Discussions
Home security
2
12

I thought I’d add a comment about bike maintenance because I fix a lot of bikes. (I collect used bikes, repair them and donate them to a local charity for distribution to good homes.) Below is a list of the repairs and adjustments I do most frequently, starting with the most common. So learning how to do the things on this list will cover the majority of the repairs you will need to do over the lifetime of your bike: replace a tube or tire lubricate a chain / put it back on the gears adjust the brakes & brake pads (not referring to disc brakes here) adjust the rear derailleur replace/adjust seat replace handlebar grips / re-tape handlebars replace the chain straighten/tighten handlebars replace/tighten the kickstand replace twist-style grip shifters replace the brake and/or derailleur cable front derailleur adjustment None of these are hard. They just require patience. Kris covers some of these things in her YouTube channel and Park Bike Tools (www.parktool.com) has lots of excellent instructional videos as well. In addition to the equipment Kris recommended, I would add a couple of other things: A quality floor pump with a pressure gauge and both “Presta” and “Schrader” ends on the inflation hose. A floor pump is faster and easier to use than a mini pump, especially for high volume or high pressure tires. Mini pumps can be awkward to use, although certainly better than nothing. A couple of tools will be helpful. Consider adding these to your toolbox, if you don’t already have them: metric hex keys (used on brakes) #1 Philips and 1/8″ (or 3/16″) regular screwdrivers (used on the derailleurs) small adjustable wrench a strong, sharp pair of diagonal cutters (for cutting cables and cable housings) regular pliers a set of small metric wrenches (box on one end, open on the other) will also come in handy a spray bottle of SimpleGreen cleaner/degreaser. Personally, I’m not a fan of patch kits for tubes. In my experience patches don’t last long and they are slow to use: remove the tube, pump the tube, find the hole by listening for leaking air, apply the patch, wait for the glue to dry, delicately reassemble the patched tube back into the tire, re-inflate the tire and hope there wasn’t more than just one hole. The patches always seem to leak eventually and I wind up having to replace the tube in the end. So I just carry a spare tube of the correct size, along with a CO2 inflator. Lastly, I wholeheartedly agree with Kris’ comments on the importance of getting quality drivetrain components. This is one area where you definitely get what you pay for. The derailleurs and shifters on a “cheap” bike are not durable: the plastic in the grip shifters wears out quickly, and the derailleurs bend and go out of alignment easily. Two or three years of average use is their realistic lifetime. In contrast, the mid-level (not expensive) Shimano components on my mountain and road bikes have been in use for thousands of miles. They still run smoothly and quietly, and have never needed anything more than cleaning and minor adjustments. So good components will keep your bike working reliably for years, make your ride more enjoyable & are definitely something you’ll want if a bike is part of your bug out plan. – WS

Thomas, Thank you for the research and finding that video. I watched it: good information, horrible acting. 🙂 I’m going to start with spinning rods. I’ve also been to the library and borrowed a book on what species of fish are in my neck of the woods, along with recommendations on what bait to use. (That’s very helpful, because one of my elementary questions was going to be how to choose a lure/bait.) Questions after watching and reading: – For a given kind of reel (closed, open, bait casting), does fishing line come on a standard spool size that fits all reels of that type? Or is there something specific you need to know about your reel when you go to buy line? – Does a spool of fishing line come in various lengths, or one-length-fits-all? – Is there a particular kind of knot used to tie the hook to the line? – In the video, the Cabela’s guy shows a lure which was designed to mimic motion of a fish. Am I correct that you have to continually reel in the line in order to make the lure perform? – Are bobbers used only with bait that just hangs on the hook? Do you ever use bobbers with lures that need to move? – In the library book, it specifically recommends a “stiff” rod for certain species of fish, and occasionally a specific rod length as well. So when shopping for a rod, do you have to choose a stiffness? And how do you decide what length you need? – Also in the book, I see terms like “boat tackle”, “medium tackle” and “light spinning tackle”? What does this mean? – What is a “leader” on the end of the line, and when is it used? – I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but there’s a whole set of vocabulary in lures that I don’t understand: plugs, jigs, spinners, spoons, popping bugs, diving bait, surface lures… Ready for the next lesson. 🙂 – WS

Learning to fish
14
15

If it would be useful to you, I have an emergency communications plan that I’m happy to share. It’s a procedure my wife and I have agreed to follow if we get separated during a catastrophe (most likely a severe weather event or civil unrest): There are instructions on how we should try to reach each other. It has a primary plan plus fallback plans, e.g. if we can’t reach other directly within an hour, we try communicating through a family member who lives on the other side of our metropolitan area, and if that doesn’t work we fall back to communicating through a family member who lives out of state (and hopefully out of whatever disaster we are in). There are instructions for when and how often to call & text, what to do if the phone battery gets low, and when to move to the fallback plans. There are instructions for where we should meet, e.g. try get back to the house if possible and what the alternate locations are. It has the cell and landline phone numbers of the people we need to reach, as well as a couple of numbers of trusted friends. It has frequencies of local radio stations (AM and FM) for getting local news updates. I like the peace of mind from knowing what my wife will try to do and where she’ll be headed in the event we are separated. We don’t have children living with us, nor do we live in an area prone to earthquakes or wildfires, so there’s nothing specific to those situations. But it could be a good jumping-off point for you. The plan is amalgamation of advice from a couple of books, so I won’t take credit for it. But I did create the document so there are no restrictions on sharing it. If you would like a copy, let me know and I’ll figure out a place to post it. – WS

Home security
2
12
Learning to fish
14
15

I thought I’d add a comment about bike maintenance because I fix a lot of bikes. (I collect used bikes, repair them and donate them to a local charity for distribution to good homes.) Below is a list of the repairs and adjustments I do most frequently, starting with the most common. So learning how to do the things on this list will cover the majority of the repairs you will need to do over the lifetime of your bike: replace a tube or tire lubricate a chain / put it back on the gears adjust the brakes & brake pads (not referring to disc brakes here) adjust the rear derailleur replace/adjust seat replace handlebar grips / re-tape handlebars replace the chain straighten/tighten handlebars replace/tighten the kickstand replace twist-style grip shifters replace the brake and/or derailleur cable front derailleur adjustment None of these are hard. They just require patience. Kris covers some of these things in her YouTube channel and Park Bike Tools (www.parktool.com) has lots of excellent instructional videos as well. In addition to the equipment Kris recommended, I would add a couple of other things: A quality floor pump with a pressure gauge and both “Presta” and “Schrader” ends on the inflation hose. A floor pump is faster and easier to use than a mini pump, especially for high volume or high pressure tires. Mini pumps can be awkward to use, although certainly better than nothing. A couple of tools will be helpful. Consider adding these to your toolbox, if you don’t already have them: metric hex keys (used on brakes) #1 Philips and 1/8″ (or 3/16″) regular screwdrivers (used on the derailleurs) small adjustable wrench a strong, sharp pair of diagonal cutters (for cutting cables and cable housings) regular pliers a set of small metric wrenches (box on one end, open on the other) will also come in handy a spray bottle of SimpleGreen cleaner/degreaser. Personally, I’m not a fan of patch kits for tubes. In my experience patches don’t last long and they are slow to use: remove the tube, pump the tube, find the hole by listening for leaking air, apply the patch, wait for the glue to dry, delicately reassemble the patched tube back into the tire, re-inflate the tire and hope there wasn’t more than just one hole. The patches always seem to leak eventually and I wind up having to replace the tube in the end. So I just carry a spare tube of the correct size, along with a CO2 inflator. Lastly, I wholeheartedly agree with Kris’ comments on the importance of getting quality drivetrain components. This is one area where you definitely get what you pay for. The derailleurs and shifters on a “cheap” bike are not durable: the plastic in the grip shifters wears out quickly, and the derailleurs bend and go out of alignment easily. Two or three years of average use is their realistic lifetime. In contrast, the mid-level (not expensive) Shimano components on my mountain and road bikes have been in use for thousands of miles. They still run smoothly and quietly, and have never needed anything more than cleaning and minor adjustments. So good components will keep your bike working reliably for years, make your ride more enjoyable & are definitely something you’ll want if a bike is part of your bug out plan. – WS

Thomas, Thank you for the research and finding that video. I watched it: good information, horrible acting. 🙂 I’m going to start with spinning rods. I’ve also been to the library and borrowed a book on what species of fish are in my neck of the woods, along with recommendations on what bait to use. (That’s very helpful, because one of my elementary questions was going to be how to choose a lure/bait.) Questions after watching and reading: – For a given kind of reel (closed, open, bait casting), does fishing line come on a standard spool size that fits all reels of that type? Or is there something specific you need to know about your reel when you go to buy line? – Does a spool of fishing line come in various lengths, or one-length-fits-all? – Is there a particular kind of knot used to tie the hook to the line? – In the video, the Cabela’s guy shows a lure which was designed to mimic motion of a fish. Am I correct that you have to continually reel in the line in order to make the lure perform? – Are bobbers used only with bait that just hangs on the hook? Do you ever use bobbers with lures that need to move? – In the library book, it specifically recommends a “stiff” rod for certain species of fish, and occasionally a specific rod length as well. So when shopping for a rod, do you have to choose a stiffness? And how do you decide what length you need? – Also in the book, I see terms like “boat tackle”, “medium tackle” and “light spinning tackle”? What does this mean? – What is a “leader” on the end of the line, and when is it used? – I’m probably getting ahead of myself, but there’s a whole set of vocabulary in lures that I don’t understand: plugs, jigs, spinners, spoons, popping bugs, diving bait, surface lures… Ready for the next lesson. 🙂 – WS

If it would be useful to you, I have an emergency communications plan that I’m happy to share. It’s a procedure my wife and I have agreed to follow if we get separated during a catastrophe (most likely a severe weather event or civil unrest): There are instructions on how we should try to reach each other. It has a primary plan plus fallback plans, e.g. if we can’t reach other directly within an hour, we try communicating through a family member who lives on the other side of our metropolitan area, and if that doesn’t work we fall back to communicating through a family member who lives out of state (and hopefully out of whatever disaster we are in). There are instructions for when and how often to call & text, what to do if the phone battery gets low, and when to move to the fallback plans. There are instructions for where we should meet, e.g. try get back to the house if possible and what the alternate locations are. It has the cell and landline phone numbers of the people we need to reach, as well as a couple of numbers of trusted friends. It has frequencies of local radio stations (AM and FM) for getting local news updates. I like the peace of mind from knowing what my wife will try to do and where she’ll be headed in the event we are separated. We don’t have children living with us, nor do we live in an area prone to earthquakes or wildfires, so there’s nothing specific to those situations. But it could be a good jumping-off point for you. The plan is amalgamation of advice from a couple of books, so I won’t take credit for it. But I did create the document so there are no restrictions on sharing it. If you would like a copy, let me know and I’ll figure out a place to post it. – WS