A quick look back at developing nations during recent/modern history will be adequate to put the bicycle in a top priority as a must have post-TEOTWAWKI asset. This simple, self-powered, mode of transportation has been a common stepping stone of all culture’s, building and development, as I believe we will experience “after a collapse” of our current society. In Asia, for example, bikes are used as taxis, trucking, and commuters every day, by a majority of the population.
Before I moved to our retreat over a year ago, I practiced martial arts for my fitness. After moving to the semi-hinterboonies, and the nearest dojo is a serious drive away, I reluctantly had to give up my regular classes. I looked around for a replacement activity and could not find anything that filled the void. I noticed one of my employees would come to work with a mountain bike in the bed of his truck several days a week. He told me that he went for trail rides after work. He brought in a stack of back issues of Mountain Bike magazines and let my interest germinate. I had a basic, entry-level, Trek brand bike in one of my sheds and after reading a few back issues, I dusted my unused bike off and asked him to take me along on a ride. That was it, and I was hooked. Across the canyon from my house there is national forest for miles and miles. This has hundreds of miles of trails and fire break roads that are perfect for mountain biking. I can travel on my bike using these trails and get to five neighboring towns, in all directions, in less than an hour. And, I can do so, on quiet and beautiful back-wood trails. Remember when you were a kid and all you had was your bike. I grew up in rural Kansas and I knew the 20 to 30 miles around our farm in a way that the adults did not. You experience the territory differently from a bike than you do in a car. This knowledge and perspective on your surrounding area could be very valuable WTSHTF. With most retreats being secluded and rural, even animal trails can be transformed in to “bike highways” to transport your surplus garden vegetables to barter.
The Humvee version of this simple mode of transport is available to us now as “the full suspension mountain bike”. This is not one of those Wal-Mart, $100, so-called mountain bikes, but a real, good quality, piece of machinery that can go almost anywhere and can go places where other post-WTSHTF vehicles cannot. They have front and rear shocks, disc brakes, and 8-9 speeds.
Most good bike shops have demo bikes from the manufacturers that are meant to be ridden by potential buyers.
Try some out and find one that fits you and that is comfortable. Don’t be intimidated and take a lot of demos out before you buy. That is what they are for!
WHY? – Value Proposition:
A good bike will cost you. They start around $500 and go up to several thousand. I know this sounds like a lot for a bike but these are specialized pieces of machinery that can take you where only goats can run. Many people with a survival mind set will think nothing of dropping $1500 on a great rifle, and that much again or more, on a good stock of ammo and spare parts. Mountain bikes don’t need fuel storage, parts are cheap and easy to store, you will stay in great shape, they can go places that other vehicles cannot, they don’t eat hay, the view from a bike on the trail is great, the view from a bike on the top of a mountain you just climbed is priceless, you get to know the territory from the saddle of a bike, (like you did when you were a kid) plus, they are EMP proof! Bikes have a history, in developing nations, as a basic and first step in personal transportation. Take a look at Asia. Could billions of bike riding people be wrong?! Of course, bikes won’t plow your field for you, but that is why I have draft horses.
Some brands: (check out their web sites)
I have a Turner “5 Spot” bike. I like that they are built by hand here in the US and they have awesome customer support and customer satisfaction. Many of the high end bikes are built in Asia. Nothing inherently wrong with these bikes, and in some cases, but not most, they can be less expensive, but why not support the bike makers here in the US?!
Helmet – Get a good one, or two, believe me, you will fall off sometimes and your head is worth it!
Hydration = Camelback (you can use this all the time, as noted elsewhere on SurvivalBlog)
Riding shorts – These have padding built-in where you need it, and make long rides on the trail, much more comfortable
Jerseys – They are made of high tech materials that keep you warm or cool and wick away moisture. You will sweat climbing a 2500 foot uphill fire break and the right clothes make a huge difference.
Shoes – There are many types of mountain bike specific shoes. There are some with clips (that connect to the pedals) and some without.
Extra tubes – You will get flats on the trail, buy lots and lots of tubes. Or you can convert your tires to tubeless.
Tires – Kenda and Maxxis are two great brands; like tubes, buy spares.
Tool kit – Specifically for bikes. Includes tire changing tools, chain breaker, multi-tool with allen wrenches and screwdrivers, patches, air adaptors, etc… carry this in your camelback.
A couple of hand pumps – A large one for home and a small one for in your camelback on the trail.
Extra parts – Forks, shocks, brake pads, derailers, chains, shifters, cables, pedals, etc…
Sunglasses – Buy the ones made for bicycling. They have light sensitive lenses and are designed to not fog from your sweat.
If you are, as recommended by Jim Rawles, living at your retreat, planting your garden, pruning your orchard, tending your herd, and holding the high-ground, then just outside of your back door is where. You should be able to find trails all around your property and beyond. If you still live in the city, you too, can find trails nearby. Check the forums on the www.MTBR.com site for trails near you.
Recommendation and resources
Mountain Bike Action Magazine. There is an online version of this print-based magazine
(their reader’s average age is 30 something)
Mountain Bike Review (forums) great for FAQs and tons of opinions and information from around the world.
Get a mountain bike, get out there, and ride! – Anetprophet