Hey everyone. This is my first Instructable, so please don't be too harsh. :)
I'm gonna teach you some mods I've done to my bike, which unintentionally and accidentally turned into this crazy survival bike. It basically turned into a fully self-sustainable bug out "battle bike" quite by accident. LOL
So one day my girlfriend wanted me to get a bike, so we could go riding along the various beaches of southern California together. I picked up a mountain bike of Craigslist for $30. It was a shiny, sparkly deep purple mountain bike. I don't have a picture of the bike's original paint job, but trust me, it was ugly. Ha!
Step 1: New Paint!
So once I had the bike at my house, I decided to give it a better paint job. One that more reflects my personality.
First thing I did was spray the whole bike down with degreaser. I then sanded it all down with 400 grit sandpaper. Next I coated the entire thing (chain, wheels, and every visible surface, except the gel seat) with various flat camouflage paints. It's important to understand proper technique on how to break up the pattern of straight lines. Making certain colors touch, others not, and the proper way to counter shade makes or breaks a successful camo paint job. I tried to get rid of all major black surfaces, as there is no black in nature. I also added a lighter rust brown after these 2 pics were taken.
I think it turned out pretty well. Remember, this was meant to be just a bike to cruise around on with my girlfriend around the beach.
Step 2: Bike Rack
I figured if we were going to be cruising around long distances, I should install a rear bike rack, in case we need to bring any supplies with us to the beach (eg: towels, food, water). So I bought a Bell rear rack, and 2 collapsible metal pannier cage thingies. These things are super strong, fold flat (as you can see in the picture, the left side is collapsed, and the right is expanded), and they're generally pretty nice for the price. I added a waterproof bag that my father brought home from his time in the Army during the first Desert Storm. Not sure what it was used for, but it has a heavy duty zipper, and is rubberized. That lays flat under the spring loaded "clasp" on the top of the bike rack, and has extra cables for my bike, should one break, and I've used it to store other "flat" things on occasion, such as rubber gloves and a hand towel.
I'm going to weld the rack straight to the bike frame mounting points, because I do not like the 6 small nuts and bolts that hold it upright. They can wiggle loose, and I want/NEED a more solid base in case I carry a heavy load. I'll have to clean my paint job off to weld to the metal, I know, but I'll repaint afterwards, and it'll be fine. Sorry I only have the 1 pic, but you can see in the first 2 title pics how my rack is set up.
If you're wondering about the little camo box on the left side of the bike rack, it holds a pair of binoculars in a ziplock, for nature rides with my girlfriend. :) I'm going to get a smaller, just as/if not more powerful pair of binos eventually.
Step 3: Accessorize!
After the rack, I sort of went nuts adding lots of accessories, but trying to make sure I had all bases covered, in case we were camping and brought our bikes. I want my bike to be fully self sustainable no matter what emergencies arise.
1st Picture: I hooked an M249 ammo pouch to the handlebars, to hold my military issued mess kit (in case we want some hot stew or something out on a trail).
2nd Pic: Inside the deep "pot" of the mess kit, I have a combination cutlery tool, waterproof matches, a couple Bic lighters, ferro rod, various tinder to start fires, and some fat wood. I also have a small journal with pencil in a Ziploc, that slides into the ammo pouch behind the mess kit.
If you're wondering what that black tube is, it's a section of cable protector from my bike. I've used it to reignite coals in the morning after a fire. Or can be used as a straw I guess.
The green package next to the mess kit is a large military issue bandage, that can also be used as a sling in case someone breaks an arm or something.
3rd Picture: So on top of the handlebars, I made this little canvas pouch to accept an A.L.I.C.E. clip, and it is clipped around my brake lines. It holds extra metal tent stakes for my tent (more on that in a sec). They can also be used as weapons, for traps, or various other needs.
I added a folding side mirror to the left side handlebar, which lets me see cars behind me on the road. Can also be used for signaling in an emergency. Safety first!
The small square "US" pouch used to house the military bandage, but I have a small tube of sunscreen, a military lensatic compass, and a couple other small stuff tucked in there. Things you might need to get readily, but don't wanna dig around too much. Quite handy, being RIGHT there.
On the handlebars, you may notice the 2 upright "horn" looking thingies. Helps keep bike stable when its upside down (in case you need to do maintenance on the chain or something), help give you a different grip to really torque the bike for strenuous uphill climbs, and also they are hollow, which I have 2 thin glow sticks in each one. Can be used for signaling, or whatever.
4th Picture: On the left side of the bike frame, I added an M1 Carbine dual magazine pouch. I put a little plastic box, which fit PERFECTLY, in one section, and it houses Band-aids, mole skin, anti-septic and anti-bacterial wipes, and other stuff like that. In the other section, is a Ziploc baggie full of various medications like Tylenol, aspirin, and other assorted misc medical stuff like rubber gloves, non-lubricated condoms, etc... There is also a military whistle dangling from my handlebars on a short string. Will help for signaling in case of an emergency.
5th Picture: I strapped my Vietnam era Ka-Bar in a Kydex sheath to the right side of the top part of the frame. That knife has never let me down. It's also a very quick draw in case I have to use it for protection. I also slipped my Blackhawk Serpa holster for my handgun over the sheath, and the little "teeth" hold it perfectly, with just a little up-down motion, so I can quickly remove it, and put it on my belt or pant line if needed. My handgun is also camouflaged, and blends in PERFECTLY. You can't tell I have both a fighting knife, and a handgun ready for insanely fast access. I don't ride around the beaches with my handgun, in case you're wondering. Usually leave the knife at home too. So bike is legal. LOL.
6th Picture: Wrapped up inside a camo bandana, and tied off with paracord, is a 1 person tent that actually sleeps my girlfriend and I just fine! Super compact. Easy set up. And just a well built tent. Sorry, no pics of that though.
The next picture I have for reference, because I actually relocated the items since the pic were taken.
7th Picture: You can see an solid, 1 piece stainless steel water bottle, with a soup can on top, that I modified with bailing wire. Now I can store, and boil water to drink out on the trail! This has been relocated to where the next item is.
The little pouch on the down tube carries my tool kit. Everything I need, for every part of this bike, should I need to do field maintenance. I also have a Leatherman multi-tool in there (as seen sitting next to my mess kit). This has since been relocated to beneath the underside of my seat, where I also have a bug net to cover my head stuffed underneath.
The seat is also wrapped in a second camo bandana, and tied down with an extra set of hiking boot shoelaces. Can be seen in the title picture.
Step 4: Conclusion...?
Some things you may have noticed in the pictures, that I didn't mention because I am continually upgrading this rig, are as follows:
I ditched this bike frame with its dual front shocks, and bought a different frame with a simple, no fuss straight fork. This new bike has quick release axles, front and rear. I have removed the innertubes from both tires, and installed 1 piece, completely solid rubber innertubes. Like giant rubber doughnuts! LOL. This is why I do not carry a tire repair kit. I simply do not need one. My tires are 101% guaranteed never to go flat. You could probably even shoot the sides of my tires with a .22lr and they would be perfectly fine. Take that nails, glass, caltrops, sharp rocks, and various other spiky stuff!
On the side of the rear rack, I have added a folding shovel, in a custom made camo pouch with a pocket. Handle wrapped in paracord, body wrapped in duct tape, sharpened edges. Reworked saw teeth. It's nice to have for latrines, defense, clearing space for shelter.
Where the water bottle holder USED to be, on that angled section of the frame, I now have a camouflage tarp with grommets. It's like those big blue tarps you see people throw over cars, but mines camo! I also cut it down large enough to act as a ground cloth for the tent, or to go over it in case of rain if need be. I can also throw it over the bike to help camouflage my bike. Or wear it... heck, tarps are awesome!
I ditched the foam pad/bed roll as it was too awkward.
Future upgrades are going to be a front rack with panniers, to carry maybe an extra set of clothes or something. Or I can be awesome, make some brackets and mounts, and allow the front to hold a couple military ammo cans. I'm not sure what to do yet. LOL. Ammo cans would be fun, but they are a lot of extra weight to the front. Would make turning a real pain. Not sure yet. I'll figure it out eventually. Haha.
So there you have it! Thanks for taking the time to read my first Instructable. I hope you enjoyed it reading about my crazy build. It is a lot of fun taking something plain and boring, and really making it yours and giving it a TON of character.
ps: I have since had to buy yet ANOTHER bike (this time a road bike), because my girlfriend thinks this is just way to much overkill for going on a simple bike ride. HAHA! Oh well...
pps: Wait till you see the low profile trailer that I'm building that gets towed behind this thing ;) It's a slow process building, but it's going to be all hand made and RIDICULOUSLY multi functional!