Unquestionably, bug out bikes are an incredible asset for preppers and survivalists. They offer a unique combination of portability and speed, a bug out vehicle can give lots of benefits during our pursuits in a survival situation. But regardless of that positive aspect, it requires high maintenance and at least once-a-month full inspection to prevent mechanical breakdown sooner than you might expect, maximizing its full potential while it is kicking and running. Moreover, it is needless to say that you need to have sufficient knowledge about cars, so that you can manage to repair yours all on your own since everybody is hardly giving you a hand during difficult times.
In this post, we will cover everything you need to know about bug out bikes as an alternative to your bug out vehicle and we will give you a list of gear to bring with you while you are out on the road.
What is a Bug Out Bike?
A bug out bike is a pedal-powered mechanical transport (bike/bicycle) which allows the user to travel around different parts of a certain areas much quicker with more ease. Typically, a regular bike can be modified to suit your unique needs, to prepare for several emergency conditions. In contrast to four-wheeled or bug out vehicles, bug out bikes do not require too much garage space and it is easy to take it out for a spin and stow it inside after.
Just like any regular bike, as most people already knew, its body is called the frame which is, perhaps, the most important piece of all since it will hold everything together. Most cyclists invest in a high-quality frame before getting the other parts. The frame can be made of carbon, chromoly, aluminum, titanium and carbon fiber. You can say that the bike’s stability and longevity may solely depend on the frame quality but that does not disregard the fact that each part plays a vital role and without them, the frame alone is completely useless. For affordability and durability, an aluminum frame is best. If you are concerned about weight, a carbon frame might be a better idea.
Best Type of Bug Out Bike
There are many factors you might want to consider first before getting one, such as the parts availability, weight, storage capacity, terrain capabilities and ease of repair. A bug out bike can be nearly any bike that can handle terrain and is dependable enough to get you to places safe and sound. But, of course, some types are not as fitting in a survival situation, therefore we will only include the ones that are particularly well-suited for bugging out.
Mountain bikes are without a doubt the best option for your personal bug out bike. You can debate whether to get a “hardtail” or dual-suspension bike, but budget and your plans play big roles in that decision. Quality mountain bikes are designed to be durable for high-level trails, withstanding any bump from jumping off of elevated terrains landing smoothly on the ground. Although, it requires serious skills to use a serious mountain bike to its fullest potential.
Furthermore, some models can be heavy due to the extra weight of components and the frame- although many frames are carbon fiber these days. The rest of the components are still going to be steel or aluminum.
What’s really nice about a foldable bike is that it is designed to be handy. You can definitely take it anywhere you go and it won’t even be an inconvenience in the slightest. But the only downside that may hold you back from choosing a foldable bike is that by any chance you had it folded and some emergency suddenly occurs to which you need to get away from as quickly as possible, you can only run away from it until you reach a significant distance wherein you can finally set the foldable bike up.
For urban environments especially, a bug out bike is a great idea. You can escape deadlocked traffic in a SHTF situation, you can get out of your car and seek shelter in an extreme weather event, the list goes on. Foldable bikes are a big advantage in urban environments.
This isn’t a little basket on the front of your bicycle. The main purpose of a cargo bike is for carrying several loads for transportation. It is the best option if you have too much stuff that needs to be transported from one place to another.
Cargo Bikes can be tough to buy these days, you can just install a cargo box onto your bike, regardless of any type of bicycle you may own. But that’s a prepping job on its own. So cargo bikes go last on our list.
How Useful is a Bug Out Bike?
Just like a bug out vehicle in a SHTF or survival situation, many reasons will put you at an advantage when using a bug out bike instead of a more conventional motorized vehicle.
Here are the reasons to consider:
Compared to four-wheeled vehicles, a prepper on a bug out bike has an advantage with flexibility on picking a route. Particularly in settings such as the woods, forests, or mountains. You can pretty much avoid crossing the danger zones with an alternative route, no matter how narrow the pathway is. Oppositely, a bug out vehicle can limit your routing points by navigating the designated points which it can only traverse.
Bikes Are Nimble
Another good reason that makes bug out bikes a better bug out vehicle for preppers is because of its nimbleness. It can swiftly go through the traffic and crowded areas. You can go through small space openings that a bug out vehicle could not even think of going through.
Lightweight and Portable
Another good thing about bug out bikes for preppers is that you can easily store it or bring it with you anywhere you go. You no longer have to worry about not having a bug out vehicle when you travel since you can just bring your bug out bike with you.
Affordable and Easy to Maintain
Bug out bikes are a lot cheaper than bug out vehicles for the prepper on a budget. Not only that, it is also easy to maintain since you can just do it by yourself. You don’t need to go to the mechanic and spend money just to have it checked or repaired.
The bug out bike is a great way to bug out and survive in any situation. With its many benefits, it is the best option for bugging out and survival. Choose the right bug out bike for you and be prepared for anything.
Another advantage of bug-out bikes is that you can pass through any road discreetly that lies ahead in your direction whether it be a street, boulevard or even highway. Unlike in bug-out vehicles, from the start of the engine up to being down the road on the move will make a lot of unnecessary noises, considering the size of your vehicle going in motion as well, can make you far too noticeable. The last thing you may want, especially during a civil war, is to draw others’ attention. Therefore, make sure that the modified rear hub on your bug-out bike is not the kind that releases noise.
You can simply lift the weight of your bug out bag off your shoulders and pass that load directly on your bug out bike’s carrier rack. You do not have to worry about the sitting weight on your carrier rack because it won’t mess with your bike’s performance or balance much at all. But if you have more personal belongings that might shake up your balance, and your bug out bike is no longer capable of carrying those, you can just increase its carrying capacity by setting up a sort of saddleback. Lastly, with all weight taken off, you can just sit down peddling at a comfortable pace, carrying your load.
When you are traveling on foot, you can only walk for as far as you can until your lungs and the rest of your lower body finally give up. But if you are on a bug out bike, you can travel further than what traveling on foot can only reach and set your foot on—taking into account the weight of your bug out bag that you must bear when walking. What’s more, you should consider the fact how quicker it is to get to one place after another when on a bug out bike. It conveys the efficiency of using a bug out bike under any circumstances.
No Fuel Reliance
A bug out bike does not need any fuel to function (duh), unlike in bug out vehicles. It only requires your lower body to handle it as it should be. Even though it may not get you to reach distant places quicker than vehicles, you do not have to worry about running out of fuel in the least. You may need to be physically fit or in strong shape of some sort to peddle for several continuous hours, most especially when climbing an uphill terrain or crossing an awfully bumpy road.
During an EMP, your bug out vehicle is most likely to get damaged or worse, blow up in front of you. Unfortunately, when that explosion happens, it can no longer be of any use and is way beyond repair and you just have to carry on walking down the road. In contrast, a bug out bike is not consisting of any electronic circuits or boards just to be made. Therefore, it is not susceptible to EMP and you can steer clear of the road chock full of wrecked vehicles and shattered car parts from the explosion.
Cons of a Bug Out Bike
There are also related disadvantages to using a bug out bike whether in a survival or any kind of SHTF situation.
There are, however, a few cons to Bug Out Bikes. Here are some of them to think about:
Lower Body Issues
Since its working mechanism is to be pedaled in a circular motion to move, bug out bikes require your lower body to work. If you are not physically active and in good shape, you may find it difficult to use, especially if you are unfamiliar riding a bike through possibly tough terrain.
Are You Injury Prone?
Riding a bike is no joke, especially when you are traversing rough terrains or highlands. You can always get hurt, and if you have chronic injuries you should rethink using a bug out bike. No matter what the situation or the pathway is, you need to maintain your balance, or else you might fall and get injured yourself.
This is one thing everyone who owns a bike cannot avoid. Mechanical failures usually show their marks or signs when the bike has been in use for too long, but can come out of nowhere on a brand new part. But perhaps, the most common problem you will encounter is flat tires. Bring plenty of patch kits, you’ll be darn good at patching tires in no time.
List of Gear For Your Bug Out Bike:
When using a bug out bike, we cannot avoid a flat tire, a broken chain, or any mechanical failures along the way. It’s wise to always bring some repair tools and backup gears to reinforce our bike to get back up and running again.
Spare Tube and Patch Kit
The most common problem to encounter for people who own a bicycle is flat tires. Therefore, you should bring these with you for two different purposes. You should use a patch kit to fix minor and small punctures on the tires while a spare tube, on the other hand, should be used as a replacement for an old tube that has large punctures.
If the patch kit does not seem able to get the problem solved, then your last and only option is to replace it with your spare tire.
When you are fixing flat tires, using tire levers will make the work even easier when you remove the tires off the rim and when you put things back together.
If your tires get flat and you manage to fix them, whether by patching them up or replacing them, you will need a bike pump to inflate the tires so that your bike can be ridden again.
Chains and Chain Links
Here’s another common problem, chains get worn out and tend to break after long use or when crossing bumpy terrain. You should also look for the brand quality since some can break during or after first use. Check both ends of the chains first because the problem might be resolved by just replacing the chain link.
You will need to cut your spare chain to a length that’s proportional to the distance between the cassette and crankset with each other. Otherwise, the bike will not be able to be pedaled properly with the excess chain hitting the ground.
After a long time of use, most especially after good maintenance of washing your bike down, you may want to apply lubrication on certain parts like the bottom portion of stanchions in the fork and your chain, maintaining their greasiness to function effectively.
A multi-tool is a small and compact tool yet surprisingly holds versatility for a reason that you may never have to bring another set of screwdrivers in different diameters. Typically, it has a variety of Allen wrenches, flathead and Phillips screwdrivers, chain tools, and an adjustable wrench or open or hex wrenches. However, the set of tools a multi-tool can have varies depending on the product.
Spare Nuts and Bolts
If you do not inspect your bike from time to time, you will probably not notice that there could be some loose nuts and bolts on them. Having some spares will save you time from finding the old ones and just head over to screwing the new ones back on the bike.
Just a Few More Words
Now that we have gone through the different gear you can bring with you while bug out biking, you might be wondering if it is worth all the hassle. The answer lies on your own convenience. If you think biking is more comfortable for you and that you can manage it on your own, then go for it!
Your average Prepper doesn’t think about a bike as a good bug-out vehicle. But we think outside the box here at Prepper Base. Still, we believe that every prepper needs to test their gear before using it in the real world! Before you go for a spin in your Bug Out Bike, check the brakes, do some proper inspection to identify which parts may need an early fix or replacement, and shift through the gears so that you can avoid getting yourself injured. Lastly, should always bring your repair tools and backup gear to keep our bikes running no matter where it takes us.
Prepping is all about being prepared for anything and being able to face any challenges along the way. Keep the end goal in mind: You should be able to reach your bug out location safe and sound so you can start dealing with the real problem at hand. Stay safe and good luck!