In every disaster movie we see that bicycles have inexplicably vanished. While this may be a flaw in the movie script, I like to believe survivors recognized their true value and put them to good use. Having a Bug out bicycle ready can help you get out of dodge faster than you would expect.
Being able to retain mobility when disaster hits is even more important than hoarding supplies. You can use your car or truck to move around when things are in good shape. However, when the infrastructure is damaged, moving to a safe location could get tricky. While you can use your feet to go from point A to point B, nothing beats a bug out bicycle on the long run. Most people are not fit to carry their bug out bag over long distances and they would require some proper help.
If your vehicle is rendered useless or the road becomes impassable, having a bug out bicycles becomes your salvation. You don’t need fuel to power your bug out bicycle or extended maintenance to keep it in good shape. Even more, you will use less energy and you will be able to carry heavier loads with lesser impact on your body. And the best part is that you don’t need to break the bank in order to acquire a good bug out bicycle.
What bike you get and how you set it up is all up to you and depends on your individual needs. Here are the types of bikes you can chose from and a few ideas to configure them with various accessories.
Choosing a bug out bicycle
When it comes to choosing a bug out bicycle, there are various types and sizes available on the market. Choosing the right one can be tricky as you need to establish on what type of terrain and distance it can be ridden and what is the carrying load it can handle. Before you talk with a bike expert at your local shop, you should know at least what is available out there.
These are considered the sports cars of bug out bicycles and just like sports cars, they cost a lot. These types of bicycles are designed for speed and to be ridden mostly on smooth pavement. Road bikes are equipped with smooth, skinny tires and a nimble handling. They are lighter than all other bicycles and you can reach an impressive traveling speed using one of these. A road bike is an ideal bug out bicycle only if you travel light and you need to get away from danger as fast as possible. If you need to carry heavy loads, you should look for something else. Another downside is that you cannot ride it comfortably on unstable terrain.
If you need to ride your bug out bicycle through rough off-road trails then a mountain bike may be the ideal choice for you. These bikes are designed for dirt and rocky roads, as well as any kind of rough road with uneven pavement. These bikes usually have suspensions on the front only, but some have them equipped on the back as well. A good mountain bug out bicycle should be equipped with shock absorbers front and back. These bikes have flat or upright handlebars and a very low gear range for pedaling up steep trails. This bike is an ideal bug out bicycle because you can equip it as touring or commuting bike and use it every day. Based on the type of suspension equipped you have the following:
- Hardtails (with front suspension only)
- Duallies or Full-suspension (with both front and rear suspension)
- Rigid (no suspension)
These bikes were designed to provide the advantages of both mountain bikes and road bikes. You can use it as a bug out bike on everything from smooth pavement to gravel roads. They are ideal for paved or unpaved bike trails, but are not appropriate for rough off-road mountain bike trails. Hybrid bikes have large, padded seats and upright handlebars. They feature heavy-duty wheels and wider tires compared to road bikes. These bikes provide a comfortable riding position and are found in many cities of the world where they are used for short distance commuting. These are also an ideal choice as bug out bicycles because manufacturers offer front suspension options. If you want to get out of a busy town when it hits the fan, a hybrid bike should be your first choice.
Although these odd looking bikes may not seem like an ideal choice for a bug out bicycle, the reality can be quite different. These bikes are available in two-wheel and three-wheel designs. They have a long, low design with a full-size backrest. These can become a good bug out bicycle for those people that are less active. These are a comfortable option available for bicycling and you don’t need to be an athlete to ride it over long distances. The downside of this bike as a bug out bicycle is that you cannot pedal up hills easily and it may be a challenge to carry it in your car. If you have a truck it can be your bug out bicycle of choice, otherwise it would be difficult to carry it as a backup transportation method.
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I’ve seen a lot of these while visiting the Netherlands and I must say they are ideal for older folks. If you need a bug out bag you need to ride under your own power and if you have balance issue, then this bike is for you. You can also carry impressive loads with these types of bicycles without breaking your back. The downside of this bug out bicycle is that maneuverability becomes a challenge on clogged roads. You cannot squeeze through blocked cars as you would do with a hybrid or road bike.
This is an off-road bicycle that features oversize tires and large rims. They are designed for low ground pressure to allow riding on soft unstable terrain, such as snow, sand, bogs and mud. If you are constantly battling with the elements in your region, a fat bike can prove an ideal bug out bicycle for your family members. These bikes allow you to traverse a large range of terrain effortlessly and feel very stable to ride. The best testimony about their use as a bug out bicycle is their use in extreme expeditions that have been made at the South Pole.
Equipping your Bug Out Bicycle
Like everything in life, you need options to make your living easier. In this case, you would need various accessories to make your bug out bicycle as practical as possible. With what you can find today on the market, you can configure your bug out bicycle to best suit your needs. Here are just a few ideas that you should consider for your bug out bicycle.
Bicycle cargo trailer
You need a quality trailer that easily attaches to your bug out bicycle with a quick-release system. I recommend going with something that is designed with a low center of gravity that doesn’t impact the handling of your bike. Go with pvc-coated nylon fabric that is tear-resistant and waterproof. Check the maximum supported weight as well. There are bike trailers that can haul even 70 pounds of gear.
Bicycle mounted bags
When it comes to bags you can attach to your bug out bicycle, there are many options available. You can equip them both in the front and on the back of your bike and there are special racks with quick-release systems. When choosing carrying bags for your bug out bicycle pick the ones made from water-resistant nylon materials. These are specifically made to resist weather changes and will last for a long time.
The best part about using a bug out bicycle is that bikes are pretty standard as far as the tools required to work on them. Every responsible bike owner should have a quality bike-specific multitool. You will save time looking around for a metric hex or Torx wrench when you get stranded.
You can reach your destination without air in your tires and that’s why you need to carry a tire pump. Go with a small, lightweight hand pump that can get you back on the road quickly. Pay attention to get the right pump for the type of valves on your bike. To be on the safe side, buy a pump that can handle both types.
Tire repair and patch kit
During my bike trips, I’ve discovered that most tire puncture can be fixed with a simple tire patch kit. When you’re leaking air, you’ll definitely wish you brought a tire patch kit along. Get one with tire levers to make your life easier.
When it comes to gear carriers, there are many accessories available. I’ve seen one last year that stayed with me and I find it quite useful for those living off-grid. A Cogburn gear carrier allows you to carry a rifle, bow or fishing rod as well a large wide range of gear. It incorporates quick fist clamps along with two 2-inch and one 1-inch quick fist clamps. You can use paracord trough the mounting holes to secure other items and the carrier is sturdy enough to hold even firewood.
A final word
I currently own two bikes, a hybrid and a fat bike and I consider them my backup bug out vehicles. A bug out bicycle is the most reliable mode of transportation if you think about it. It doesn’t require fuel, it allows you to travel greater distances more efficiently and you will be on the move quicker with heavier loads. It can also help you keep a low profile and are a lot quieter than motorized vehicles. You can properly equip your bug out bicycle to carry your heavy survival hear or possibly another passenger. You can maintain it with basic tools and a couple of spares and it will always carry you to safety.