Category5 On The Man Truck – No Oil EROEI – No Problem- Survival Advice from South America Part 12

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With your host Category5

(My name seems to be getting some world attention lately. Oh, not me personaly but what the name represents. I chose the name Category5 very carefully. It was far from prophetic. The reason it was obvious was because it was So Fucking Obvious. Get used to hearing my name. Considering the fuel shortages going on at the moment…my emphasis on non fuel vehicals should be more poignant)


We are not quite done the, “Things with wheels”, Real Road Warrior, why reinvent the wheel, series. Since we had KISS on the last episode, this one goes into KISS Survival Advice. Not the old geezer band. KISS as in Keep It Simple Stupid or Stupid Simple if you prefer. The reason for all things wheels is logistics. Remember, amateurs talk tactics. The professionals talk logistics. Moving shit around. And this handy item is WHEELY good at stupid simple logistics. Sorry. I just couldn’t help myself. Some say “Real Men like trucks¨… well, I Wheely, Wheely like this Truck. No gas. No problem. No job. No problem. (A man with a hand truck has a post-apocalyptic job. I’ll get to that in a moment).

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But before we get there…


If this doesn’t interest you at all and you are thinking of hitting next… butch up girlie man. It gets even better. This tool taught me something even more important than an apocalypse Man Truck. It solves a problem for me that I have been trying to figure out for years.

What to do when bicycles tires and tubes are gone for good?

A bicycle that is upkept to the extent that gun guys clean and oil their rifles, is going to last a very long time. The tires, not so much. It was one of the major flaws in the Road Warrior movies. You would think they would be fighting to the last man for Tires. They certainly were in WWII. Tires degrade rather quickly either when used or because they are exposed to the elements and sunshine. Many an RV left in a field, when it was time to move it, couldn’t because the wheels has rotted away.

The only thing realistic about Max Mad Furry Road was a quick shot of his rear tire stuffed with moss and rocks, held together with wire. Why yes, I am that obsessive when it comes to noticing survival details. (the 1:37 mark)

It was going to be one of my first experiments here at Dark Green Mountain Survival Research Centre. No shit. I intended to build a tubeless bike tire. I was picturing something like an old style wagon wheel. Carefully cut pieces of wood fit together with a steel band around it and an old tire attached over that. A shit load of work. And then the Lord High, Mickey Mouse came down from heaven and revealed to me a vision.

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These are made with the edge of a recycled heavy truck tire and it is bolted on to the steel wheel. The bolts are sunk below the wear line. Now, this would not have the same grip or shock absorption on a bike… and I wouldn’t want to stop quickly on wet surfaces or turn sharply… but it’s the apocalypse, bicycle bitches, so it’s not like you are going to be dodging a lot of traffic.

You are welcome. I told you in my opening post, “Expect plenty of survival advice and adaptive strategies. It won’t be the usual crap you get from ridiculous survival experts”. This is as good of survival advice you are going to find anywhere. We will still try to build one of these tubeless tires for a bicycle some winter when I don’t have much else to do. I am not much of a winter guy, yet somehow I got pooped past my mothers VaJayJay in the winter waistland of Canada.

A hand truck or dolly isn’t an unusual thing in North America. A Hand Truck just sounds like something you do in private or maybe with a special friend. A dolly sounds very Barbie or maybe GI Joe, depending on how you swing. But this…THIS…is definatly a MAN truck. If you have ever had a fridge delivered they probably used a hand truck to move it into your house. I have worked in the trucking industry, delivering produce, and it is way easier to roll several boxes than to carry a box or two at a time. But I have never seen it used like this before. It makes me feel like I only deserve to play with a Dolly. Here is loaded Man Trucks going down the road with cars just having to go around them.

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In many areas they are the ONLY way to restock store fronts where cars are not allowed or simply can’t go.

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When people (or muscle power) are cheaper than industrial engines, fuel, bank loans, licensing, insurance, taxes and repairs, VOILA! You will see the return of the man truck. I suspect as declining EROEI makes much of modern life unworkable and unemployment skyrockets, labour becomes rather cheap.

But we are here for adaptive strategies. If all you really have left is your muscle power and a willingness to work, even at low wages, a man with a hand truck can make a job for himself. That is what they do here. It is a low initial investment business.

In some cases a small business is built by having many recognizable hand trucks and a uniform. That way a person that needs their services recognizes it is a reputable vendor and they are not going to be ripped off by a thief.

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Here’s how it works. A man with a cart makes himself visually available. If someone needs something moved they approach a cart man and negotiate a price for the job. If neither like the arrangement they can wait for someone else. It’s that simple. It’s that complex.

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Now, let’s talk about the carts themselves. This is more than your standard tube steel hand truck. It’s wider for stability and has a wider platform so things don’t fall off. It comes with rope to tie the bundles together. And it has those wonderful wheels that won’t burst under load, bounce around when they hit a bump or cause extra friction on the road like tube tires would.

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We have one of your standard hand trucks back at the farm that I found on the side of the road on recycling days. The tire was flat so someone threw it out. Same as a few wheel barrows we collected. Now we understand why. Small replacement tubes or tires are actually quite expensive. Free wasn’t free. Our own are usually not working because of tube problems… so one of my jobs will be to find replacement wheels from older technology that doesn’t need tubes.

The huge loads work on the same principle as the Chinese wheel barrow                    

or the South American Bike Truck                                                                                              

It’s all about the balance point. If the weight is properly balanced or distributed, all that weight is on the wheels and not on the man operating it.

Energy Expenditure is mainly spent on getting it rolling. Once it is rolling it takes much less energy to keep it rolling. Just like a car, truck or big rig. Most of your fuel is expended in stop and start traffic. That is why professional truck drivers will try never to come to a full stop and will slow down long before a light. From stand still to 50 km/hr (35 mph) requires at least a full cup of diesel. You want to keep the momentum going. You judge inclines carefully, making a plan long before getting to it. It’s that simply. It’s that complex.

A man with a set of wheels is the most efficient engine there is. That is why I like bicycles so much. I’ll show you the numbers for proof of this.

I don’t want to miscommunicate or misrepresent the work involved. This is hard graft… but this is how the world gets shit done.

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