Another bike thread....as it relates to a real SHTF (Major Cascadia earthquake)

Siglvr

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I saw Bens bike thread get shut down after it turned into an argument between drivers and riders over who (whom?) was the bigger douchbag. This is hopefully to alert the out of shape car and truck drivers of the real possibility that the best SHTF vehicle might in fact be a bike. (Bicycle). Lets keep this on a preparedness-survival theme, just like the forum title, and save the finger pointing. If possible. Sure the bikes impact may be much like a nat on a cows bubblegum, small and insignificant. Unless there is widespread participation and planning.

We've all seen the scientists increase their predictions that a major earthquake is much closer to us than we formerly perceived. Some of us saw the buckled roads of the 1964 Alaska quake. It that were to be transposed here, catastrophic would be the only word for it and it would hit us all. Hard. Portland is getting national attention via their program to start integrating bikes into disaster planning. http://www.oregonlive.com/commuting/index.ssf/2014/07/portland_cargo_bike_disaster_d.html There are a lot of great comments of all shape and sizes and humor levels. One of the best comments will be copied and pasted here.

Kenji_Sugahara said:
"Lots of people commenting who have absolutely no clue or have not taken the time or energy to read the relevant materials. @Tombdragon knows what he is talking about. Take the time and read the Oregon resilience plan.
http://www.oregon.gov/OMD/OEM/osspac/docs/Oregon_Resilience_Plan_Final.pdf What many fail to understand is that most gasoline for the region comes through one terminal. "Liquefaction vulnerabilities are known to have been addressed in the case of only three existing tanks. The tank farms in the fuel terminals of the CEI Hub have on average a three- to five-day supply of regular unleaded gasoline and diesel fuel.

... If the supply chain is disrupted by pipe breaks north of the CEI Hub and by closure of the shipping channel to the west, fuel would quickly become scarce. Options to transport fuel from the east and south and by air are very limited." Not only are you dealing with fuel shortages- you'll be dealing with a lot of buckled roads and unsafe/impassable bridges. Instead of discounting something because you don't like the mode of transportation- get over it and read about the potential impacts of a major earthquake. Don't think the cavalry is going to come save you after an earthquake- because they won't. "


Consider a widespread quake wherein PDX and Seattle get it the worst. In 3-5 days PDX is out of gas, Seattle, as the bigger city with much more Federal presence, will get the big Federal earthquake relief (if it comes) first. So even if you have a bug out plan and extra fuel stored (like most of us do), getting past the buckled roads may be impossible.
 

Joe13

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If your serious about leaving the city during such an instance - a dirt bike would work much better on many levels.

More hauling power, faster, great gas mileage and no practicing.

I don't normally ride a bike but having done so regularly before, I know you really need to build up those muscles to get very far without feeling like a damp rag.
 

The Heretic

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There are all kinds of options.

Folding bike like a Montague - cheaper than a dirt bike, easier to haul around.

Electric motors for bicycles.

Pusher engines for bicycles - can be a hybrid - could be a partial trailer too.

Bicycles with various types of engines.

Bicycle/motorcycle hybrid.

Motoped-Motorized-Bicycle.jpg

The nice thing about bicycles up to about 100 pounds or so, is that you can manhandle them over obstacles. Even the lightest dirt bikes weigh about 180 pounds and can be a bear to lift over a fence, over majorly buckled roads, etc.

Both bicycles and dirt bikes can pull a trailer. This is made by a really nice guy from AdvRider:

cust-me10.jpg

The problem with a motorcycle is carrying one around in a car - pretty much is going to happen, not easily anyway, and you won't want to do it on a regular basis.

I commute into Portland daily. I live at my BOL on a mountain 30 miles out of town, so my major concern if an earthquake hit while I was at work, after whether my office building came down around my ears, would be getting home. A folding bicycle is my plan. A pusher engine on a trailer would maybe be combined with bicycle, although it would take up a lot more room in combination with the bicycle.

Once home I am covered. If I can get to my kids place which is about halfway between work and home, then I would probably be good too.
 

Mark W.

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Your bicycle can ride you real nice right up to the first river. Then you best hope for a rubber boat and a prayer to get across the Willamette or any of the dozens of smaller rivers south, east or west of Portland.
 

Mark W.

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if you are in EAST Portland then the Willamette, Sandy, And Clackamas Rivers effectively make a Box you can't get out of without a boat a bridge or a swim.

if you are in West Portland (downtown) the Willamette will keep you to its West side all the way to Eugene and beyond.
 

nwwoodsman

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Bike is a great option for SHTF, especially when fuel supplies are low or you want to remain quiet when scouting an area. They will also come in handy when you come to a busted up road and may have to carry it for short periods of time. Hard to do that with a car. That being said it is also a good idea to have a boat if traveling by water becomes necessary. 4 wheel drive is good for traveling rough roads and you can haul a bike should that become needed. Don't limit yourself to one means of transportation. As the old saying goes, one is none, etc etc blah blah blah....Personally, I'd like to have a couple of these for when the SHTF (at least that's what I tell my wife) http://www.rokon.com/1_4_trail-breaker.html
 

The Heretic

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if you are in EAST Portland then the Willamette, Sandy, And Clackamas Rivers effectively make a Box you can't get out of without a boat a bridge or a swim.

if you are in West Portland (downtown) the Willamette will keep you to its West side all the way to Eugene and beyond.
The Santiam will keep you north of Albany if you are going down I-5 and the bridge is out, unless you are a really good swimmer - I swam across it once right by the freeway, but I had fins on.

You can go around some of these rivers, but you run into other rivers. On my way home I have to cross the Tualatin. I could probably swim across it, but there are a lot of snags in it even though it is a very slow river at that point and very muddy, so I wouldn't want to try.

Some bicycles will more or less float, especially those with the new big tires. You could put them in the water and swim across pulling or pushing the bike if the current isn't swift. A little floatation will hold up those bikes that don't float as well. The big thing on many rivers here is the snags, especially on the banks. If you go far enough up a river you can often find shallow areas where you can wade across. Depends on the time of year of course. Some rivers I wouldn't attempt even in a power boat when they are at flood stage.
 
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It strikes me that you're not really talking about bikes here exactly... what you're talking about is mode of transportation that is both lightweight, very maneuverable, and eschews petrochemical energy.

For those that are in the downtown areas... I agree, a bicycle would fit these needs perfectly, it doesn't need fodder like a horse would, it doesn't need gas or a parking place like a motorcycle/dirtbike would, it doesn't need a field to take off or land in like a micro-helicopter or ultralight would. Where you can't ride it, you can push it, where you can't push it, you can carry it, there are many benefits to the bike, which is a major reason they still exist in the universe of things.

However, it's important to define the mission, and then choose a mode of transit that fits it. For most of us, watching the french army ride off to war on their bicycles is a joke, however at a time and place where transport trucks and endless supplies of gasoline were a rarer commodity than horse drawn utility carts, an army that maintained it's mobility on bicycles was still a rational means of transporting large numbers of troops, it was faster than marching them, and it was cheaper than trucks, even then, you could stuff bikes and soldiers on trains if you needed to.

In the case of a large cascadia earthquake and it's affect on PDX, what may have gone unmentioned so far is how far the tsunami will reach into the columbia estuary, making little mention of liquefaction, the city itself is under great threat from these forces, to the point that your best course of action would be getting on that bike, and riding to high ground as fast as your little legs can carry you. At which point, I think the dirtbike/moped would likely be a better choice.

After reading the "oregon resilience plan" I remain unconvinced that a bike will really be of much value, in fact, the whole section on transportation infrastructure makes zero mention of bikes, bicycles or the like, and at the same time it does indicate that the portland metro area will likely be affected by a tsunami wave moving up the columbia all the way up to Bonneville dam.

The specific vulnerability to the commercial fuel tank storage yard, is hardly a surprise, but one of the other things discussed is that nearly all of the fuel in that storage yard comes from the Puget sound and the refineries there. If you assume that a major cascadia event would be just as destructive for the coastlines in the sound, as it would be to PDX, it seems again that taking your bike and GTFO would be the best option unless you had somewhere to hole up.

The topic of bugout transportation, or any kind of post-disaster transportation is a complex one that depends on a huge number of regional factors, everything from climate, to geography, to geology, to demographics, and economics. It's all things that are good to think about and have discussion about, but again, there are no cut and dry answers, except don't live in portland during a cascadia subduction zone event.

The factors that are going to influence your opinion about which is best:

1) Distance - The farther safety is, the more gas is going to be the attractive option, unless it's more than a few hundred miles, at which point spare food, and either a bike or the shanks mare are your modes of choice.
2) Terrain - Is this open flat-land desert? Agricultural land? Or is it mountains full of trees where roads don't exist. Since this is the US we're talking about, generally there are roads that go just about everywhere, so being able to deal with the frequent interruptions that are common to your area would be a larger concern than simply your mode of transit.
3) logistics - Do you have enough fuel to move the distance you need to? How much stuff do you need to take with you? How many people do you need to take with you? Generally, as soon as families become involved cars and trucks become more common. Kids are like luggage, that have their own luggage.

For me, I grew up in socal and have ridden out some of the biggest earthquakes we've had down here. The defining factor generally, was that any breakdown of the transportation infrastructure was immediately followed by a reduced need to travel very far. When the Landers quake hit, we didn't need to go across the city to get lumber, we were focusing on removing the 4 feet of water that sloshed out of the pool and into the dining room of my grandparents restaurant. When the northridge quake hit, we didn't need to get on a bike to move bottles of water around, because we already had water storage (even then, the normal city water taps worked just fine), and school was closed for a week to check for structural problems. Granted, I don't live in a tsunami zone, and never have.

Earthquakes are an unknown commodity for the pacific northwest, everyone knows they happen, but no one has the experience of actually being around when a major event on the Juan De Fuca trench happens. The nearest evidence anyone has is historical records from japan, unless you want to consult the fossil record.

As with all things "preparedness" related, a layered approach that covers the bases is always best, will bikes be a valid mode of transportation? Yes, as will walking, driving cars, flying planes, and driving boats. As Heinlein said: Overspecialization is for insects.
 
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Sandy River is a path for mudslides (pyroclastic flow) from Mt Hood into the Columbia River.
A "Layered Approach" is "Inspector Closeau's" "expect everything, and expect nothing" or, as I am fond of saying "Semper Gumby" "Always Flexible".

Any bridge may or may not survive...
 

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