The right bicycle can mean fun and exercise. But it can also be one of your most valuable preparedness items.
Think about it:
It is one of the most popular recreational “vehicles“, takes up very little space, is easy to transport with a bicycle carrier, and doesn’t need fuel or need to be fed!
The bicycle is also awesome as a bug out vehicle if you want to save money, the grid goes down, or you want to bug out without a vehicle.
1. Bikes Are Great For Money Savings
Your bicycle can take you to your job on a nice day and up to the market with no gas spent using just your own muscles for power. Put some pack bags on it and you can carry a lot of groceries or other items. And you are exercising too!
With a bicycle generator, you can power a small TV, computer, recharge batteries or your cellphone and get exercise too!
2. Bikes Don’t Need Fuel in Grid Down Scenarios
For whatever reason, if the grid goes down you still have transportation that takes absolutely no fuel. It is easily repaired, stored, hidden and practically silent! I hate meeting bikes on the trail with horses as almost invariably the horses spook when encountering bikes.
Fit it with packs and you can haul a lot. Add a cart and you can haul water, produce, and even animals.
3. Bikes Can Get In and Out of Places That Cars Can’t When Bugging Out
The right bicycle can pretty much go anywhere off-road that a horse can. You can pack it and you can even pull a cart with it. On the road you can easily go 40 mph with the geared bikes and travel all day if you are in shape and with a cart or packed you can weave in and out of stopped traffic easily. You can even make it into a camper!
And you can customize your bike fairly easily and cheaply. Add a windshield or surry top. I have even seen rifle mounts on mountain bikes used for hunting.
A camper friend found me one @ a police sale “nice one too” multi speed. gave it to me ,I tried to pay him, he said it was a gift. I bought a more comfortable seat “tini seats are uncomfortable,
When I was a kid, I rode my mom’s old bike. The thing had to weigh 50+ pounds and was complete with a seat on the back for my little sister and a basket in front for our Boston Terrier. I usually pretended I was riding a horse.
When we bought bikes for the kids, I learned that the term “like riding a bike” was a big fat lie. My wonderful husband took full responsibility in the mountain biking excursions from then on.
Several years ago, my “inventions” son inherited a homemade bike car in need of some TLC. It’s my dream come true. It’s a lot harder to fall off of. His model is set up so everyone pedals and you don’t have to stop because one person is tired. There is no roof or windshield, the seats are old tractor seats (that don’t even match) but there is a trailer hitch.
Here is a vaguely similar model
The solar feature on this new model is quite appealing. For the price you could buy a good used gas sucker with air bags.
For trekking off into the woods, I guess I’ll have to stick with the horses and mules even if the fuel cost is higher than a bike.
We love ours! I have a 3-wheel collapsible trike that I ride because my balance isn’t very good, and a 2-wheeled recumbent (that I have yet to learn to ride) and MrWE2 has his collapsible 2-wheel bike and his recumbent. Rides them both! We enjoy our collapsibles because they go with us camping and we can ride around the campgrounds. MrWE2 is developing a “side lead” for our Lab-Brat so he doesn’t have to hold his arm out with her leash as she trots along beside him. I haven’t tried her on the back of my trike, it has a nice basket plus a front basket. MrWE2’s collapsible has a front basket. Neither of our recombents have baskets though. We have two “older” trike with baskets on back (the traditional kind) that we need to put new tires on and check the braking systems etc. But yes, bike are a good mode of travel if you want to save gas and get exercise!
I notice over the last 15 or 20 years that almost all bicycles have lost fenders. For a shtf situation you may likely find yourself using a bike in rainy weather. With no fenders you are going to have a streak of muddy water up the front and back of your shirt. Doesn’t sound like fun does it?
I plan to dump my mountain bike in the next few weeks (no fenders on it) and finding a road bike with fenders on Craig’s List. I looked yesterday and there are a lot of good used bikes there at very reasonable prices.
Good call on fenders and mud. Now, mea culpa, but I haven’t been on a pedal-powered bike in a long, long time. I wonder if pieces cut out of a plastic 5-gallon bucket, and some wire or hose clamps, etc. could fix the mud issue while keeping the mountain bike gearing advantages for 5 bucks or so?
@Wyzyrd or maybe he could buy a plastic fender? They’re pretty reasonably priced.
Bev, great article! I used to bike all the time, loved it, and it’s a fun way to stay fit, spend time with others, and transport stuff.
In a SHTF scenario, the biggest benefits might be how quiet a bicycle can be, and how small of a footprint they have; much harder to see and/or hear than a motorized vehicle. Also bikes are a great way to stay fit in any environment!
I’d want to try to balance those benefits against burning a LOT of calories (when calories may be in limited supply), potential for injury (off road especially), and the lack of defensive protection. In that environment a bike is really just one step up from being on foot.
Benefits and risks to be evaluated based upon an individual’s needs and abilities.
Thanks Joe for the thumbs up. I’m not a big bicycle person, but I have one stashed in the barn just in case – and it has fenders and a basket. :-D
In a grid down situation with no snow on the ground (Minnesota you know) I believe a bicycle would be truly valuable for transportation.