The Incredible and Efficient Use of a Bicycle as a Bug Out Vehicle (Part 1)

Left Coast Chuck
By Left Coast Chuck April 26, 2018 11:55

The Incredible and Efficient Use of a Bicycle as a Bug Out Vehicle (Part 1)

Editor’s note: This article was written by one of our most respected readers and opinion leader, Left Coast Chuck.

I want to start off by saying that I have no financial interest in any product I might mention in any of my writings. If I do happen to have a financial interest in the product, I will clearly state that. I also will only recommend products I have personally used and found to do the job they advertise. The only exception to that will be a product that is so well known throughout the bicycling community as to be an industry standard.

First, a bit about my my expertise to comment on this topic. As with almost everyone my age, I rode a bicycle almost daily from about age 7 or 8 until I was 16. I stopped riding a bike as soon as I got my first car, until I wound up overseas in the Marine Corps.

Once I got overseas I rode a bicycle, along with all the native folks in the lands where I was stationed. In Japan I did weekend touring on my bicycle, staying in small country inns – to the amazement of the local citizens, who in many cases had never seen a foreigner.

Returning to the States with a pregnant wife, I was unable to afford a car, so continued riding a bike for commuting to work and shopping. Moving to SoCal, the distances I had to travel and the traffic precluded my continuing bike commuting and I didn’t ride for several years. When I finally moved to my present location in 1968 I again took up commuting to work on a bike, and continued that for several years. Then came about a twenty year break and in 1995 I again took up commuting to work on a bike and started engaging in weekend century rides.

A century ride is a 100 mile ride in a single day. In California there is at least one century ride someplace in the state every weekend of the year. I read a lot about riding in addition to actually getting out there and doing it. I participated in several week-long supported rides, usually covering between 300 and 450 miles in a week. I also participated in several credit card rides. I have not done a fully self-supported ride, but I have ridden the California coast from Eureka in the north as far south as San Diego on credit card rides.

There are also double century rides where the rider covers 200 miles in a single day. These rides always involve varied terrain including long steep hills. Many rides describe their ride by how many feet of up hill distance is involved in the ride. There is also a ride in SoCal where riders try to cover 500 miles in 24 hours. Not all riders are able to do that. I have never done a double century nor the California 500 ride.

Related: Top 5 Awesome Bug Out Vehicles You Can Actually Afford

A supported ride is where the organization that sponsors the ride for a fee provides transportation of your baggage, rest stops complete with snacks and toilet accommodations, and arranges for either portable showers at the day’s end or some other shower facility as well as space for pitching one’s tent, together with meal arrangements. Usually breakfast is arranged and recommendations are made for dinner. Supported rides are always group rides. The Seattle to Portland weekend ride is limited to 5,000 riders and is done in a single weekend with a variety of accommodations.

A credit card ride is one where the rider hauls his own gear, makes his own arrangements for all meals, and stays in a motel or hotel that he pays for each evening. He also usually has dinner in a restaurant. It is luxury self-supported riding. A credit card ride may be solo or in a group

A fully self-supported ride is one where the bike rider hauls all his gear, cooking utensils, tent, sleeping bag, everything he will need for the period of time he will spend on the road and usually camps out every evening. Many trans-continental riders are fully self-supported. A trans-continental ride may be solo, although it usually is done as a group.

Some survival authors denigrate using the bicycle as bug-out vehicle. The book on survival by Outdoor Life dismisses using a bicycle as only sort of a toy rather than what it actually is, a highly energy efficient device for covering long distances carrying a significant load.

Those old enough to remember can recall the problems the U.S. had interdicting the Ho Chi Minh Trail, where the North Vietnamese used bicycles to haul supplies south into South Viet Nam. Those were specially built bicycles made to haul cargo and for a good bit of the trip the bicyclist walked the bike, but it is claimed that they hauled up to 500 pounds of supplies on each bike. As I recall, the Ho Chi Minh Trail was reputed to be about 1,200 miles long.

A bicycle will enable you to cover long distances, moving a significant load, with far less energy expended compared to any other form of transportation.

To hike 30 miles a day while carrying a pack is quite strenuous. Covering 30 miles a day on a bicycle with panniers carrying your gear is much easier. Every summer there is a large group of people who ride across the U.S. on self-supported bike trips. They may ride singly or in a group, but they camp en route and usually carry their food with them.

Most typically a self-sustained rider will cover 60 to 100 miles per day on a bicycle. One can generally ride 60 miles a day without requiring a day of rest. If one is riding 100 miles a day or more, usually a day of rest is required every 5 days.

Covering 60 miles a day entails riding six hours at 10 miles per hour average speed. Once you’re in the physical condition to do the ride, covering 60 miles with a full load of gear over varied terrain is relatively easy. I did it into my 70s. I stopped doing it due to an operation that precluded riding for an extended period, followed by an injury to a knee that left my knee in a condition that I wasn’t sure would hold up to anything over a mile or two.

The qualifier however is that one must condition one’s body to such riding if one plans on covering that kind of distance each day. If you are out of shape and it has been 30 years since you threw a leg over a bicycle frame, you should plan on limiting yourself to 15 or so mile days at the beginning. Even that is much better than one could do carrying a pack if one is out of shape. If you decide that bugging out on a bicycle is in your plans you should start to get in shape now by short rides around the neighborhood. You can expand that as you progress in fitness.

Related: Affordable Vehicles That Can Survive an EMP

During this period I would recommend staying off high speed, busy roads. I would also highly recommend reading the vehicle code rules of your state as they pertain to bicycles. Your eyes might be widened when you first read them.

In most states, bicycles ridden on the street are bound by the same rules as other vehicles. That means that the rules that pertain to a pedestrian do not pertain to a person mounted on a bicycle. The rules governing bicycles vary widely, so it is important to check your own state’s regulations regarding bicycle riding. There are some very surprising rules concerning bicycles. In California cities can make rules as to whether one may ride on a sidewalk. In most California cities sidewalk riding is legal except in certain districts. In my town sidewalk riding is allowed except in business districts. Some cities forbid sidewalk riding totally.

When I was riding regularly I could ride 30 miles easily wearing my ordinary street clothes. There is a reason why you see long distance riders wearing tights. Those tights they wear cut down on rubbing tender parts. They also have a pad in them called a chamois because originally it was a piece of chamois. This protects your butt from bruising and chafing. You might also investigate various creams that ease chafing on long rides. My wife always used a product called Chamois Butt’r. There are other similar products on the market.

If I rode more than 30 miles I always wore my bike shorts, because even though I rode daily and my body parts were accustomed to my saddle and riding, more than 30 miles and my body parts started to feel the chafing. I wore mountain bike shorts which had bellows pockets and looked like regular clothing, but underneath had the padding and support necessary to protect against chafing. Mountain bike shorts come in styles for both men and women. Get the shorts appropriate for your sex. If you are confused about your sex, go with what Mother Nature provided for you in deciding what apparel to wear.

When riding a bike on distances that take more than an hour to cover, hydration is extremely important. It will keep you from cramping. Even if you are in good condition, if you don’t maintain your hydration you will cramp. On distances of more than two hours, maintaining nutrition levels is important. There are all kinds of bars and drinks available to keep you from suffering that sudden loss of energy called “bonking”, which is different from the way you may have used the term in college. Bonking is a sudden feeling of depletion that prevents you from continuing any further. It will continue until you raise your glucose levels to provide the energy that you need to continue the exercise. Many long distance riders do what they call “carb loading” the evening before a 100 or longer mile ride. They gorge on spaghetti or other starchy foods to provide the glucose they need the next day.

Folks who claim nutritional expertise say that the “typical” 150 pound man, riding at 12 miles an hour as I recall, will burn 600 calories per hour over his base metabolism needs. That will give you some idea of the calories you need to maintain. You need a balanced diet for long distance riding.

You may feel that all this is unnecessary because Uncle Fred’s farm which is your bug-out location is only 75 miles away on the interstate. That’s fine as long as you are going to be able to ride to Uncle Fred’s farm along the interstate. However, it may be necessary for you to detour around that gang that is holed up on the overpass or to by-pass the town that has been taken over by some group that is stripping everyone of everything they have except their underwear before sending them on down the road. That 75 miles may easily become double that before you roll up Fred’s driveway.

The next installment will cover things to look for in the hardware you might want to acquire.

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Left Coast Chuck
By Left Coast Chuck April 26, 2018 11:55
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58 Comments

  1. kebler April 26, 14:19

    Can’t wait for part 2 Left Coast Chuck!

    Reply to this comment
  2. Bob April 26, 15:26

    Thanks, Chuck! Great info… Everybody should have this card in the deck… you never know what situation may arise. Looking forward to the next installment…

    Reply to this comment
  3. None April 26, 15:29

    Please discontinue these emails

    Reply to this comment
  4. Twig April 26, 16:18

    Thanks LCC; Aging pretty much caught up to me too, but my basic rigid frame mountain bike has a two-stroke engine mounted on a rack above the rear tire. That tire has a center rib with little knobby’s on either side of it. The engine is lowered, or raised onto, or off of the tire where there is a knurled cylinder afixed to the shaft of the engine providing a friction connection to that tire’s center rib in order to turn the tire/wheel. The additional benefit of using those basic cheap tires is that the there is lessened vibration, (whereas fully knobby tires would degrade the crankshaft needle bearings). There is no extra belt, or extra chain supplementing the usual one. In such a set-up, I can stand aside of the bike, pull the engine start cord, get on the bike, lower the engine on to the tire, and with some extra gasoline/oil mix provided by squeezing on an extra handle bar lever.., away I go. Top speed is a ittle above 30 mph, with up to a 180 mpg range. There is no hilly road where I must peddle, but doing so is easy work, (especially with a 10-speed), and takes a bit of strain off of the engine, especially when loaded with gear/bags, etc. Personally I would stay away from a MOPED, but some like them. The petrol powered mountain bike is way less weight to deal with. Remember the Honda 50’s, well they were 50 cc engines, and required a license, but my 49 cc does not, (in most all of the States of the Union I do believe).

    The company I got it from is probably out of business, but there are other varieties of gasoline powered engines for bikes. The earliest version I saw was in Europe called the “Solex”, and most of them were mounted over the front wheel. I think the rear mount is ‘mo-‘bet’ta. I had assembled various bags as seen in the picture of this discussion, and traveled many, many miles. In situations where riding was needed to be stealthy, I’d turn off the engine, and peddle through. Old WWII films, and movies of the European situation often had shown the virtues of bike riding. Getting around was one thing, and avoiding military patrols was another, i.e., leave the roadway, and disappear away from it. I will tell you that I can go up a slope through the brush, (away from a roadway), walking, and supporting the bike easily by giving it some little power to gently make way upwards with a lot less struggle than trying to pull all of the bike/gear up the same slope without that extra power. POWER! At 49cc, the engine gives something like over a horsepower, and will outdo any Olympic racer.

    Just some food for thought to google in order to get some assisted technology to make riding enticingly available again to those of us who are aged. Only simple tools are needed to install a kit to a basic bike. In a shtf situation, such small amounts of gasoline will be relatively easy to find, and old used motor oil will work for making the gas/oil mix. There have been some chain saw engine manufactures that said using 30 weight motor oil was just fine enough. Most now-a-days want you to buy their brand, and have different mix ratios, blah, blah. One must learn how to experiment in making mixes for that shtf, or just because. Not hard. Tiny batches of various mix ratios will show too much smoke coming out of the exhaust, or not.

    In general, I’d stay away from electric motors if one thinks there might be a shtf situation in the future for you. However such a motor might be fine if all your requirements will allow you the range, and replenishment of juice.

    How loud is my bike? Well if you are facing me you would probably not hear the engine’s exhaust pipe from some hundred yards before reaching you. However when I pass you by.., you would hear a high ‘eeee’ sound for several hundred yards, etc. Think of a cone of sound.

    Additionally, there are manufactures of little tow behind trailers that could be an awesome addition with all of that muscle, and petrol/oil mix engine POWER!!!!!!

    That’s all I’ve got to share upfront.., for now.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 26, 17:46

      Great addendum to my article, Twig. I was going to cover bicycle trailers in my next articles. I saw a bicycle trailer that the manufacturer rates at 450 pounds. Well, maybe the trailer and the bike can pull 450 pounds but this old tired body sure can’t. I think that kind of trailer is more designed for industrial uses where the rider is hauling loads on a flat smooth concrete floor rather than uphill on a badly rutted road.

      I am going to have to explore bicycle mounted gasoline powered engines. There was the Whizzer when I was a young boy that every boy I knew lusted after. When I was in Japan there was a gas engine bike modeled after the Whizzer called the Marouchi which I would have like to have owned but it was beyond what I felt I could spend on a bike.

      I believe a Whizzer successor is again making similar bikes but I think they are pricey. Have to check that also.

      Great Post. Thanks for adding it. It gives me some additional food for thought as I am reaching the point where just peddle power alone won’t cut it for any distance.

      Reply to this comment
    • Bill May 1, 20:21

      I’m from Louisiana, well I moved here several years ago and I was pretty surprised at how many people ride bikes.

      I was seeing man riding who had a small engine on his and last fall I happened to see him stopped on a side road, so I pulled over to talk to him about his bike.

      Long story short, he said he bought the engine from bikeberry.com and it was an 80cc 4 stroke engine. I asked him a ton of questions, but for the sake of keeping this as short as possible he said that he bought the bike from Walmart and the engine about a year ago and he had close to a 1,000 miles on it.

      He said the engine would not run when he got it, so he took it to a friend and he found the carb gasket was leaking and creating a vacuum leak. He fixed it, and it’s been trouble free since.

      He said what do you expect from China and $170 for a whole kit.

      He said that after they started it, it was a lot louder than he expected, so his friend added some sort of muffler and I will say, it sounds like a singer sewing machine now, and you can’t hear it running when he’s 50 or so yards away from you. It’s VERY quiet.

      He said he depending on what I’m hauling, like groceries or whatever, it gets about 60 to 80 miles or so from a tank of fuel which looked to be around a gallon or so. He had baskets on the back and it looked like it could hold a lot of cargo. Now I’m 6 foot and about 210, and I looked UP to this guy and he had me by at least 50 or 60 pounds. Think Shaq here and that’s the guy on this bike. So between him and cargo, I think 60 mpg is not bad at all.

      He said he had the bike up to 45 mph ONCE and he said it scared him so much that he got off the bike shaking like a dog crapping peach stones.

      He said he runs it at around 30 mph and can do that all day long and it is fun to ride around town.

      I myself liked his set up, but I kind of wanted some thing that was VERY quiet, two wheel drive, and did not require me to look too hard for more fuel, and for that, electric is the way to go.

      I just like to have the ability to jump off the road and head out into a field or where ever and make a get away if need be if things get bad.

      The problem is range. I was not going to get 80 mpg, refuel in 2 minutes and get another 80 mpg. I was doing a lot of research and most electric bikes use about 15 watts per mile traveled, so if you have a 48v @ 11 amp battery pack, and take it down to 80% DOD, you have about 28 miles of range, and if I helped the motor out a little by pedaling, that goes a long way to increasing your range to around 40 or 50 miles.

      I figured hauling a load bugging out, I better up that to 25 watts per mile, just from what I’ve read from what cargo bike users were getting in the city making deliveries.

      I quickly came to the conclusion that standard battery packs were not going to cut it, and I would have to build my own.

      I found a great youtube channel and asked A LOT of questions and watched his videos on building batteries as well as a 2 wheel drive bike he made.

      Here’s where he answered my 2 wheel drive question about building your own 2 WD bike with a switch to go from single to 2 WD. I did not take the free book either, because I feel guilty that he gives us answers to all our questions for free and gives you his books. I’ll buy the books and help him out.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHXQr2MPJS8

      I’m now building my own electric bike and battery pack, so it will be the way I want it, with a trailer and solar recharging on the go. It’s basically a bike I can use to run around and scout and scavenge the area for things after things go south.

      Here’s the bike I’ve chosen to start with. It has a 750 watt motor, so I’m adding another 750 watt motor to the front. It also has regen braking to help stop it and hauling heavier loads in hilly areas is some thing to seriously think about, but where I am it’s flat as a pool table, but will help save on brake pads. It also puts a little, VERY little back into the battery, but if you’re running on hills, it might give you an extra 5 to as much as 10% extra in your battery…..from what I’ve read and asked from those who know.

      https://www.radpowerbikes.com/products/radwagon-electric-cargo-bike?variant=5032655749151

      I’m also thinking of just buying one of these with a 125cc engine for fun and of course real world use if need be.

      https://motoped.com/survival/

      I’m looking forward to part two and more info from this series, as I have A LOT to learn on this topic. Keep up the great work.

      Reply to this comment
    • JerryG May 14, 15:29

      Interesting, I use electric. It’s more quiet. I also use a 3 wheel recumbent, more comfortable to use plus I use a bike trailer…

      Reply to this comment
  5. Oz April 26, 16:42

    Great article Chuck. looking forward to the next installment. This would be my second option after my old Toyota 4×4.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Brenda April 26, 17:13

    Great article I hadn’t even thought about riding a bike for but out. Not sure how physically able but sure beat walking. Maybe a three wheeler for us old people.

    Reply to this comment
    • Readytogo April 26, 19:56

      I am not much on walking anymore due to back problems. I maintain a bike and ride a couple times a week, nothing serious, just short hopes. I don’t keep it for bug out because I am where I will stay. I keep it for alternative transportation when all else fails.

      Reply to this comment
      • Armin April 27, 01:06

        I’m pretty much in the same boat as you, readytogo. I may also be forced to stay where I am if “it” happens. I’ve had chronic back problems most of my life and this past February my back really went out. BADLY! Nothing like it before this. To say I was desperate and seriously afraid is a huge gross understatement. I have a house to take care of by myself. Didn’t know if it was a disc or just muscles but it hurt like one heck of a son of a gun. Looked on the internet for some kind of a solution. If it was disc then I had to decompress my back and the easiest to do that was to was to set up a bar in the basement that I could hang off of without my feet touching the floor. Seemed to help in the beginning. Then I learned about lat pullups and pulldowns. At the moment, because I’m an old geezer, (LOL!) I can only do lat pulldowns with weights that are less than my own body weight but I’m getting better and it does seem to help my back. In the beginning I couldn’t even lay in my own bed without screaming because of the pain. Now I’m able to do things again and more or less walk upright. I do my lat pulldowns religiously every day. OVERHAND lat pulldowns are supposed to be good for the top of your back and UNDERHAND lat pulldowns are supposed to be good for the bottom of your back and that’s where MY pain is. I also take boron supplements every day. A gentleman from New Zealand also talked about his back problems and general health problems. He provided us with a recipe that seems to work. Juice of 2 lemons. Boron supplement. Pomegranate juice. Boswellia to help fight inflammation. Cherries, the darker the better. I can’t hack pomegranate juice so I’ve substituted grapefruit juice. I keep reading that apple cider vinegar is also supposed to be good for us but it bothers both my throat and my stomach. I’m considering going back to CoQ10 as that’s another thing that’s supposed to be really good for us. And last but not least I may try a glass of red wine per day as again it’s supposed to have health benefits for us.

        Reply to this comment
        • Readytogo April 27, 14:35

          I’m still pretty mobile and active Armin. In fact I am active enough that I did a brake job on one of my cars yesterday and a bunch of spring yard work, but walking and standing for very long is out. I have had 2 surgeries on my back which were worthless but I knew going in that back surgery is always a crap shoot. I recently joined the YMCA and intend to start a back strengthening regiment.
          This all hit suddenly about 10 years ago. Prior to that I was religious about walking and light weight work. I walked 5 miles a day every day and played golf twice a week. then one day I started getting pain in my leg which was sciatica and developed some arthritics. What’s funny is I can ride a bike forever but can’t walk a block. I will give your suggestions a try and in addition to the Y I should see some improvement.
          Aging is definitely not for weak ……. LOL.

          Reply to this comment
          • Lucy May 4, 00:59

            Readytogo, there was a guy in our bicycling club whose MS prevented him from walking at all, who continued riding as well as anyone for at least the 5 years I continued to live there. Maybe a different part of the brain, like some who’ve had brain damage that allows them to sing, even when they can’t talk.

            Reply to this comment
  7. oldsalt1947 April 26, 19:00

    Any thoughts on pedal charged bikes

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 26, 21:47

      From what I understand about pedal charging bikes, while the pedaling enables one to travel a further distance than without such, they don’t charge enough to allow for continuous use. At some point you have to plug in.

      A few years ago I had a conversation with a gentleman whose plan was to ride his bicycle through all 48 states. Some bicyclists plan to ride in all 48 states by driving to the state and riding their bicycle some short distance in that state. His plan was far more ambitious. He was going to ride through all 48 states.

      He had a solar array that he had constructed on his trailer that charged his computer and cell phone. He told me that although it allowed him to operate the computer a lot without recharging from an electrical outlet, it didn’t charge enough that he was completely independent from using electricity. Usually around twice a week he had to stop either at a library or a restroom where there was a plug and recharge.

      Of course, as demand grows, so does what is available. It may be that there are solar devices that you could use to charge your battery as you are pedaling that would enable you to continue riding without the necessity of having to plug in. Any such device probably would have to be custom built and would be very equipment specific.

      From following this list, most of us are of the opinion that an EOTW situation will be caused by a failure of the electric grid. Even a financial meltdown would have a limiting effect on available commercially produced electricity.

      If you are physically impaired and need an electric bike in order to get around, I am sure you could build a solar array that would keep your electric bike charged. If you were to shelter in place, an electric bike would be ideal for moving around your location. It’s silent and moves faster uphill than you can generally pedal.

      I think Twig’s suggestion of a gas powered, roller energized bicycle is a good one and I intend to explore that possibility further myself.

      Reply to this comment
  8. Pray for Peace... Prepare for the Worst April 26, 19:20

    Disagree. Bikes are a terrible Bug Out vehicle. 1) Load is very limited. Chuck talks about the Ho Chi Minh Trail… those bikes were walked not ridden… making 2-3 miles per hour. A loaded bike is top-heavy and affected by any wind. 2) A bike flat will require you to shift your load to make repairs – time wasted in an emergency/disaster. 3) A loaded bike is restricted by terrain (smooth paths) or you will get a flat or bend a wheel; and don’t try to pedal up any steep slope unless you cycle MILES every week. 4) Are you bugging out alone? Typically, a group/family only moves as fast as the slowest member, (kids, elderly, pregnant, handicapped…). 5) A bike is a much better recon vehicle… use one at you bug out site… hope it’s a Mountain Bike or hybrid with tough tires… but don’t load it down.

    Reply to this comment
    • Archer April 26, 20:53

      Agreed, anyone who was in Nam knows how the VC were supplied. More stuff is ok but that also means less maneuverability. My preference is low profile displaying less “stuff” that others may want.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 26, 21:15

      Pray for Peace: Have you tried riding a bike loaded with panniers designed specifically for bicycles? If not, I would suggest that might be a first step. I will cover equipment in a later article and how to take care of not so mobile members of your group.

      Additionally, usually if one goes up a hill there is a corresponding downhill slope. One can travers a downhill slope more easily on a bike than walking down the slope carrying a backpack.

      You might want to wait until the final article.

      Reply to this comment
      • Claude Davis May 1, 18:38

        I’m definitely looking forward to Part 2, Chuck. My own thought is that a bicycle is a very good option to have. It can get you around a lot faster than walking, and with good panniers you can carry a decent load. If you’re planning on traveling alone this is a real option.

        Reply to this comment
    • magic dragon April 26, 21:55

      you are so negative. Get off yer rocker n ride yer bike. get some panniers to hold the aluminum cans that u should be collecting. the bulk of the full panniers do not make the bike the bike top heavy. also riding yer bike will give experience, unlike the armchair throne you are ensconed.

      Reply to this comment
    • JakeTP May 4, 13:45

      To me a bike is something to maintain just in case nothing else works. It is a last resort.

      Reply to this comment
  9. Archer April 26, 20:51

    On flat ground you may find this an ergonomic and economic means of traveling but few places are flat from point A to point B and this will not travel well off road unless you have an established path to push it on. I see the only advantage as being more stuff and your not carrying it. This was demonstrated in Viet Nam where the VC were supplied almost entirely by bicycles.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 26, 21:20

      Actually, while the VC were supplied by bicycle, when the NVA units moved into South Vietnam, North Vietnam also used trucks to supply them. The bicycles were used because they didn’t have as big a heat signature and they were easier to get off the trail and under the jungle canopy hidden from U.S. aircraft. In addition, the loss of a bicycle or two was not as catastrophic a supply hit as the loss of a fully loaded truck, so it made interdicting the supplies harder and more expensive for the U.S. A jet and a 500 pound bomb to take out 4 bicycles is more expensive to the U.S. than that same jet that takes out a loaded truck.

      If the road has a crater in it, it is easier for the bike to get around the crater than a loaded truck, so the supplies can keep moving. It was brilliant strategy for the kind of asymmetric warfare that the NVA were conducting.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 28, 02:26

      Archer: This week the bike group in my town is going to host a couple of bicyclers who rode the Andes Mountains. There is a picture of them on a dirt path in the mountains. They were bicycler campers, carrying their food, clothing, camping gear and other necessities with them on their bicycles. The altitude gains and losses were significant. To say the route they followed was unimproved is a significant understatement. There is a bike trail over the Rockies in Colorado that is basically a rut in the dirt. Each summer it is traveled by several hundred biking/campers as there are absolutely no facilities on the trail. It isn’t necessary to have an improved trail. The Forest Service is constantly after mountain bikers to stay on the improved trails and not go off them. That should tell you that going off trail on a mountain bike is not impossible or even extremely difficult.

      Unless you have actual experience in riding a mountain bike in unimproved conditions and actually doing biking/camping, I would suggest that your assumptions about the topic are as valid as mine on how to fly a 737 aircraft. Conjecture isn’t helpful in providing advice to folks who are seeking knowledge about possible life-saving topics.

      If you have biked the Rocky Mountain Trail; if you have bikes the Alcan Highway; if you have even biked the Pacific Coast Bike Route from the Canadian Border to the Mexican Border, then your comments would certainly be more valid than just the speculation of one whose biking experience is mainly riding a couple of miles on a beach cruiser.

      That was the reason why I laid out what my actual biking experience was before I delved into what is possible on a bike. Having been there and having done that, readers are in a position to judge whether my comments have validity or not.

      Reply to this comment
  10. Eric April 26, 22:12

    A person might want to use a mountain bike for bug out just to have use of it at the destination. A bike can be a multi-purpose tool: use to get away from attackers who are only on foot; use to visit other people for trade purposes; use it for scouting and surveillance. A bike can be quiet, so for stealth it is going to be better than a motorized bike…unless you can use the pedals only on some motorized bikes…the motorized bikes that pass me on the bike trail are all very loud…I always hear them coming from a long way away. No stealth there.
    Choice of bikes is an issue. When I ride my mountain bike on the bike paths I often get passed by riders on road bikes that have skinny tires. Road bikes are just faster. But road bikes can’t follow me down into a ditch and up the other side to ride through a field. They also spin out easy in spots of loose gravel…and can not be ridden through gravel at all, but a fat-tired mountain bike can. I am an urban rider, but not a commuter (road bikes with thin tires are fastest for commuting on paved roads)…I used to call my bike an urban assault vehicle. When I would meet people on my bike and they would say things like “wow, you have a lot of stuff on your bike”…I used to like to say “this is not a bike, it is an urban assault vehicle”…and they would always smile. I had one of those extension batons mounted on the handle bars, to fend off coyotes (we have them out on the bike trails) and vermin of the human variety. I removed the baton from my bike after I found a woman lying unconscious in a driveway in an industrial area. I called 911, but then for a short while I became suspect number one…the woman had been beaten, and whatever else. It was afterwards that I decided to remove the baton from my bike…and so I now no longer have an urban assault vehicle. In my area, Denver, we also have Goat Head thorns.
    They grow on a bright green weed that hugs the ground and loves to grow out on sidewalks and bike paths. They have a tiny yellow bloom. Before I discovered Green Slime inner tubes, I was forever fixing flat tires caused by those lousy rotten Goat Head thorns. Somehow those green slime inner tubes seal up the holes from the thorns. I would say that for a bug-out bike, you need Green Slime inner tubes (or equivalent…and no I am not affiliated with Green Slime, or any other kind of slime for that matter); head lamp mounted on handle bars; spare inner tubes plus patch kit…held in some pouch; some type of rear mounted box or saddle bags for carrying important items, such as food tools and water…you will need more water if you are pedaling; a tire pump and cheap plastic tools that pry the rubber tire from the rim, in case of a flat. Wear a back pack. Travel light. It would be nice to devise some kind of quick release mount for a shotgun mounted to the cross bar for the handle bars to the seat, with a cloth covering, to conceal it, held down in a few points by Velcro. Then, my friend, you WOULD have an urban assault vehicle.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 28, 02:36

      Eric: The only reason why road bikes appear to be faster is related to the gearing. In my second post I speak a little bit about gearing and what it does for a bike. If you have a 39-46-54 chain ring set up with an 11 – 19 cog set, you can go pretty fast if you are strong enough. The tires have nothing to do with it. It has been proven time and again that skinny tires do not improve speed to any measurable degree. Professional riders do not use tube tires. They use glue on tires and don’t fix flats, they just change the wheels. You can do that if you have a professional crew of mechanics following in a van with a couple dozen spare wheels in stock.

      I think an old fashioned rifle scabbard on a bike should do the trick for mounting a long arms. I encountered a rider who rode with a handgun mounted to his handlebars. At the time I was not into prepping and didn’t pay much attention to how he had it mounted but in the misty dim recesses of my memory, it seems to me it was a regular soft holster with velcro straps fastening it to the handlebars. It also seems to me one could mount a soft holster to the top tube with velcro also and have a handgun close enough to put into play rapidly.

      I think a long gun mounted on the handle bars would be awkward to draw and get into action quickly.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Clergylady April 26, 23:20

    Interesting article. Husband couldn’t do this but I’d imagine many realistically could.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Armin April 27, 00:26

    You make some very good points, Chuck, as always. :)I’ve also thought about a bicycle, but more as a means of getting around AFTER some maniac sets off a HEMP. Either that or horses if you have access to them. And then we get into oxen for plowing your fields but that’s for another article. If you’re going to use a bike as a BOV then you need to do a little planning. Even with a trailer hooked up to your bike you’ll be able to take the most important items with you but not a ton of stuff. And then you’ll be wanting to head to your fortified bug out location that’s stocked with all your goodies. Hopefully not TOO far away as you have to take food for yourself along the way. And the obvious problems of other people along the way that just might want what you have. And I know from myself from an earlier life that bicycling DOES burn up one heck of a lot of calories. So if you’re planning to bicycle for any distance you’re going to need to take some very calorie dense foods for the trip. And it’s no use carrying a lot of water because it’s very heavy. There ARE little gizmos (for want of a better word) that will let you drink from just about any water source. Some of them look like a metal straw with filters inside them that are supposed to filter out 99% of the gunk you’ll find in untreated water. Good for purifying about a 1000 liters of water. Streams, lakes, swamps, etc. And I know that this is just part 1, Chuck, and this is a huge subject and you’ll probably touch on what I’m going to suggest. If you’re very lucky and you’re able to get going shortly after the emp goes off or even before then you don’t need to worry much about others on the road with you as you’ve already planned and driven out your preferred route many times avoiding all the major highways and streets. Obviously you need to be armed on your bike, regardless, and in such a way that you can get to your weapon VERY quickly. For this a handgun is probably the most effective solution with maybe a scattergun or a repeating rifle strapped to the bike in case you get into a firefight if you’re able to get under cover in time. For a person on a bike it takes a few seconds to come to a stop and get your weapon out. The other obvious things you need to take with you, especially if your bug out location is far away, are a couple of extra inner tubes and the tools to change them. Don’t forget an extra seat or two in your BOL. And bike tires. After the grid goes down a bicycle will become the preferred mode of transportation as it was during the last war for, again, obvious reasons. And at that point a bicycle will be worth its weight in gold. I remember my mum talking about bicycles during the last war and they were very much treasured. I’ve been seriously considering getting a bike for some time now. But one with those big honkin’ fat tires on it that’ll get me through most everything and that I’ll be able to safely ride in the winter. On a bicycle after the SHTF we’re going to have to cultivate exceptional situational awareness if we’re using a bike to get around. And if we’re just walking all over the place it’ll be the same thing. I don’t want to give anyone any bad ideas but I can see those wanting to rob us throwing up roadblocks at chokepoints and maybe even booby-trapping roads and heavily-used trails. We’re almost going to have to expect almost anything from people. It will NOT be a “fun” time by any means. God help us all.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Old & Gray April 27, 02:05

    Everything with exception to the NVA and the HCM Trail is during status quo peace time. Think catastrophe, chaos, killings, martial law, food/water shortages, etc! It’s very interesting what a little trip wire will do to a bicycle and its rider. That’s not even considering the 10 or more other neat gadgets that will render it and its rider useless in short order. If you are even wildly considering this proponent for a “natural” adversity it may “possibly” assist very early on in the process or used as a light weight recon vehicle. BUT when everyone is trying to survive and stay alive (needing what you have) in a adverse, unfriendly and dangerous state requiring a bug-out, GOOD LUCK! But you have fun with that. It wouldn’t get by through my AO! Think this through, war game it through several COAs. You’ll see the flaws, lack of concealment, and dangers that in no way can be fixed or rectified. But again, it’s all about choices – Good Luck!

    Reply to this comment
  14. Hoosier Homesteader April 27, 03:14

    I enjoyed this post, and I’m looking forward to Pt. 2. I think a bicycle is an excellent choice for transportation; especially if gas prices go through the roof. Not only is it an inexpensive, healthy way to commute, it would also be good in an SHTF situation. Bikes can go a lot of places cars and trucks can’t. And they’re quiet.
    I rode quite a bit back in the 70’s but when the kids came along it fell by the wayside. I did several century rides, so I sorta know where your comin’ from. It takes work!
    I’d rather ride than walk!

    Reply to this comment
    • Hoosier Homesteader April 27, 03:19

      I’m curious, LCC, is the bike in the picture yours?

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck April 27, 15:22

        No, Hoosier, that is not mine. I believe that is a picture of a Swiss Army bike. It was not very long ago that the Swiss finally decided to eliminate their bicycle corps. Since the advent of the safety bike (which is what a bicycle with two equal diameter wheels is called) the Swiss have had units of troops that were mounted on bicycles. They appreciated the need for no fuel and being able to move troops swiftly and relatively silently as needed.

        The pictured bike has a small chain ring which would help in ascending hills. I can’t see the rear derailleur unit enough to be able to comment on it. It looks as if it has a battery pack on the seat tube, so I assume it is an electric bike. Electric bikes are great as long as there is electricity. When the juice is gone then electric bikes need to ditch the battery pack and motor and they just become heavy bikes. In an EOTW bike I think a better bike is one designed for riding without power assist.

        Usually power assisted bikes have a heavier frame which is necessary to absorb the forces created by the power unit, be it electric or gas. That means even with the power unit removed, the basic bike will remain heavier. While sturdy is a a good feature in an EOTW bike, like everything else, too much of a good thing then becomes not such a good thing.

        The bike has what looks like a Brooks saddle which is the saddle I recommend in my next post about how to equip the bike. The Brooks saddle is a heavy leather saddle that properly taken care of will last you a lifetime. They may be the most expensive saddle on the market but in my opinion are worth every penny.

        I don’t like the pack arrangement on the front wheel. Packs on a bike need to be low in order to maintain a low center of gravity. That pack — well, there just is something wrong with it. I can’t tell from the picture. I also can tell what the knob is on the top tube but unless it served some highly useful function it would be gone on my bike. I don’t like things sticking up from the top tube. Too easy to crate a severe injury in a hasty dismount with something sticking up like that. Just because it is Swiss Army doesn’t mean they don’t have some dumb ideas too. The Swiss Army knife changed from a highly effective can opener design to one that is not as effective. Try opening a square can with the new design, like a can of sardines. It’s all right along the straight sides but can’t make it around the corners.

        Reply to this comment
        • left coast chuck April 28, 02:40

          I have a further comment on the bike in the picture. If you look at the handlebars you will see extensions pointing up in the air. Those are add-ons to the handlebars. I have them on the flat bars on my bike. They allow you to change hand positions and allow you to lean forward when the wind is blowing against you. I would recommend adding them to your handlebars on your bug-out bike or even just your ride-around-town bike. They help a lot.

          Reply to this comment
          • Hoosier Homesteader April 28, 12:51

            Thanks LCC, the reason I was curious was because I always wanted a touring bike similarly equipped with cargo hauling ability front and rear. If it was yours, I would be envious to the Nth degree! I imagined one day making that “epic journey”, but family priorities moved that dream to the back burner.
            A utility rider would be so practical for me. I’m very fortunate to having aged so well; I’m only in my 60’s, but NOTHING is wrong with me. I can go out and work in the garden or the woods all day long, or mow my five acres of grass around the homestead and not pay for it the next day.
            Your post also brought back a lot of fond memories of my riding days; I had a Peugeot PX-10 that was stolen, and my wife still has her Peugeot UE-18.
            Also, thank you for your service to this country! I didn’t know you were a veteran!

            Reply to this comment
            • left coast chuck April 28, 15:54

              Hoosier: Racks and panniers would be what you are looking for. I did a lot of utility riding, using a bicycle for grocery shopping instead of my car and running all kinds of other errands on the bike as opposed to my car. I used a trailer rather than racks and panniers as I found it my convenient. I could take the trailer in the grocery store and use it as a shopping cart and not have to worry about light fingered folks wandering by. I could also lock it as the body of the trailer was a lockable Rubbermaid action packer. I also locked the trailer to the bike if I didn’t take it in the store. I suppose panniers are lockable, but most of them can be easily cut with a knife and the bums that are so numerous here on the left coast all have knives.

              I could haul 9 gallons of water in the trailer. I was limited by space in the action packer rather than the physical weight. With 9 gallons of water aboard, 75 pounds, counting the containers, I could easily cruise at 10 – 12 mph on flat ground. We live on a steep hill and I could pedal up the hill with the 75 pound load in lower gear. I didn’t have to dismount and walk up the hill. This was while I was in my 60s and early 70s.

              There are numerous supported bike tours around the country. Three that I have participated in are Bike Across Kansas, Tour de Wyoming and Cycle Oregon. Each are a week long. I won’t take the space to describe them here. I am sure Indiana has a week long cross-state tour also, although I know nothing about it. Iowa, of course, has the Des Moines Register Iowa ride. If you like party rides, that is the one to try to get in. Each of the rides fills quite rapidly even though they have large riderships. The Kansas ride and Oregon ride I think is limited to 1,000 riders. The TdW ride is about 250 riders. The Iowa ride I think tops out at 5,000, although I think in more recent years they have been limiting it to fewer riders.

              If you would like to know more about tour riding, ask Claude to send me your e-mail address and I will be happy to fill you in on what I know about touring by bicycle or even utility riding. Go for it. You are in good health now, do it while you have that. You don’t know what the future will bring and sometimes even if you have good health your life partner doesn’t and you can’t follow your dream and support them too.

              Reply to this comment
              • Hoosier Homesteader April 29, 12:40

                LCC, the tour circuit isn’t my key interest. Where I live, it’s a 20 mile round trip to the grocery store. 30 miles to the nearest Walmart. Those would be enjoyable rides when my To Do list isn’t too pressing; I have some really scenic county roads that would be ideal for exploring and foraging. (you see so much more on a bike than you do in a vehicle) Knowing more about the back roads and the resources I can glean from them would be a great plus. My bike will also take me into the National Forest areas which I live pretty much in the middle of. Horse trails and hiking trails are in my area and would be good places to explore. A trailer is on my list for runs to the store, but panniers are the way I’d go when out exploring and foraging.
                As a side note for biking, to help lessen having flats, take an old inner tube and cut it in a way so you can take the outer part of the old tube and insert it into your tire, like an inner liner. Then put your primary tube in, and you’ve got a little extra protection against penetration.

                Reply to this comment
                • left coast chuck April 29, 20:28

                  That’s what the gatorskins or snakeskins are that I mention in my second part. The “skins” are a little thicker than a bike tire tube and are tapered toward the edges so that they don’t impact the sidewalls as much. The upside is that almost everyone with a bike has a couple of tubes laying around. I use old tubes as tie downs in place of bungees as I’ve got them and don’t need to buy bungees.

                  Good suggestion.

                  Reply to this comment
  15. Frank April 29, 03:46

    I think bicycles are great to have because of the fact that it’s not hard to stock a few extra parts or to learn how to repair and maintain them. Get yourself a good repair manual for any kind of bike (Single speed, 3-speed, touring, mountain, etc.) and one of Rob Zombie’s books on custom bikes. If you read thru, you’ll come to understand everything and can customize bikes as well. His second book even features scooters and motorbikes you can build. He has lots of the same information on his website (Atomic Bikes) that you can read for free and there are photos too. I like free information like this website, but I like having a book to read and refresh my memory anytime I want or need too.

    For some of the older people here, who have not been on a bike in years or ever, there are those 3-wheelers and 3 and 4 wheel recumbent bikes. I see them as an advantage since you don’t have to have a lot of skill trying to balance and steer when you want to ride really slow or might be trying to drink or retrieve a firearm or radio. I own bikes, but am leaning towards building a 3 or 4 wheeled recumbent or bike car as a bug out bike or post crisis vehicle. I can ride, but feel clumsy trying to do anything but ride. I seem to have problems with balancing and gear changing and trying to chew gum.

    Electric or gas powered motors are an option unless one requires a motorcycle or something like a Rokon.
    Mopeds and scooters are cool, but bicycles are more standardized and parts are much more interchangeable as they are or with minor modifications. They can be upgraded as well.

    Now tactically, you might not be able to be super stealthy, but that isn’t the point. Nor will it provide ballistic protection from bullets. And unless you have a streak of daredevil in you, you won’t be speeding down trails or jumping over cars. It’s cheap and effective transportation that beats walking with bags and packs.
    You need to pick what works for you and then decide how to carry stuff or maybe even build a bike trailer. And of course as with all things related to survival or preparedness, you want to get everything stocked and tweaked before a crisis comes.

    Toy R Us is going out of business, so there is an opportunity to buy a bike at a lower price. And there are always yard sales and thrift stores.

    Reply to this comment
    • Frank April 29, 04:02

      Pardon me, I meant to check first, so the name Rob Zombie was meant as a temporary filler, but I posted my comments before I could edit it. Anyway Brad Graham and his wife Kat are the owner’s of the AtomicZombie website and publish the plans.
      Brad also wrote two books on customizing bicycles which I own and I do have a few of the plans and they are well done. Like many preppers, I don’t make any money from recommending schools, gear or people for hire. I am just sharing my personal experience/feelings about something I feel others would appreciate.

      Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 29, 20:45

      I agree, Frank, in a bug-out situation, you shouldn’t be riding 15+ mph with your head down. Ideally you should be riding five to six mph, slightly faster than a walking pace. If things looks dicey, you dismount and stash your bike and investigate on foot. I don’t know why folks think you can’t be stealthy on a bike. Obviously if you are going hell bent for leather you are not going to be observing very much and will wind up in trouble just as if you are jogging along and not watching what you are doing.

      I wouldn’t buy a bike at Toys R Us no matter how much discounted. The frame is probably okay but the bearings, the wheels, the spokes, the headset, the seat clamp, the chain and gears, tubes and tires are all bottom of the line. Yeah, you can get a frame cheap and strip off all the junk parts, but you will wind up paying more than if you just bought a complete bike at a bike shop and changed out the components at the time of sale. Target has Schwinn mountain bikes on sale this weekend in SoCal for $199. Unfortunately, Schwinn is not the bike it was when you were a kid. They have gone mass market and the bikes are made in China by the lowest bidder. Finding any kind of quality bike that will last for under $500 is going to be extremely difficult. You might pick up a used one for that price, but you need to know the quality of the parts before you pop for it. Replacing all the parts because you got a deal is not a bargain. In an EOTW situation, bikes and parts are going to be worth their weight in gold. You want something that is going to last.

      Although I haven’t completely checked it out I think the Rokon and a trailer, if you can afford it, are the ideal bug-out vehicle. It is a two-wheel drive motorcycle designed specifically for cross country riding in the roughest terrain and will pull a trailer. I can’t speak authoritatively about the Rokon, as you now know everything I know about it, but if you have the cash, and can afford to stow it away for such purposes, I think it is the best bug-out vehicle that I am aware of and certainly worth investigating.

      Reply to this comment
  16. Paleopiper April 30, 14:19

    Enjoyed your post and very much looking forward to part 2! I have a mountain bike that I bought at a local bike swap for quite cheap that didn’t need much work to get into great riding shape. Bike Swaps are a great place to look for decently priced used bikes and you can usually ride around before you purchase. I also have a “bike buggy” that I use to pull around my 3 year old daughter. A bike trailer allows you to haul quite a heavy load over varying terranes. My daughter LOVES going for bike rides. She now weighs about 30lbs, and if I add in a bag with snacks and water and the weight of the buggy itself, I’m probably hauling between 40-50 lbs without anything strapped to the bike frame itself. On the flats (rail trail where we usually ride) this isn’t a problem at all. On steep hills it can be a bit much, but it’s a fun challenge to see how far I can make it up the hill before I have to get off and push. I currently use a Burley Bike Trailer, it’s light and very efficient. Finally, Strava is a great (free I think) app for your smart phone that will track your bike trips and also give you a nice readout of elevation changes that is nice for training or just tracking your rides.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck April 30, 18:29

      Paleopiper: Check with your local bike shop and see if you can change out the derailleur to get lower gearing or if it is cheaper to get smaller chain rings.You don’t need go-fast gearing, what you need is climbing-up-a-wall gearing and your LBS (local bike shop) can help you in that regard. Most mountain bikes have pretty low gearing as compared to the pro-circuit wannabe bikes but in all but a very limited number of individuals, most riders can’t fully utilize the biggest chain ring/smallest cog ring anyway. They just don’t have the lung or leg power to do it.

      With the right gear combination you should be able to pull your daughter and some groceries up the hill without dismounting and walking. Have you tried standing while going up the hill? I was surprised to learn that many riders don’t know how to stand while riding. With big heavy single speed bikes when I was a kid that was just about the only way we could get the darn things moving. When you have been doing something for so many years you just kind of assume everybody knows how to do it.

      Reply to this comment
  17. The Duke fo Texas May 2, 02:43

    Excellent article, Thanks. I am a Scout Leader in Houston
    and responsible for Hurricane Preparedness for about 2,000 Scouts and their families. Mind if I use your information as a training aid. I have been developing my own bike kit and caboodle and would like to know where you got the kit and caboodle seen in your photo particularly the framing attached to the bike. I would also
    like to get your views on how to use bikes to transport
    injured personnel. I am expecting that me and my Boy Scouts will have to take responsibility for getting the injured to medical facilities during the next hurricane.

    Reply to this comment
  18. left coast chuck May 2, 03:32

    I think the bicycle shown in the photograph is a photo of a Swiss Army bike. As I indicated in an earlier post up until very recently the Swiss Army maintained, I have reason to believe, two army units that were mounted on bicycles. If these are not such, they certainly resemble what the Swiss Army would likely use. The bike in the picture looks as if it has an electric assist motor because the large square on the seat downtime looks like a battery box and it is much larger than one would need for a lighting system.

    Racks and panniers are available from many sources. If you would like to look at pictures of racks and panniers, you can visit two websites, BikeNashbar.com and Performancebike.com. Both of those companies have been in mail order bicycle business more than 20 years and are reputable to do business with. There are also local bicycle shops that can advise you about accessories for bicycles. I think the best way to find out what shops know their business is the way I suggested to someone else, If you see a group of cyclists out for a weekend ride and they are stopped for a breather or you know that they regularly stop at a particular restaurant or coffee shop not their rides, visit with them as they are stopped and inquire about their recommendations for reputable bike shops. Like every occupation there are some who are better at their jobs than others.

    As for using the material in this column, I know absolutely nothing about copyright as it pertains to websites such as this. I certainly have no objection to using the material I have written or any of my answers, but it is not my website. It belongs to Claude Davis and so I would suggest you direct your question to him about using the material. He has said that he reads every post, if so, he will read your post and my response.

    If you would like to correspond privately, I have your e-mail address, all you have to do is post a reply that says, “yes, please contact me privately and I will be happy to do so.”

    With regard to moving injured people, you need to go on line and look for bicycle cargo trailers. I saw one that is rated at 450 pounds. That would certainly haul the heaviest injured person, perhaps even two large people. The only question would be the route from where the injured were located to the medical facility. I have only been in Houston once and it was sometime in the late 70s, so whatever I think I remember could be totally erroneous, but it seems to me that Houston was relatively flat, so perhaps a trailer of that size could move an injured person. In any even, there are all sizes of cargo trailers and you need to read the reviews of each and decide which one best suits your needs.

    As for racks and panniers, it has been at least eight years since I was looking at them to see what was available and what was available then is significantly different from today.

    I am going to discuss panniers in a limited way in my next chapter of the continuing saga of the bug-out bicycle and that will be a very generalized overview without betting specific about products.

    A utility bicycle that will be operating mostly on paved roads or improved paths will be slightly different from a bug-out bike that might have to be operated of barely improved trails or animal paths. I would be happy to discuss with you privately what I would look for if I were specking out a bike for such use. I assume that you are contemplating using the bike in an on-going fashion in emergencies where vehicular access may be limited and because of their narrower stance bicycles may be of assistance. Also, younger scouts who do not drive can operate bicycles where they might not be able to operate motor vehicles. I assume that you are not looking for a bug-out bike that might have to survive without the services of a bike shop for decades and which might have to traverse topography that I described earlier.

    Reply to this comment
  19. Lucy May 4, 01:05

    Exciting article, LCC, taking us in a direction I don’t remember ever reading about! I’ve loved bicycling since I was 7 years old, but realize in reading this article that I am seriously ignorant and have a LOT to learn.

    This is mind stretching, thanks!

    Reply to this comment
  20. Bob BTW May 14, 16:08

    Are you familiar with the SCI FI book Dies the Fire?
    It is about a SF equivalent to an EMP.
    Found the title at survivalblog.
    It gives a real good idea of what might happen and also about stuff that would be useful in such a case.
    Just remember though, it is science fiction.

    Reply to this comment
  21. Clergylady May 14, 22:04

    I don’t have a bike or ride anylonger. Husband’s dimentia process seems to have messed up balance and ability to judge space around him. If we had to bug out on foot we’d have backpacks and perhaps a hand cart with 2, 8″ wheels. It pulls over rough ground ok. Husband not able to walk far. Poor coordination and tires quickly.
    My choice is still shelter in place. But I’m enjoying the article and comments.

    Reply to this comment
  22. Mt-Dandy May 15, 00:22

    Interesting article with some good feedback. G’day, Im Located in Australia. Im quite a prepper in ways. I have 2 MTB bicycles with high torque motors. I use both, a 4 stroke motorized bike with 24 gears and all the goodies and accesories attached and a 1500w mid drive motor ebike with all accessories and goodies on it. Both i use with trailers. Single wheel yak trailers and duel wheel trailer that carry my gardening work equipment daily, and also my fishing camping gear on many weekends and week long trips away.
    The 4 stroke is quiet to run in comparison to the 2 stroke most use.The 24 gears allow me to go anywhere, even carrying a trailer loaded, including the steep mountain tracks and roads in my local area. I live on a mountain so not much flat ground around here. The output power of the 4 stroke (Chinese Honda copy) is rated at 50cc and around 1.2 hp. I used this set up for 4 years to do my daily gardening work for clients around the mountain with never a problem from the establishment due to the fact that i set up the bike to be pedaling at all times to keep somewhat in the grey area of legality, using freewheels as main chain rings. Quite a unique neat design i came up with.
    The ebike with mid drive motor has 8 gears, i mostly only ever need about 4 of them for all round performance , even getting about the mountain. Carrying a trailer fully loaded with gardening equipment including brushcutter that breaks in half to add different attachments, a blower and fuel cans and other cutters, saws and secateurs etc.
    I often take the ebike on train trips to far away places to do my fishing and camping trips with 2 large pannier bags mounted onto a strong custom build rear rack and fishing bkpack and rolled up lightweight bivvy swag on my back. All the lightweight cooking and camping gear i have makes these trips a real joy. I also use the Bob yak trailer on road trips to my trout fishing locations fully loaded with around 35kg of gear ( lots of camo camping equipment and fishing gear) and the ebike gets along nicely and with no sweat.
    I have 2 plentiful batteries on these journeys , 48v 25a and a 48v 20a that gives me 100+ km or more depending on my pedal assist i put into the motor. There is always a place to recharge the batteries, hotel stay for lunch and the likes as i carry my lightweight chargers with me on long journeys.
    Lots of time money and effort have gone into these 2 bikes Ive custom built, but after years of use Im very happy with both builds that give me hundreds of hours of pleasure both going to and from my work places and getting away into the outdoors. Im happy to answer any questions on these 2 bike builds.

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