Two Letters Re: Procuring Reliable Workhorse Bikes — Take Advantage of the Single Speed Fad

I am a daily multi-modal commuter taking an armored bus into Jerusalem and then cycling from the bus station to my kollel. Before my move to Israel, I only drove my 4×4 truck several times a month and did about 50-to-70 miles a week by pedal power. I did once try using Slime in my tubes but this makes for a difficult ride, wasting immense amounts of effort due to the natural imbalance of slimed tires. I also found that it is also impossible to patch slimed tires. My advice is to get a good tire like the Kevlar Schwalbe Marathon tire, although some may not want the reflective paint on this tire for OPSEC, I have also had good use from the Specialized brand CrossRoads mountain/road tire. Unless the cycle rider is planning to go 100% soft road it is better to occasionally walk the bike and gain the efficiency of a smooth roll center strip.

Since most of us are not equestrian experts and since animals can be such a danger especially if regular medical care is unavailable, a bicycle should be part of nearly every persons preparation purchases right after a basic defensive firearm, camping gear, and several months of backup food and a way to cook it. I also suggest every reader find a mechanic that they can trust at a local bicycle shop who can help evaluate any potential purchases so you don’t buy used or new junk which will sit in the garage attracting rust and often teach you to fix the problems, he will also help you collect the tools and parts needed to keep it running even if he is not there. Your bicycle is the most efficient form of powered transport known to man so you will easily feel any inefficiencies when pedaling up a big hill, this is probably your future daily means of transport, don’t sell yourself short. See also Sheldon Brown for how to work on a bicycle and Crazy Guy on a Bike for cycle camping and long tours. – David in Israel (SurvivalBlog’s Correspondent in Israel)

Mr. Rawles –
I noticed your recommendation to use extra-thick inner tubes and Slime for tires on survival bicycles. Excellent advice, but may I suggest an alternative I have used on my bicycles — air free tires. There are alternative suppliers as well but these have worked well for me. The tires use solid, dense polyurethane and are offered with varying densities/elasticities to match various tire PSI ratings. One caveat is that they are a bear to get on the rim, and you’ll likely have to re-true the rim once on.

Since I live in a very cactus-infested part of Arizona, these have been a blessing. I’ve even picked up nails without any problems (other than having to stop and pull them out with a Leatherman tool .)

I love the blog. I’ve been a reader of yours for years, in the far distant past from the misc.survivalism [Usenet] newsgroup [in the late 1980s and early 1990s].
Regards, – “Harmless Fuzzy Bunny”