Monday, November 22, 2010

Bugging Out Using Bikes

Walking by foot is a rather slow way too evacuate during an emergency. Bikes are one of the most energy efficient ways to travel by muscle power. An individual can normally travel many times the distance one could by foot per day using a bike. Another major advantage is that equipment can be loaded either directly to the bike using special bags or be drawn behind the bike on a trailer, this mean that much more equipment can be brought than would be possible if an individual would have to carry the same amount of equipment. There are many different models of bikes specialized for different tasks like being used in the city or off-road, find a bike that suits your specific needs. There are also bikes thats especially designed to carry heavy loads like the Transport from Trek. If you are on a budget it can be worth checking out the second hand market.

A bike is faster than walking but is normally not as fast as motor vehicle. But it can be an interesting alternative for someone with a low budget or can be brought along on a motor vehicle by using a bike rack.

Bike Trailers
Bike trailers is an excellent way to bring equipment along since it let you remove the weight from your back make the ride more comfortable and better balanced. There are a number of different companies that makes trailers for bike; two of the companies are Croozer and BOB. There are also special trailers for transporting children and pets. There are also custom trailers that’s up to eight feet long and take up to 300 pounds of load from Bikes at Work, like the Model 96A.

Bags for Bikes
There are a number of companies that makes bags that are specially designed for being used on a bike. The bags can be mounted at the front wheel, at the back wheel, under the saddle or other positions. Vaude, ArkelLone Peak and Ortlieb are some example of companies that has a number of different models. You can also improvise and use other bags or containers; the important part is that you distribute the weight equally around the bike so that it’s as balanced as possible. BOBLBEE makes backpacks that are especially designed for using while using bikes, motor cycles and other sports.

Bike Light
A bike light is important for many reasons, it makes it easier for other too se you when you travel by night and it also allows you to see the ground ahead of you. There are many companies that makes special bike lights, but many of the lights are mostly designed to give enough light so that others can see you, don’t to give you are clear view of what’s in front of you. If you want a more powerful light you can get a high power flashlight from Fenix, Surefire, 4Sevens or other companies and use a special adapter to attach it to the handles of your bike. A headlight can also be a good addition since the light will follow your head when you look around. Having a small red light in pointed to the rear of the bike allows other to know that the see the back of work bike in darkness.

Special Equipment for Repairs and Maintenance
For longer bike tours it’s good if you have some basic tools that allow you to fix some basic problems. A flat tire is one of the typical problems you might encounter and can be quite easily fixed with a puncture repair kit and an air pump. Spare inner tubes and tires to bikes is also relatively cheap to store. For most bikes Allen Keys is needed for repairs, fixed keys with t-handles are normally the easiest to work with, but there are also more compact tools with Allen keys especially designed for bike repairs that can be useful when traveling. If you have a car a bike rack is a useful addition in order to make it easier to transport your bike.

Equipment in addition to your Bug Out Bag
[ ] Puncture Repair Kit
[ ] Pump
[ ] Spare Valve
[ ] Adjustable Wrench or Barbell Spanner
[ ] Screwdriver and Allen Keys
[ ] Helmet
[ ] Multi-Tool
[ ] Lock

Wenger has a special Swiss Army Knife, the Wenger Biker 37 that’s especially designed to be used as a tool for repairing bikes. A multi-tool can also be a useful tool for fixing common problems.

A roadmap/city map and compass can be for finding your way, there also GPS units that especially designed for using while biking like the Garmin 705 HR.

One of the easiest ways of preventing serious injury when biking is wearing a helmet. There are many different models on the market; personally I like the ones from ProTec and BELL. Other ways of minimizing the risk of injury is to keep up the maintenance; check the breaks, tires and other details regularly. Stay alert and avoid using listening to music and talking on your cell phone while travelling in traffic, this can both be a distraction and make it hard for you to hear other sounds and warnings.

One of the major problems with having a bike, especially in cities is the risk of getting the bike stolen. A good lock can minimize the risk of getting the bike stolen, but there are no lock that can’t be broken with the right tools and time. The location where you store your bike is also important, try not to store the bike in a secluded location. Solid steel U-locks are normally safer than the thinner models of locks that use wired or chains.

Every Day Life
Biking is one of the cheapest and fastest ways to get around using muscle power, it is also an excellent way to get physical exercise. With a bike trailer and good stamina it’s fully possible to travel to work and do most activities like errands to the supermarket without a car. In some cases it can even save time compared to driving a car or taking the bus. Biking also has a large economical advantage compared to driving car since it does to consume any fuel, accept the calories you burn riding the bike. The cost for buying a bike, maintenance and new tiers are also very low compared to owning a car. For many people transportation is one of the highest economical costs in their lives today and in scenarios like Peak Oil or an Oil Embargo prices for transportation can rise dramatically. Making a life style change going from car dependency towards using a bike does not only have economical advantages but also advantages for your health and fitness.

• Much faster than traveling by foot
• More equipment can be brought compared to travel by foot.
• It can be possible to navigate through traffic jams because of the bikes smaller size compared to cars and other vehicles.
• A much cheaper solution than a car.
Great form of exercise.
• Requires no fuel.

• Extreme terrain is very hard to travel through using a heavily loaded bike; roads are the best mean off travel.
• It’s hard to bike through snow during winter conditions.
• It can be dangerous to travel at highways due to other forms of traffic.
• Normally much slower than a motor vehicle.

• The storage capacity even with a bike trailer and bags are often significantly lower than that of a car or truck.

A bike gives the possibility to travel much longer distances in a shorter duration of time compared to what’s possible by foot, this can be extremely important in scenarios when evacuation is necessary. If you use your bike on an everyday basis and increase your stamina even longer distances can be traveled. With bike bags and a backpack you can bring more equipment than you can carry by foot. With special bike trailers in combination with bike bags it’s possible to bring several hundred of pounds of equipment in extreme cases.
This opens for options that would not normally be possible compared to evacuation by foot; especially if it’s a larger group equipped with bikes and trailers. Some examples of equipment that could be brought:
• Dutch Owens and other more stationary solution for cooking
• Large tents with wood stoves, Large Tarps, Heavy Duty Wool Blankets
• Food and Fuel for extended periods of time
• Heavy Tools like Shovels, Axes and Aaws, Fishing Gear, Rope etc

It’s fully possible to get a bike rack and bring a bike with you on your normal vehicle during an evacuation scenario and have the best of two worlds, one solution does not have to exclude the other.


  1. I like it. i don't own a car but i bike and i often think about these pros and cons. cheers

  2. I'm glad that you added this section. Most Americans think a bike is a kids toy, not a serious vehicle, especially as a bug out vehicle. I sold my car and use a bike exclusively for travel (except long distances--rental car is the solution here). So, my bike is my escape vehicle. When the fuel runs out, and it will, the bike will become very popular, very fast. For this reason, keep lots of spare parts for bikes on hand in your safe location. They will be great for bartering.
    Get a bike, cargo trailer. You can load it and camp for a week-end or a full week, maybe longer. Bug-out choice? Yes, indeed.
    I've biked for years, and a cargo trailer is a number one necessity in my book.
    Since we cyclists plan on using back roads for a bug-out route, I would suggest using a mountain bike that is built for hard use and can take the knocks of bad roads.