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Monday, February 2, 2009

Bicycles: a near perfect prep item.

My older son rides his bike to and from school everyday, it's about 1/2 a mile each way and while I could drop him off in the morning he'd have to walk home. It's a cheap form of transportation that still allows for independence. It's not a lot of fun in the winter but if you have appropriate clothing it sure beats walking.

Unfortunately, he has neither the skills or desire to maintain his own bike. Most bike repairs are simple and inexpensive, they also tend to require a minimal number of tools. Tonight's repair was a flat front tire, tools required a 6" adjustable end wrench and a bike pump, 10 minutes later it looks like it just has a slow leak and it's back together, chances are good I'll have to revisit it later this week but I've got a couple new tubes if it really needs one.

Bikes are a great prep item; while they do have some dependence on petroleum they're not tied to the price of gas or it's availability, they're nearly silent and inexpensive to maintain. Lay in some spare parts, tubes, brakepads, and chain as a start, tires aren't a bad idea but they're more expensive and take up space. A backpack helps you transport some gear and it's easy to tie equipment to your frame. A bike trailer or panniers would come in handy but commercial versions don't fit into my price point, DIY versions are more up my alley. Instructables has some great projects; Sheldon Brown and bikewebsite.com offer great repair instructions.

Bikes aren't just for transportation or excercise though they can also be used as a near silent form of 12 volt power generation; might make a decent way to recharge a set of batteries, provide lights at night or provide other 12 volt dc power.



Shy Wolf said...

Oh yes, Rick- great idea. Bikes have always been part of my life, love them, and as being a BOV, great- just an extension of bike touring. Love it.
Have to think that kids are the same all over: mine wouldn't touch his bike to repair it, either. I cured him of that by not doing some work on it when he really badly wanted to ride. Solved the problem himslef.

Bullseye said...

Bikes are a great BOV and just good to have around for peak oil transportation. Good post.

Rick said...

Thanks for the comments, I love my bike for it's multiple uses and reasonable cost. It's great exercise and suitable in multiple areas. #1 son will likely find his tire flat at some point this week and be required to add air(I've shown him how), hopefully it will be a start to his lessons in maintaining his 'ride'

Bullseye, if you're riding your bike in this weather I hope you have some chains on! I think you guys got hit worse than we did over Christmas, and it was the most snow I can recall in 30+ years around here.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who used to be a bicycle cop, and he told me to put the rubber liner strips and green goop into my bike tires. He said he hardly ever had a flat when he used both of those in spite of very rough usage and a lot of miles, until he wore out his tires (and I have spare tires, as well as other parts).


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