Stripping Abandoned or Disabled Bicycles for Survival Gear and Materials
Once the SHTF there will be all kinds of discarded items lying about that can be used for survival purposes. Even if you find yourself lost or stranded, you may find items discarded even in the most remote places. Bicycles and bicycle parts can be found virtually anywhere in the world and a bicycle can be a treasure trove of survival items.
1.) The Magneto/Batteries
Many bicycles today have headlights and taillights and in many municipalities around the world, lighting front and back is required before the bicycle can travel on roads or highways. The power source on older bikes may be a magneto or sometimes called a bottle dynamo because of its bottle shape.
The magneto is a small electrical generator for bicycles designed to power the bicycle’s lights. The electrical generator uses permanent magnets to create pulses of alternating current (AC). The turbine uses friction to turn. It rests against the tire and turns when the tire does.
Older magnetos produce AC current. You can turn the bike upside down and spin the wheels by the pedals to create current that can be used to signal rescuers by activating the headlight/taillight.
With AC current, a short can be created to cause an electrical arc, which in some cases could be used to create fire. This method of fire starting requires considerable electrical current however, so it would not be considered a reliable method.
The horn if there is one can be used to signal for help as well
Newer bikes may have battery packs that are used to power the lights. Some bikes may even have so-called true dynamos that produce DC current to recharge the battery packs. The batteries can be used to create fire using steel wool, pieces of thin foil such as the foil used as gum wrappers, or thins strips of aluminum foil. The conductor must touch the positive and negatives side of the battery at the same time. Make sure you have dried tinder ready for when the conductor bursts into flames because of the current flowing through it.
The headlight glass can be used as a cutting tool, and the glass and headlight reflector can be used to start fires or used as a signal mirror.
3.) Bicycle Spokes
The spokes are heavy wire that will be difficult to cut but most wire cutters on a multi-tool can do the job. The heavy wire can be used for a variety of things. Bind three or four together after sharpening the tips to make a thrusting weapon. Use duct tape or Paracord to make a handle and once done you have an effective handheld weapon.
Use the spokes to create a fishing spear by securing three to the end of a stout sapling. The spoke ends can be sharpened and shaped like a small hook so your catch does not slip off after penetration.
The spokes of course can be used to create a spear for hunting small game as well. The stiff spokes can also be sharpened and secured at the bottom of a pit to impale small game that falls into the pit.
Use the spokes as spits or grates to cook food over your fire.
4.) Inner Tube
The inner tube can be used to transport water by cutting in two at the stem. Fill with water by holding one end up and pinching off, then secure the two ends to each other and carry the tube across the chest with the secured ends up.
You may be able to remove the valve stem by unscrewing the valve using the needle nose pliers on a multi-tool. Filling with water, this way would require that you submerge the stem in water. This is a time-consuming way of filling with water, but is a secure way of transporting water. Put the valve cap back on or replace the stem valve to keep the water from leaking out.
The powder inside the tube is usually talcum or in some cases cornstarch.
The tube can be cut into “ranger bands” that can be used to secure items to your pack or equipment or to bind poles together for shelter building. You can cut the tube long ways to create longer pieces to secure larger items together.
The rubber can also be used as a tourniquet or used to secure splints to limbs to immobilize them. In some cases depending on the quality and age of the rubber, you can use it to make a slingshot.
Pieces of the rubber can be burned to create signal smoke.
If the sprocket (s) can be removed from the pedal, they can be attached to a sapling by splitting the end and securing the sprocket between the split. Push the sprocket down far enough so the top end of the split can be secured as well as the bottom of the split. If you have the time and means, you can sharpen the metal to create an even more deadly weapon. The sprockets can also be used as digging and prying tools.
Mirrors can be used to create fires and to signal rescue personnel, and for grooming purposes as well.
7.) Bicycle Chain
The chain can be used as a weapon and if heavily oiled or greased you may be able to harvest some of the lubricant for fire starting by soaking it up with some absorbent cloth and/or use it to lubricate and protect your other tools.
8.) Seat Post
Most seats are adjustable and the entire post that the seat rests on can be removed as well as the seat itself. The post is hollow and can be plugged on both ends by a wooden cork. Use it to transport water, rolled up maps or other items that would need protection from the elements. The post can of course be used as a weapon.
9.) Brake Cables
The cables are stranded wire, which can be unwound to some extent and used. The wire can be used for any number of things such as for snares, binding poles together for shelter, making repairs to gear and equipment and the list goes on. The wire will be stiff and difficult to work with so use the pliers on your multi-tool to manipulate the strands of wire.
10.) The Seat Itself
If you use your imagination, you can probably come up with several uses but the main component is the material itself that can be used for hand protection, making repairs to gloves, gear and even burned to create dark smoke for signaling.
If the seat is large enough, it can be used as a headrest for sleeping or even for sitting on inside your shelter. Leave the post on and secure the post in the ground to give yourself a small chair.
Use your imagination and come up with others uses for other parts of the bicycle that can be used in a survival situation.