Wednesday, April 8, 2015

consuming to invest 16


Bike & Bike Parts

Most survivalists insist on both living in the past and the future.  They still live in a city grid home and still drive a car.  Hope springs eternal.  Not that I can necessarily blame folks, what with the forty years of false alarms over communist nuclear attack ( we still hold the world record for aggression with a nuclear arsenal, although I’m sure there has been a time or two that our foes would gladly have traded a few tens of millions of their citizens just to wipe the stupid off a Presidents face ) and other fake scares such as Y2K and even the ongoing Peak Oil ( “$4 gas, that’s all you’ve got for me as a scare?” )( in actual fact, Peak Oil is screwing with our food supply.  It is just not in way anticipated.  Ethanol rather than famine.  For now-be patient ).  Nobody wants to the Chicken Little everyone laughs at ( I don’t mind, personally, as I have zero doubts about our end destination ), so they hedge their bets with yesterday’s winner, Oil Age lifestyles.  So, this advice won’t save you $200 a month or more.  A pity, not owning a car would be the best way for the poorest person to stockpile the best survivalist stash.  It would also get you in shape for the Apocalypse.  But don’t mind me, I’m just a paranoid little weasel that isn’t smart enough to get past the irrefutable math of “resource depletion+ increasing population= Malthus was right”.  Your math is definitely better, I’m sure.


The best you can hope for here is a repeat of the solar panels.  It will cost you now and only pay you in the near future when gasoline at $4 will have the same memories as the Great Depression “apples 5 cents a pound” signs.  Which, keep in mind, were really kind of expensive adjusted for inflation.  Centralization and petroleum inputs ( and federally built irrigation water dams and aqueducts ) really gave us incredibly inexpensive ( as far as purchasing power ) foods the last three lifetimes.  You don’t really think that was unraveled more than part way, do you?  There will come a time you won’t have the option of driving ( as your payments remain-suckers ).  Then it must be the bicycle.  Now, focus back to not so distant history, when the financial house of cards started unraveling and oil shot up to $150 a barrel ( which was mostly the whole justification-and greed inducement-for the fracking bubble ).  Every swinging dingus and his brother in law raced out to snatch up all the bicycles.  The same thing happened in Japan nationally when the earthquake/tsunami knocked out all that power and oil was needed for electric generation rather than transportation.  Just In Time Inventory, remember.  Get your bike now.  Get your spare parts now.  Lots of spare parts.  Remember, unless you pay top dollar, parts are not as high of quality as before.  And top dollar is stupid.  They seem to deliver twice the life, but are more than double the price.  Of course, if you have the money top quality for the Apocalypse isn’t a bad idea.  Probably just beyond most folks budget ( this is where, AGAIN, a single gear bike is far superior.  Less parts to stock ). 


Everyone can of course walk after the Apocalypse.  Which is a good fall-back position.  We all know how to do that, except for a few really fat folk who need a HoverRound.  But, they will quickly be harvested anyway.  But with a bike you have a decided advantage, while they last, both militarily ( with ethanol addition, most gas even with StaBil, has a very reduced shelf life.  The ultimate Just In Time Inventory.  I’d count on about zero car transport three months after the collapse )  and cargo wise, over walkers.  A bike can easily be justified budget wise now ( the excuse of course will be to get in shape and save on short haul car trips-whether you follow through or not… ) and will be necessary immediately before the collapse ( civilization will stick around shortly after gasoline supplies evaporate, but not long.  This ain’t your granddaddies WWII, with successful gas rationing.  We are flung far out into the suburbs now.  The only decentralization that has gone on in the last fifty years has been our living arrangements ) and long afterwards.  You feel like a schmuck having a bike now?  You will feel like a much bigger one NOT having one later.



Manual Sewing Machine

Now, when it comes to sewing, I’m sure most guys wouldn’t mind seeing their womenfolk with a needle and thread in front of a sputtering candle, squinting at their work.  Why buy a modern sewing machine, right?  Old School works just as well.  Okay, granted, we are all a little pissed about Women’s Lib.  But you are throwing the baby out with the bath water.  If you buy your wife the proper tools, she is much more productive and much happier.  And, she’ll probably be the one who suggests taking in other peoples clothes to sew for barter.  Getting her a sewing machine will be a darn fine investment.  Now, I understand that you can buy solar panels and inverters and just use a regular sewing machine.  But that is stupid.  Both because the batteries won’t last long ( even running directly on panels is silly, because in the daylight she will be outside in the garden or what not-sewing is evening and winter work-ditch the electric here ) and because you don’t want all that computer chip crap in a machine.  Get the plain Jane old fashion sewing machine with a lot less stuff to break on it.  And of course the treadle machine. 


Now, it has been some time so my memory is rusty, but I seem to remember Lehman’s having both the manual machine ( of modern manufacture ) and the desk thingy for a manual sewing unit.  And, for Lehman’s, at a reasonable price.  You don’t have to manufacture your own or search high and low for used equipment.  You have no excuse for not buying this.  The days of Wal-Mart clothes being cheaper than the fabric to make them is over.  Oh, that still might be the case, but the manufactured quality is so poor, in the long run you will save money by making them yourself.  So fabrics and patterns and parts are a good investment.  You don’t have to do this manually, if you already own an electric machine.  But have both.  Stock up what you are using now, and just switch machines when needed-all the supplies will be there since you are saving money with sewing now.  If a Wal-Mart shirt cost $7, and it cost ten bucks to make that, but the store bought shirt lasts ten washings and yours lasts five years, how much did you just save on that one item?  Sewing is back, baby!

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  1. Rule #1 for sewing clothes that last: make sure the thread is WEAKER than the cloth. This ensures that seams rip cleanly, so they can easily be stitched back up. If the thread is stronger, it will shred the fabric, making repair difficult to impossible.

  2. Just a comment about bikes and bike parts. As a big person who likes carrying hefty backpacks, etc, I find that most bikes and bike tires are rated to @175 -200 lbs at most. This is not going to be enough come the PODA. if you have the money get a heavy duty bicycle, with luggage racks, etc, that can support at least 300lbs and 'solid' or high pressure tires that can support nearly as much (about 75-110 psi). This makes a heavier bike and less comfortable ride, but when you load down a months worth of groceries, water, and your own fat @$$ on a bike it wont break down near as easy. Sure a luggage trailer thing attached to your bike is also good, but hauling one behind your bike advertises that you are about to go shopping and have money or trade goods to go shopping with (aka bandit bait) especially PODA.

    Sewing machines (manual are good but remember the sturdy and warm cloth and thread to use with them as well). The old ones can be adapted to all sorts of power sources - water, wind, pedal, electric, etc.

  3. After riding all types of bikes for years, there were four bikes worthy of my needs. I,m middleaged with a few popped discs bit otherwise in decent shape. I travel short and long distance so the specific bikes suit what type of journey I'm going on. I have to traverse a discontinued dirt (mud) road for a few miles till I get to pavement and ride in all weather including snow. I have a balloon tire aluminum cruiser single speed bought at Target for $100, a worksman single speed newsboy and a dumpster special teen/child bike 5 speed to which I attached an adult fat seat and an aluminum big teens BMX with smooth road tread.
    If I'm going 3 to five miles into the tiny town I take the BMX with assorted packs on my back or handlebars. It goes swiftly and smoothly over the harsh terrain.
    If I'm going on a non-burdened ride up to 25 miles away I take the lighter aluminum baloon tired bike. Sometimes I cheat and take the closest bus about 15 miles into the trip and can hoist the bike on the bus rack.
    The little 5speed kid bike with big seat and suspension is also wonderful for this type of ride but I can tide with less effort on the bike paths with the five speeds.
    For heavy hauling like animal feed, lumber, lotsa groceries,etc, I take a long slow trip into town on the heaviest bike out there, the Worksman upright single speed newsboy with a generic kiddy trailer attached to the back. Even tho its slow and I know its going to eat up the day, it is the sturdiest, smoothest , stable ride out there, carrying tons of cargo, and even potholes dont conquer this bike. It cost me about 350 a few years back but is worth the money. Everything is steel, nothing fancy, but the ride is true and its striking as an ox. This year I put a little gas engine on the back wheel from Staton, Inc. And for a gallon of gas, that thing will take me 225 miles. Not a motorcycle but definitely a big help and yes, on e gas is gone, its going to be back to pushing it up the big hills. I hope to have an electric motor by then and charge via solar. Biking is the wave of the future .it will be the only future transport. Plus it feels amazing to be so self sufficient in the transportation department.

    1. You sound much more dedicated than me with the bike transportation. Cheers!


    gvw 500
    spokes 11 gage (0.120")