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Cycling Off Grid and Bicycle Maintenance

Living off the grid in Northern Ontario can present several challenges, such as limited access to transportation, the need for physical activity, and the need for an affordable mode of transportation that doesn't rely on fossil fuels. A bicycle can be a very useful tool to address these challenges and improve the quality of life in many ways, such as:


A bicycle is an affordable and sustainable mode of transportation that doesn't rely on fossil fuels, making it an ideal option for off-grid living. It can be used to travel to nearby towns, run errands, or commute to work, depending on the distance and terrain. With a sturdy bike, one can also navigate uneven terrain, rough roads, and narrow paths that may not be accessible by car.


Living off the grid in Northern Ontario can be physically demanding, and having a bicycle can be an excellent way to stay active and healthy. Regular cycling can help improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles, and reduce stress levels. Cycling can also be an enjoyable way to explore the beautiful natural surroundings of Northern Ontario and appreciate the outdoors.


Using a bicycle as a primary mode of transportation is an eco-friendly way to reduce one's carbon footprint and contribute to environmental conservation. Bicycles do not emit greenhouse gases or contribute to air pollution, making them a sustainable alternative to cars or other motorized vehicles.


Bicycles are relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain compared to other forms of transportation. With proper maintenance and care, a good quality bicycle can last for many years, making it a long-term investment that can save money in the long run.

Source of Income

Getting training as a bicycle mechanic can also prove to be profitable, as many people who live in communities with limited roads and plenty of woodland trails also choose to use bicycles. Those people will end up needing the help of a trained bicycle mechanic whenever they need to fix their bicycles.


A bicycle can be a very useful tool when living off the grid in Northern Ontario. It provides a sustainable and cost-effective mode of transportation, promotes physical activity, and contributes to environmental conservation.

Cooking Tip - What to do with Cranberries, Raspberries and Lemons?

Let's pretend for a moment that you have an off grid home and have easy access to cranberries and raspberries.

Plus, let's pretend you also have access to a lemon tree (either outdoors or in a greenhouse). Lemon trees don't normally grow in Canada, but in the USA (basically anywhere south of Ohio) you can grow them easily.

Or maybe you just happen to have all 3 things in your fridge. Here's what you can do:

Make pink lemonade!

The pink lemonade "flavour" actually comes from cranberry and raspberry juice that is added to the lemonade.

So all you need to do is use any extra raspberries and cranberries you have, combine it with lemon juice and sugar... and you've got yourself pink lemonade.

Add some ice and you've got a nice cold drink to enjoy this summer.

 (Add some vodka and you've got a drink suitable for inviting friends over to play board games, cards, etc.)

Siberian Tiger got revenge on Hunter who injured it

The story in the video below took place in Siberia (Russia) over a decade ago, but it is an unusual story in which a local hunter injured a tiger and the tiger tracked him 11 km to his home, waited 2 days for him to return, and then got its revenge.

What I find interesting about this particular story is that it is very clear that the tiger went out of its way, despite its injury, to track down the hunter who shot it, wait 2 days for the hunter to return home, and then presumably waited for the man to come outside at which point it stalked him and killed him.

That is a level of patience and dedication that comes from hunters, and to some extent fishermen.

And also apparently... Vengeful elephants who kill people AND show up at their funeral to make sure they are dead. Check out the video below which demonstrates that elephants don't forget.

So yeah... Stay away from vengeful tigers and elephants. Or any animal smart enough to get revenge.

In a related story, I went fishing in High Park (Toronto) yesterday with my family (Father's Day) and I gave up after a short time because I was getting zero bites. Plus it was windy and the water was murkier than usual, so I couldn't even see any fish.

So I lacked the patience to stick it out, partially because it was a family outing, but also partially because I suspected that it was just the wrong time of year to be trying to catch fish there.

A previous time I caught lots of fish in the same location, with the same bait (frozen shrimp), same hooks, same equipment... But that was on August 31st 2018. So I suspect that I just need to be patient and go back in August and/or September and try again.

See the video from the previous time I went fishing in High Park below:

Purchasing Survival Gear via Amazon.ca

Having recently reviewed the contents of my Bug Out Bag, I have purchased two additional items in order to round out the contents of the bag for possible future use.

Or if nothing bad happens, they'll still be useful for camping gear.

I ordered the items via Amazon.ca, which is beneficial because it means I am not browsing through a brick and mortar store and possibly buying extra things that I don't need...

Because I know what I am like. I would totally buy extra things that I don't need.

The other benefit is that I get free shipping so it is just a matter of waiting and my items should arrive within a few days.

So what did I add to my bug out bag?

  • 1 large reflective "space blanket", which is handy for building a shelter + being used as a physical blanket.
  • 1 LifeStraw, which is handy for filtering water to make sure it is safe to drink.

Plus these are both things I foresee possibly using while camping anyway.

I obviously have lots of other things that are already in my Bug Out Bag, but due to the current tense political situation between the USA and Russia I feel it is prudent to at least add a few extra things in case the worst were to happen.

Not panicking.

Not being paranoid.

Just being prudent and prepared.

I am reminded of the Boy Scouts Motto: "Always be prepared."

Even if nothing happens, it never hurts to be prepared.

And having the option to easily filter drinking water just felt like something I should get, as it is certainly faster than having to boil water to make certain it is safe to drink.

Likewise, having an extra blanket that is well suited for making a shelter or doubling as a reflective blanket makes sense. Combined with everything else I already have it makes me feel more confident that if something really bad did happen, at least that would be two less things to worry about.

Bug Out Bag Essentials for the Nuclear Apocalypse

Whenever Russia and the USA look like they're on the verge of a nuclear apocalypse it is a good time to check your bug out bag for anything else you might need should the worst happen.

Assuming you survive the nuclear missiles destroying various cities, you will want to have some of the following. Note: You obviously cannot carry everything on this list, even if you had a vehicle you couldn't bring everything. You need to prioritize what things are the most important and then you may need to scavenge things or do without as you travel.

  • Surviving the Fallout
  • Shelter 
  • Food and Water
  • Clothing
  • Defense
  • Heat/Warmth
  • Lighting
  • First Aid
  • Navigation Tools
  • Multi-purpose Tools
  • Miscellaneous Essentials

Surviving the Fallout

Air Filtration Mask: Depending on the situation, air filtration may be the only way you can access safe-to-breathe oxygen. Use an air filtration mask that filters out radioactive particulates to keep you breathing well. Because these particles are so tiny a COVID mask will not suffice.

Potassium Iodide Pills: This is not a cure for radiation sickness. It merely lessens the amount of radioiodine (radioactive iodine) that your body will absorb. The iodine is absorbed and used by the thyroid gland in the neck, which will lead to cancer / radiation sickness if too much radioactive iodine is absorbed. To prevent this potassium iodide pills ensure that the body gets a supply of iodine and then hopefully doesn't use radioactive iodine from the air.


  • Tent
  • Space blanket
  • Sleeping bag

Food and Water

  • Water bottles and/or water bladder
  • A water filtration system
  • Rations
  • Small emergency fishing kit


  • Cold weather gloves
  • Cold weather spare clothes
  • Spare clothes
  • Waterproof jacket with a hood / Winter jacket + Snow pants
  • Warm hat


  • Bow / Crossbow / Firearm - You will eventually run out of bullets, so there is a good argument for learning archery and learning how to make your own arrows.
  • Ammo - Whether you opt for arrows, crossbow bolts or bullets, you will want a fair number of them. For hunting purposes you will also want broadheads for your arrows.
  • Knife
  • Axe
  • Pepper spray / bear spray 
  • Bulletproof vest


  • Waterproof Matches / Lighter / Firestarter - You will eventually run out of matches and the lighter will run out of fuel, so having a good firestarter is the real necessity.


  • Flash light
  • Head lamp
  • Chem lights
  • Torches - If you have a good firestarter and know how to make them then torches are a good option.

First Aid

  • A first aid kit with all the essentials. The more the better. Everything from gauze to painkillers to first aid instructions.


  • Map of the region
  • Compass
  • GPS Tracking System - Assuming such systems even still work.

Multi-Purpose Tools

  • Axe
  • Multi-tool
  • Knife
  • Paracord
  • Fishing line
  • Duct tape
  • Folding saw
  • Crowbar
  • Adjustable wrench
  • Pliers
  • Can opener

Miscellaneous Essentials

  • Cellphone charger + solar panel
  • Goggles
  • Whistle
  • Sewing kit
  • Copies of important documents
  • Passport
  • Titles and contracts
  • Addresses and phone numbers of loved ones
  • Family disaster and preparedness plan
  • Emergency Cash
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Small Mirror
  • Soap
  • Dental products
  • Hand crank radio
  • Extra batteries
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Moist towelettes
  • Toilet paper
  • Garbage bags
  • Plastic ties
  • Glasses and sunglasses
  • Infant formula and diapers
  • Pet food and extra water
  • Feminine supplies / personal hygiene
  • Mess kit: Forks, knives, plates, etc.
  • Paper, pen, pencil
  • Books and toys for small children
  • Seeds for growing food
  • Fishing equipment



The Aftermath

During the first 24 hours after a nuclear attack it is recommended that you shelter in place, preferable in a deep basement. Thus even if you don't have everything ready, don't worry about it. You will have 24 hours after the attack to ready everything you need to take with you when you leave.

When it is time to leave you may need to walk on foot because other forms of transportation may be clogged with broken down cars, traffic jams, car accidents, etc. If possible, using a bicycle or similar transportation may make the most practical sense. Or a boat if you live near a waterway. If you know how to fly an airplane or helicopter then that would be ideal.

Similarly, you may want to avoid roads or places with lots of desperate people. Instead try to follow old railway tracks or trails. Cut across open fields and avoid any steep terrain (you don't want to fall and injure your ankle or leg when walking long distances).

At night try to stay in industrial places or commercial locations, not other people's homes. This reduces the risk of running into people who will not want to share their things - and people who might try to steal your things. If possible try to find or build shelters in the wilderness off the beaten track so that nobody else is around. Thieves cannot rob or attack you if they cannot find you.

Avoid people carrying firearms, even if they seem friendly.

Destination and Route

You need a route and a destination. Preferably a route that avoids anything that was or would be a nuclear target, and your destination should similarly be far away from nuclear targets. A map and a compass are arguably the most important things on the list. Almost everything else, including food and water, can be scavenged over time.

Your destination could be farmland, an isolated island, or wilderness, but they should have one thing in common: A plentiful source of food. You will need to farm, fish and/or hunt for your food until society begins to rebuild. Thus you need to pick a location where you feel confident that you will be able to survive.

Ideally you want a location that is within 3-5 days of walking distance. So if your goal is to walk 8 to 10 hours per day, your destination needs to be roughly 24 to 50 hours of walking away. You could in theory walk for longer each day but you will also need time to rest, sleep, eat, make shelters, scavenge food/water, avoid danger, etc.

If you could find a store that sells bicycles and scavenge a bicycle you could speed up your journey dramatically. A journey that takes 36 hours to walk might only take 10 hours via bicycle, or 3 hours in a car.

But again, if you "borrow" or steal a car, you may need to later abandon it anyway if you reach a road or situation that is impassable. Also, simply having a working vehicle makes you a target for thieves and ambushes.

This is why I am a firm believer in old railway tracks. I would rather walk for 4 days and arrive safely than to take unnecessary risks.

Once you know how much time may be required to walk, bicycle, etc to the destination then you need to choose a logical route. Whether you go by road or railway tracks, you need to get out a map and choose how far you want to walk each day to give yourself a goal.

If you are traveling with small children expect it to take longer as you will need to stop more frequently for rest breaks. Finding a bicycle with a trailer behind it would be great. A truck or SUV would be ideal in that situation, because the pros and cons of traveling with small children means you are better off taking a truck and being a target for thieves, but at least then you can potentially drive off road.

Route wise, in my case, I know it takes 15 hours to walk from Toronto to Orangeville via roads. So that is at least a 2 day journey on foot. 5 hours via bicycle. It would take another 3 days on foot to reach my destination.

Reality Check

Do you actually know how to hunt, fish or farm?

Honestly, a lot of people will starve because they lack the necessary survival skills. Some will freeze to death. Some will die in accidents. A great many will die from radiation sickness. But a lot more will try to survive by hunting, fishing and farming - which they possibly have zero experience in doing and lack the necessary knowledge to survive.

So if your destination is wilderness and you think you know how to hunt, good luck with that, because I expect the game to be very scarce when everyone and their dog suddenly decides they want to hunt.

A blend of all three is arguably the best, but to do that you need a location where you can:

  • Fish in the summer
  • Ice fish in the winter
  • Farm from April to October
  • Hunt all year long

And such locations come in short supply as you need to be near a lake, prime farmland, and woods with plentiful game. So it is unlikely you can do all three.

Trapping is also another option for getting food, but not everyone knows how to make snares.

So for example let's say you have a family cabin up north which has solar panels, a wind turbine, an abundance of canned food, etc. But eventually the canned food will run out and you're stuck in a place where you don't know how to hunt and fish. Who cares if you have solar panels and electricity if your food runs out?


Being prepared for something doesn't just mean buying everything you could possibly need, because there will always be something that you forgot to get. What is more important is your planning and problem solving skills.

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