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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Walking away from the end of the Earth...

No one shrinks away from physical exercise like I do - and it shows. I have a bike with two flat tires covered in an inch of dust sitting in the basement. I also have a stationary bike sitting not too far away. I will be dragging the bike out this spring and at the very least will get it ready for use. Having a means of transportation that is not functional due to neglect, doesn't make a lot of sense and goes against my keen prepper's nature. Since I'm all about having options in times of difficulty, the soon to be repaired bicycle, has moved up a few spaces on the priority to-do-list.

Nothing beats your gas powered vehicle for transportation options during a crisis. You can move a lot of stuff and people great distances in a relatively short period of time. You and everyone else that is. In a large metropolitan area you can expect many times more traffic than your regular rush hour volumes during times when evacuation of the masses is needed. While getting out in a vehicle is still your best choice, having planned routes that do not use major highways and thorough fares may enable you to move at a quicker pace and with less obstacles such as check points, traffic accidents and vehicles that have run out of fuel in the middle of the crowded roadway.

For one reason or another, it may not be possible to drive yourself to safety. About the only guaranteed mode of transport that you can avail yourself of, are your two feet. Bicycles with saddle bags can be a relatively quick means of travelling somewhere. You can even load up a bike with all sorts of goodies and walk beside it pushing your hoard along. What I really want to talk about in this post is walking.

Like any other physical activity, actually doing it increases your stamina and conditions your muscles to the effort required for the activity. Just about everyone can walk to the corner store and back. Most people can walk a kilometer or two without too much difficulty. Most people however, have no idea how long it will take them to walk a kilometer or how many kilometers they can actually walk before exhaustion, blisters and/or dehydration make it impossible to go any further. If you do not know how long it takes to walk a kilometer, you have no reasonable way to determine how long any particular walking trip will take. Therefore, you can not accurately factor walking into your "bug out" plans.

"One foot in front of the other, gets you to where you are going." A quote from Swan Song by Robert R. McCammon. Walking is the quintessential means of personal mobility. As long as you are uninjured, have quality footwear, sufficient food/water and the means to clean and repair your feet, in theory you can go anywhere. If you haven't walked somewhere recently, you might find the task more difficult than you'd expect and you will probably be surprised to find out that you can't get there from here in the time frame that you would like. Add some extra weight in the form of a "bug out bag" and the difficulty of walking somewhere increases.

As we all try to save some money and do our part to help eliminate green house gas emissions, walking more makes sense. Start off with short tours around your neighbourhood - take the dog, they need to be conditioned too. Gradually increase the distance walked until you are able to walk for 5 kilometers round trip and not be too seriously winded when you get back home. 5 Km is almost 3 miles and you should be able to complete this distance in an hour. You should not be so winded that you cannot talk while walking and you should not be shuffling along as if every step will be your last. :-) It might take you a few weeks to reach this level of mobility but the effort is worth it in terms of your health and your ability to walk away from trouble should the need arise.

As with all exercise programs, if you have any concerns at all, talk to your doctor before undertaking an exercise routine. Try to convince other family members to join you on your practice walks. You and the dog will enjoy the company and the entire family will be more in tune with the neighbourhood and what can be found there. The stream running through the park is a water source you may not have know about, that field might be home to gophers and rabbits that might supplement your diet. Keeping an eye on the neighbours is always a good idea. Notice that Mr. Jones has put up a Ham radio antenna and the Smiths have a new wind turbine spinning on their roof. If you walk in the evening, often you'll see company vehicles in driveways that can give you an indication of what expertise lives close to you.

After you are comfortable in your 5 km walks, throw on your "bug out bag" and walk the route again. Not so easy this time is it? Alternate your walks with and without a load on your back. When you and your family are comfortable with 5 kilometers, strive for a longer distance every now and then to increase stamina. Your shorter daily walks will maintain the muscle mass necessary for the longer marches.

When everyone seems thoroughly bored with the local surroundings, plan a walk to a nearby campground if one is available within a reasonable distance. I'm fortunate where I live as there are two within a half days walk. Take your bug out bags with you to the camp ground. Set up camp, cook a good meal, discuss the experience around the campfire and get a good nights sleep.
The next day, take a cab home and restock the supplies you used.

By practicing, you will be confident that everyone can carry their own equipment. Everyone will be able to walk somewhere if required by circumstances to do so. You'll know you have the right equipment and supplies you need to spend several nights away from home. You will have the experience of living off of what you are able to carry with you. Not a luxury vacation to be sure, but you know that your shelter options work, food preparation is under control, extra clothing is appropriate for the situation and fire building skills provide warmth. Just as important as everything else, you'll know that your footwear is sufficient to allow you the option to walk away from trouble without trashing your feet.

[What have you done today to prepare?]


1 comment:

  1. Fitness is an extremely important factor in every kind of sport.

    You should even know How To Increase Your Vertical!