Monday, July 22, 2013

My thoughts on the benefits of a Bug Out Bike

With the demise and subsequent selling of my Subaru, I have taken to the bicycle  as my primary modus vehiculum. For me this is an upgrade from what I had before, the reasons are plenty but I will not bore you with those facts. What I am going to discuss is how this decision has affected my bug out plans and the benefits I feel I gain from being a cyclist.

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Likely the most common thing most people will endure that gives them reason to dig into their BOB’s is when Mother Nature happens. One thing that I have noticed is the mad dash for the gas pumps and stores to get the supplies everyone forgot to get before they began their pre-spring preparations. When power goes out, I am not trying to decide between fuel and food. Nor am I wasting gas waiting to get gas and driving around trying to find a parking spot before the shelves are bare. I also am not going to have to deal with the grid lock conditions one might encounter. In and out is easier for a cyclist.
 Not on topic but I just thought about the NASCAR event from a few years back, where traffic was bumper to bumper for 36 miles. Could have parked the car and took to bikes to get to the race….if I was into NASCAR.
 Let us think on every SHTF movie or series. What is the backdrop to every city effected by to topic of the movie? Cars, hundreds of dead cars. When the exodus from the city happens, you see every major, and sometimes minor, roads out of the city choked with cars and people.  Each car is loaded down with possessions that become useless when the people are forced to abandon it to go on foot because it’s not packed to be slung on their backs. Some may have carts but the loads are such that they do not get far very fast.
 Cycles are said to be one of the best inventions when it comes to input/output ratio. They have the capability of bearing impossible loads while still able to be ridden and they can go just about anywhere. All that on zero gallons of gas. You can ride roads less traveled, rail ways (tho not comfortably) trails and through congestion, just watch a bike messenger in action.
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 If a car were in my BOB equation, I would make certain my gear would be capable of mounting to my bike or be transferred to my wagon so that I would not share the fate of the masses. According to the details on my rack and wagon, I could haul 150 pounds of gear, that being according to the recommendations of the manufacturer’s specs. Both the TrolleyTote and wagon break down to reduce storage space, so including it in a car would not be an issue and can be road ready in mins. This is not including all the cargo capabilities available for bikes. Just Google Bikepacking to see what people can do.
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 Range is another asset to the bike.  The average walking speed 2.8 miles per hour for older pedestrians and 3.4 miles per hour for younger pedestrians. This is unencumbered. Google search turned up 2 to 3 miles an hour for hikers. I can only get this speed when walking the bike. Even at the lowest gear, I can get an average of 8 to11 miles per hour with 13 being my typical average unencumbered. I recently loaded down the wagon with groceries with an estimation of 35 pounds and still maintained 13 mph on average without much exertion. In a 10 hour period the person on foot might clear a max of 30 miles to my 130 miles.
 Other areas of benefit of a bike is that the bike can be turned into a means to generate electricity, power non-electric devices, like grinders, blenders (why should we not be able to make a smoothie when SHTF?), pumps, etc and with the gearing available on most bikes, anyone can take a turn.
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 My recommendation is to add bikes to your bug out plan to give yourself more options to work with.

by primalheathen

A SLC-360 Instructor

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