A motorcycle feels like it should be a great bug out vehicle. They are fast, maneuverable, and fuel efficient. Put on leathers and a helmet, and the rider feels armored -bad ass even.
Those of us who ride really want motorcycles to be great bug out vehicles. We want to justify having one. They are so cool and fun, we want them to be practical too.
Sadly, motorcycles have some serious drawbacks. Take my personal experience. My bike got better gas mileage than most cars, about 40mpg. There are bikes that get better mileage and bikes that get worse. Mine was an older 900 cc bike, big by 1977 standards, but not so big today.
Most bikes have smallish gas tanks. My bike held about 3.5gallons. After a 150 miles, I was looking for a gas station. Often I’d roll to the pumps running on the reserve portion of the tank. After a couple close calls, I started carrying an extra quart of gas in a metal container. A few times it came in handy. Most cars and trucks can go at least 300 - 400 miles on a full tank.
Cargo capacity is limited. One other person, a couple bags of groceries, and you are maxed out. We are basically talking backpacking loads here. Sure, there are trailers and side cars that expand capacity, but at the cost of maneuverability and economy. Again, might as well drive a car.
There are a host of other problems. Snow, ice, rain, sand or mud can make travel dangerous or impossible. A bike rider is a more vulnerable target that a driver in a car. The bike rider is right out there in the open. A car driver can be hard to see properly, and gets some protection from being inside a car. Sure, I wouldn’t want a 308 round to come through the driver’s door, but the engine block could stop it. Sheet metal does provide some protection. It’ll stop birdshot, and some shrapnel. Better than nothing. Bikes are often loud. People hear a bike along ways off.
Of course, I’m generalizing here. There are some bikes that are better than others. Enduro styles with off and on road capability, expanded fuel capacity and strong suspensions have merit. Especially if your bug out plan is a trail, train tracks, pipeline or powerline corridor.
Keep it mind that a motorcycle is a specialized vehicle for special conditions and you’ll be Okay. Don’t think of it as the first line of retreat. Maybe having one in the back of your truck or on a trailer is the thing to do. If your main vehicle breaks down or caught in traffic, the bike could keep you moving.
Being able to ride a bike, especially off-road, is a skill. It takes training and practice to do it right. You also have to be in good health. It’s uncomfortable to drive a car with a broken arm. It’s almost impossible to do the same on a bike.
Now if you want to get a small high mileage bike to cut down on transportation costs, that’s a fine idea. Just don’t justify it on the grounds that it’s the perfect all around bug out vehicle; it isn’t.
Really wish it was. I look pretty darn Mad Max in leathers.
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