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The best thing you can do for yourself and your family is buy everyone a bicycle and make sure they know how to repair it. You don’t have to wait for a crisis. This is something any family can start now without raising any eyebrows. Exercise and mechanical skill combined with quality family time will only earn respect from your neighbors and increase the family bond, fitness, and trust.

In a crisis, mass transit only lasts as long as the gasoline supply. Once that runs out, cars are nothing more than scrap heaps to be pillaged for metal, plastic, and supplies. Anyone who happens to have horses isn’t going to let them go, so forget the illusion you can drive up to a ranch and ride off on a breed worthy mare. Your best bet is a durable bicycle. While everyone else is busy fighting over gasoline, get to the nearest bike shop and buy every bike tire, pump, chain, basket, and maintenance tool you can get your hands on.

Now, you not only have the most reliable resource for moving around, you also have the potential to set up a new local communications network. People still use bike messengers today in places from New York City to Shanghai. Imagine how much more valuable those people will be when cell phones stop working.

Both individual phones and cell towers need power. When the grid goes dead, it takes out people’s ability to communicate. Having a bicycle gives you the power to negotiate better prices. In the time it takes someone on foot to walk to one vendor, you can bike to three, negotiate with them all, and work out the best deal for yourself.

Unlike people on foot, you’ll also have the ability to quickly get information to and from nearby communities. This can prove invaluable for anything from trade to warnings about potential hostilities. But living off the grid means a lot more than just losing cars. It will be incredibly hard for people to adapt to living without electricity. Most of us take electricity for granted in more ways than we imagine. Look at the windows in your house. Even in full daylight, can you see well inside your home or apartment without electric lights? Few kitchens have a wood or propane stove, so all cooking is about to move outdoors. Our entire perception of what buildings are for, and how they’re used, will change.

Going off the grid means no cars, no phones, and no electricity. If you’re prepared to survive without those things, you’ll be one of the people who come out on top after a crisis.