The 2-Wheel BOV

Motorcycling To Bug Out

Remember in the movie, Deep Impact, the boy takes the dirt bike and rides the traffic jam on the interstate until he finds his girlfriend, then they head for the hills to beat the tidal wave?

He's driving slow, weaving in and out of the stopped traffic... ripe for getting knocked off and the bike stolen if it were in real life.  I think if I were in that position, I'd have been riding the grassy shoulders, even up on the side hills if they existed.  Certainly there would be a need for some wire cutters in your saddlebag to cut through the typical wire fence than runs beside most interstates.

This week, one of my prepper friends bought the motorcycle that he has wanted for the 25 years that I've known him, a BMW R1200GS (that is a newer model/size, but he's always wanted that type).  The R1200GS is the ideal bike for on and off-road touring.  If you were riding to the Arctic Circle, this is the bike you'd want for that last 350 miles of gravel road in Alaska.  Its predecessors always were very competitive in the Paris to Dakar rally race.  He'll use it for commuting, and the occasional ride through country roads or the Blue Ridge Parkway, but it has strong abilities if he needs it to get out of Dodge.

But how realistic is it to use a bike?  For one thing, unless you commute, you won't have it with you.  Also, unless is is a R1200GS or an on-off-road enduro style, it might not be much good.  That Ninja or Road King won't have the versatility.

I've been thinking on it this weekend, and with my 60 mile commute, I think the only way a bike would work for me would be to get an older enduro style, then store it at a friend's house who lives near my work.  If it hit the fan while I was at work and the interstates and secondary roads were blocked, I could get to his house and pull my pack out of my Element, then ride off-road along the highway to get home.  It's probably doable, but I think I have other priorities.

Do any of you have plans to use a motorcycle to get home or bug out?


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  1. I own four Harley's, ride to work most every day of the week. Make no mistake, Harley's have been to war and back. Yes it is somewhat true about the ROad Kind, I own one....however...if need be I have and will take it dirt riding to get out of the crap fan. I also own a couple of Honda dirt bikes....just cannot carry enough of everything on a motorcycle, but I surely believe the chances of making the run to get where I need to be, just in case, any of the ones would do what needed to be done.

  2. There are advantages and disadvantages to bugging out on a bike. Not having one and not planning on using one, I always thought that they evened out to using a car.

    However, lately I've got a friend with a large Harley and we went camping. Had to travel three and a half hours to the campsite. When we got there, he was almost out of gas while I had plenty left (car).

    That alone would decide it for me. A car can go farther on a tank of gas and can also carry more gas to go farther yet.

    But the key in either case is to GET OUT EARLY!

    -- Bowser in Kansas

  3. I have owned many different motorcycles over my life time and if I needed to get out of dodge it would be only secondary to my ford 4x4. My truck can go most everywhere a motorcycle can go. I have done a lot of mod's on the truck. I have put in a second gas tank and also high end driving lights and it has bigger tires than stock. I also carry a tow chain and plenty of straps and bungie cords to help with securing a load. If I really needed to I could load the bike in the bed and then if needs be I could take the bike out and ride it to safety.

  4. Warlock - if that works for you, you are right on. I had a Sportster and a Wide Glide, but wouldn't be comfortable with either of those if I had to go off road.

    Bowser - 10-4 on getting out early

    BVDD - sounds like a great BOV, and great idea on taking the bike as a secondary

  5. Mind you....if running for dear life....any means of transport at that given time will have to do the job.....

  6. I have both a truck and a bike (a little Buell Blast), and there are indeed many situations in which a good bike can go places no four-wheeled vehicle can. I would hazard a guess that the Kawasaki KLR650 is about the best BOB (bug-out bike) around, since the Marine Corp uses them, but I don't have one.

    And gas mileage on the smaller bikes like the KLR and my Buell are MUCH better than the larger bikes. My buddy's KLR gets in the mid 40's, and with it's good-sized tank you can really go places if you have to. My Buell gets 65 in the city, but it's small tank means I'm limited to about 150 miles between fill-ups.

    But really I view my bike, which I commute to work with as much as possible, as more of a GHB (get home bike) than a bug-out bike. As a rider you're very exposed, you can't carry that much compared to other vehicles, and snow or ice or even flood waters are real show-stoppers. But in an emergency I can skirt around stuck traffic on the interstate or even leave a blocked major road for a nearby secondary road, without having to find a space that you could drive, well, a TRUCK through. Sorry, couldn't resist.

    As with most things, I think a good dual-purpose bike is just one more arrow in your preparedness quiver. It helps with some situations but doesn't deal with them all.

  7. My DRZ400 was part of my bugout plan before we moved to the BOL a few years back.

    Armored the bike up with case/brake/radiator guards and a better skid plate, and added a rear storage rack. Offroad tires. Trailer hitch bike carrier from Northern Tool. BOL was 180 miles, 120 expressway and 60 state highway. Plan B if we got stopped by traffic/roadblocks was to unload the bike, abandon the truck, backtrack around the problem, and continue on to the retreat.

    Bike took about 20 mins to get loaded on the hitch carrier (3 mins to unload), with the Bike BOB already secured to the rear rack. Fender bag for the tools/tire repair kit. The hitch carrier doesn't restrict the trucks mobility like a trailer would, and it leaves the truck bed empty for more gear. The bike unloads to either side of the truck, so no problem getting it unloaded even in bumper to bumper traffic jam.

    We hoped to avoid traffic jams by monitoring a CB and handheld scanner along the way, but if necessary then unload the bike and continue on. I pre-scouted alternate routes, and we'd backtrack to get off the highway instead of trying to ride past miles of stopped traffic on the shoulder/median. Would have hated to leave the truck and all the gear, but beats camping on the side of the e-way or trying to walk out. Agree with Mike in VA that the vehicle width is the big concern, I can get around/between obstacles on the DRZ where even an ATV wouldn't fit.


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