Why Bugging Out on a Motorcycle Will Get You Killed

September 25, 2014 by | 7 Comments

The topic of bugging out is a popular one, with probably thousands of opinions on how, when, and why.

One recurring theme is bugging out on a motorcycle, which on the surface may seem like a great idea due to their maneuverability and excellent fuel economy, but it will probably get you killed.

Here are a few reasons why bugging out on a motorcycle is a bad idea.

  • While a motorcycle’s fuel economy beats a car, truck, or SUV, it has only a fraction of their fuel capacity so they both have about the same range.
  • Bugging out on a motorcycle means taking very little gear and supplies, and at most, one passenger. What happens if you can’t reach your bug out location or you get there and it’s been raided?
  • A motorcycle provides no protection from the elements or from attackers. A snow storm or a kid with a rock can end you life on a motorcycle. And if you happen to fall or crash, you face far more serious injuries than if you were in an automobile—without EMS, this is more likely to be fatal.
  • Long distance travel on a motorcycle can take a toll on your body.

On the other hand, a motorcycle can be a good choice if you are bugging out alone to a known location that is already stocked with food and supplies, and is relatively nearby.

Before bugging out it’s important to carefully weigh all variables, including:

  • What terrain you must cross to reach your bug out location.
  • How far you must travel.
  • Traffic and weather conditions.
  • Threat level. (Are you bugging out to avoid a hurricane or civil unrest?)
  • How many people will be traveling with you.
  • What gear and supplies you’ll need to bring.

Melanie Swick (a.k.a. Survival Chick) grew up wanting to be a rocket scientist, but when she realized she that required way too much math, she took to her second dream—spending time in the wilderness. Today, when she's not hiking, camping, or hunting, she's blogging about it. You can connect with Melanie on Facebook.

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  • Oddly I thought about doing a rebuttal. Not that I have a bug out motorcycle but I dreamt I gave a lecture on them and their survival uses. It was a great speach by the way.

  • teotwawkiandifeelfine says:

    Good point on the range – I forgot about that. Not that I was depending on a motorcycle. They also make noise – and come in road and dirtbike. Each can only ride its own type surface. I’ve never seen a bike that can do both well.

    I hope everyone is like my family. We have 3 overall plans (and 3 routes for each): Car, Bike, Foot. If the roads are fairly clear (we leave early) – two cars. If roads are snarled in traffic, bikes, if the roads themselves are dangerous, it’s by foot. It just seems to be ignorant to not make plans for alternate transport; things change quickly and it’s just safer to adjust to whatever SHTF brings.

    Our cars are small hatchbacks and we can carry a lot of gear in them (more than I thought) including the cats, guns and etc.

    We have mountain bikes now, I think we should stay with them. I haven’t made it yet, (focusing on other things for moment) but I am planning to try to add an adapter to our bikes (air pontoon, like a shuttle bike ™, redneck style :] ) so that on calm days, we can bike over lakes and ponds if needed (could save miles and miles.) Of course I am building our bike trailers so they can do the same and carry lots of things.

    We’ve been walking further and further lately and I have carried 10 lbs. additional now (wife with 5), we will move to 15 (10) then 20 (15) then…

    We’ve planned out our routes based on the event time (early mid, late) and trying to keep near fresh water as much as possible along with avoiding the larger cities and towns as possible.

    Who needs a motorcycle? In a very few scenarios I see it as a good thing, most others, not. It’s speed and it’s terrain are the only things I really see as good.

    Thanks for the article!

    • Jeremy Knauff says:

      You’re welcome! 🙂

    • CountryGuy says:

      OK so if a cycle is dangerous how does a mountain bike improve on it in anyway?

      As for your statement that “Each can only ride its own type surface. I’ve never seen a bike that can do both well.” I have to disagree. There are many fine dual sport bikes out there and with the proper tire set up are equally adjusted for road or off road use and with the proper exhaust can be quieted down significantly. Additionally with the supplemental fuel cells that many expedition riders use it’s possible to get crazy miles. Yes, space is an issue but with large panniers it’s amazing what will fit and if it’s point A to point B that matters…

      Will a dual sport handle like a crotch rocket and do 200mph? No
      Will a dual sport be as comfy as a big engined cruiser humming down the highway? No
      Will a dual sport handle like a trials bike? No
      Will a dual sport win a super motocross? No
      Will a dual sport get you out of dodge over varied surface and terrain? Yes.

      Not to turn this into a motorcycle discussion but there are lots of great machines out there and in different sizes from Kawasaki KLR’s, Honda XR’s, Yamaha Super Tenere, Ducati’s, BMW’s etc… and some not so old ones can be found for a decent price. They’re small, compact, easy to maneuver and will go places even the smallest sub compact will never fit and into some places the baddest 4×4 doesn’t stand a chance or is to large to fit. So in some plans it might make perfect sense. Heck maybe it’s on the bumper rack of your BOV to be used for recon needs or to be used as a decoy for the flesh eating zombie hordes. But as I always say, proper riding gear is crucial, even more so after SHTF.

      As Mr Knauff points out, there are potential issues and shortcomings but again it depends on the situation.

  • Kachina says:

    There are going to be a lot of us who are not able to escape the cities once the SHTF. For those that are able to travel to a bugout location a motorcycle will be deadly unless it is placed in a secret location near the bugout. I can see those that are able have a four wheeler with a trailer attachment to carry their load but let’s talk reality for the majority of US. When the SHTF and martial law kicks in traveling any length of distance will be dangerous. The highways will be locked down. Curfews will be activated. Check points will be established. Confiscation of guns and equipment and perhaps even vehicles will be taken away. FEMA camps will fill up quickly. Most of US will be like refugee’s with a bag or two on foot depending on the type of disaster that hits. Bugouts cannot be more than an hour away. When the SHTF and even then it is unlikely a family would make it safely without military interference or attackers. The point is, a family must read the writing on the wall PRIOR to the emergency and already be set up in their bugout locations. It will not matter what kind of vehicle a family has to make it to their safe house if they are not prepared to leave before the mass exodus they will be trapped where they are. My advice for those that can afford it…Get Ultra-lights, now and have them close by when the SHTF..for none of US will be given forewarning…it will happen at a blink of an eye. Fly over the chaos~~ For those of us who cannot afford the luxury of owning an Ultra-light…Pray… Pray you are given advance warning…otherwise, get an old 55 Ford or Chevy and prepare it for war. Have the engine rebuilt to maintain a high gas mileage and bullet proof windows with extra protection over the tires. Panicky People will jump on Trucks and SUV’s. Desperate People will knock you out on a motorcycle. Boats such as Pontoons will be of great value if you can leave before the military has a chance to lock down waterways. Point is…not many will be able to escape for everything will be on lock down and few will make it to their bugout location when the SHTF… It is best to Live where ever it is you want to escape to. For those that start communities before the SHTF know you will be on radar before any of the rest of US. Those that share information on the internet are most likely already on a list. Those that rant and rave and wave their American Flag, Rights and Guns are the first that will go down! There will be scenes your children will witness that will haunt them for the rest of their lives. Prepare them for it, now. Mental Stability in all scenario’s will be paramount and I have seen some pretty unstable preppers to be honest that frighten me more than the thought of military or police. Well, off the track here. Motorcycles are valuable! No doubt! Four Wheelers are Valuable! But nothing beats being able to Fly to Your Bugout!!! Pray for the Best and Prepare for the Worse… God Be With You and Yours~

  • Dennis says:

    Search Rokon. A great 2-wheeler. Lots of tractor type power and lots of accessories. Some are-a trailer, side car, saddlebags and lots more. It also has liquid storage in the wheels. Gas or water. I would buy one of these but they are a bit pricey. It’s a great machine.

    • CountryGuy says:

      Rokon’s are cool for sure but I don’t think top speed is much over 25 is it? Plus kind of small so not sure on their ability to handle panniers or a heavy load.

      Another out of the box option would be a Ural of Russian fame. They started selling them here in the US a few years back. They are rough and nothing to look at but look very simple to operate and repair. At it’s hear the Ural was nothing more than a down and dirty cheap knockoff of the 2 wheel drive BMW sidecar motorcycles the germans employed in WW2.

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