I’d like to mention a category in prepping most of us have probably not given a lot of thought to. TEOTWAWKI Transportation. I like to keep things simple so I won’t get too heavily into vehicles on the upper end of things, most of us cannot afford a diesel monster of a hummer or other military style vehicle, especially with the mileage deficiencies of such vehicles. What we need is something that is sustainable. The most simple vehicle and one of the cheapest is a bicycle. Bikes can be had for less than $100.00 in most instances, and decent ones can be had for not much more. Bicycles can be operated in third world countries, and often are, without the luxury of roads or any fuel infrastructure. You provide the motive power, so as long as you are healthy and able bodied, you are mobile.

The only issue with a bicycle is it’s lack of load bearing capacity. With paniers you can increase it’s cargo capacity, but to really carry anything meaningful you need a trailer. Bicycle cargo carriers can be had for prices ranging from a hundred dollars to many hundreds. I actually wound up building my own, or , more correctly, adapting it from a stroller designed for runners. This means the wheels are 16” and it has a very low weight and rolling resistance. I further reduced the weight by removing one wheel and all the superstructure built to support it. I had to essentially “transformer” the stroller to achieve the desired result, but it was pretty much almost free and works admirably well. I removed rivets and replaced them with bolts, reassembling the pieces in an alternate configuration which gave me a trailer similar to but FAR cheaper than a commercially offered trailer costing $250.00. Enclosed in this article are pictures of the trailer I was able to adapt to my purposes. On it in one view is the bug out bag I have chosen, a large Alice pack in ACU and at this point in the testing the trailer and load are 40 pounds. I have no doubt it can carry far more, it’s just that’s how much my BOB weighs at the moment.

You may have to consider a time when fuel is no longer available, and going to the corner store, or market, or farm to buy one’s food will involve transporting items distances that cannot reasonably be traveled by foot. I have a cheap mongoose mountain bike bought at the local walmart for $130.00, so if TEOTWAWKI occurs in whatever form I will at least be somewhat mobile as necessary for short excursions with limited cargo. If I am forced to use the bike as my exodus vehicle to extricate myself from an untenable position, I can load it down heavy with paniers and other gear beyond which it could be ridden and push it. The upside of doing this is that while I cannot ride the bike to where I am going….when I get there I will have a vehicle. Pushing a load is far less strenuous than carrying it’s full weight and you can push fairly large loads long distances in a pinch. I have even seen backpacking trailers that have a single wheel and trail behind a hiker on foot that remove the weight of their pack from hikers, thus unburdening them to enjoy the walk. Make sure to stock up on stored spare tubes, and choose a durable bike such as a mountain bike rather than a speed or road bike, which may not stand up to the rigors of uncivilized use.

That’s a last ditch transportation solution, let’s talk about the next step up from that. If you have a vehicle that has no electronic ignition, such as an older beetle then you are pretty much EMP and infrastructure failure resistant as long as you have stored fuel and spare parts. Also diesels, particularly older diesels without the electronic ignition not only will withstand EMP effects, but can be fueled for longer on stored fuels. Diesel can last up to ten years with the addition of a stabilization agent, kerosene something on the order of seven years, and gasoline only one to three years. I am sure you don’t need a calculator to see that diesels may well be the wave of the future if our fuel infrastructure breaks down. In addition to longer storing fuel, diesels can be run on many other liquids than traditional fuels, so sustainability is better by far with them than gasoline engines which pretty much can only run on a very few fuels.

One exception that may make smaller gasoline engines desirable is the conversion to woodgas as illustrated on “The Colony” from last season. I had never heard of this, but it appears to work fairly well, and I doubt it’d work with a diesel, so a gasoline engine may have it’s place in the TEOTWAWKI universe. Steam engines would be my first choice but they are problematic and complicated. One advantage they have though is they can run on ANYTHING that can be made to burn.

 

Bike Trailer Upgrade

Well I upscaled my trailer and it’s finally usable, though not completely finished. I have a few tweaks to do to it but it’s been pulled and tracks nicely. I can turn it so tightly that one wheel on the trailer actually goes backward and it’s not so much of a load you won’t want to pull it. Here are some pictures of the trailer. This trailer uses the same attachment part from McMaster Carr for something like five dollars and can carry a MUCH heavier and bulkier load than my light trailer. Things to add are a stabilizing bolt to keep the conduit from turning in the u bolts and some grinding to take off rough edges and sharp corners. I also want to improve the tracking of the trailer wheels, as it is now they are not perfectly aligned and tire wear may result.

This trailer is based on a design from Tony’s trailers website and is built from a futon frame reconfigured. The front forks were used to attach wheels to the trailer and quick disconnect hubs so that when you get where you are going to camp you can remove the wheels and gear from the trailer and use it as a bed. Just toss a line over it and drape a nice tarp over that and you’re weather proof. Being up off the ground is a big deal in terms of keeping hypothermia at bay, as well as keeping creepie crawlies off you while you sleep.

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