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Anyone can change a flat, but it takes a certain kind of grit and panache to do it whilst a horde of the undead march slowly towards you. We will be having two stops on our slow and fun five mile loop. One of the events will be the George Romero Flat Challenge with some sweet prizes from Portland Design Works!

We’ll need 3 people to be George Romero-esque slow zombies and 3 survivors to see if they can change a flat before the horde gets to them. If you want to be a zombie or one of the three contestants, email Russ! Zombies will be placed about 80ft away and will take a step every two seconds. In that time you will have to strip a tube out of a wheel and replace it with another one and bring it to inflation. Start practicing your flat changing or zombie walking now!

Email Russ if you want to participate.

Pedals for the Apocalypse

Posted: April 11, 2012 in Uncategorized

When the SHTF you better consider your pedal choices for the Zombie Apocalypse wisely. Being clipped in may help you keep up on your weekend group rides or during your CAT 6 commutes, but during ZA they will be more of a liability and here’s why:

Ride and Run

On the day to end all days you will be doing more than just pedaling down the bike path whistlin’ Dixie. You’ll be running, jumping, wading and bounding up stairs to get where you need to be. Your clipless pedals, even if they’re recessed MTB cleats, are going to be a hindrance. You’ll be sliding around when you need traction and making noise when you need to be quiet. You are better off with platforms and versatile shoes or boots during the Zombie Apocalypse. To accommodate the range of footwear you’ll be wearing, BMX flat pedals will serve you better than fancy road quills. At the very least, if you must have clipless, keep a pair of dual-sided pedals handy.


No Bike Shops in the Apocalypse

Hate to break it to you, but Nashbar or your LBS probably won’t be operational. With all the running you’ll be doing, you’ll be more prone to wearing out your cleats and with no replacements available you better have a plan B. Going beyond pedals, you’ll want to have at least a flat repair kit on your bicycle at all times and a small stash of consumables like tubes, tires, brake pads and cables. Now is the time to also take that bicycle repair class you’ve been meaning to take at the local bike co-op.

The gear that works for you know may act to your detriment in a disaster survival situation. Be sure to have a bug-out bike ready at all times or have everything you need to convert your bike into disaster mode at a moment’s notice.

We would be remiss to not talk about cargo bicycles during the Zombie Apocalypse since we are partnering up with Mike Cobb’s Cargo Bike Disaster Relief Trials and because some groups in PDX are embracing them as disaster response vehicles. Cargo bikes basically break up into two major categories, longtails and front loading designs.

Longtail

The Xtracycle is arguably the grandaddy of the current generation of cargo bikes in the US. It made it possible to retrofit extra cargo carrying capacity to your current bicycle without the expense of a custom build. It brought cargo biking to the masses in an easily accessible form. Since then, other bike companies have created integrated longtail systems like the Big Dummy, Kona Ute, Yuba Mundo, etc.,

The Xtracycle due to its various add-ons and modular system make it amenable to lots of strange sized cargo from ladders, to other bicycles or even to other passengers. Because it uses standard wheel sizes, parts are fairly easy to come by (except for those tandem length cables). However, because the cargo is distributed like 2 large panniers one must be aware of left-right weight bias or suffer a tippy ride. Other interpretations of the Xtracycle longtail design suffer from the same issues. On the upside, longtail bikes tend to be more affordable and generally lighter in weight than front loading counterparts.

Pros:

-Xtracycle can be added on to pre-existing bikes
-fairly standard componentry
-modular and expandable system
-ability to carry passenger

Cons:
-must be careful of left-right weight balance
-must upgrade to strong, high-spoke count wheels in the rear for truly heavy loads
-not good for very large and heavy objects that will throw off balance

Front Loading Cargo Bike
Front loading cargo bikes are becoming more and more popular every year. The bakfiets originally imported by CleverCycles in Portland were one of the first bikes to introduce the concept to the US market. Since then, more and more models have become available from Bullits, CETMA, Metrofiets, Bilenky, etc., They all employ a design with a cargo area between the handlebars and smaller front wheel (usually 20 inch, sometimes 24 inch) connected by some extended linkage system.

One of the main advantages of a front loading cargo bike is that it is particularly good at carrying very heavy and dense materials without worrying about any left-right balance issues. Like longtails they are also capable of carrying passengers. Because some have a defined box, they are not optimized for carrying very large or oddly shaped objects, though some have an open flatbed which are more versatile. Perhaps one of the biggest drawbacks of front loading cargo bikes are the price. They are generally cost-prohibitive for most people. There is also a question of some non-standard components like spokes, tubes and tires for 20 inch wheels, as well as some concern as to how to fix a broken linkage arm (brush up on your welding).


Pros:

-small front wheel means more strength for heavier loads
-weight is always centered on the bike
-capable of carrying passengers


Cons:

-expensive to own
-not good for bulky items
-non standard parts
-generally heavier, so not good if you have to portage the bike

Let’s make this clear, ANY bike is better than NO bike in the event of Zombie Apocalypse. However, some bikes are better than others for specific tasks.

Touring Bike

The venerable touring bike is in some ways the perfect bike for ZA. Equipped with front and rear racks, a touring bike will let you go the distance and carry everything you’ll need to flee the city. If people can ride from Alaska to Argentina on one, you should be able to use yours to get out of downtown and into the woods.



Pros:

-good for long distances
-easily replaceable parts to find
-when equipped with four panniers, has good carrying capacity

Cons:

-limited to paved roads depending on configuration


Fat Bike

There is a current trend in bikes getting fatter. It’s a good thing too, because with threat of ZA looming in the horizon you’ll need a bike to climb over rubble, sand and snow to escape the undead. Fat bikes have fat tires that are designed to float and navigate over some questionable terrain. You’ll have to be creative and selective with your packing however since their capacity is a lot more constrained than the traditional touring bike


Pros:

-ride over everything!
-ability to really get off the beaten path

Cons:

-will be slower during the initial escape on paved roads
-lack of carrying capacity

Folding Bike
One would think that a bike with small wheels is the last bike you’d want during the ZA. However, folding bikes shouldn’t be underestimated. Just as they are useful for multi-modal trips in times of peace, folding bikes could make the perfect raiding bicycle. The small wheels are quick to accelerate and maneuver, perfect for urban zombie slaloms. You can drive to the outskirts of town (while you still have gas) and deploy the folder for a fast and quick trip into town to get supplies. They can also be folded and hidden a lot easier than full-sized bicycle.



Pros:

-Fast, quick and maneuverable
-Able to mix with other forms of motorized transit
-Easy to hide and stash

Cons:

-Will get weird looks from zombies
-hard to find parts
-not as much carrying capacity

Bug Out Bike Videos

Posted: April 7, 2012 in Uncategorized

If you thought the idea of escaping the Zombie Apocalypse was the realm of just bikey Portland hipsters who like any excuse to put on a costume and ride around town…well, you’re wrong. A quick search on the internet and its obvious that many people non-bikey people have given using the bicycle as a BOV (Bug Out Vehicle) some serious thought. Here’s just a few to get your brains thinking about prepping your bike for the ZA.

Why Zombies? Why Bikes?

Posted: April 6, 2012 in Uncategorized

The short answer is because they are AWESOME.

The long answer is that zombies are a sign of the times.  Just as science fiction was a means to talk about and critique government, zombies are a way to talk about what will happen during a natural disaster, human caused disaster and general crap-hitting-the-fanness.  It’s a non-threatening and socially acceptable way to talk about being prepared and surviving in a post-apocalyptic world while drinking artisanal martinis at the new hot bar…and because they are f’n awesome.

Why Bikes? Are you going to be better off in a steel gas guzzling box? When it comes time to evacuate the roads will become parking lots, there will be a run on gas and you will be part of the great motorized zombie buffet. Bikes are agile, easy to maintain and do not run on a resource that will be in short supply. After the initial evacuation, bikes will be the most efficient way to get around in a post-apocalyptic world.

Anyone who rides a bike and has read Cormac’s McCarthy’s The Road (aka Shoulda Used a Bike Instead of a Shopping Cart) or has watched AMC’s The Walking Dead, will no doubt note that apparently everyone has forgotten bikes exist in the universe and all the characters spend an inordinate amount of time looking for gas, getting stuck in traffic or in The Road pushing a shopping cart around like someone lost in a Walmart parking lot. These people are clearly doing it wrong.

The Zombie Apocalypse Ride during PedalPalooza will be doing it right. The ride will be a fun and social way to practice riding bikes during the end of times. We will be joining forces with the Cargobike Disaster Relief Trials and will provide the fun and social aspect for those that aren’t riding in the trials.

This blog will provide updates and general zombie preparedness information during the next few weeks leading up to Pedalpalooza. So bookmark this page and check back often.

If you are interested in helping plan or sponsor the event, send an email.