With the shocking devastation and ruins of a fallen society in your rear-view mirror, and the wind blowing in your hair as you flee the carnage, you are suddenly overtaken by a feeling of complete serenity. But the ability to navigate the clutter and debris that might impede your path is something that cannot be achieved on your typical a motorized vehicle, so your chief means of transport would naturally be a bicycle. Therefore, getting in shape physically for the emergency to come is a top priority when it comes to becoming a prepper. And there’s no better way to do that than bicycling.
If where you live has rough terrain, having a bicycle to traverse those obstacles is crucial. So, what kind of bike is best for hilly terrain? Well, that is the question I hope to answer. I’ve been cycling for years and it will be a pleasure to share my experience with you.
What Not to Do
When you first become a prepper, it may be tempting to run out and buy the first bike you see. That is a typical rookie mistake. In addition to seeking out the best price, you also need to pay close attention to the details–the lingo.
Since I became a prepper, I’ve learned to pay particular attention to the labels. But bicycles don’t have the same kind of labels as food. So, how do you know which bike is right for you?
Don’t Grab a Cruiser
A cruiser with a comfortable seat and ample storage might seem like a good choice, but looks can be deceiving. To be fair, cruisers ae a good bike, just not for rough terrain. In spite of their wide tires and smooth ride, these popular bikes are just not designed for speed or hills.
Cruisers are at their best when tackling flat terrain. They afford the rider the ability to sit upright with the arms spread out for more comfort. But, just as the name implies, cruisers are designed for cruising city streets on flat terrain.
Hybrids are Okay
Choosing a hybrid with a lightweight, fold-able body is not necessarily a bad idea. The portability is a plus. Combining elements of different bikes is one way of improving the situation. Just proceed with caution if you go in this direction.
Touring bikes are usually reserved for professional bikers and are probably not your best choice. Sure they’re lightweight and fast, but they’re built for speed, not for navigating rough terrain. They are specifically designed to generate the greatest amount of speed while putting out the least amount of effort.
Just because they’re called “touring” doesn’t mean they can go anywhere. But, if the word “touring” brings long distances to your mind, then then they might make a good prepping bike. But, when it comes to prepping, the issue is not just about distance, but the overall condition of the terrain. Touring bikes may perform admirably on rough terrain, but they wouldn’t be my first choice.
Ask any experienced prepper and he’ll probably tell you he has a half dozen or more bikes in his arsenal. That is because most bikes are designed for specific purposes. So, although a cruiser might have better handling, it will be terrible on rough terrain; and the opposite is also true.
The way the gears are setup makes a big difference also. It may not be as important as things like tire width, or seat-to-handlebar ratio, but it is still important. More gear choices give you a greater ability to tackle changes in inclines whenever you encounter them.
No One to Blame
When it comes to navigating hilly terrain, a bike will only get you so far. Getting in a good physical condition is even more important. If you’re not in shape and ready to tackle those hills, then your bike will become useless.
Now, it will take time to build up your strength and stamina. The only way to accomplish this is with practice. So, don’t be ashamed to get off your bike and walk it up the hill if the task becomes too taxing for you the first time around. It is far more important to gradually build up your strength over time than to risk injuring yourself.
Bike Training Schedule
The first order of business is to buy a helmet. I cannot stress enough how important this one piece of equipment is to your health and safety. You may not need to train like an Olympic athlete to get in shape, but you do need to take precautions like one.
Secondly, set up a schedule you can stay committed to. If you’re out of shape, then start slow, maybe a couple of days a week for a half-hour or so, until you get stronger. Anything less than that and you won’t see any significant changes in your strength and stamina.
Practice improving your biking skills in real-life situations, but try not to do too much too fast. For example, don’t try to navigate the biggest hills you can find on your first day. Find a moderately hilly area and work with that for a while. You’ll feel your muscles getting stronger every time you go out.
As you get stronger, increase the difficulty and heights of the hills you tackle. Then, increase the time you spend on each excursion.
Road Bikes vs. Mountain Bikes and More
Although the choice here may seem obvious, it may not be as obvious as you might think. A mountain may indeed be better for tackling hilly terrain, but road bikes, with its wide arm-spread, are better for highways. So, it all comes down to the type of terrain you’ll be tackling.
Some people just don’t aren’t comfortable with mountain bikes and their dimensions. But, again, either one can be the right choice. Just choose the one that fits you better, before moving up to the next level.
When in Doubt
Now, it is possible to use road bikes or mountain bikes as part of your prepping plan. However, I would suggest road bikes as the primary mode of transportation in an emergency. The reason being most people’s immediate means of escape are paved roads, so having a road bike in such situations sort of defeats the purpose.
A good alternative would be a commuter bike. Commuter bikes have some of the same characteristics as a road bike and can be substituted for them if you need better traction. In the end, however, the decision is yours.
Or you may decide to go in the hybrid direction, and That’s okay. Just make sure your reasons for doing so are sound.
Don’t make choices haphazardly. Include more than one type of bike in your long-term prepping plans. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.
Remember, what works best for others might not work best for you. If you don’t like the way a road bike handles, then try out a mountain bike instead. Even if you think you’re certain about the type of bike you want, Give some others a try anyway. remember, there’s more to a bike than how it looks.
Top 5 Bikes for Climbing Hills
(1) Vilano R2 Commuter Aluminum Road Bike:
I felt compelled to place Vilano at the top of the list because they make such outstanding bikes. If you’re looking for a company that delivers quality at a great price, plus a solid reputation, then Vikano is the one for you.
The R2 Commuter will take you on an excursion through the roughest terrain and get you back home almost effortlessly. The Florida-based company has produced some incredible bicycles over the years, from the Vilano mentioned above to fold-able electric bikes.
Now, as for aesthetics, you can’t beat the paint scheme of the R2. now, looking good when society crumbles might be the least of your worries, but it might make a nice distraction. The green & black color scheme makes the R2 as beautiful to look at as it is to ride.
The R2 features with A050 thumb shifters: Shifters make it easier to shift gears with a minimum of hand action. This helps you maintain control while shifting when the roadway change from uphill to downhill, and vice versa.
21 speeds: in this case, “speeds” do not represent momentum, but how many gears you have at your disposal before attaining the one that performs best when going up, or downhill.
Stability to spare: As a commuter bike, the Vilano has excellent control and stability to help you handle anything the road may throw at you.
Not a road bike: The R2 is similar to a road bike, but with wider tires. This is not necessarily a negative, but I just thought I’d mention it because commuters offer better traction for climbing hills, as well as making it possible for you to carry extra cargo.
Factory direct: This means you will have to assemble the R2 yourself when it arrives from the factory.
Check out its store page here!
(2) The Schwinn Phocus 1400 and 1600 Drop Bar Road Bicycle
If you haven’t tried a Schwinn yourself, it is a safe bet you know someone who has. It features the Shimano Claris 16-speed derailleur, that has a micro-shift, integrated-shift & brake lever combo. The Schwinn does not skimp when it comes to quality. Which is not surprising since the company has been around since 1895.
The company has done a great job keeping up with the times, however. One reason being its ability to anticipate the needs of the rider. Also, they have been strong supporters of the communities which they serve. For example, they work with People for Bikes, the American Heart Association, and many more charity groups. Schwinn’s commitment to safety and health is one reason why they’re always on our list.
Schwinn is a household name: oftentimes, people will go with the company they trust. Schwinn has been around forever making exceptional bicycles.
Packaging: Schwinn takes extra care when shipping your bike, unlike some other companies.
Quality at competitive prices: Schwinn bicycles give you outstanding quality the price you pay.
Repairs: If you don’t live in Chicago, and your bike needs repairing, then you’ll have to foot the bill for it to be shipped back to the company’s headquarters.
Might need to make adjustments: Sometimes you might have to make adjustments factory-shipped bikes. If so, you’ll have to foot the bill for the shop.
Look out your next Schwinn here, you won’t regret it.
(3) The Tommaso Avventura Shimano Sora Road or Dirt Trail Bike:
This is a hybrid bike and falls into the road bike category, but it can also navigate rough terrain admirably. The Shimano made the list because it is a multi-tasker, which is always a plus with preppers. However, the company classifies it as a road bike, which means it might have some limitations.
Extra-wide tires: The extra-wide tires might make you think this is a commuter. Either way, the wider tires give you better traction. That makes it better for uphill climbs.
Carbon spokes: There’s nothing wrong with steel or aluminum spokes; carbon is just better. So, if you’re a hard rider, and like transitioning from rough terrain to streets, you can do it with no problem.
Matte black: Colors aren’t always important, but it’s nice to have a choice. Now, if you want others to be able to see you, go for the white; otherwise, opt for the matte black.
Professional assembly required: If you want Thomason to honor your warranty, you must have it assembled by a professional.
Wide are heavy tires: If you’re looking for a lightweight machine, then, because of its heavy tires, this bike might not be for you. The traction will be great, but you’ll feel the extra weight.
Learn more about this incredible Tomaso here.
(4) The Eurobike Aluminum Road Bike
Eurobike isn’t just a brand name, it’s an institution. The company hosts a trade fair every year in Germany. They have been making great bikes since 1991. With almost thirty years of making great bikes and hosting conventions under their belt, Eurobike knows the business of bicycles. They are great at what they do, and the quality will not disappoint you.
Cost to performance ratio: Eurobike is willing to put its cost-to-performance ration up against all comers, and they have good reason to feel so confident. You will get your money’s worth with this European entry into the aluminum bicycle market.
Easy assembly: As with all bikes, some assembly is required. But Eurobike goes to great pains to make sure everything you need is in the package. For example, the pedals are threaded in such a way that it is impossible to put them on backward. The entire procedure takes only a few minutes.
Well-tested: While some bicycle companies do just enough testing to get it approved, Eurobike goes above what is required. The professional design team subject it to some rigorous testing. It is this philosophy that lands them near the top of the list all the time.
European brakes: if you’re used to the American braking system, the brakes on the Eurobike will look like they’ve been installed backward. Meaning, the front brake is on the right, and the rear brake is on the left. So pay attention to this on your first few outings so no one gets hurt.
Find your dream Eurobike here!
(5) The Cyrusher XC760 Racing Road Bike
The Cyrusher XC760 is an all-around bicycle. The lightweight, aluminum frame lets you travel farther with less effort. So, if you need to get there in a hurry, The Cyrusher XC760 is the bike for you.
The Cyrusher XC760 comes with a handsome red, white and black paint scheme that calls out to you in the dark. Scientifically speaking, red is the first color the eye notices, so you can identify your XC760 quickly. In an emergency, you don’t want to waste time looking for your transport. With the Eurobike, you won’t have that problem.
Although I have focused primarily on pedal-powered bikes, for obvious reasons, it should be noted here that the company also makes electric bikes. After you’ve familiarized yourself with the XC760, it is okay to take a look at some of the other choices it has to offer. Besides, adding an electric bike to your arsenal might not be such a bad idea, assuming you can still find electricity during the apocalypse.
Cyrusher also carries a line of electric skateboards that are surprisingly fast and powerful. You can get all the accessories for it you need at its U.S.-based service centers. Cyrusher is a great company, and I’m sure you’ll be pleased with all the products it has to offer.
Compact design: There’s an old saying that good things come in small packages, and the XC760 is just that. So you won’t have to carry around so much extra weight and carry more supplies instead.
Lifetime frame and spokes warranty: As long as you own this bicycle, you’ll never have to worry about buying a new frame or spokes. And replacement parts can be easily obtained from the manufacturer.
Excellent brakes: The XC760 comes with powerful disc brakes. When it comes to stoping, you don’t want to have to rely on substandard brakes. The difference could be fatal.
The XC760 comes with a quick-release locking system, but you’ll need to remember to circle the lock through multiple areas of the bike or risk losing part of it. Even the loss of a single tire could prove fatal when society collapses.
Commutes weigh more: Normally, a little extra weight won’t slow you down that much, but in an emergency, that extra weight could cause you to tire quicker, especially if you have to travel long distances.
Some assembly required: Although the bike is about 90% assembled when it arrives, there’s still a little bit you have to do yourself. If you’re not mechanically inclined, there are plenty of videos online that can help you out.
Check out the Cyrusher here, and enjoy.
Fitness is an important element of prepping. If you can’t move quickly and carry the supplies you need, then there’s little chance you’ll be able to survive the apocalypse. Whatever your plans are, you’ll need the muscles to go along with it. Your ability to survive a dangerous may depend largely on how strong you are. So, practice your survival skills and use your gear regularly so you’ll know exactly how to use it.
Think of every piece of equipment in your arsenal as a gun–if you don’t keep it cleaned and serviced, it might not work properly when you need it. Also, if you don’t keep it in a safe place, someone could steal it and leave you high and dry. Similarly, if you don’t practice with your equipment your technique may become rusty. So, stay on top of your game!
Remember, you can spend millions on gear and a good bug-out location, and still lose your life because you skimped on the basics.