Unlike horses and other farm animals, bicycles do NOT require
any food, or water, or pasture, or daily care. They also don't generate any garden manure and that could be either a plus
or a minus depending on your situation. Most people find bicycles more comfortable to ride than a horse due to the lack of
saddle sores. And a bicycle is ready to go the instant you need it, even if an EMP (Electro Magnetic Pulse) blast disables
other modes of transportation. A bicycle can be stored for decades with just a little oil on its chain and on its other moving
parts. In the event of a serious worldwide catastrophe, a bicycle may become extremely useful in two important ways: (1) transportation
between locations, and (2) as a pack mule.
TRANSPORTATION: Depending on the type of worldwide catastrophe, transportation
may or may not be necessary or even desirable. However, if it is necessary and automobiles are not available for some reason,
then a bicycle would enable a person to cover distances easier and faster than walking. A person can walk about 3 miles per
hour but a bicycle can easily cover between 10 to 30 miles per hour, depending on the road conditions (hills, etc.) and the
physical fitness of the rider. Therefore, a person riding a bicycle could travel the same distance in one HOUR that he or
she could walk in one DAY.
PACK MULE: When forced into service as a pack mule, an adult human male can carry about
30 pounds and still be able to walk 2 or 3 miles per hour. However, most bicycles will allow the rider to add about 20 pounds
to the front wheel and about 30 pounds to the rear wheel for a total of about 50 pounds plus the rider. If the rider is willing
to WALK beside the bicycle and PUSH the bicycle, then a typical adult bicycle could be loaded with 200 to 250 pounds of supplies
and equipment strapped to the metal frame of the bike.
Or a bicycle trailer could be attached to the rear of the bicycle
and the rider could add between 100 to 250 pounds of supplies onto the bicycle trailer. You could purchase a special bike
trailer or you could convert a two-seat child trailer (see picture on right) into an equipment trailer by replacing the children's
compartment with a large lockable waterproof plastic storage box securely mounted between the two trailer wheels. If you use
a rear mounted bike trailer to transport supplies and it is NOT lockable, then you need to be very careful when you travel
through an area where there are other people. People will steal things off your rear bike trailer when you aren't looking
or while you are being intentionally distracted by one of their associates. This type of theft can be prevented by using a
locking waterproof plastic storage box bolted to your trailer instead of just strapping things down to a basic flatbed trailer.
The lock could be built into the storage box itself, or it could be a standard padlock placed through the top and bottom of
the heavy duty plastic storage box.
Even if you are walking and pushing a fully loaded bike, you can still occasionally
stand with your RIGHT foot on the LEFT pedal and lean the bike gently away from you at a slight angle to maintain its balance,
and then coast down a hill or incline while operating your hand brakes to keep the bike at a safe speed.
will allow you to travel faster, further, with more supplies and equipment, and with less effort, and this could make a significant
difference in your chances of survival. Even if you do not anticipate the need for transportation during a worldwide catastrophe,
a bicycle would still be a good investment in the event you were forced to become a refugee for some unexpected reason and
your automobile was not available. Anyone could be forced into the life of a refugee due to events beyond his or her control,
such as forest fires, or floods, or drought that results in dry wells, or enemy soldiers with heavy artillery who are destroying
all the homes they find.
Two or three-hundred pounds of supplies and equipment is NOT a lot but it could keep one person
alive for one-year (or longer) depending on how wisely you selected your items and how successful you were at supplementing
your food supplies with hunting, trapping, fishing, foraging, and growing simple vegetables from seeds such as corn and beans
and tomatoes. Growing pinto beans or kidney beans is a LOT easier than searching for wild edible plants. For some additional
information on seeds, please see my article entitled "How
to Harvest, Process, and Store Vegetable Seeds."
Bike Style: Any style adult bicycle is acceptable. This includes
mountain bikes and road bikes. Some mountain bikes and some road bikes are extremely well designed and they are well built
and they can easily handle a wide assortment of road conditions, including the occasional holes in a paved road. On the other
hand, some mountain bikes and some road bikes are very poorly designed and they are cheaply built and they will become disabled
the first time they encounter an adverse road condition. Therefore carefully examine the construction quality of the bike
and do not select a bike based only on the visual appeal of its paint job and decals. Also, do not buy a mountain bike simply
because you think all mountain bikes are superior to all road bikes. They are not. It is the quality of the individual bicycle
that is the most important factor.
I recommend a bike with a fixed rigid rear wheel as opposed to a spring mounted
rear wheel. The advantage of a spring mounted rear wheel is that it helps to absorb road shocks and not transmit their full
force to the saddle. The advantage of a fixed rear wheel is that you can install a more substantial rear luggage rack over
the rear wheel. This will be discussed in more detail below.
Folding bikes are also nice and ebay has them for $200
or less. However, unless you really need a folding bike, a normal fixed frame bike is probably a better investment and it
will probably last longer before needing repairs.
All bicycles need roads or paths or trails or some other relatively
smooth unobstructed surface to ride on. Therefore don't buy a mountain bike simply because you think you will be riding through
wilderness areas. If you are in a thick forest, you will be walking beside your bike and picking it up and carrying it over
obstacles, such as fallen trees. Almost any type of bike works fine when you are walking beside it.
Price: You can
purchase a bike at a specialty bike shop or at a store such as Walmart. If you make your purchase at a bike shop you may discover
you are paying a premium for the bike because bikes, bike accessories, and bike repairs are the only source of revenue for
the bike shop. However, a store such as Walmart has a standard markup on most of its items and their profit on bicycles is
not that much different from anything else in the store. At Walmart you can usually find a really nice selection of good bikes
for under $200. If you look carefully, you can also find several below $100 and a few below $75. If you go to a bike shop,
the bikes usually start at $200 and quickly jump to $300 or $400 and some are even priced at $800 and $1200 and $2000. The
final decision on how much you wish to spend on a bike is up to you, but I think you could get a very, very nice bicycle for
less than $200. (Note: I have a $59 ten-speed bike that I purchased 10 years ago from Walmart and I am still very happy with
it.) Many, but not all, of the accessories mentioned below can also be purchased at a very reasonable price at stores such
as Walmart. However some items must be purchased or ordered through a specialty bike shop or purchased over the internet.
or Speeds: A bicycle with three or more speeds is highly desirable. A bicycle operates the same way an automobile does. If
you only had ONE gear in your car, you would NOT be very happy with the performance of your car. With three or more gears
in your car, the car can shift gears as you gain speed and improve the performance of your car. If you encounter a really
steep hill, the car can shift into a lower gear. The same principle applies to bikes. Many, many years ago there were only
single-speed bikes. To demonstrate the advantage of the newly invented three-speed bike a simple road test was conducted.
An adult male racing champion was allowed to ride his favorite one-speed bike but a petite female was given a three-speed
bike. The race was over a typical course involving some hills and some decent stretches of level ground. The young lady literally
beat the socks off the professional male bike racer because she had three gears to pick from. She could pick the best gear
for climbing a hill and a different gear for maximum speed on level ground. The professional bike racer only had one gear
and he couldn't keep up with the lady even though he had substantially more strength in his leg muscles. That simple two-person
race resulted in the end of single-speed bicycles in professional bicycle races.
The Optimum Number of Speeds: Any
number of speeds between 3 to 21 will yield good performance. The total number of speeds is not as important as a person might
A three-speed bike has one front gear and three rear gears. All three speeds work just fine.
bike has two front gears and five rear gears for a total of ten combinations. However, each front gear works best with the
three (or four) gears closest to it on the rear. So the RIGHT front gear works best with the three RIGHT gears on the rear
wheel. And the LEFT front gear works best with the three LEFT gears on the rear wheel. Therefore, even though the bike has
ten possible speeds, somewhere between six to eight speeds are used most often. The reason is chain crossover. If you use
a front gear on the far right with a rear gear on the far left, then the chain is at a bad angle and the chain undergoes excessive
tension and chain wear and other chain problems are more likely, such as chain breakage. Therefore, most bike riders use the
three or four rear gears that are most closely aligned with the front gear currently in use.
A 21-speed bike has three
front gears and seven rear gears for a total of 21 options. However, based on the previous discussion, somewhere between 9
to 12 of those options are high quality combinations that minimize chain wear.
Therefore, a three-speed bike has three
good gear combinations, a ten-speed bike has about six really good gear combinations, and a 21-speed bike has about nine really
good gear combinations. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with a good ten-speed bike. I have a ten-speed bike and I really
like it. I also have a 21-speed bike and I like it too. I suggest that you select a bicycle based on factors other than the
number of "total" possible speed combinations.
Brakes: Hand operated braking systems are really nice. Rubber
brake pads and disk brakes both work well in my opinion. Don't let a bike salesperson talk you into a bike with disk brakes
unless that bike also has all the other features you really need. You should also purchase a spare set of brake pads for your
front and rear wheels. There are two basic sizes so look at the ones on your bike before you purchase your spare brake pads.
Bicycle brakes will wear out before the other parts on your bicycle, just like the brakes on your car will wear out and need
to be replaced several times during the life of your car. Spare brake pads cost between $4 to $6 for a set of two rubber pads.
Size: A 26-inch tire is a very good choice for adults. Some individuals prefer a 24-inch tire and that is also a very popular
tire size. A 27-inch tire is also an option but in a disaster situation it may be very difficult to find replacement parts
for a 27-inch tire.
Tire Design: Any standard tire design will be okay. Smooth tires and knobby tires each have certain
advantages but your choice of a good bike should probably be based on factors other than the design of the tire tread. All
the different tire designs work reasonably well in most situations, although some are superior for specific applications.
Comfort and Riding Fatigue: When selecting a new bike there are two related issues that should be considered: (1) comfort,
and (2) riding fatigue.
Comfort: Most of us grew up riding a bike and we already know
what feels right and what doesn't. To evaluate a new bike you should sit on the seat and then lean forward slightly and put
your hands and some of your weight on the front handlebars, with your arms slightly bent at the elbows. If you feel comfortable
in this position then the bike is worthy of further consideration. Remember that the seat height is adjustable and if you
need to move the seat up or down to improve your comfort then that is really easy to do on today's modern bicycles.
let a thin skinny bike seat influence your decision about comfort because you can easily replace the seat for about $20. It
is the rest of the bike that can't be easily modified. The seat design issue will be discussed in more detail below.
individuals, such as professional racers, prefer a really low set of handlebars so they can lean forward to an almost horizontal
position to minimize wind resistance. However, in this position you must tilt your head and neck backwards so you can see
ahead. This position is not comfortable for many people.
When you are standing upright astride your bicycle with both
feet on the ground the center bar should not make contact with your groin area.
Most new bikes have the adjustable
seat in a low position so the prospective customer can sit on the seat and put both feet on the ground to stabilize the bike.
This is the seat position from which most of us learned to ride and it is the way we teach our children to ride. It is very
easy to start and stop a bike if both of your feet can touch the ground when you are stopped. There is nothing wrong with
this seat position and it works well for short riding distances when there are frequent stops. However this low seat position
will result in your becoming tired more quickly if you are riding a long distance.
Riding Fatigue: To find the best seat height to minimize long
distance riding fatigue you will need to sit on the bicycle seat and extend one leg straight down to one of the pedals in
its lowest position. When you are sitting on the seat the pedal in the down position should allow you to fully straighten
your leg. This means you will have to get OFF the seat when you stop so you can put your feet on the ground and keep your
bike upright. To minimize fatigue and maximize power while riding your legs need to be straight when each pedal is in the
full down position. Adjust the height of the seat by trial and error until you find the optimum seat height that is just right
for you. However, unless you anticipate long distance bike rides, there is no need to raise the seat and you can leave the
seat in a low position so both your feet can touch the ground when you are stopped.
Seat or Saddle ($20): If your bike comes with a standard slim
style racing seat, I suggest you consider replacing it with a Wide Bottom Gel Seat. Your rear end will be spending a LOT of
time on this seat and those thin seats are NOT comfortable for an extended ride, in my opinion.
Kickstand: The kickstand
should be long enough to support the bicycle in an almost vertical position when on level ground. If the kickstand is too
short then the bicycle will fall over when a front wheel luggage rack and saddlebags are added as an accessory.
Most bikes have good pedals and you will probably not need to replace them. This is one area where an upgrade is definitely
Gasoline Engine or Battery Power: I have looked at adding either a gasoline engine or a battery powered
motor to my bicycle many, many times during the past five years. Each time I decided not to invest in either option. Their
range is usually 30 miles or less and their speed is usually 30 mph or less. Both types of motors take up space and weight
behind your seat that could be used to store other more useful items. Instead of motorizing your bicycle, I suggest that you
use the power in your legs unless: (1) you are unable to do so, or (2) you intend to use your bike for daily commuting back
and forth to your current place of employment to save a little gas money.
Bike Tool ($13): The bike mega ultra-tool is a special bike tool
that includes all the tools and accessories needed to perform minor (or major) repairs to your bike if it should require service
while you are on the road. At a retail price of about $13 this tool is a real bargain.
Tire Patches ($2): For emergency
repair of a flat tire.
Air Gauge ($3 to $25): A dial gauge is usually more accurate than a stick gauge. However, they
are also more expensive. If money is an issue, a simple automobile tire gauge will do the job. A bicycle tire requires a LOT
more air pressure than an automobile tire because the surface area of the tire that actually makes contact with the road is
Small Storage Bag That Fits Under the Seat (or attach it to the
front handlebar) ($7): Use it to store your special bike tool, a Leatherman type tool, a 6-inch adjustable crescent wrench,
an air gauge, tire patches, a small can of Three-in-One oil inside a small plastic freezer bag, a small LED flashlight, a
good folding stainless steel pocket knife, a butane lighter, a small good quality first aid kit, and any special tools such
as little hex wrenches that come with any accessories you install on your bicycle.
Air Pump ($8 to $25): A necessity, in my opinion. The hand pump
model that attaches to the side of the bike frame is really nice. I also have a smaller more compact air pump but it does
NOT work as well as the mid-size air pump that attaches to the side of the bike frame. Some bikes have predrilled threaded
holes for attaching the special air pump holder and some bikes do not. If your bike doesn't have the predrilled threaded holes
you can attach the air pump holder to your bike using two Velcro straps.
Rear Luggage Rack ($20 to $35): My suggestion
is to avoid the rear luggage rack that mounts ONLY to the seat post. However, if you have a spring mounted rear wheel bike
then this may be your only option. My preference is a rear luggage rack with TWO downward metal supports on EACH side that
attach to the frame of the bicycle just above your rear axle. It will support more weight than a seat post mounted luggage
rack. These luggage racks can be mounted to the rear frame of most bikes using the pre-threaded holes just above the rear
axle. The holes are generally either 5mm or 6mm and when you add a lock washer they eliminate the need for an inside nut to
hold the luggage rack to the rear frame. An inside nut could get in the way of the chain when it tries to make contact with
the outside rear gear. If your bike has a rear hole that it is not threaded, then you can add threads by purchasing one or
two extra bolts of the correct diameter and screwing them into the opening to thread the hole. This may damage the threads
on those bolts but if they are extra bolts then you can simply toss them in the trash when you are done. Or you could use
a tap and die set to thread the holes. Luggage racks can be purchased at your local bicycle shop or they can be purchased
over the internet.
Front Luggage Rack ($15 to $30): Adds about 20 pounds of extra
storage capacity to the front of your bike. It can be used for any item, but it is best suited for bulky light weight items
such as extra clothing and a blanket or a sleeping bag and a small pillow. Do NOT put too much weight over your front wheel
or you may find your bicycle difficult to steer. Some bikes have mounting holes just above the front axle. Neither of my bikes
had those holes so I used 3-inch long predrilled braces to mount the rack on the front of each bike. (Necessity is the mother
of invention.) If you are looking for a new bike then I suggest that you examine the front fork to see if it has the predrilled
holes just above the front axle for installing a front luggage rack. After you mount your front luggage rack and put a few
things onto it, you may discover that your bicycle falls over. This is because the kickstand that came with your bike is too
short. Install a longer kickstand and you will solve this problem.
Luggage Rack Design: The front and rear luggage
racks are each uniquely designed for their specific application and you should not buy two of the same type in the belief
that you can simply turn it end to end and make it fit on the opposite end of your bike. It won't work. Each rack has it own
special mounting hardware designed specifically for one end of the bike. You will need one rack for the rear and a different
but similar design for the front.
Saddlebags or Panniers ($30 to $200 per pair): Bicycle side saddlebags
are called panniers. I have three different brands, including Jandd and Ortlieb. Ortlieb was the most expensive of the three
brands and I bought a pair of them due to their most excellent reviews on the internet. However, they are NOT my favorite
panniers. My personal preference is the Jandd Economy Panniers. The Jandd Economy Panniers have good quality workmanship and
materials, they are rain proof, they attach quickly, easily, and securely to either the front or the rear luggage racks, they
have a zipper closure, they are really easy to open and close, and their design makes it easy to store and remove items from
the panniers. If I purchase any more panniers they will all be the Jandd Economy Panniers. Panniers can be special ordered
through your local bicycle shop or they can be purchased over the internet. The Jandd Economy Panniers can be purchased at
this web site: http://www.jandd.com/detail.asp?PRODUCT_ID=FEP
Bungee Cords and Cargo Nets ($2 to $6): Saddlebags can be used to store
items on both sides of your luggage racks. You can also secure items to the top flat surface of each luggage rack using elastic
bungee cords and/or cargo nets. They also make specially designed panniers for use on top of these racks, but I prefer the
flexibility of being able to secure my own personal survival backpack onto the top of the rear luggage rack and my sleeping
bag on top of the front luggage rack.
Water Bottle (Optional): Attaches to the frame in the center of the bike. I bought
one out of curiosity but I only bought one. In a refugee situation the small amount of water in the bottle would NOT last
very long. A person would be far better off with a quality water filter such as the Swiss Katadyn Pocket Water Filter. It
will process up to 13,000 gallons of water for drinking purposes and it is about the same size as the water bottle designed
for bicycle mounting. If you should become a refugee, then one of your most important problems EVERY day will be a fresh supply
of safe drinking water. The Katadyn Pocket Water Filter will easily solve this problem for several YEARS. There are LOTS of
other cheaper water filters available that are advocated by a wide variety of individuals, but they will only process a few
hundred gallons of water before they wear out. If you should become a refugee, then your family will be depending on you for
EVERYTHING, and water should not be one of your daily problems. In my opinion, everyone should become as educated as possible
about water and its importance. I suggest you review the information available on my web site about "How to Find Water and Make It Safe to Drink." It is a very long read but it contains information that could save your life one
Speedometer: I prefer a non-electric speedometer. However, the
one I purchased would only fit on one of my bikes. Although a battery-operated speedometer would have worked on my other bike,
I decided I really didn't want one of those. You need to make your own decision on whether or not you need a speedometer.
Most bike shops sell special bicycle shoes. You may buy a pair if you wish. However, your normal walking shoes will do just
fine if they do NOT have a flat smooth sole. Your normal walking shoes should have ribbed or tread type soles for traction
while walking. This type of sole will also make positive contact with the pedals on your bike and prevent your foot from slipping
off the pedal when in motion. Since you will NOT be riding all the time, a quality set of footwear will need to function as
walking shoes in addition to riding shoes. Your shoes are a VERY important consideration because the shoes you are wearing
when you first become a refugee will probably be the only pair of shoes you possess for several years. I suggest you research
the shoe issue very carefully and purchase a really good pair of quality walking shoes instead of an expensive pair of high
performance bicycle shoes.
Helmet: If you like the bicycle style helmets, then buy the one that appeals to you. However,
a motorcycle helmet is a better investment, in my opinion. Just walk over to the automotive section and they usually have
nice motorcycle helmets for $90 or less. During the past 50 years I have had occasional rare accidents with bicycles and motorcycles
and, in my opinion, a helmet is an absolutely NECESSARY piece of safety equipment.
Other Safety Equipment: You may
invest in other typical bicycle safety items, such as elbow pads, knee pads, and gloves as you believe appropriate.
Gear: A good rain suit is a nice thing to have. It consists of a waterproof upper, usually with an attached hood, and a waterproof
pair of pants. You will need waterproof pants if you intend to ride your bike in the rain. If you already have a good waterproof
jacket of some type, then waterproof pants will complete your outfit.
Bicycle Lock: Always take your bike INSIDE wherever you happen
to be and lock it securely so it can't be stolen. If you leave your bike outside, even locked to a bike stand, you will eventually
discover there are some people who will intentionally disable your bike or steal stuff off your bike. You really don't need
those kinds of problems.
Headlight: I have a battery-operated halogen headlight on one of my bikes. It uses two standard
C cell batteries. I was NOT impressed with the headlight so I did not install one on my other bike.
Oil: I normally
use whatever I have available, such as motor oil or Three-in-One oil. I put a little oil on the chain, the gears, and the
axles before I put the bike in storage. This consists of hanging the bike on a bike hook from the ceiling of the garage. This
may not be the best way to store a bike but it has not caused me or my bike any problems for over ten years.
Carrier Seats: There are several different types of child carrier seats. Let's look at three different models.
1. Rear Mount ($40) 2. Front Mount ($45)
3. Rear Trailer ($110)
The first child seat mounts behind the rider's seat and it replaces the rear luggage rack.
Therefore I don't recommend this type, unless you have two small children and for some reason you must install TWO child seats
on ONE bike. If you have two children then the third option below is a better choice.
The second option is a child seat that mounts between the front
handlebar stem and the rider's seat post. This puts the child where you can see the child at all times and it positions the
child so the child can see where you are going, regardless of whether you are riding or walking beside the bicycle.
The third option is a two-seat child carrier that attaches to
the rear of the bike.
If you are forced into a refugee situation and you have small
children then a bicycle would allow you to travel relatively quickly with your young children. Young children cannot walk
very far before they become tired and they need to be either carried or transported. Carrying children is NOT a good option
if it can be avoided.
The best solution would be to have one front mount child seat per adult or teenager bicycle.
However, in an emergency, one adult could transport up to four small children on one bicycle and the adult could either ride
or walk beside the bike. One child could go in the forward child's seat (mounted between the handlebars and the rider's seat),
one child could go in a child's seat mounted behind the rider's seat, and two small children could fit in a child trailer
attached to the rear of the bicycle. If one person had to transport four small children using one bicycle then there would
be very little space left over for food, supplies, and equipment, but your primary responsibility in this type of emergency
situation would be the immediate safety of your children.
If you perceive a situation where you would need to transport
several children on ONE bicycle, then you should also consider installing a quality set of heavy duty children's rear training
wheels on each side of your bicycle to help keep your bicycle upright at all times.
Quick Summary of Important Bicycle Features
(Listed in order
- Fixed rear wheel instead of a spring loaded rear wheel.
Between 3 to 21 speeds. A ten-speed bike is a good compromise
but a 21-speed bike also works really well. Regard less of the total number of speeds, if you are riding a heavily loaded
bicycle, then you will probably discover that you can't ride your bike up a steep hill and that pushing it up the hill is
the only alternative.
A 26-inch tire is preferred but a 24-inch tire is a good second
choice. (Note: The center bar should not make contact with your groin area when you are standing on both feet.)
You should feel comfortable sitting on the bicycle.
Predrilled mounting holes above the front and rear axles for
easy mounting of luggage racks. (Note: A handlebar basket will not fit on most bikes with hand operated brakes and gear shift
Two predrilled holes in the middle of the bike frame for mounting
a "water bottle holder" which can also be used to attach the "air pump holder." However, two velcro straps can be used to
attach the air pump holder to the bike frame if necessary.
Finally, a long kickstand and a wide bottom seat. However, these
two items can be easily replaced if necessary.
Different bike enthusiasts have different opinions about the advantages
and disadvantages of every possible type of bicycle and bicycle accessory. I am NOT a bike enthusiast. I am just an ordinary
person who has ridden bicycles for more than 50 years, beginning with a single-speed bike, and then a three-speed, and then
a ten-speed, and then a 21-speed. The above is just my opinion and it is nothing more than my opinion. Before you invest in
a bicycle you should research this topic very carefully and collect a variety of different opinions and then make your own
decision based on what is best for your particular situation and your anticipated riding conditions.
Before you spend
any money on a bicycle you should first make a list of the different bicycles that are available along with their prices,
and a list of the different options and accessories you wish to purchase for your bike. Then add up the total cost and determine
whether or not you can afford it. If not, then reconsider the bike, the options, and the accessories based on need and not
Finally, I strongly recommend the purchase of the following book:
"Bicycle Maintenance & Repair," 5th Edition, by Todd Downs. I suggest you place this book inside a two-gallon plastic
freezer bag and store it inside one of the rear saddlebags on your bicycle. Bicycle maintenance and repair is NOT complicated
IF you know what to do. A typical bicycle has a variety of different simple adjustments that can be made and knowing the correct
sequence of adjustments is very important. This book, plus your bicycle multi-tool and your Leatherman type tool and your
6-inch adjustable wrench, will help you keep your bicycle operational until it eventually wears out from old age.
place where you can begin to acquire additional knowledge about bicycles is Sheldon Brown's web site at: http://sheldonbrown.com/home.html
His web site contains a lot of information and you should read the articles
that are of interest to you. When you are finished reading you will be able to make a superior choice about the type of bicycle
that is just right for you.
I truly hope you will never need your bicycle except for recreational purposes. However,
if world events should unfold in an unexpected fashion, then your bicycle would allow you to take your most important survival
possessions with you if you were suddenly forced into becoming a refugee and your car was not available for some unexpected
reason. In my opinion, the best option would be to NOT become a refugee, if it is avoidable. However, if the choice were between
certain death or life as a refugee, then I would select the life of a refugee. A good bicycle would significantly improve
a person's chances of survival in a refugee situation.