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Thread: Bug out Bicycle

  1. #1
    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    Default Bug out Bicycle

    There's been a little banter about bicycles as BOVs lately, some of it jokingly. I want to advocate this as a viable alternative. If you've read my intro., you know I'm a cycle tourist. I take at least one serious multi-day tour every year and have figured out what I can carry and what I need on these long, self-sustained rides.

    A couple of things to note, I'm not an advocate of bugging out. I'd much rather shelter in place, where all of my cool toys are. The way I see it, bugging out is something you do when your house burns down. Secondly, I recognize that cycle touring is not survival, it's camping. It is my element, though. If you are forced into a survival situation, that's not the time to try something you never have before, like lugging a 30# pack on a 15 mile hike.

    A couple of summers ago, I did a ride from Pittsburgh to DC on the C&O Canal towpath and the Great Allegheny Passage. In Harpers Ferry, I stayed in a hostel with some AT through hikers, which was a very enlightening experience for me. I was amazed at how little they carried and they were amazed at how much I carried, as well as how far I went in a day (60-70 miles).

    AT hikers are notorious for carrying very little, and dumping stuff that they decide they don't need. They are not living off the land, they ship stuff to post offices and resupply at predetermined points along the way. Their packs contain the bare essentials and have a base weight in the 20-25# range, minus food and water. A good day's hiking is around 15 miles. This is out of necessity. Too much gear takes a toll on your back and legs.

    I was carrying 60# of gear. I had change of clothes, tools, a full 2-man tent, a weeks worth of food, cookware, fuel, a sleep system and 4 packs on my bike to carry everything, while evenly distributing the weight. I was riding on a mountain bike on rough trail. The towpath is not paved. By the end of the day, your arms feel the stress of the bumps...so does your butt Cycling is still considered to be a low-impact sport, though. it will not hurt your back or knees, as long as your bike is set up correctly.

    In comparison, on a bike you can carry more and go much farther than hiking. With the right bike, you can ride on most surfaces, minus ice, and navigate where cars cannot. If I needed to get out of a large city in a Katrina-like situation, a bike would be ideal in dense traffic. Maintanance is straightforward on a bike, unlike a car. All of the tools needed can be carried in a a small bag under your saddle.

    A great multipurpose method of carrying your gear, at low cost, is a kitty litter bucket. I have seen several boy scout troops doing rides with these. They are waterproof, lightweight, sturdy and double as a seat when you make camp. They can be used to store/catch water and have proven themselves to be raccoon-proof.

    I recognize this is not for everyone. For me it is a natural fit and makes more sense than loading a up a bag and carrying half the gear on my back and only getting a few miles out of the area in one days' hike. My wife, daughter and I do a lot of riding and take family camping trips every year, not to practice, just for fun.

    Goog
    Last edited by greatgoogamooga; 05-11-2013 at 08:58 AM.


  2. #2
    Senior Member GreatUsername's Avatar
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    Goodness Goog, you're of the same mind as me! I too believe bugging in place is the best strategy, but feel bugging out is best done on two wheels.

    My one modification (literally) to your plan would be an electric assist motor for the bike. There are some bikes out there which come straight from the store with one, but you wouldn't be too hard to make one yourself. In either case, you have the ability to activate the assist, and then the motor takes on some or all of the effort of propelling you. The batteries charge when the motor is turned off, powering up from a small generator that takes energy from your pedaling, or from the wheels' rotation on downhill slopes, depending on how it's all set up.
    Some can even be powered by A/C outlet plugins, it all depends.

    The range for these batteries tends to be fairly small, but the advantage I see is that it would give you extra power for carrying heavier loads, or going up grueling hills when you simply don't have the energy to do it yourself. For an experienced touring cyclist like Goog, that probably seems like a non-issue, but for one who is less experienced, such as me, I feel that "cheating" is entirely okay in a survival situation. This system does add more complexity to the bike, but it is still relatively easy to maintain and repair, needing only a few extra tools, and the bike can generally be stripped of the electric components without damaging pedals-only function, should the electric systems get damaged. The batteries of course won't last forever in TEOTWAWKI, but I personally don't plan for that sort of event, since there are too many variables. In the scale of a one-year disaster though, a bicycle, in particular, an electric assist bicycle, is going to serve you well.
    Last edited by GreatUsername; 05-11-2013 at 01:11 PM.
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  3. #3
    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    On last year's tour, I passed a guy going up a hill who had made a motor assisted trike. He had a wooden crate in back with 2 car batteries to power his motor. he actually had plenty of oomph getting up the hill, but I'd hate to be going up that hill when the batteries died and you are lugging 70# of dead weight.

    Goog

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    "sorry backside" rebel's Avatar
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    Good post Goog. I've spent some time on the towpath, just day rides. Do you have any pictures of your rig? I've also thought canoes would be good, for the same reasons if, you live near a river.

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    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    here's a pic of the bike from the towpath/GAP ride. My in-laws are holding the bike, not me. I'm not that old.

    Waltnjane.jpg

    Goog

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    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rebel View Post
    Good post Goog. I've spent some time on the towpath, just day rides. Do you have any pictures of your rig? I've also thought canoes would be good, for the same reasons if, you live near a river.
    If you ever have the time, ride tho whole towpath from Cumberland to DC. The people are always friendly, there's plenty of places to camp for the night and you can just get away from civilization. We'll probably do an overnighter on memorial day weekend in a couple of weeks.


    Goog

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    "sorry backside" rebel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by greatgoogamooga View Post
    here's a pic of the bike from the towpath/GAP ride. My in-laws are holding the bike, not me. I'm not that old.

    Waltnjane.jpg

    Goog
    Nice! I did a three day ride and camp on the blue ridge parkway. It rained the whole time. That's when you can appreciate a coin laundry dryer and the heat in the room.

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    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    I did the BRP and Skyline Drive last summer, and I know EXACTLY what you mean. That's a tough ride.

    http://campagna67.blogspot.com/

    Goog

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    "sorry backside" rebel's Avatar
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    Bug out bike.

    I did a little search and you can expect for mileage (there are variables such as terrain, weight, etc):
    Bike tires: 7000 miles
    Boots: 500 - 700 miles
    Tennis shoes: 350-500 miles

  10. #10
    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    7000 miles is optimistic, under load. The people I know who have ridden the trans-am usually only get 2/3 of the way before replacing at least one tire. And we're talking good tires, usually. Schwalbes or Continentals.

    Goog

  11. #11

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    I thought I already posted this to this thread.

    Here is a short video of my bike on a recent outing.


  12. #12
    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    So, the gist of that video was, "can I get to my bike before the gator gets to me?"

    Goog

  13. #13
    reclinite automaton canid's Avatar
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    Maybe one of you could help settle my mind on an issue:

    I generally favor solid tubes for urban riding. There just isn't enough slime in the world for some areas. They have a lot of upsides. On the other hand, downsides include dramatically reduced mechanical efficiency (about like riding around with half flat tubes) and similarly, they are pretty wobbly. On rough terrain they may well make it more likely to dump the bike. They are also heavier, but ultimately, we're not talking a lot of weight.

    In a situation where you absolutely depend on the bike, do you think the pros outweigh the cons?
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  14. #14
    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    No. Air-less tubes are not worth it.

    Goog

  15. #15

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    Not hardly. LOL

    I shoot a lot of video that I would never post here because you never win. You are either crazy or irresponsible.



    I was walking away from filming this trophy gator. When I decided to just make a side shot and shot at my bike. But, a couple of gators isn't a big deal and a video of a bike isn't getting many hits so it just sits in my video folder.

    Then , it seemed that bikes might be a good topic to post that in.

    I have been charged by mom gators and used my bike as a successful shield.

  16. #16
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Good stuff, Goog. My wife and I did centuries in earlier times. We biked 20 miles daily for a very long time. Age and injuries sort of ended that but it was sure fun while it lasted. A bike is certainly a very viable means of transport and equipped with panniers as you are makes it all the better. Good post.

  17. #17
    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    Thanks., Rick. I've only recently gotten into century rides. I did one last weekend on the eastern shore of MD, as a matter of fact. It was not a particularly good idea. I have seriously slacked off this winter and paid for it. Normally, I'd enjoy a ride like that better, but the wind absolutely kicked my butt.

    Goog

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    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    Even the little nuances like tire pressure on dry vs. wet pavement can make such a huge difference. If you can sign up with a sanctioned ride that sag wagon is sure nice too.

  19. #19
    Goog...He's just this guy greatgoogamooga's Avatar
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    I looked at the ride as penance for not riding more over the winter. I was gassing by mile 60. The way I looked at it, if I finished, I couldnt' complain about going on a 30 miler the next week...which I haven't done

    Goog

  20. #20
    Senior Member Tootsiepop254's Avatar
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    How do you attach your bags (and tent) to the bike?
    Cheer up, the worst is yet to come.

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