Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Survival Bicycle

When the gas is gone, the car tires are worn out, and the truck parts are no longer available; you can still get around. The most energy efficient form of transportation in the world is the 10-speed bicycle. It hasn't been that long ago when most Europeans commuted to and from work on bicycles, and the Viet Cong carried supplies from North Vietnam to the Mekong Delta on bicycles.

Bicycles have relatively few moving parts, require few tools to repair, and require little in the way of maintenance. A good bicycle costs way less than a poor automobile, and the fossil fuel cost for a bicycle is zero. You can cover a lot of ground in a short time on a 10-speed, and it will improve your health. So there are a lot of good reasons to ride a bike even if it's not a survival necessity.

I personally have mountain bikes. They are not as fast on the road as a touring bike, but they are more robust and much superior in off-road situations. Riding at a leisurely pace I can make the 10 mile trip into town in an hour.

I don't have a basket on my bike, although they are available. I prefer to use a backpack for carrying any purchases. I have equipped my bike with a small bag that mounts on the handlebars. In the bag I keep a locking chain, a Philips and a regular screwdriver, vise grips, a pair of pliers, and an Allen wrench. I also carry a spare tube and a patching kit in the bag. A bicycle pump and a water bottle are mounted on the frame of the bicycle. In addition I keep several more tubes, a couple of tires, and a spare chain in my storage building.

Besides my bike I have two others for family members to use. I don't use my bike as a primary means of transportation but it's nice to know that it's there if I need it.

1 comment:

Psiberzerker said...

I personally prefer a single speed, or multi geared hub for any survival (or even long range touring) scenario, because of mechanical simplicity. Cassettes are light, and cheap, but also relatively fragile, and complex. A dreailer hangs off the side, below the axel, which means it can be whacked out of true by a 4" curb, or random branches. Also, this isn't a race, with a sag wagon, but most likely an unsupported solo escape. Therefore, reliability, and durability are more important than even performance, to me. My personal choice is a 24" (Good compromise between accelleration, and top end, not to mention taking bumps, and dips in the trail) "Cruiser BMX with a 3 speed Sturmey Archer hub (Self contained, inexpensive, and reliable) which I can throw together for less than $300 with spares.