rider. I don’t remember the distance traveled nor who the rider was, but the ’bent was a Rans Screamer, which is a very fast bicycle. I have ridden a ’bent for very short distances on two occasions. One was a demo model that for some reason hurt my knees riding it, which is unusual. Typically a recumbent is purchased because it’s gentle on the rider’s knees. The other was a tadpole type ’bent – two wheels in the front and a single wheel in the back – which I tried my best to overturn because it looked like a spill waiting to happen. I certainly tried my darnedest to tip that bike over but was unable to make it happen. Looks can be deceiving. It was made in Oz, and I saw it at a bike show. I have never seen one again, so it may not have had enough interest to bring it to the U.S.

On flat areas and downhill, ’bents are faster than uprights, with the exception of tandem recumbents. It’s on hills where uprights gain on ’bents. Because ’bents are heavier, they are definitely slower uphill. However, many riders with some kind of disability ride ’bents, and they are reportedly more comfortable on a long ride. They are difficult to transport due to their extra length, though, and they take up more room in your garage too. I must admit that until I wrote this article, I had not considered a recumbent as a bug-out bike. I will have to give that some thought, but I think I will stick with what I have for now. Everything I said about the components on an upright still applies to ‘bents. Quality lasts.

Related: DIY Bicycle Generator

MOTORIZED BIKES

I don’t own motorized bikes and haven’t owned one since I was in Japan. I fervently hope they are better than the one I owned there, which had the precursor to continuously variable transmissions. Unfortunately, because it was a precursor, it spent a lot of time in the shop being adjusted. When it ran as it was supposed to, however, it was fine.

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of MovingMotorized bikes in Japan at that time were limited to a 49cc engine. At 50cc the bike became a motorcycle, and one needed to take the very difficult Japanese driver’s license test and get a license for the bike, so most troops used motorized bikes instead. They were two-stroke, buzzed like all two-strokes, and smoked due to the oil and gas mixture they burned.

If I were committed to a motorized bug-out bike, I would pick a gasoline-powered one. In an EOTW situation, gas will be available from a variety of sources for a while. However, when gas is finally gone or has gone bad, you will be left with a heavier bike to pedal around. Two writers wrote about how they converted a pedal bike to motorized in response to my other post. I looked online for motorized bikes, and all I could find were places that sell you a kit and the name of someone local who might install it for you. From that I gathered there could be either a liability issue they didn’t want to address, or a legal issue with using the bike that they were skirting. If I were seriously considering a motorized bike as a bug-out vehicle, I would open a dialog with both the gentlemen who wrote about their adventures with motorizing pedal bicycles as they have far more firsthand experience in that area than I do. I would also check local laws regarding motorized bicycles if you plan to use it before the end of the world.

Related: No Gas, No Electricity… How To Cook Indoors Without Smoke

ELECTRIC BIKES

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of Moving

I would not consider an electric bike for bugging out. At present the distance one can travel on an electric bike, even a bike that charges while coasting downhill and pedaling, is limited. Eventually the charge will run out and you’ll be stuck pedaling a very heavy bike, while also attempting to recharge the battery. While I am the first to admit I don’t know much about the capability of various solar chargers available in the marketplace, I do not believe that you would be able to utilize a solar charger large enough to charge the battery while on the move. If I am wrong in that belief, I am sure someone will jump in with the necessary information regarding a solar unit that will charge an electric bike on the move.

Now, having said that, I see some merit in an electric bike for local trips if you are bugging in. You can leave it hooked up to a solar charger. An electric bike hooked up to a trailer will enable you to haul a heavier load on the trailer than a bike pedaled by human power alone. You can charge it in your bug-in location so it has a full charge each time you venture out. You don’t want to get chased by a gang intent on evil, with a heavy load on your trailer, and have your power go out. If I decided to go that route, I would have backup batteries and would certainly explore adding extra battery power to the bike to increase speed and/or distance capability.

Having said that, in an EOTW scenario, the batteries will eventually die. In all my preps, I try to plan for the eventuality that everything modern will eventually die and be irreplaceable. Batteries may last ten years, but if the EOTW lasts 25, that leaves you short by well over a decade. Every electric bike I have seen is built like a beach cruiser. Weight is certainly not a consideration in building an electric bike. The frames are heavier, the wheels are heavier, and they have heavy electric motors and generators. Riding an electric bike with a dead battery is certainly going to build your thigh muscles. Pedaling a dead electric bike, even if you strip it of the motor and generator and all the other parts necessary for the electric side, you will soon be convinced that walking is better.

While that may be the state of electric bikes today, things are constantly changing, and it may be that some time in the not too distant future, an electric bike that charges as it drives and has a much greater distance and weight capability may hit the market. If that happens, everything above about electric bikes, of course, will change.

Certainly rubber tires and tubes won’t last indefinitely either, but as someone pointed out, solids are available in the marketplace and would be something to consider for long-term tire/tube replacement. Further, in an extended period without tires/tubes, someone will devise a method to put something on bicycle wheels that will enable one to ride the bike, although probably not quite as fast nor as easily as with pneumatic tires. It could be animal skins with an intestine bladder that can be blown up. It could be animal skins with leaves and grass stuffed inside. A pneumatic rubber tire can be stuffed with leaves and grasses if there are no tubes. It rides rough and doesn’t go as fast, but it’s still faster than walking. It may be that solid wheels with wooden spokes take the place of pneumatic tires. I don’t know what avenue some inventive mind will go down.

Related: DIY Stove Made From Used Tire Rims

OTHER MODES OF MOVING

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of MovingIn almost every prepper novel and how-to book I have read, either the prepper has the foresight to have a 1975 Chevy dually, the only working motor vehicle for 100 miles around, or he’s moving out on shanks’s mare. There are only a few prepper novels where the hero is riding a bicycle. Steven Konkoly’s series has the family riding bicycles until, fortuitously, the hero hooks up with a former Marine comrade who supplies him with armored-up Humvees and trucks.

On the Road is a novel I read where the hero used a shopping cart to move his and his son’s gear on their journey. Everybody else was hauling all their gear in backpacks and walking. Let me state right here that hiking with a backpack may recall visions of hairy-chested mountain men, and may have former service people harking back to the days when they hiked in the deserts of Iraq or the Hindu Kush. Those were also the days when they were in their late teens or early 20s, and probably in pretty good shape. They also overlook the fact that most of the time they traveled in a helicopter or rode in a convoy, and were inserted to continue on foot. The days of slogging across Europe on foot are the days of your grandfathers. Our modern armed forces mostly move by vehicle.

In addition, most military operations depend on re-supply by air or by motor vehicle. If you are bugging out at the end of the world, unless you have that 40-acre farm just outside of town where you have prepositioned supplies, you don’t actually have a supplied destination. If you are hiking to Uncle Harry’s farm 75 miles away, you are hoping against hope that (1) Uncle Harry is going to welcome you with open arms and (2) that Uncle Harry and Aunt Sally have continued to put away the produce of their farm and aren’t relying on weekly trips to Costco to supply their needs.

If you planned on bugging in but circumstances have developed beyond your ability to withstand it, and you are bugging out as a last resort, you are hoping to be able to survive until you reach some place where you can put down roots so that you and your family can survive until things improve. Unless you just resign yourself to your family enduring what I feel will become slave labor camps run by some governmental agency or independent local warlord, you are going to need to be self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency means hauling more than 30 pounds on your back, so let’s consider some other ways to haul gear other than the F-150 in your driveway or the four Diamondback mountain bikes that are still sitting in the bike shop—or not, because the bike shop has been plundered while you were still trying to decide what to do.

Related: Affordable Vehicles That Can Survive an EMP

GARDEN CARTS

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of Moving

While your first choice may be different for your own reasons, the garden cart is my next choice for an alternative bug-out vehicle, after a bicycle.

We have all seen pictures of refugees fleeing from some approaching enemy during WWI and WWII, as well as other more recent armed conflicts. Many have hand carts that are loaded with more stuff than they should be carrying. However, two-wheeled garden carts are rated as able to carry up to 450 pounds. That’s a lot of stuff, and with two people each pulling a garden cart, that is almost half a ton of supplies. Garden carts come with heavy-duty pneumatic wheels. A trip to the local bike shop will enable you to stock up on tire liners. Slime and prep the tires for goatheads, glass, and other tire-puncturing debris. You should also stock up on bicycle tire irons, patch kits, a set of spare tires, and several tubes. If you can buy wider tires than the cart comes equipped with, you should consider that. I think a non-folding cart would tend to be sturdier than a folding garden cart, although a folding cart would be easier to store until the ETOW.

I would purchase a cart that had a bow-shaped handle rather than two pole-like handles. Two people should be able to get inside the bow and pull the cart up a steep hill by leaning their weight against the bow easier than two pole-type handles.

If you have children that are too small to walk, a garden cart may be the answer to transporting them and the gear you need to survive.

Garden carts are available from a variety of sources, both locally and online.

GAME CARTS

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of MovingThis is my number two choice for a bug-out vehicle. If you saw the picture of the bike with the game cart attached, you can see how much of a load it can carry. Game carts are made for hunters. You can see them at Sportsman’s Guide, Bass Pro, Cabela’s, and Midway; even Amazon has an extensive list of game carts.

They usually have two wheels and a large platform on which to pile the dead game. They are really designed for cross country hauling, as most game is not shot in the parking lot at Walmart but in some remote area that one either hikes to or rides to on an ATV. They are more expensive than hand trucks because they sell to a smaller market – there are fewer hunters than there are delivery drivers and warehouse workers. I would opt for the lightest game cart that has the highest weight rating. That seems contradictory, but with the game carts I have seen, it seems the more expensive carts are aluminum, and they also had the highest weight-hauling capacity. If you are into fat tire bikes, Rambo bikes have an attachable game cart. Be sure to check your credit card limit before you order that combo however.

Related: How to Conceal Weapons in Your Vehicle

FOUR-WHEEL WAGONS

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of MovingNo, I am not talking about a Radio Flyer, although for lack of anything better, that could haul your backpack rather than you carrying it on your back. I am talking about industrial-capacity four-wheel wagons. I have seen them rated to 1,500 pounds.

I would get the heaviest rated wagon I could find that had removable sides. I would even consider a flat wagon before I considered one with non-removable sides. Yesterday I was in Harbor Freight, and the type of wagon I am discussing was displayed. It was flat and didn’t have any sides. I didn’t do an in-depth examination of it, however, so it may come with sides. It was rated for 1,000 pounds and was $80. If you want a cheap bug-out vehicle to haul the stuff you need to survive, this looks like the best bang for your buck.

While having four wheels is easiest for moving over smooth surfaces, that particular wagon at Harbor Freight had wide tires to make hauling over rough surfaces easier. Hauling your gear up a dirt mountain trail could prove to be a chore. However, there is nothing to prevent you from unloading your gear and moving it piecemeal up the mountain trail and then hauling the wagon up empty. In an EOTW situation, you are going to have to think outside the box.

If your children are too small to be able to walk any kind of distance, and if you need to haul a lot of gear to support four people or more, a couple of whom are not able to carry any kind of load, a four-wheel, industrial-capacity wagon may be a good choice.

Related:  7 EMP Proof Items for Your Bugout Bag

HAND TRUCKS

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of MovingWe’re all familiar with hand trucks. We see them at stores, and UPS drivers use them to haul heavy loads to the door. I keep two luggage carts in our vehicle every time we leave town. At our age, my wife and I are in no shape to be hiking any distance carrying heavy packs. I consider our biggest risk to be while we are traveling in our car, so the hand trucks get put in our van every time we leave town, even if it is just to drive to Los Angeles for the day. Depending upon where in LA, we could be anywhere from 60 to 100 miles from home, and even making good time, it would take us six days or more to get home from common destinations in LA. Our hand trucks are lightweight luggage carts with two wheels that fold up. We don’t need a heavy-duty hand truck like you might see a trucker use.

You can always haul a bigger load on a hand truck than you can carry on your back. Unless you are in good physical shape and frequently hike many miles, you will also be able to travel faster hauling your gear than carrying it on your back. So hand trucks and luggage carts are a way to carry your gear when you have to bug out or get home, and they enable you to move faster and carry more.

This load capability applies even if you are traveling over dirt paths or gravel roads. If the surface you’re traveling on is so soft that the wheels get bogged down in it, you are going to have the same problem walking with a pack. Upon the approach of hostiles, carrying a rifle on a sling on my shoulder and pulling a handcart, I can get on the ground or into cover by dropping the handcart and can be ready for action quicker than I can shuck a backpack with a sternum strap, a waist band, and shoulder straps plus the rifle. If I need cover for the rifle, an extra-large lightweight lab coat will do the trick. If the weather is cold or inclement, a poncho will hide the rifle carried muzzle down. That’s how we carried our M1s when I was fooling around with Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children and we got caught out in the rain.

So hand trucks, one for each member of the family able to pull one – even the little kiddies; if they can’t pull a 500-pound rated hand truck, they can certainly pull a lightweight luggage cart with their sleeping gear and clothes.

So why a hand truck? Why not wheeled luggage? Well, if that’s all you have, you have to go with what you have. However, hand trucks are designed to go over unpaved parking lots, floors covered with debris, and other rough surfaces. Wheeled luggage is designed to be dragged through airport and terminals, or from your car in the paved parking lot into the hotel lobby. There are some large cargo bags that might take the place of a hand cart, but they seem a much more expensive option.

Related: My 5 Worst Fears for 2018

GROCERY CARTS

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of MovingWe have all seen the homeless plodding along the street pushing all their worldly goods in a grocery cart. Does that mean it’s an ideal vehicle for bugging out?

No, far from it. The reason you see the homeless using grocery carts is because grocery carts are free. In California, stealing a grocery cart won’t even get you arrested. It is a citable offense. That means the cop writes you a ticket. If you sign it, that is a promise to appear like you get when you blow through a stop sign. You won’t get hauled off to jail, and the cop won’t confiscate the cart because they don’t have any way to transport it; they’re not going to put it in their squad car. In our town, the guy who collects errant grocery carts only works downtown two days each month. So the cop tells the homeless guy he has just issued a meaningless piece of paper to take the cart back where he got it. The homeless guy says, “Okay, officer,” and makes a pretense of heading off to the store from whence it came. If the cop is a hardcase, he will watch the homeless guy for a few minutes and then get back in his squad car and drive away.

As soon as the cop leaves, the homeless guy throws the ticket away and goes about his business. It’s a formalized dance, and the price of admission is the taxes we pay and the price of groceries we buy at the market.

The grocery cart is, in my opinion, one of the worst vehicles to pick as a bug-out vehicle. It’s better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick, but not much. For one thing, the wheels are too small for progress over any surface except a paved parking lot or the floor of a market. In addition, in some cities in the PDRK, to cut down on the number of grocery carts all over town markets are required by law to provide carts that are difficult to remove from the parking lot. Some stores have opted for an RFID locking device that locks a wheel if you leave the parking lot limits. Others have put a bar on the cart that makes it difficult to go over curbs and similar structures. If a grocery cart is in your plans for bugging out, you might need a wrench to remove the locking wheel and swap it for a free wheel off another cart. However, in an EMP event or perhaps even a CME, the RFID. emitter may be disabled and you might not have to remove the wheel. I don’t know enough about RFID to be able to assert any kind of opinion; it may be that all the carts are locked up if the RFID emitter is down.

Related: 7 Super Cheap Foods To Stockpile That People Usually Throw Away

Grocery carts are top heavy. If you have ever tried to wheel your grocery cart over a parking lot with a lot of broken pavement, you can visualize how that would work in an EOTW situation where the road may be littered with debris. If you have ever had a wheel catch some small piece of debris in the store and lock up so that three wheels turned and one wheel just skidded along, now visualize the roads covered with broken glass, shards of metal, small pieces of wood, etc. You would be clearing the wheels every 25 feet.

Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of Moving

SINGLE-WHEEL WHEELBARROWS

Just below grocery carts, or perhaps on a par with them, is the single-wheel construction wheelbarrow. While still better than hauling a pack on your back, I personally have trouble keeping a wheelbarrow from tipping when it is heavily laden and I am trying to go over rough ground. You may be more skilled with a wheelbarrow than I am, but it would be low on my list of bug-out vehicles.

TRAVOIS

Trav…what?

If you did any reading when you were young about life among the Plains Native Americans, you probably read that they moved their villages by travois.

Before the Europeans introduced horses into the New World, travois were pulled by women, children, and even dogs that were hitched to it. They were ideal for a people who had not invented the wheel.

After the Europeans introduced the horse, someone figured out that they could hitch the travois to a horse and move a lot more gear.

The travois can handle travel over rough surfaces. The interstate highway system had not yet been installed when the Native Americans were chasing bison over the plains and the women were dragging travois after the men who were chasing the bison.Recumbent Bicycles, Gasoline-Powered Bikes, Electric Bikes, and Other Modes of Moving

If I am forced to use a travois to escape, I plan on using the two parts of my extension ladder to make it. If I can attach wheels to the dragged end, it will make dragging it a lot easier. The ladder is aluminum, so it’s lightweight, and it’s rated to 250 pounds in its extension form, which means the ladder in travois form should be able to haul even more. The rungs are hollow, so I can run a threaded rod through the bottom rung and use it as an axle for the wheels.

The drawback to the travois is that it is noisy, even with wheels. Dragging a travois will be slower going than almost any other kind of vehicle. However, that said, it’s easier to drag a travois than carrying that load on your back.

I hope this series of articles has provided some food for thought on various means of moving your gear other than the he-man-big-pack-on-back-go-live-in-mountains-eat-grubs-and-tree-leaves methods that a lot of “experts” seem to talk about.

In my view, carrying your gear on your back is at the bottom of the list. If there is absolutely, positively no other way to move your gear, then staggering off with your gear on your back is what you are left with.

If you are forced to carry your gear, that 75-mile trip to Uncle Harry’s farm is going to probably take you two weeks or more. After the first day or two, you will be lucky to make five miles a day. You may walk more than that, but when you put a ruler on the map, you will be in for a disappointment.

In some areas, finding water will be relatively easy. If you are in SoCal, finding water is like finding an honest politician—few and far between. You will be spending a lot of time searching houses, offices, and businesses for hot water heaters. Of course, you will have to approach that task very carefully because the homeowner who is bugging in may not appreciate sharing his water stash with you. The looters may not have finished trashing the store you chose to search for a hot water heater or bottled water on the shelves. Preparing meals and taking care of bodily functions always take more time than planned. Finding a secure hiding place for overnighting may take a long time too. There are all sorts of ways for time to slip by that cut down on your daily mileage.

The longer you are on the road, the more time those chores are going to take. You may go three days without a hot meal, but eventually your body and your morale are going to demand something hot. Bugging out with a pack on my back that is so popular in all the survivor manuals and novels is absolutely the last thing I want to do. I would rather mount my pack on a skateboard than have to walk five miles with a loaded pack. I got enough of that when I was playing around with Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children to last me two lifetimes. Been there, done that. I hated it then, and I am absolutely, positively certain that I will still hate it if I’m forced to do it. To badly paraphrase Patrick Henry, give me wheels or give me death.

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Left Coast Chuck
By Left Coast Chuck June 4, 2018 08:29
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57 Comments

  1. Wolverine June 4, 13:26

    A great Bugout vehicle is a gas Golf cart with a 6″ lift kit, a winch, and a High torque kit, they do about 18 mph and get about 45 miles per gallon, most have a 6 gallon fuel tank. With a trailer hitch you can tow a small trailer also for your supplies.

    Reply to this comment
    • Prospector June 4, 18:51

      A more versatile vehicle would be a 4 wheeler (ATV) which will go over very rough terrain and also can tow a trailer

      Reply to this comment
    • Nevads June 5, 18:29

      No its not… that’s a stupid piece of plastic shit….

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck June 5, 21:01

        That is hardly a helpful reply. Why don’t you explain why a gasoline engined golf cart or 4 wheel drive ATV would not be a useful buyout vehicle in an EOTW situation.

        A reasoned explanation is much more valuable to everyone on the list. Have you had a really unsatisfactory experience with either of those vehicles that you would like to share? We might learn if there is any validity to your opinion if you shared that information.

        Personally, I find remarks like yours totally valueless.

        Reply to this comment
        • Wolverine June 6, 04:23

          left coast chuck, I myself wouldn’t use a ATV, most are 1 seaters, my golf cart can ride 3 persons, I have a utility box in the rear for holding items, I know one company that makes a shotgun rack also, I realize some of the comments are way off base that I have been reading. As for my golf cart goes, I pull a 1500 lbs. payload with it and has no problems with the high torque drive kit doing it, also I forgot to mention is having a small 14 inch chainsaw to clear paths through the woods if need be, most people whom are preppers don’t always plan ahead, the winch can pull most of the logs out of the way.

          Reply to this comment
          • left coast chuck June 6, 16:52

            Wolverine: A couple of years ago I rode in an ATV on a hunt where the guide had an ATV that seated six people. It was tracked and would go almost everywhere but like all tracked vehicles it was hardly the vehicle for sneaking anywhere. I suspect the gas mileage was atrocious. One would need to haul a fuel trailer behind in order to go any distance. Not to worry, it rode so roughly that one couldn’t stand to go any distance without a break.

            If you are brush bucking, a chainsaw is a good idea. All of which presupposes that there is gas and that gas engines will work.

            Reply to this comment
  2. Graywolf12 June 4, 13:28

    My duel wheel wheelbarrow is much easier to push or pull, and it will carry at least 2 X the amount you can carry in a single wheel barrow.

    Reply to this comment
    • PB- dave June 4, 21:27

      Don’t know about you guys, but those 2 wheeled wheelbarrows handle more like a cart to me than a traditional irish buggy (wheelbarrow). They seem ok for moving a load over a path, but for work I like the single wheel’s maneuverability . Might want to check the neighbors out before buying one of your own……

      Reply to this comment
      • Graywolf12 June 4, 23:53

        I have had mine for about 17 years. I use it t haul large loads of fire wood, and garden supplies. When we built our greenhouse we used it to haul 2 yards of pea gravel about 100 feet from the gate to the green house. I will probably never have a single wheel wheelbarrow again.

        Reply to this comment
  3. Chuck June 4, 14:21

    What about motorized scooters or golf carts especially for seniors or wagons that gardeners use??

    Reply to this comment
  4. Reticent Rogue June 4, 14:28

    Thinking outside the box is certainly part of the survivalist mindset and all the points to be made here are worth discussion. So, with all due respect, Chuck, a few counterpoints. First, all the examples other than motorized ones are for various reasons short distance vehicles. Granted, there are various levels to ‘bugging out,’ but, if one is forced to do so against his will, then most likely it will be to a place far out-stripping the range of the suggested alternatives—with far less gear than he’d like. Most of those mentioned are neither more nor less useful for bugout than they are for their intended purpose. Ever try to push a shopping cart with those tiny tires down a dirt road? Even on gravel or rough concrete it will beat you to death. Hobos and street people don’t bug out; they bug into society’s cracks. You can’t carry anymore on a bike than a back pack will hold but they save you a lot of calories going downhill. Yes, you can carry more in a wheel barrow or wagon—300 pounds versus 30—but, if you aren’t in good enough shape to carry a 30lb. backpack, you won’t push or pull them very far. If compelled to hoof-it, I prefer making the most efficient use of what a back pack can do and a good, comfortable pair of shoes. Still…the article was good mental exercise.

    Reply to this comment
    • gale June 5, 03:22

      you are wrong about the amount you can carry on a bicycle, The VC used bicycles to haul rice, weapons and other supplies for a couple hundred kilometers from North Vietnam into the south, many had three or four sacks of rice, each weighting at least 40 kg. Here in the Philippines they put side cars on the bicycles and haul twice that much, but can only go on paved streets that way.

      Reply to this comment
      • Reticent Rogue June 6, 12:18

        I have made mistakes in my life but do not recall ever having been ‘very wrong’ about anything. I have firsthand knowledge of some of the miraculous achievements of the Vietnamese people. I have seen ‘refugee alleys’ on three continents and don’t recall a one that was not strewn with personal items and vehicles that were a bad choice for the trip. As for bicycles loaded with 300 pounds of grain, etc. I would point out that, as Chuck wrote in the article, “Those were also the days when they were in their late teens or early 20s, and probably in pretty good shape.” These were the mostly young folk who were battling against those 20-something Americans. I would posit that because of lifestyle and culture, most Americans are not their match in bicycle-burden capabilities. And the indisputable point is that if you cannot carry a 30 pound pack very far, you will not push a 300 lb. bicycle very far either. But, don’t take my word; next time you are feeling spry, load one up and see how far you get—better yet, tell me how you feel after pushing it a couple of days. The main point of labeling something ‘alternative’ is that your first choice is not available and you should be aware of the limitations of your second.

        Reply to this comment
    • Graywolf12 June 9, 19:05

      If I had to use a bike as a bugout mode of transportation I would put training wheels on it for more stability, and allow me to let go if I need to draw a gun for protection.

      Reply to this comment
  5. Bill June 4, 14:57

    Left Coast Chuck has some great input into this online magazine. (See my articles on a bug out house in Mexico and how to do rainwater harvesting). Living in a small town far from my bugout place or even nearby relatives, we’d have to depend on a motorized vehicle. Just bought a Toyoya Prius Prime which is an EV (hybrid) that gets 25 miles on a charge and overall 75 mpg, which is tops of all cars. Now I’m not real clear whether an EMP would cripple its ability to be mobile BUT it can be charged with solar panels (I have some) if the grid is out. My panels are 180 watt output each and cost less than $1 watt. They will last up to 50 years. (The car, probably not as long!)

    Reply to this comment
    • Prospector June 4, 18:46

      To my understanding of an EMP, the waves emitted destroys capacitors in all electronics which would make your vehicle useless

      Reply to this comment
    • gale June 5, 03:26

      I doubt that the electronics, running the motor and the engine will survive and EMP, I am pretty sure that they are not harden nearly enough, so you ware probably on foot. The only vehicles that would survive are those that have a older type carburetor, point ignition, and a generator, not an alternator. Otherwise forget it.

      Reply to this comment
      • gale June 5, 03:35

        One thing I forgot, you will probably have to replace the capacitor on the distributor as the EMP will probably destroy that.

        Reply to this comment
  6. left coast chuck June 4, 16:26

    That’s what’s so great about this list. I hadn’t even known that there were gasoline golf carts. I don’t play golf and it has been more than 60 years since I caddied and the big breakthrough 60 years ago was the little hand pulled golf bag carriers. There were zero golf carts. That is a mode of transportation certainly worth considering.

    I have zero experience with a 2-wheel wheelbarrow. When I bought my one wheeler was so long ago I don’t think they were making 2-wheelers. I think a 2-wheeler would certainly be preferable to a single wheel wheelbarrow.

    As I indicated in the article, in my view, presently electric vehicles just don’t have the range to make them a satisfactory bug-out vehicle. The endodontist I recently consulted has a Tesla. It’s a beautiful vehicle but it’s range is less than 100 miles and the price tag out the door is close to $100 thousand. That’s pretty expensive for a vehicle that will barely get you out of LA city limits.

    I disagree with Reticent’s comments. First of all he merely reiterated what I said about a grocery cart. I think one would soon abandon it in a bug out situation. Secondly, I know that a bicycle can carry more than you can carry on your back. With dual front panniers and dual rear panniers and a bag on top of the luggage rack, it is possible to carry enough gear to cross the United States. Of course you would have to replenish food and water, but one can easily carry a significant amount of baggage on a bike. If you add a trailer to the pannier assortment you might not even have to forage for food. It became popular to ride bikes across country in 1976. It has continued every summer since then. There are hundreds, if not thousands of riders who ride across the U.S. on self-supported rides. They carry far more than one can carry on their back.

    Reticent, I would suggest you go back and read my articles about the bicycle as a bug out vehicle.

    Bill, I am afraid in an EMP your Prius is going to be toast. Dr. Arthur Bradley is working on a blanket that one can cover one’s motor vehicle with that will help resist EMP energy. It is not ready for market yet. My daughter has a Prius and it is so electrical it is unbelievable. While there have been no real tests of how vehicles would fare in an EMP attack, the general consensus of opinion seems to be that the electrical systems on newer vehicles would be fried and the vehicle would be inoperable. If I were investing in a motorized dugout vehicle I would be looking for a pre-1980 vehicle that when I opened the hood I could identify all the parts. There would be no hoses or wires where I thought to myself “Hmm. I wonder what this hose is for? What function does this wire perform?”

    Modern cars are just loaded with microprocessors and microprocessors are very vulnerable to the kind of overloads an EMP would cause.

    With all the studies and research the federal government funds, such as teaching prostitutes about sex — Huh? Yeah, a quarter of a million of your tax dollars went to fund a project to teach prostitutes about sex.

    I don’t know why there hasn’t been valid research into the vulnerability of vehicles to an EMP attack. Maybe there has and for some obscure inane political reason the results have been kept ultra secret.

    Again, the majority of opinion is that many more vehicles would be able to remain functional after a CME event. But there are many variables to that postion and again, no real studies done to ascertain the true picture.

    If you have other alternative vehicles in mind, please post them. It is the exchange of information from the readers that makes this list so valuable.

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    • gale June 5, 03:34

      As to why no valid research into EMP for civilian use, there is only one place in the US that I am aware of, that can actually test any thing large, lake a car and that is for military use only, If you look at the way a military vehicle is harden against EMP you will see why no modern comercial vehicle would survive and why it would be cost prohibity for compies to built them that way.

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    • Hoosier Homesteader June 5, 12:21

      Regarding the 2-wheel wheelbarrow, I bought one when I moved to my homestead. After doing a lot of work with it over the past couple summers, I’d never buy the 1-wheel version again. For me, the 2-wheeler is far superior.
      Regarding bug out modes of transportation, I’ll stick with the bicycle. It just gets the job done, and that’s what you’ll want in the SHTF situation.
      LCC, another good post.

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      • left coast chuck June 5, 16:10

        It looks as if I need to trade in my 55 year old single wheel wheelbarrow for a double wheel wheel barrow. But I see the voting in favor of a 2-wheeler is not unanimous. I guess it really is what you are accustomed to. Maybe I will keep the old-timer just because it has served so long and faithfully.

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        • Hoosier Homesteader June 6, 01:57

          I still have my one-wheel wheelbarrow, and I use it, but the two-wheeler takes the balancing issue away, and I can move a lot more material with the two-wheeler. I’ve put payloads in my two-wheeler that I’d never even consider in my good ole one-wheeler. It has turned out to be a good work multiplier for me.

          Reply to this comment
    • Reticent Rogue June 6, 13:06

      I have enjoyed your articles, Chuck, and defer to your wisdom on the matter of using the bicycle as an alternative. Where we differ is in the principle of ‘bugging out.’ The bug-out scenario for me is bodies in the yard, pock marks in the brick veneer and piles of spent brass at every window. Under such circumstances, I do not think the opposition is going to standby and calmly watch me load a bicycle or wheel barrow or cart. For me, it will be a tactical departure—with as much as I can carry in a molle-strapped tactical pack. I can’t think of a reasonable scenario in which refugees pushing carts, etc. will be tolerated in this country. Most likely, anyone caught on the road fleeing will be presumed a conservative insurgent and carted off to a Rex84 or FEMA camp for re-education. And most of the ‘alternatives’ suggested here are tough off road and very difficult to hide in the split second it takes to dash off trail with a backpack. Anyway, that’s why I read your articles and this site, you guys make me think…and that’s ma two cents worth.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck June 6, 16:48

        Reticent: If I make you think, then I have achieved my purpose.

        I don’t intend this article to mean that everyone should rush out and buy a garden cart for bugging out. I am suggesting that may be a viable vehicle for you in your circumstances.

        There are few of us who will have exactly the same circumstances as another when it comes to the extreme situation we are preparing for.

        I can envision a circumstance where you would leave an area and it might not be because bad guys are ringing your homestead pouring hot lead into it.

        I live in SoCal which at best is a semi-arid region. Presently we are in a drought cycle. Scientists (you know those know-it-all guys) tell us that at one point in recent history (the last 10,000 years) there was a 500 year long drought. If the drought we are presently in is going to last as long as 100 years, SoCal will once again become uninhabitable.

        The scenario: The 58X CME has come and gone. The world is in shambles. SoCal is especially hard hit. In addition to the damage done by the CME, fresh water is disappearing. While we maintain distilling salt water it is a constant struggle.

        No motor vehicles run. Everything electric was blasted in the CME. There is still plenty of gasoline in underground tanks and in some abandoned vehicles but by now it is probably useless for use as a fuel anyway. It is handy for starting fires which have destroyed most of SoCal

        My family decides we need to evacuate this area to an area where there is more rainfall and we stand a chance of surviving long term. Perhaps that area is in the Sierras, perhaps in southern Oregon, perhaps in Idaho.

        While hostiles on the road are a probability, we don’t have to worry about getting snatched up by the government. If there is a government, it is certainly not evident.

        A fantasy? Perhaps. Off the top of my head it was the best I could do without spending a lot of time on it.

        Anyway, bottom line, I apparently got a lot of people thinking which is the whole purpose of the exercise. I certainly don’t have all the answers and any answers I do give are tentative. There are just too many variables to have a concrete solution for one set of circumstances, let alone the myriad of circumstances that will present themselves in an EOTW situation. Having the ability to think and adapt is probably the best survival ability you can have.

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  7. DEFENDER June 4, 17:02

    I carry a lot of my Gear in my van. If I have to bug-out I already have it with me. BUT – if something happens to the van – then what? So I also keep a H.D. folding 2wheeler in the van. Not “ideal” but it works to carry a load.

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  8. Doc Mac June 4, 19:39

    Most of the stuff brought down the Ho Chi Minh trail was loaded on bicycles. You don’t need to ride, you walk along side pushing. (I guess you can ride as your and load is consumed, and then have a dandy vehicle to use at your destination if you are fit enough to ride at all. Caches along your planned route might be a good prep to minimized what you haul. Good article, Chuck. My real plan is to recruit a few of Uncle Sam’s Misguided Children (young strong ones) to help me out with the heavy lifting, like in the good old days.

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  9. IvyMike June 4, 22:48

    Beginning in 1856 various companies of Mormons made the 1300 mile trek from Iowa to Salt Lake City on foot, pulling all of their supplies on 2 wheel handcarts. A fascinating story and a strong endorsement of the 2 wheel handcart for alternative bug out vehicle.
    The thought of traveling with a grocery cart is appalling, they drive me crazy veering one way or the other, they get that one crazy fluttering wheel, or you hit a bitty piece of gravel and it’s like locking up the brakes on an 18 wheeler…

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  10. left coast chuck June 5, 02:16

    I notice the picture Claude posted of a recumbent strongly resembles a Rans Screamer.

    If you are interested in the fastest recumbent tandem in the market place there is a Rans Screamer for sale in the Washington D.C. area for $2500. It is set up for speed. It has aero wheels, looks like a 16″ in front and a 26″ in back. It looks fast just sitting there. I don’t have any interest in the bike myself, but if you would like to take a look, here is the url:
    https://washingtondc.craigslist.org/mld/bik/d/rans-screamer-recumbent-tandem/6607416639.html

    I guarantee an upright tandem which is faster than a single upright would have trouble keeping up with this bike on the flats or downhill. Maybe even uphill. Uphill a good rider on an upright single could pass you by but downhill not a chance in the world and on the flats to catch a good team on this baby you would have to be close to a world class rider. Depending upon the foolhardiness or bravery, your choice of adjective, this bike could easily hit 60 mph, maybe even 70 mph downhill. I always held our tandem to no more than 45 mph downhill because I was chicken to go faster. My wife was absolutely fearless. There never was a speed where she said, “Maybe we ought to slow down.”

    The bike in the DC ad has a drum rear brake but no other brake on the rear. It has a front brake that looks like it might be hydraulic but the detail is too blurry for me to tell exactly. Some gear heads would be able to tell you what make it is and perhaps even the years it was manufactured but I can’t. The drum rear brake is for when you are screaming downhill and want to bleed off some speed but don’t want to blow your tires off by riding the rim brakes. It is an Arai drum brake and as I understand it was originally built for either a small motorcycle or a motorized scooter. It is finned to bleed off heat as you are screaming down out of the Big Horn Mountains at 50 to 70 mph and want to take a curve a little slower.

    Darn I miss tendeming.

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  11. Frank June 5, 06:53

    I don’t have any problem with your any part of the article, except that I like recumbent bikes because they allow the rider to lay back, but I am really partial to the trikes and delta designs with 3-4 wheels as they are naturally more stable due to having more than 2 wheels. You can sit on them and stay in your seat while standing still. They can be very low or ride higher like a normal upright 2 wheeler.
    Regardless, there are lots of choices and designs to suite everybody.

    On the subject of carts, I realize this isn’t about doing modifications, it would be easy to create a frame and sides or change the handle. I am glad you mentioned Harbor Freight. Besides the flat cart you mentioned, they have that metal cart made of expanded metal and any of those beats a Radio Flyer Wagon. With ToysRUs going out of business, those wagons might be harder to find or only sold online. I have been thinking that if I had to walk, the cart could carry children or small pets along with back packs. And my family’s long guns can be transported covertly yet still be accessible.

    Lastly Chuck, the lab coat idea is brilliant. I think I’d dye it if it was bright white so it would resemble or pass for a regular coat. Even a poncho or half a blanket would disguise a tactical vest and any ammo pouches and conceal a rifle or shotgun.

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  12. Zendo Deb June 5, 15:03

    I couldn’t get from my home to anywhere more than 5 miles away dragging a cart with a couple of hundred pounds. Whether garden cart, four-wheeled garden wagon, or whatever.

    They might might work fine if you live in Florida, or Iowa – both places are nearly perfectly flat – but not in a river valley.

    There are road where my 8-cylinder SUV shifts into low to go up the hills. It doesn’t struggle exactly, but you know you went up a hill. (Just check the gas gauge.)

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  13. Zendo Deb June 5, 15:08

    As for garden carts/garden wagons….

    I couldn’t get 5 miles from my house dragging a cart with several hundred pounds of supplies. The hills are too numerous and too steep.

    They might work fine in Florida or Iowa – both places are very flat – but not in the river valleys. Going down hill might be doable, but overall “downhill” is toward the big city I would be trying to avoid.

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    • left coast chuck June 5, 19:05

      I understand rejecting a certain plan of action as unsuitable for your particular circumstance. I hope you have given some thought to how you will leave your present location if compelled to by circumstances other than using your 8-cyl. SUV. While the likelihood of an EMP attack is low on the scale of cataclysmic events, a CME is a dead certainty. The only uncertainty about it is when and how large. The effects on automotive electrical components is another uncertainty. Some claim no effect at all because the CME overload is attracted to longline electrical devices and the automotive wiring doesn’t meet that definition. Others claim its effect will only disable motor transport that is actively running during the event. Still others claim that due to the extensive microcircuitry in autos today, all microprocessor circuits will be burned out and no recent autos will be functioning. The fact is no one knows for certain.

      With opinion of the unknowing ranging from complete burnout to no adverse effect at all, it behoves the prudent prepper to at least have a fall back plan to move to another location that assists walking.

      As I indicated in my post in one place, it may be that you reach some hill that precludes you moving your whole load up at once. In that case, were it I, I would move partial loads until I had moved the whole load. It may also be that some items that you considered absolutely essential you now find are not quite as essential as they seemed at the time you were packing.

      For instance, you might have packed a large tent. But you now find that a simple tarp stretched over the cart and stretched out with lines to the grommets or to short posts hammered into the ground is quicker to set up and serves the purpose of a tent and is considerable lighter, so you say goodby to the tent.

      It may be that by changing your outer garments daily and allowing the ones you were wearing a day to air out you can get by with only two sets of outer garments instead of the four you packed.

      It may be that water is far more abundant in your locale as compared to other areas of the country and you don’t need to carry as much water with you are you originally thought because you can either boil or chemically treat water while on the move and don’t need to carry more than a single day’s supply.

      I would urge you, rather than just saying that a certain solution won’t work for you, give some thought to a solution that will work for you. Remember, two is one, one is none. You always need a backup plan.

      Of course if your backup plan is to remain in place no matter what, that is a plan too.

      Reply to this comment
  14. ÇJ June 6, 01:50

    The large 4 wheeled wagon you mentioned is meant for hay transportation. I can tell you, they would be my last choice unless your moving a lot of stuff in a short distance. Most are meant for slow travel. 40 mph or less. Some travel well, others not. Plus sticking out like a sore thumb going down the road. Minimal cross country travel too! The garden borrow on some twork wheeled are terrific. Our gas golf cart is an older model, but still has an election starter, so it’s questionable if it would run after an EMP. In most places you can’t take them on the highway. Maybe when nothing else runs, they might allow them. They do pretry well crosscountry. A couple hundred pounds would probably be the weight limit.

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    • left coast chuck June 6, 17:00

      I’ve seen that wagon, and, no, that is not what I am thinking about.

      The typical wagon I have in mind has a platform about 2′ x 4′ has eight or ten inch pneumatic wheels and has an expanded metal bed. Ideally it should have stakes for the sides. If it has sides they should be removable. It can be easily moved by one person, even when loaded with the exception of steep hills where either another person must help or part of the load needs to be off-loaded the the load moved up hill in segments.

      I examined the wagon that Harbor Freight has on display again yesterday. It has all the criteria that I mentioned except stakes to allow stacking of the cargo. It does have channels where one could fit brackets for stakes. I’m not shilling for Harbor Freight. They do plenty of advertising on their own and don’t need my help, but that is the style wagon I have in mind. It is not some monstrous farm wagon that can only be pulled by a tractor.

      Reply to this comment
  15. Rebecca June 6, 06:34

    I guess it takes a female to mention one of the most obvious choices. A stroller. Not your average stroller mind you but a jogging or all terrain stroller. Or a high end stroller which is very sturdy like he Uppa Baby that I have. It’s like a Ferrari of the stroller world. True it may not be easy to get a high end one but a jogging stroller is meant to be used for many years, hold quite a bit of weight and go over rough terrain while still easy to push. A child trailer for a bike would be a great idea to. I wouldn’t be able to cope with most of the options presented above and in previous but I can push a stroller.

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    • left coast chuck June 6, 17:06

      What a great idea!

      One of the drawbacks of being an old male is that I am not current with new baby products. I have seen ladies and men running around behind strollers but have not examined them closely.

      Most bike trailers for kids are too light weight to make a decent bug out carrier. They are built inexpensively so that parents don’t have to dump a lot of money into them for a short term use. A bike trailer designed to haul commercial type loads is a better deal. In my discussion about bicycles as a bug out vehicle I discussed various kinds of trailers.

      Again, something is better than nothing, but the trailers designed for kids or dogs are just not as sturdy as you would need. The most they can haul is about 75 pounds and that is pushing it to its limits.

      Reply to this comment
      • Bill June 15, 03:14

        Well done article, and gave me a lot to think about.

        As far as the baby or child stoller goes for hauling gear, I think the weight limit of 75 pounds or whatever it is, probably has a safety factor of at least 4 to 5 built into that. I just can not imagine a company putting out a product, especially for kids, that does not have a massive safety factor built in just to cover their butts in the event of an accident.

        The other thing is, they are more than likely taking into account the braking ability of the average bike and what it is able to stop. Since these stollers have no brakes, at least I don’t think they do, you are completely relying on the bike braking system to stop the bike and the loaded stoller.

        This is also why they have max towing for 4 wheelers. It’s not that they can not pull the load, they just can’t stop it.

        I bet, and I may be 100% wrong, you could carry a pretty heavy load if staying on the paved roads, at least long enough to get you to where you’re going if you apply common sense and take it easy, like you would be with a kid on board.

        I’ve seen those poly mule things or whatever they’re called, and they look nice, but man you better have a clan pulling or pushing them if you’re in hilly country. On the flat or level it’s probably okay, but traveling any REAL distance in hill country, and you might be thinking differently.

        I’d really like to see some sort of upgrade on those that really geared down a simple 50 or 100 watt motor and have some sort of trigger on the handle that was your throttle.

        I’ve seen wiper motors lift over 100 pounds, so a 400 pound ROLLING load should not be a problem at all. I mean when it comes to trains, they need around EIGHT POUNDS of pulling force, for every TON of rolling load. So if 8 pounds moves one ton on rail, I think a small electric motor that’s geared down, could do very well in a 400 pound cargo load at a walking speed of 3-4 miles an hour and human help if needed.

        Plus, with a 100 watt solar panel on top as cover for say a child or just your gear, you could walk all day and never run out of power in a small battery that could keep other things charged up as well like radios, games for the kid, phone and so on. There’s no wear and tear on a person pulling or pushing, and little chance of injury to anyone either when the motor is doing the work.

        Again, this is electric, so if an EMP or CME were to hit, there’s the chance it could take out the solar charging system.

        That poly mule is good, but it could be great, even for everyday use on a small hobby type farm that wants to be off grid or “GREEN”.

        I really enjoy this type of out of the box thinking. Keep up the great work.

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      • left coast chuck June 15, 03:51

        Okay, I looked at the Uppababy stroller. In my opinion it is not suitable. The four-inch wheels on all the models I saw would not be suitable for debris-strewn roads nor any cross-country type traversing. I did see a stroller that has a single ten-inch wheel on the front and two twenty-inch wheels in back. That would be, in my opinion, more suitable for bugging out. Unfortunately, the diameter of the wheels was my guess from looking at the picture. The site I was at gave no specs on the stroller except that it was suitable for a infant up to 30 inches tall. A pack in that stroller would make moving easier but its load carrying capability, I think would be limited.

        The reason I came back to the stroller is that I saw such a stroller here in town this afternoon while I was running errands. The baby stroller, in my opinion, falls into the category of the folding luggage cart. Better than humping your pack but not by much and if you are making a permanent bug-out, there are a lot of things you will want to take that just won’t make it on board a baby stroller.

        On the other hand, if that’s all you have, as I frequently say, it is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

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        • Bill June 15, 04:09

          Boy I don’t know…..with four inches wheels I think I’d take that poke in the eye with a sharp stick.

          I’m no expert on baby buggies, but I always thought those stollers you pull with a bike had bigger wheels than 4 inches. I thought they were more like bike wheels. I never paid much attention to them, but I always keep all these little ideas in the back of my mind as a just in case type of thing.

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  16. Scooter June 6, 12:26

    There is a new product recently introduced on the indiegogo website called a Polymule, a modern-day handcart with all kinds of great features that some folks might like. Google Polymule for info.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 6, 17:15

      I looked at there website. It is an interesting concept. That is a funding website and while I didn’t read every single word on the site, the impression I got is that they want sponsors. It would appear they are selling to sponsors. I didn’t bother to find out if you could just buy the cart or if you had to pony up more money in order to buy one.

      I liked the idea of the anti-backslide device. It locks the wheels with a racket setup so that if you want to stop on a steep hill you can keep the cart from rolling back down the hill without having someone else chock the wheels.

      The one drawback to it that I see is its small bed. The bed appears to be only 18″ square to, perhaps, 24″ square. While it is rated to 400 pounds, the only way I could see that one could get 400 pounds in the cart would be if you were hauling cans of ammo.

      It would be far more useful if it were 2′ x 4′ and had higher sides but then it couldn’t act as a cartop carrier which is part of its design.

      An interesting idea and certainly something to follow to see if they have additional products they plan in the future.

      Thanks for posting the information about an interesting new product.

      Reply to this comment
      • Scooter June 11, 02:26

        This project has been fully funded on the Indiegogo website, and the Polymule is going into production, but they may still be offering some of the discount perks. I see what you mean about the bed size, but with the sides slanting up, the top dimensions are 50” long by 33” wide. It also weighs 80 lbs., which affects the portability, even though it can be disassembled and stowed in a much smaller space.

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    • Bill June 15, 03:30

      Scooter, have you or anyone you know and trust had any experience with that Polymule?

      Reply to this comment
  17. Graywolf12 June 9, 18:30

    If I were going to use a bike as a bugout means of transportation I think I would put training wheels on at least the back wheel. That will free your hands if needed for protection and make pushing it easier. I might even put a pair on the front wheel.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck June 9, 21:22

      While having a stable platform while riding might on first glance seem like a good idea, I see a couple of problems with it.

      First, I think you would have trouble mounting the training wheels on the rear of the bike simply because the derailleur would not allow for mounting a training wheel on the right side of the bike.

      You might be okay on the left side of the bike but if you are using panniers, they might also interfere with mounting a training wheel rig.

      If you mount training wheels on the front of the bike you would probably be unable to turn the front wheel. A single training wheel might not allow you to turn the wheel in that direction. If you could manage to turn the bike I think it would only be with difficulty and would make turning an unstable maneuver.

      Secondly, most training wheels are designed for young children who are riding small bikes with 16 or 20 inch diameter wheels and in some cases, even smaller. Generally those bikes do not travel very fast because they are single speed and are geared for easy pedaling rather than a higher gear ratio allowing for faster speeds.

      Training wheels do not have good bearings in the wheels and in some cases have no bearings at all but just ride on a sleeve inside the wheel.

      Training wheels usually are 4 to 6 inches in diameter. and have solid tires. Again, this is quite adequate for the speeds and distances that they are designed to travel. I don’t think you would get very far before the wheels disintegrated.

      In addition, I think you would have difficulty going faster than a fast walk. That might be adequate in a bug out situation as fast riding might allow you to ride into a trap before you realized its presence.

      If I were concerned about fast dismount and getting into action quickly, I would practice a pirouette dismount from the right hand side. Other than getting thrown over the handlebars to the front, a pirouette dismount is the fastest way to dismount a bike. It is similar to dismounting a horse except on the right side as opposed to the left.

      You put your weight on the pedal on the side you want to exit the bike, the pedal is in its lowest position and you swing the left leg over the bike, dropping it to the ground before you remove your right foot from the pedal. You can drop the bike on its left side without breaking anything except possibly a handlebar mounted mirror. If you are using a helmet mounted mirror you can usually dispense with a handlebar mounted mirror, although personally I like to use both when I am riding. In an EOTW situation you will not have to worry about a lot of traffic behind you.

      If you drop the bike on its right side you risk damaging the derailleur hanger. Unless you completely break it off you can usually bend it back into riding condition, but that is time spent in fiddling with the derailleur hanger and without experience in straightening a derailleur hanger, it can be a frustrating experience. If the d.h. is not adjusted properly, shifting will become erratic or not take place at all. You will be reduced to a single speed bike.

      If you are in a situation where you have to quickly engage hostile forces, you don’t want to be sitting astride a stopped bicycle engaging such because you will be upright and exposed. You either want to be pedaling like a bat out of hades or you want to be prone behind at least some concealment if not cover.

      If I were bugging out on a bicycle and concerned about ambushes, I would carry two high capacity 9 mm semiautomatics with five inch barrels and red dot sights one in a holster on my strong side and one in a cross draw holster on my weak side. Upon being surprised in an ambush, unless there were clear cover within a few strides of my path of travel, I would accelerate as rapidly as I could, draw my strong side weapon and commence rapid fire on my assailants. If I emptied that weapon, I would re-holster it and do the same with the other side. Otherwise, if there were cover or good concealment close at had I would execute a right side dismount, drop the bike, draw my rifle from its scabbard and head for c&c while firing suppressive fire from my strong side handgun.

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      • Graywolf12 June 9, 22:14

        I was thinking of a old fashioned single speed bike. Probably a front fender and basket. I would not intend to ride. As for semi auto 9mm. I carry a 38 spl. revolver because they never jam. I like the heavy, 158 grain soft point bullets for stopping power. At almost 83 my riding days are past on the roads we have to travel. My wife carries 2 380 semi autos. I may buy a 357, but really want to replace my Ruger 44 Mag that I lost in 1979. We will have a few small hills to go up and 1 to go down in our 12-15 mile trip to our daughters farm where we will have enough people to post lookouts 24 hours a day and a fresh water small pond, 1/2 acre. My grand son in law can build a set of wheels for both the front and back wheels. The wheels are to hold the bike up if I need both hands to shoulder my AR 15. Tipping it over with a load could bend a rim and make it useless.

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        • left coast chuck June 10, 01:28

          You are indeed fortunate that you have a bug out location so conveniently close. Twelve miles would get me out of the town I live in but not by much and that would still leave numerous towns in between where I would intend to go.

          It would be a long day but you might even be able to do 12 – 15 miles in one very long, tiring day. Even what are considered suburban rural areas in SoCal would not qualify for that term in other areas of the country so even the outskirts of towns where there are still roads it is quite built up and we would have to avoid numerous folks. If there aren’t houses built on it, it generally is terrain only suitable for travers by goats.

          I can empathize with your not being able to ride. I could ride up until December when I suddenly developed a problem with dyspnea. The least little exertion leaves me gasping for breath like a carp out of water. So far the doctor has mostly ruled out heart trouble but is still looking. I thought perhaps it was from smoke inhalation from the fires but I really don’t think I inhaled that much smoke. I guess on to the pneumonologist for some poking and prodding is next on the list.

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          • Graywolf12 June 10, 03:14

            We have about 1 mile of small town streets to reach what here in East Texas are known as oil field roads. They are all dirt and most are 2 ruts with weeds in the center. Once we are about 2 miles from our daughter we have about 1 mile of 2 lane farm to market road to get back on the oil field roads. Slow going, but easy to slip of road into underbrush and hunker down until danger passes. I feel our greatest danger will be Rattle snakes and wild hogs. At 77 and almost 83 we will probably make it a day and 1/2 trip, unless it is summer when we can travel to 9 or 10 pm.

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  18. farmgirl49242 June 9, 21:51

    If you’ve ever had little kids and bike, you know about those 2 and three wheel kiddie rick shaw type of vehicles. They have a bow arm on the back in case you don’t have a bike. Kind of like a twin runners stroller, and they also attach to a bike. Either way, they can transport kids and gear. Best to put the little kid in a bike seat and attach the other thing for goods.

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    • left coast chuck June 10, 01:41

      Yes, indeed. In my article about using bicycles as a bug out vehicle I touched on kiddie bicycle trailers that some folks use to haul the family pet in on group rides. While I am not familiar with what products are available in the market place this year, in past years, in my opinion, they were quite light weight. The maximum cargo capability that any of them listed was 75 pounds and that was a limited number. They are built light weight so they can be sold cheaply. Most parents who are into riding their kids around in a kiddie trailer are younger and their budgets might not be able to stand popping up to a thousand dollars for a sturdy trailer. As a consequence, they are built with a budget price in mind.

      Still, better than hauling a backpack on your back and if you are going to limit your bug out bag to 30% of your body weight it is better in the kiddie trailer than on your back. If you are on a 250 mile trek to Grandpa’s farm in upstate NY and the kiddie trailer only holds together for 150 miles, that still a great assist.

      The emphasis of this article was vehicles other than bicycles and bicycle accessories which included bicycle trailers.

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  19. left coast chuck June 15, 17:31

    I found the perfect bug out vehicle just fishing around on line. It was called the Hill Topper. It had a 5 h.p. Tecumseh motor and a top speed of 35 mph with a range of 85 miles. It cost $250 new. It was manufactured by Heath-kit Company.

    For those of you who aren’t old enough to remember the 1960s, Heath-kit was a well known company that manufactured a variety of products that were sold in kit form and you put them together in your garage.

    Mini bikes and go-carts were very popular during that decade. My kids had a mini bike. The Hill Topper was the adult version of a mini bike for adult outdoorsmen designed to go cross-country in the back country. They weren’t street legal in many states and now they would not be legal to use on any public lands as the exhaust wouldn’t meet state and federal regulations for off road gasoline engine vehicles. It even had a ski attachment for the front wheel to enable it to be operated in deep snow.

    It was pull-rope started and was equipped with an alternator that ran when the engine was running. The alternator drove the headlights and horn, thus eliminating the need for a battery.

    It would have been easily storable in a small metal shed or even covered with a couple of space blankets with a welding blanket under them to protect it from EMP/CME. It would have easily been connected to a bicycle single wheel trailer for hauling extra gear in the back country.

    Too bad some enterprising company doesn’t start to manufacture something similar for the prepper market. At a low enough price point I would certainly purchase one. Even if my wife couldn’t operate one herself, I could use it to move the two of us even though the top speed and range would be diminished. With a single wheel bike trailer it could haul way more gear, further, faster than I could possibly do on foot.

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    • Bill June 16, 22:02

      Yes Chuck, I do remember those. The neighbor had one for going to get cows in one of the back fields.

      I loved it with those big balloon tires, and his had a torque converter which was very nice as well. It went everywhere and mud and hills were no problem at all with those big tires.

      This is kind of what I was basing my hybrid bike idea off of. Big fat tires with a 5hp engine and two electric motors. I don’t see what I like so that’s why I said I’m taking that couple week course on bike frame building. I’ll learn the basics and then I will build what I want and just the way I like it, and how others like theirs.

      I really believe the best equipment is the stuff you build yourself and make it how you want it. Plus I just love building things and seeing what I can come up with that’s way out of the box, and works.

      Some companies will custom make things for you as well. I had Honda custom build me a 4000 watt gen set that was 48vdc only. So thinking outside the box does not mean you’re limited to what you see on the shelf for projects. You need some thing special, ask them. The worst they can say is NO or maybe the worst thing they can say is the price. haha

      I do like the DIYing, but even a $250 kit back in 1970, is a little bit of money when you factor in inflation. I checked online and it’s equal to well over $1200 in today’s money and more in some estimates, but in my opinion, still well worth it.

      Something that might be of interest to DIYers is the MINI BEEP.

      They’re a smaller scale model of the WWII Jeep. It comes in 2 and 4wd and it swims or floats like a boat. It’s a kit form and pretty reasonable for what you get. I think I paid around $5,000 for everything.

      They’re not speed demons, but much faster than walking and can carry around 750 pounds, but I’ve put in well over a 1,000 with no problem at all. I also put a larger engine on it. I put on a 10hp and I changed a sprocket to get more speed out of it. Now it goes around 12mph instead of 6 or 7 and of course it has reverse. In the water it does around 3mph, but you can put an electric trolling motor on it and then you’ll move through the water pretty good and can turn on a dime. I “THINK” they told me that 12hp was the max it was rated for, but again, that was a while ago.

      As far as MPG…I’m not sure, but I believe it burns around 3/4 of a gallon an hour….maybe a tad more, so it gets around 12 to 15 MPG I would guess. I mean if you have 3 five gallon fuel cans, you’ve got pretty close to 200 miles of range including the tank on the engine, and all that can be done in one long day I would think.

      The drive train is VERY simple and so easy to repair with off the shelf parts so keeping it going during end times would be very easy. The tires are regular full size car tires too and easy to find everywhere. Plus it’s made in the USA.

      It’s not for everyone, but if you look at it as a fun project to do with the kids and teaching them, and also an emergency vehicle, it might be something to think about, especially if you have a water obstacle to negotiate when bugging out and bridges are a choke point.

      Here’s their site, and there’s videos on youtube naturally.

      http://struckcorp.com/older_products/mini-beep-mba80-2wd-4wd/

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