Aside from replacing the original hand grips, which were deteriorating, I added the rack, trunk, kickstand, front and rear LED lights, and a RAM mount to hold my Garmin 62 GPS. For a prepper there are several things attractive about an older steel mountain bike like my Trek:
- They can frequently be obtained at low cost. I paid over $300 for it in the late 90s, but nowadays you may be able to find a similar bike in good condition for $75 to $100.
- The lack of a front suspension means the bike is mechanically simpler and easier to maintain.
- The steel frame absorbs vibrations and shock from the road better than an aluminum frame.
- Many of these older bikes have threaded eyelets for mounting racks.
Mountain bikes in general tend to be more rugged than road bikes, especially the wheels. They are a lot more versatile, allowing you to ride on pavement, dirt, or gravel. Everything else being equal, mountain bike tires are more resistant to flats than high pressure road bike tires.
For preppers, bicycles offer low cost transportation that doesn't require fuel and can help you get and stay fit. Cycling on a bike that fits you is great, low impact cardio exercise. The "rails to trails" movement is converting many old rail beds to multi-purpose trails, all across the US. These trail networks not only provide a place to ride without having to deal with distracted drivers, they may also create less-used paths for cyclists and pedestrians to bugout in an emergency. Getting a bike now and exploring them is a useful way to combine recon with recreation.