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bicycle transportation - a boy scout experience

Discussion in 'Survival/Preparedness Forum' started by bdcochran, May 25, 2012.

  1. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    May 2012 Boys' Life. 108 mile bicycle trip. Small group of boy scouts. Camping out 5 nights. Some food resupply by outsiders.

    18 tire blow outs. multiple broken chain links. 40 pounds of equipment on each bicycle. Some had custom packs made for their bikes. Others used conventional racks.

    Do I have the skills? Frankly no. I will be printing out the cartoons of how to fix a flat and service a bicycle chain. Then, I will buy equipment and tools.

    I already had the bags and racks.

    From the pictures and the clothes, it was summer time.

    A fleeting thought. Whether you chose a bicycle, a motorcycle, car or truck, you had better have some spare parts and skills for when shtf.
  2. Hey, SoCal. I used to ride around Camp Pendleton. The brush around there has tons of thorns and were giving me flats about every ten miles. They make Kevler reinforced tubes and tires that eliminated my problem.

    I can personally vouch that they stop a rattlesnake strike, without losing air.

    I have never broken a chain in many thousands of miles. I keep the chain properly lubed and measure the chain as a way of gauging wear. You have a ton of good bike shops near you that can give you good information.

  3. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    It is likely that these boys were not well prepared. Likely using old and/or cheap bikes, not properly maintained or serviced. When I was scout master we did several long 100+ mile rides and never had those kinds of problems. Maybe three or four flats. Don't recall any chain problems.

    My wife and I just returned from an 8 day vacation where we rode a minimum of 20 miles a day and a couple times over 30. No problems. Much of that riding was on hilly back roads and some on unpaved trails.
  4. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    Mac66's experience is what you want. Minimal flats.

    I looked at the published pictures. They were posed. I couldn't see 40 pounds of equipment on the bicycles.

    When I was a kid, it was fairly simple to fix a bike or even service a car. Things have changed. So now I am researching kevlar reinforced inner tubes and using co2 instead of a pump when dealing with flats.

    It will take time, but I will end up being better informed.

    The article was a reminder:
    1. make sure you have plenty of spare parts when you are into a fixit yourself situation (shtf as it is known to people on this forum).
    2. even with having a plan, the boys had to be met by people enroute with food supplies. it kind of pops the Walter Mitty fancy of "bugging out" - whether with a pack, on foot, on a motorcycle or on a bike.:wavey:
  5. Bushflyr

    Bushflyr ʇno uıƃuɐɥ ʇsnɾ Millennium Member

    Mar 17, 1999
    Western WA
    It still is. Even easier, actually, since most bikes have QR skewers. Fixing a flat is, for me, a field procedure to get me home where I can replace the tube. I don't trust patches to hold long term and tubes are cheap.

    FWIW, cars are easier to work on now too. They actually tell you what's wrong with them so the hard part (diagnostics) is mostly done. Parts are plug and play, you just have to not get intimidated by all the scary wires.

    Not really. :supergrin:

    Not worth the bother. Especially the CO2. It's a great idea for one shot repairs but once you pop the cartridge that's it. A small pump is slower, but a better long term solution. The kevlar tires are a good thought, but they aren't worth the weight or expense IMO. Good for slices, not so good for thorns. Think ice pick through a kevlar vest.

    You don't need plenty of spare parts. You need to start off with a quality, well maintained bike. Don't expect your $300 Walmart special that's been sitting alongside the garage for the past 3 years to get you where you're going. If you expect to BO on a bike you need to start with a quality machine, ride it at least weekly, and maintain it well.

    They didn't have to be met. They chose to be. A hundred miles on a bike is nothing. Solid one day or an easy 2 days. Taking 5 days left a TON of time for side hikes, fishing, and whatnot. Even carrying 5 days worth of food is nothing. Less than 10-15 pounds including the steaks.
    Last edited: May 26, 2012
  6. bdcochran


    Sep 23, 2005
    Los Angeles
    "FWIW, cars are easier to work on now too. They actually tell you what's wrong with them so the hard part (diagnostics) is mostly done. Parts are plug and play, you just have to not get intimidated by all the scary wires."

    2011. I cannot pass smog. I get out my computer diagnostic tool. I go to my local garage that has two more diagnostic tools. My tool is working. The garage tools have failed.

    Cannot figure out what is wrong.

    Go to Santa Monica Toyota. Told I need to replace an air sensor, yatta yatta. Have an extended warranty. Replace.

    Doesn't pass smog.

    Go back to Santa Monica Toyota. Gee they cannot figure out why it cannot pass smog. In a depression. Will have to go to the factory station 30 miles away.

    Passing senior mechanic says he will copy part of the factory manual for me. Requires the computer to be reset and will take driving a number of miles at varying speeds. I do it at 2 am.

    Passes smog.

    Smog station shows me that it was not necessary to replace the oxygen sensor.

    Yep. It is a lot easier when you have the multipage factory manual and a more expensive computer tester.
  7. PaulMason


    Feb 10, 2010
  8. DrSticky


    Nov 28, 2005
    So the intertubes do go flat. I have had that happen during races and it is quite frustrating. On my mountain bikes I use a product called Mr Tuffy(see below).

    It doesn't help with the sides, but has prevented many a tire flat for me. I grew up riding bikes through the deserts of Arizona. More than once My bike and I had cactus in us and only one of us was screaming and letting out hot air.

    [ame=""] Mr. Tuffy Bicycle Tire Liner: Sports & Outdoors@@AMEPARAM@@[/ame]

    As far as the tire pop, I like to run a towel through the inside of a tire, then my hand to see if I feel anything. I next put baby powder inside the tire before I insert the intertube. Make sure if pump it up slowly and that there are no pinches. Most of the pops I have seen are due to a pinched tube and the baby powder helps keep the tire free moving.

    Chain issues have to do with heavier loads and poor maintenance. I blew a chain on a bike, but I had already cracked the bottom bracket so I was putting lateral force on the chain with the sprocket.
  9. mac66

    mac66 Huge Member Millennium Member

    Oct 28, 1999
    Blue Planet
    Actually all you really need is a patch kit, some basic tools (allen wrench set) etc, and you should be able to get along just fine. If you need to depend on your bike without any support you might want to carry a couple extra spokes, a spoke tool, maybe a cassette tool. Replacing a spoke is not hard, but replacing an inside spoke on the gear side of the rear wheel is impossible without a cassette tool.
    Last edited: May 27, 2012
  10. 98LS-WON


    Dec 20, 2008
    Lacey, WA
    CO2 bottles are to save you time in a race, I keep a small pump on my frame for day to day rides, along w/ a patch kit, tire levers and multi-tool/bike tool. When i ride to work I take the CO2 bottle and a new in the box tube so I'm not late WHEN I blow a tire. has a lot of great bike info and DIY write ups if anyone is interested.
  11. 18 tire blowouts? :wow:

    Unless you mean punctures, I suspect the boys were filling up at gas stations without properly checking air pressure.
  12. pugman


    May 16, 2003
    Forget the cartoons.

    Go to any reptuable bike shop now (during the summer) and they run basic bike maintenance clinics for free several times a week. Some have you bring in your own bike so you are learning and doing at the same time.

    18 blowouts/flats? I've ridden thousand and thousands of miles on bikes my entire life - no "extreme" mountain biking but plenty of trails..never had a blow out and only had one flat.
  13. sebecman


    Jun 13, 2008
    They didn't need to be met, they wanted to be met.

    I used to work with scouts. I went with large groups on overnights, back packing trips, canoe trips etc...In my experience everything is dumbed down and made easier so that the outing is fun for ALL.

    It's not meant to be a RED's for the kids to have fun.

    We would often have people drive to meet us where a trail or river intersected with a road and they would surprise the kids with grilled cheeseburgers, hot dogs, cold sodas and coolers of ice cream - after we had been dropping hints all day about having to eat hobo stew or bologna sandwiches for dinner...

    Ah good times...
  14. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    I don't have spare parts for my vehicle.

    I do keep some spare tubes and I have a spare set of tires for the bicycle. I will cannibalize other bicycles as needed if something else breaks.

    Additionally, I use my bikes. They are well maintained. I am guessing that the kids didn't have good bikes that were well maintained.

    For the other bicyclists what is your MTBF (mean time between failures) of your bicycle. I am around 700 miles for a flat on the mountain bike. The road bike was closer to 100 miles between flats.
  15. If just talking flats.. On my single, maybe 1 every 250 miles with sewups, maybe a bit more with beads. Mt bike, I have never had a flat WHILE riding in the woods. I have about 1200 miles on tubeless, love it. But didn't suffer a lot of flats before.

    The tandem is a different critter. Our first set of tires, we flated about every 20 miles if averaged. We changed to some kevlar Contie's (at near $100 a tire), and are probably averaging 1 flat per tire per tire lifetime, so about 1 flat per 1200 miles.

    Now other failures.. spokes.. many. deraliuer hangers.. couple. chains.. few. We snapped a couple when racing the tandem back in the day.
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  16. By the way, these kids were not in a bug out situation or practice, they were on a "tour".

    Rest stops are called "sag stops" and on some tours they are THE reason to go. The Cincinatti Chilli century comes to mind.. Many multi day tours are set up with alternate mileage, and or rest days, built in. The first year we did TRIRI, you could complete the week with about 395 miles, or as much as 695. We did around 500.

    But the point is, comparing what they did to what you are planning is really not all that helpfull, anymore than taking what a nascar team does to get ready to go 500 miles, and comparing it to what a mom dad and 3 kids do to go 500 miles in the family truckster.
    Last edited: May 30, 2012
  17. Mr.Pliskin


    Apr 10, 2009
    Where are you finding a $300 bike at WM. My wife's about 6 months pregnant and her bellies getting in the way when she rides her Mtn. bike. We went to walmart to get her a cushy cruiser and the most expensive bike there were 100.

    You don't have to spend a ton of money for a quality bike. I found a Trek 3something on craigslist for 225 that's been superbly reliable. Also got my wife a new trek for 500.

    Oddly the new trek had quite a few problems in the beginning, all which was replaced under warranty. Peddles were stripped out along with the crank-arm bearing (i think), with lots of little adjustments. Which goes to show you that you cant just buy something and put it away for an emergency. If we didn't put any miles on that bike when we got it only to rely on it in a crisis we would have been SOL after about 50 miles. Apparently bikes need a break in period as well.
  18. RWBlue


    Jan 24, 2004
    You can get a Walmart bike for $88 to $1700 and everything in between.

    Why anyone would buy a $1700 bike from walmart is beyond me, can.