graafen: (Default)
As you may recall I got myself a new bike back in August and I still love it to bits. Granted it's a heavy beast but it's beautiful to ride and given it's construction it will probably out-live me.

Though it's current use is for leisure, and I would like to use it for commuting (when I'm fit enough to do the 20 mile round trip each day), I did choose that particular bike for one plain and simple reason; survival.

The bicycle has proven time and time again to be a fantastic vehicle, world militaries making use of it up to 1993, and well worthy of consideration as, frankly, the best BOV[1] and the only sustainable method of transport in any sort of WROL[2] scenario.

I will go over my though processes that led me to my decision that bicycles are the best BOVs for temperate to tropical climates with low-to-mid gradient terrain in a follow up post, but I don't want to tangent too far from the topic at hand.

Given that I might want to haul a lot of gear on my bike I decided to look into panniers[3]. I had got two pannier bags when I purchased my bike, but when I got home I discovered that the rack on my bike is too big for the hooks on most panniers. This led to slight modifications, and though they work wonderfully they aren't what I want; hard panniers.

I've spent a few moments here and there over the last couple of months looking at hard panniers that fit into the following criteria:
1) Price cap at £50 per pannier.
2) Must fit the rack.
3) Must have a minimum capacity of 20L each.

I did find some online, but they were either too small, too expensive, and none of them gave dimensions of the attachting mechanism.

Then I recalled that [livejournal.com profile] avagdu had produced a video about using 5 gallon square buckets as panniers, bolting them directly to the frame. I liked the idea of using cheapish plastic containers to carry items but those buckets were too wide for my liking; I wanted something that didn't increase the total width of my bike.

Then, last night, I was talking to Iron Angel in the R4nger5 IRC channel about this and whilst trying to find something through random Google searches I discovered the answer; plastic jerry cans. Two 25L jerry cans, with the proper modifications, would work perfectly, and they're bloody cheap and sturdy.

The current plan is to remove the top of the cans just below the handle and spout, attach mounts to the outside (reinforced and sealed) and add some sort of cover. I'm also assuming that they will need some form of bracing to prevent them from warping due to weight.

I'll have another week off from work in just after New Years Day, so I shall set about making them at that point.

Footnotes
1. Bug Out Vehicle: A method of transportation designed to get one from point A to B (B being a safe location) during a period of time where staying in A would be dangerous.
2. Without Rule of Law: A period of time that succeeds an event that changes life for the majority of human civilisation, most commonly assumed to be a perioud of strife and challenge for those that survive the initial event.
3. Panniers: Bags or containers that attach to a specially mounted rack over the front/rear wheels.
graafen: (Default)
I'm becoming more and more convinced that possibly the most reliable form of transport for a post SHTF* situation is a bicycle. They can carry much more weight than a single person can by using panniers and bags, can be hooked up with a trailer for extra haulage, don't require a license, and are pretty damn easy to maintain and repair. As such I'm planning on converting this bike into a full on Bug Out Bike.

What does this entail? Well not much in fairness.

Firstly there is a little repair work that needs doing.

  • I need to shorten the chain. The chain seems to have been replaced at some point and wasn't set to the correct length as such it's way too slack.

  • I'd like to replace the front shocks with rigid forks. Much less to go wrong and easier to ride long distances.

  • I should give the bike a good thorough clean, but that can wait until I've got a week free to give the frame and forks a new paint job of Olive Drab Krylon.

  • The gear shifters definitely need replacing. Right now I have to fiddle to switch down gears.

  • The current wheels need truing, especially the rear one. I'll probably do that today before work.



Aside from maintenance there are some "accessories" that I'd like.

  • 36 spoke touring wheels or 40 spoke tandem wheels. These are much stronger than the standard wheels and will allow much more weight.
  • Racks front and back with two panniers for each. Ideally the front two panniers will be 10L each and the rear ones 20L each, giving me 60L of storage across them without having to use the top of either rack, which can have other larger bags strapped across them. My current BOB (Bug Out Bag) is 45L and comfortably carries my camping gear for three days. 60L will take that and bike spares with no problems.

  • Mudguards. I'd like to replace the current one which is attached to the downtube with one that actually fits over the front wheel. This can't be done until I put rigid forks on. A mudguard on the back would be good too, but both have to work with the racks.

  • A nice sturdy trailer. After the SHTF this bike is going to become my primary mode of transport for myself and equipment/supplies. Being able to carry more is a good thing.



So yeah, not much that I want to do but I still reckon it'll take me a while.

*SHTF may not actually happen. YMMV.

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Graafen

May 2012

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