Something to consider is the fact that in many types of disasters, cars and trucks may not be your best bet for transportation. After a major event like a tornado, roads may be all but impassable. Add to that a lack of readily available fuel and most folks are going to be hoofing it to get anywhere.
Plan ahead for this possibility. In many cases, a simple bicycle will serve your needs well. You can pick them up cheap at rummage sales or even free on Freecycle. Some of them may need a little TLC to get road worthy again but repairing a bicycle is not rocket science. Remember, we’re not talking about expensive racing bikes here. Just a few simple mountain bikes will do nicely.
For under about $30, you can get all the stuff you need to keep a bike on the road. Make sure you pick up tube repair kits as well as extra tubes. Get a small bag that will hang under the seat or over the handlebars to store wrenches, tubes, a small bottle of WD-40, pliers, and other odds and ends. Pick up a bike pump that is designed to fit onto the bike frame when not in use.
Remember also that in some cases, the bike might be more useful for carrying cargo than yourself. This was a lesson learned in many Third World countries. A bike can carry a ton of stuff in bags and lashed to the frame, with you pushing it. Far easier than trying to carry all that stuff on your back.
With that said though, if you keep your eyes open you can often find a trailer for the bike rather cheap. Look for one that is designed to carry one or two children and convert to a stroller. These mount on the rear of the bike very easily and will fit quite a bit of stuff. After all, they are made to carry a couple kids. The stroller conversion can be handy if you reach a point where you’ll have to ditch the bike for some reason.
Don’t forget a lock for the bike. I like to use ones that have a combination lock as that way you don’t have to worry about losing the key.
Of course, horses are another time-honored method of transportation. But, they are much more expensive than bicycles and require a lot of upkeep. I’m told hay has skyrocketed in price too. But, if you have the means to have a few horses, as well as the knowledge on how to take care of them, they are certainly a viable option. And again, pack horses can carry quite a bit of gear and supplies.
Motorcycles are an option in some cases. They run on far less fuel than a car or truck. But they do require some degree of training on how to operate them, as well as the requisite license. While you’d think law enforcement would have better things to do in the aftermath of a disaster than look for unlicensed motorcyclists, don’t push your luck.
Given that the odds are great that no matter what you have planned for transportation you’ll still likely end up on foot at some point, I encourage you to go for daily walks if at all possible. Start small if need be. Even just going around the block once is better than nothing. Gradually increase the distance as your health and physical condition allow. Get used to putting one foot in front of the other as a means to get to where you’re going.
Your assignments this week:
1) Determine which alternate modes of transportation are viable for you in your particular situation. If bicycles are the way to go, acquire them as cheaply as you can and repair them as needed. If it has been a while since you last rode, get back into the feel of things by going out regularly. The saying is true, y’know, you never really forget how to ride a bike.
2) Begin going for daily walks, as your health and condition allow. Get outside, breath some fresh air, and just put one foot in front of the other.
3) Take a good, hard look at your supply of hygiene products. Aim for at least a couple weeks worth of supplies. If you’re running on less than that, stock up as you can.