Self-Reliance

Using a Bug Out Bicycle in SHTF Scenarios: The Good and The Bad

I would like to quickly share with you a conversation I once had with a fellow prepper. It went a little something like this.

  • Them: I just fully upgraded my vehicle and now it is the ultimate bug-out vehicle!
  • Me: Oh yeah? Why is that?
  • Them: I lifted the vehicle so that it can go anywhere. It has huge off-road tires so I am not confined to driving only on the road. I put a winch on it in case I get stuck. I also retrofitted some of the interior to act as armor just in case. And I put a whole bunch of flood and spotlights on it so that I can see what is going on around me no matter what!
  • Me: oh, that’s cool.
  • Them: You do not sound impressed.
  • Me: Let me ask you two things. How much did all of that cost you?
  • Them: Several thousand dollars.
  • Me: Okay. Now, how many supplies do you have stocked up for your vehicle? At this point, they raised their eyebrows, and I got an odd look from them. 
  • Them: What do you mean supplies?
  • Me: Well, if the world went sideways tomorrow and you were not able to buy anything for the vehicle how long would it last you? How much fuel and oil do you have? Do you have spare tires and all the other parts a vehicle requires to keep running? At this point, the eyebrows came down their face turned a bit angry looking. 
  • Them: Well, what is your ultimate bug-out vehicle?
  • Me: A bicycle.
  • Them: Ha! Why would anyone want a bicycle?
  • Me: Because for the fraction of the cost you spent on your upgrades, not including the cost of the vehicle, I could buy a bicycle for everyone in my family and enough supplies for each bicycle to last for years.

At this point, the person looked like they wanted to say more but instead turned around and walked away. 

Now, before all of the haters come out let me say that if you have the means to create such a vehicle like the above example, more power to you. 

And I am not putting myself on a pedestal. If money were not an issue I would have no problem “tricking” out a similar kind of vehicle. 

But the reality is that many people do not have the budget to create these dream vehicles and being a prepper is all about being well rounded. 

Where a budget is concerned, a bicycle makes a fantastic bug-out vehicle. But before you decide on taking this route, consider the following. 

Using a Bicycle as a Bug Out Vehicle: The Good and the Bad

survival bicycle survival prep zombie apocolypse

In my opinion, a bicycle is a great mode of transportation when the SHTF. However, it is not without its downfalls. Below are my reasons for having a bicycle as well as the negatives to keep in mind. 

The Good

Fuel

A car can putter along for a time on bad fuel. But it needs fuel, nonetheless. 

The only fuel required for a bicycle to go is you.

As long as you are physically capable to operate a bicycle it will run forever. 

Maintenance 

There are a ton of moving and non-moving parts that a car requires for it to be operated. 

A bicycle has three moving parts. The tires, chain, and pedals.

Far less to go wrong. 

Also, when it comes to repairs or maintenance, a bicycle is far more accessible and requires fewer components. 

Most of the parts needed, tire tubes, lubricants, tools for adjusting hardware, air pump, etc. can easily be carried on the bike itself. 

A car would require the addition of a trailer to transport everything it would need to properly be maintained. 

Usability 

Not everyone knows how to properly operate a car. This is especially true of younger individuals who do not have experience. 

But even at a young age, most people are taught how to ride a bicycle. This makes this mode of transportation more user friendly and more accessible to a wide range of people. 

Transportation 

When a bicycle breaks down it can be carried or pushed to a location until it can be repaired. This is not as easy to do with a car that can weigh thousands of pounds.

The other consideration is that when a car is readily available, several bicycles can be tied on or towed as a secondary means of transportation. 

Transporting Supplies

It might not seem like it, but a bicycle can be used to transport more supplies than you think.

Many great DIY videos show how to make a cart that can easily be attached to the back of a bike or they can be purchased. 

Some bags are specifically tailored to fit within the triangular portion of the bike frame.

Othert bags fit on the front of the bike and some fit on the rear that resemble saddlebags

Silent 

A well-maintained vehicle will make a fair amount of noise and can be heard coming down the street. 

When the SHTF it is a fair assumption that there will be times when you do not want to be noticed. 

A bicycle provides a quick and silent means of getting where you need to go without drawing much attention. 

Versatility

A quality bicycle can go places that would be difficult or impossible for a car.  

Bikes can easily transition from pavement to natural ground.

They can be used in tight spaces both outdoors and indoors as well as underground. 

When roadways are shut down and clogged with cars, a bicycle can easily weave through the congestion. 

The Bad

Speed

Since a bicycle is dependent on human power, it will not get you where you need to go nearly as fast as an automobile. Adjust your travel plans accordingly.

Protection 

A bicycle will not provide any physical protection against the elements or any other outside threats. 

Fuel 

Not relying on fossil fuels is both a blessing and a curse. 

A car can be easily driven when you are unwell but powering a bicycle will require physical exertion.

When the SHTF you may be ill, injured, or simply do not have the calories needed to operate a bicycle. 

Supplies

While there are various ways to transport supplies with a bicycle, like the cart example given earlier, a bike will be quite limited to what and how much it can transport when compared to most other vehicles. 


What To Look For In a Bug Out Bicycle 

Some bicycles are built slim and sleek and made for speed while others are built for an easy, comfortable ride around the neighborhood. 

Then there are off-road bikes or mountain bikes. This type is much tougher than the rest and built to take a beating.

A mountain bike would be the most versatile, allowing a person to ride both on and off the road. 

Frames

Frames are made from many kinds of materials. Steel, aluminum, titanium, and even carbon fiber.

The type of material the frame is made from will affect how strong it is but also how heavy it is. 

Weight will be a factor when the bike breaks down or has to be carried over obstacles and rough terrain. 

Choose the frame that works best for you, your budget, and the region you will be riding in. 

Quality

Since this bike is going to be heavily depended on for getting you to safety and anywhere else you need to go, it needs to be a quality bike. 

If you are unsure of what to buy, visit a bicycle shop nearest you. The employees of these shops are extremely knowledgeable and will be able to inform you about the wear and tear of a bike. 


The Extras You Will Need 

Tire Tubes

Just like a car, a bicycle can easily get a flat tire. 

Tire tubes are incredibly lightweight and compact making it easy to carry several of them on your person for fixing this inevitable problem. 

Patch Kit 

You will want a simple tire patch kit in your supplies for temporarily fixing a flat tire. 

There may be occasions where using a patch kit is the safest and quickest option for getting you back on the road until the tire can be permanently fixed. 

Air Pump 

Just like a car, bicycle tires require air pressure for them to function properly. Whether using it to reinflate a tire after patching or just maintaining optimal PSI, you will need a manual air pump to keep your bicycle going. 

Bicycle Multitool 

A bicycle hax a simple design but there are still parts to it that may need to be adjusted, tightened, or replaced.

Such as the seat, handlebars, chain, brake lines, etc. 

Bike multitools are quite cheap and will prove invaluable to have when you are miles away from a proper toolbox. A screwdriver and wrench will also be helpful

Others

Brake and chain components will also be helpful to have on hand.


Wrap Up 

During times of a disaster, having a reliable means of transportation is not only a luxury but can be a critical way of life. 

Bicycles provide an affordable way of getting from point A to point B while requiring little maintenance and money in spare parts. 

What do you think of a bicycle as a bug-out vehicle? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know? Thanks for reading and stay prepared!

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