Shopping for the Apocalypse: Bicycles

Winter Bicycles Chicago Flyer (photo by R. Gersbach)

Kogswell rando-porteur w/protective wool gauntlets

Post-apocalyptic cruiser

Portage for survival supplies

Now that I’m almost done finalizing my wardrobe for the apocalypse, I’m evaluating my preferred mode of bicycle transportation. Ever since Jan Heine published The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles, a pictorial history of French bicycles and builders, I’ve been a fan of “porteur” style bicycles. This 1947 Alex Singer, for example, is a stunner. Aside from delivering newspapers, the porteur would be well suited for transporting quantities of food and supplies over long distances in trying times.

In play form, I participate in the sport of randonneuring which is a practice way of preparing for the apocalypse by bicycle. Randonneurs ride for hours, even days, following a cryptic cue sheet directing left and right turns, as dictated by the Department of Defense or Dr. Strangelove. Our rando bikes are semi-slimmed down versions of the standard porteur model. Here’s a link to friend Peg’s new Tony Peirera. And here is Winter Bicycles latest “Audax” model (to debut at the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show).

If transmissions from this blog taper off a bit in the next month, it’s because I’m preparing for the suitably named Eau de Hell 2009.

In lieu of a porteur or brevet bike, I might opt for the fixed gear hauler friend Rick and I test rode at Clever Cycles in Portland, Oregon (photo below). The Clever Cycles hauler would work perfectly for mission critical cargo transports–as long as post-apocalypitc conditions did not force us into hilly territories or escape scenarios which required ultra rapid transport.

Fixed gear cargo hauler (photo by R. Gersbach)

Another role model

8 thoughts on “Shopping for the Apocalypse: Bicycles”

  1. Hey Foster. Which bike did she get–Brompton, Dutch City Bike or X? It’s a great shop. I have enough photos for a future Archival Fieldtrip sequence.

    I’m looking out for patterns for that logger’s smock.


  2. I protest, it is just aging like a bottle of wine right now. I was not thinking of doing hills though when I boughtit and if I need to get out of where I am now fast I will have to opt for my beater 18 gear. the bike I got was the grandma. I can ride it no hands for blocks of flat lands. It is a bummer to put on my bike rack.

  3. i disagree about dutch bikes doing best on flat terrain. they are even better on moderate downhill grades, a quality they share with almost every other bike, but to an even greater degree.

    the oma/grandma we carry has a low/granny (get it?) gear of 25 inches. plenty low for the volcano we live on and haul our kid, groceries, 50lb. chicken feed, etc. up on a daily basis: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cleverchimp/2984697037/ . just saying.

  4. I had a bike for a while that I called the Armageddon Bike. I lived in DC, and always knew that if the stuff hit the fan, the only viable option would be to get on a bike and head for West Virginia. This was, perhaps, 2001-2005, maybe.

    It was right in line with some of your picks…an old steel mtb w/ high-up bars, low gears, big front and rear racks, big tires and fenders, etc.

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