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  1. #1
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    Of bikes and the coming darkness

    I posted this message in the General/Touring/Live Car Free Forums... But I would like your expert opinion. I anticipate both road and trail riding.

    Ok, assume the following: there is a state of emergency, gas is $10/gal, whatever... the darkness has come. I need to get home (to my Mom's). It's ~180 miles away. FAILURE IS NOT AN OPTION!!! I'm thinking of using a bike to get home; I estimate it would take ~4-5 days. I'm thinking of getting a Dahon Jack. $500 is about my limit with respect to cost. I would like to get a folding bike (I have very little room to store stuff). Ideas??? Any way to make a bike more "failsafe" (ie puncture-proof tires)???

    Update: According to the folks in the general forum, I should get a very simple, single speed, steel, caliper brakes, bigger tires bike. Also, they say it should only take 1-2 days (I'll figure on 3-4 to account for detours and evasions).

    Update #2: According to the folks in the touring forum, I should look for a hybrid w/ quill stem, and kevlar belts.

    Fine, any advice on brand/model??? I got a Camelbak backpack, any idea on how to attach it to the bike??? Don't worry, I will get panniers too. Any advice is greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    Scott

  2. #2
    Senior Member mazdaspeed's Avatar
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    Singlespeed hardtail/rigid mountain bike would probably be your best bet. I'd also keep a weapon on me to fend off people trying to take it.

    That being said, I think your proposed situation is a bit tin-foil hat-ish and even if gas was $10 a gallon you could afford to get somewhere if you HAD to.

    You say you have $500 to spend on a bike for this worst case scenario, but what about this: Let's assume gas where you live is $3.50 right now. Your $500 would buy you about 140 gallons of gasoline that you could keep in 55 gallon drums where you live and then a few at your mom's place. That much gas, assuming your car gets 30mpg, will take you 4,300 miles. That's more than enough driving to get you by for anywhere you'd HAVE to go, and then you wouldn't run the risk of injuring yourself or getting stranded by riding a bike so far.

  3. #3
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    Sorry, but I don't think storing gas is viable. Besides, bikes can go where cars can't. Am I being a bit tin-foil-hatish??? Perhaps, all I know is there is a darkness coming. I must prepare. I am the only one in my family smart enough and crazy enough to keep my family alive.

    Thanks for the reply,
    Scott

  4. #4
    Senior Member mazdaspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RangerScott View Post
    Sorry, but I don't think storing gas is viable. Besides, bikes can go where cars can't. Am I being a bit tin-foil-hatish??? Perhaps, all I know is there is a darkness coming. I must prepare. I am the only one in my family smart enough and crazy enough to keep my family alive.

    Thanks for the reply,
    Scott
    Storing gas isn't viable but trying to support your family by riding a bicycle around is? By the time gasoline is $10 a gallon in America, a cheaper way to fuel the car will be available, be it ethanol, hydrogen fuel cells, or electricity. I think you're just getting worried about nothing. Also, for what it's worth, gas prices in Europe are already WAY WAY more expensive than anything we pay here, and they are doing just fine.

  5. #5
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    Forget the bike.. this is your only option.


  6. #6
    lackluster jerk
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazdaspeed View Post
    ...a cheaper way to fuel the car will be available, be it ethanol, hydrogen fuel cells, or electricity. I think you're just getting worried about nothing. Also, for what it's worth, gas prices in Europe are already WAY WAY more expensive than anything we pay here, and they are doing just fine.
    I think you're approaching from a short-sighted perspective. These alternative fuels all require major fossil fuel inputs to begin with in the short term, and a MAJOR paradigm shift (that will require its own energy expenditure) for the long term.

    No one can possibly predict when and, to what extent our lives will be altered, but car culture is facing an imminent collapse.

    I too would recommend the hardtail MTB, because of its inherent durability, relative simplicity, and the ubiquitousness of 26" tires.


  7. #7
    Senior Member mazdaspeed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul emick View Post
    I think you're approaching from a short-sighted perspective. These alternative fuels all require major fossil fuel inputs to begin with in the short term, and a MAJOR paradigm shift (that will require its own energy expenditure) for the long term.
    They're already mixing ethanol into our gasoline.. I think you're underestimating how seriously the whole situation is being taken. Also, have you heard of the strategic oil reserves? The Iraq war? There are lots of people trying to make sure we have enough oil to support ourselves until the Republicans can make money off of some other energy source.

    That being said, it's still hard to say exactly what will happen, but it's gonna be a pretty long time before gasoline reaches anywhere near $10 a gallon. The major issue will be inflation and rising costs of everything because of rising oil prices. I don't really have an answer for how that will play out in the long term, but I don't think it will lead to some kind dark ages relapse.

  8. #8
    World's slowest cyclist.
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    There's no hope, you should just kill yourself now and get it over with.

    (kidding, ofcourse).

    It's a really silly mental exercise, 180 miles really isn't all that much. Lots of folks do double centuries, I'd suspect you could do the whole trip in a single day if you dead-head it. 2 days at most. 100 miles in a day isn't that big a deal. You could probably walk the whole thing in a week or less.

    Most reliable option? A cheap rigid bike, a trailer with a frame pack and good hiking boots in it, and a week's worth of food and water.

  9. #9
    Senior Member pyroguy_3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by paul emick View Post
    I think you're approaching from a short-sighted perspective. These alternative fuels all require major fossil fuel inputs to begin with in the short term, and a MAJOR paradigm shift (that will require its own energy expenditure) for the long term.

    No one can possibly predict when and, to what extent our lives will be altered, but car culture is facing an imminent collapse.

    I too would recommend the hardtail MTB, because of its inherent durability, relative simplicity, and the ubiquitousness of 26" tires.

    According to your analysis, you too are approaching from a short-sighted perspective. You can't assume that car culture is facing an imminent collapse anymore than somebody can assume there will be a different way to fuel cars.

    I can imagine that once the **** hits the fan with the fossil fuels, the car industry will come up with something right quick. There's no better form of research than that fueled by capitalism. Who knows, there may already be a viable alternative fuel being covered up... EVERYTHING is a conspiracy.
    Erwin Schroedinger will kill you like a cat in a box. Maybe.

  10. #10
    World's slowest cyclist.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mazdaspeed View Post
    They're already mixing ethanol into our gasoline.. I think you're underestimating how seriously the whole situation is being taken..
    Ethanol is just a scam foisted on us by the agriculture lobby. It takes about as much diesel to produce ethanol as the ethanol produced. Basically 1 gallon of ethanol takes slightly less than 1 gallon of diesel. So why not just use the diesel? Because then ADM wouldn't get their cut...

  11. #11
    lackluster jerk
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    Quote Originally Posted by pyroguy_3 View Post
    According to your analysis, you too are approaching from a short-sighted perspective. You can't assume that car culture is facing an imminent collapse anymore than somebody can assume there will be a different way to fuel cars.
    I'm not just talking about the fuel going in our tanks. When petroleum becomes too cost-intensive to harvest (and according to some people, it's getting close), the entire infrastructure will need to be adapted. Of what do you think our roads are made, and what of the machines that construct and maintain them? Cars themselves are produced, shipped, and maintained using vast amounts of petroleum based inputs. Things we take for granted today, and couldn't envision our lives without, will be fond (or bitter) memories.

    I have no doubt folks will be ever pitching the next best "alternative fuel." People are going to cling to the last vestiges of car culture until it bankrupts them or kills them. But, due to petroleum products pervading nearly every aspect of our daily lives, with its ever dwindling supply, transportation as we know it will be tremendously different.

    Sucks too, I just made the last payment on my sweet '89 IROC Z.



    Remember this, "Not all progress is Forward."

  12. #12
    lackluster jerk
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris_F View Post
    Ethanol is just a scam foisted on us by the agriculture lobby. It takes about as much diesel to produce ethanol as the ethanol produced. Basically 1 gallon of ethanol takes slightly less than 1 gallon of diesel. So why not just use the diesel? Because then ADM wouldn't get their cut...
    Sounds a bit like the hydrogen scam. Give us something that sounds good on paper like, "only emits water vapor" or "No more reliance on foreign oil" that we can sell to the masses, hoping they won't question just how much energy it takes to obtain said fuel.

  13. #13
    I'm simply not credible. Terrapin Ben's Avatar
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    progress for the sake of progress is the ideology of a cancer cell. ed abbey spoke those words. or maybe it's from harry potter. anyway, i think you know what i am saying. abbey also said, a patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government. and he also said, a drink a day keeps the shrink away. of the coming darkness, who knows. you can ride 100 plus miles in a day easy. navigating them off major roads maybe a whole different story entirely. all i know is america needs to invest more in mass transit, redesign cities to be more self sufficient, and convert suburbia into small towns. the way we are going we can't go on for too much longer. shat wall hat the fin sooner or liter. me however, i will continue to be a pesimistic optimist. i don't think the worse will be as bad as it can be.

    i like to think abbey would ride a mountain bike if given a chance. one last quote. "may your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. may your mountains rise into and above the clouds."
    Every time that wheel turn round,
    Bound to cover just a little more ground

    - J. Garcia

  14. #14
    unofficial roadie DirtPedalerB's Avatar
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    where are all the empty oilfields?? do we know for sure that we are going to run out? ... humans always know everything, we were sure the world was flat not too long ago.. I don't buy the shortage, or global warming, or a lot of stuff that is presented to me as a fact.
    I only pedal uphill.

  15. #15
    I'm simply not credible. Terrapin Ben's Avatar
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    you should buy into global warming. you sound incompetent if you don't. if you're looking for an argument, say you don't buy into anthropogenic origins of global warming. of the last twelve years on earth, ten have been the hottest in recorded history. now "the coming darkness" is just conspiracy theorists hack, but global warming is a scientifically proven fact my friend. and most scientists agree that the warming is caused by humans. so you can ignore this silly thread about the end, but please take global climate change seriously. it is very real, and if you aren't feeling its effects now you will in the very near future.

    edit because i type poorly.
    Last edited by Terrapin Ben; 03-13-08 at 11:33 PM. Reason: for typos
    Every time that wheel turn round,
    Bound to cover just a little more ground

    - J. Garcia

  16. #16
    lackluster jerk
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    Saying that global warming is absolutely happening, and is totally the fault of human beings, is just as naive as denying that it's happening at all, or that it is natural.

    Which sounds like the more water-tight statement, more likely to rally people behind a cause?

    "Global Warming is all our fault, and unless we change our lifestyles in the following ways, humanity is doomed."

    or...

    "We don't know, and may never know the impact of our fossil-fuel dependence, but you'd have a hard time arguing that our rapid exhaustion of fossil-fuels has been beneficial to the balance of our ecosystem."

    Few people can agree on exactly what will happen, but most people would agree that, given the enormous (and expanding) scale of global energy consumption, our actions will ultimately have a negative impact.

    The term "Global Warming" just exacerbates the dichotomy between pragmatists and fatalists.

  17. #17
    Senior Member save_alkaline's Avatar
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    rangerscott, you sound like you're writing a book..
    1980 chicago made schwinn | IH Maverick 5.5

    braverygone.com

    it's a bike. stop taking it so serious. ride it and have fun.

  18. #18
    Whistler-bound dminor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mcoine View Post
    Forget the bike.. this is your only option.

    "Interesting" TransAm-izing of that Torino.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by dminor View Post
    "Interesting" TransAm-izing of that Torino.
    Come on, thats Mad Max's car.. I figured you might remember that film.

  20. #20
    I'm simply not credible. Terrapin Ben's Avatar
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    Hi Paul. I'm sorry but i don't see how the idea of global warming furthers the distinction between the pragmatists and the doomsdayers. i think that division is already clear, and by definition as seperate as can be. Will we ever run out of oil? I don't think so. Will it get to a point that the extraction of fossil fuels will get to a point where the cost out weighs the benefits? Most likely. Will a new energy be found to replace fossil fuels? I think by necessity, there most certianly will. I believe this is the pragmatic way to look at the situation at hand. Predicting a total and permanent collapse of our economy to the point that all stability and order is gone, in other words "the darkness", would be the fatalists point of view.

    i think we're in the same book, just different pages. i totally agree that our dependence on fossil fuels is a bad thing, and that we need to back away from it. however, i think it's very naive to say that the current global warming is natural. i think it's even more naive to say that humans aren't a contributing factor to it. as i said before, i will remain to be a pesimistic optimist about the whole situation.

    i guess i just don't unerstand what you're saying in your last post. maybe your big words are just over my head. who knows?
    Every time that wheel turn round,
    Bound to cover just a little more ground

    - J. Garcia

  21. #21
    lackluster jerk
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    The point I was trying to make about global warming is this;
    Global warming is happening, some scientists say it's perfectly natural, other scientists and Al Gore blame it on human inputs.

    Liberals align themselves with the "our fault camp, the right choice or not necessarily the right reasons.


    Conservatives, sensing that anything liberals align themselves with is evil, automatically choose the polar opposite viewpoint, aligning themselves with scientists whose data is in contrast to those holding the more popular opinion of human induced climate change. The wrong choice (Imho) for the wrong reasons.

    The issue has now been completely politicized, with "environmentalist" assuming the same connotation as "communist."

    People with real sense will acknowledge that, no matter your philosophical viewpoint, our lifestyles are negatively impacting the planet now and for future generations. Be you liberal or conservative, none of us wants to leave our children a planet on its last legs, do we?

    When people use the term global warming, they're just introducing an infinite talking point, whereas, while the scientist go back and forth regarding whether climate change is natural or not, they could be tackling issues that we all KNOW are negatively affecting us right now.

    I do believe that climate change is directly attributable to the post industrial revolution world and its exponentially increasing population, all indirectly or directly striving for the American Dream.
    I just think it is a distraction from far more pressing issues.

    For what it's worth, Fatalists are people that feel everything is beyond their control, left up to fate, so they don't even bother. Some of these peple believe an omnipotent deity will make it all right.

  22. #22
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    Not sure if I want to stick around when the s*** hits the fan. lol
    ______________________________________________

    I just wanna ride my bike.

  23. #23
    Senior Member xfimpg's Avatar
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    And to answer your original question, a mountain bike hard tail with a Cane Creek Thudbuster Suspension Post gets my vote. Mountain bike over hybrid because you will be able to go just about anywhere if your legs want to.
    You could probably put in 50-60 miles/day if you're in good shape.
    ______________________________________________

    I just wanna ride my bike.

  24. #24
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DirtPedalerB View Post
    where are all the empty oilfields?? do we know for sure that we are going to run out? ... humans always know everything, we were sure the world was flat not too long ago.. I don't buy the shortage, or global warming, or a lot of stuff that is presented to me as a fact.
    We park in the same garage, dude. Get ready for a bunch of blah, blah, blah about your post, but know that you aren't alone.

  25. #25
    Wheelsuck Fat Boy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Terrapin Ben View Post
    of the last twelve years on earth, ten have been the hottest in recorded history.
    My mom was born in 1940 in a city and the family pooped in an outhouse. You're going to have to excuse me if I question the accuracy of temperature data from earlier than about 1920 or so.

    The funniest GW argument I heard was a college kid on the radio presenting information starting in about 1990. He was proclaiming the sky was falling. When asked about data prior to then, he really had nothing. Of course, for him, 1990 was only a couple years after life started, so why look any farther back?

    The truth is that over the last couple million years the weather of the Earth is wildly varying from very hot to very cold. There are all sorts of factors involved, not the least of which is the sun. The last 10,000 years or so have been an uncharacteristic calm. Not coincidentally, all sorts of life on the planet has thrived in these conditions. However, just because it's what we know does not at all mean it's 'normal'.

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