OK, suppose the worst happens:  the lights go out – the Internet has been attacked – but where you live, dedicated worker are getting the power on a couple of hours per day.

You have been able to scrape-by – supplementing some wholly inadequate stored foods with a few fresh veggies from your quickly-planted garden.

There’s no work to do – and since there is no Internet, only radios that people have been using for low-power local communications – there’s not much to do.


There are a handful of skills that will be of inestimable value in such conditions:  Being able to provide at least some advanced healthcare.  Being able to put in and raise a good garden.  Being able to put together moderately complicated bartering in your community (think trading bank). And being able to “Fix Things.”

Of all of these, three are pretty easy to come up to speed on.  A good study manual on emergency medicine will cover those requirements.  Backed-up with a good first aid kit, you ought to be able to handle everything from a sliver to just short of surgery. Advanced CPR classes, a half dozen large cheap bottles of baby aspirin, plus lots of Band-Aid’s and Neosporin.

The garden?  Well, that comes from experience with actually doing some gardening.  And barter?  Think of something you have, that someone might want – and list some things YOU want dabble your toes on Craigslist.  Maybe start by listing a “skilled trade/Artisan” listing and work up from there.  Or, if you see something that catches your eye, call and offer a trade for something excess your needs.  Part cash, part trade is often a winner.

Eventually, you may be able to set up a small “Fix-It” shop.

What Goes into a Fix-It Shop?

It depends a lot of where you are and what kind of environment you’ve chosen to live in.

Obvioously, the most survivable places in America will be modestly sized towns of less than 50,000 – the kind yiou can walk around in an hour or two, or walk directly to any business in the town in 30-minutes, or less.

Somewhere cold enough to kill a few bugs with deep frosts in winter, warm enough to be less than a sauna in the summer, and a place with plentiful water.

A good sense of community mattrers, too.

Many such places exist in America and why they are not wildly populated is beyond me.  “Tech” is a job magnet, until it’s not.  We totally get that.

Closing down China, if only for a while due to the coronavirus outbreak, may actually be a very good thing for the planet:  A chance to get back to fixing things.

There are lots of things that will need fixing if TSHTF, but its the exceptional article or source that says more than :”Get water, get armed, get med, and if necessary, get out!”

There will always be an economy.  Based on what, we may not know yet:  Seeds? Silver?  Books (especially reference)?  Skills? Barter?  Sure – all of the above.

In something less than a mountainside town, a bike shop would be a logical kind of “small shop” to have going in your garage.  Easy to set up, not difficult – if you like working with your hands – and since bikes tend to be human-powered and incredibly useful in gird hard down conditions, ask yourself “How close is the nearest bike shop?”

Finding Room for a Shop

A couple of things you need to set up a post-crash bike shop.  A selection of used (reconditioned) bikes, or lightly used new ones.  With some of these dandy bike hoists from Amazon (RAD Sportz Bicycle Hoist Quality Garage Storage Bike Lift with 100 lb Capacity Even Works as Ladder Lift Premium Quality – $14.03, also available in 3-packs) you can get “product” on display and out of the way all in one swift move:

By the way, as part of this “dry run” exercise, for several years now, I’ve been putting up pulley’s on screw-in hooks all over the shop.  Here’s one, over the air compressor, that is holding 50-feet of air hose and an electric string trimmer:

The line doesn’t have to be anything fancy – 3/8ths poly rope will hold a lot.

One other “finding” in this is that cheap pulleys on screw-hooks is NOT the right way to hand heavier gear.  For things like the backpack leaf blower and chain saws, the answer is 450 pound rated real pulleys like this:

These come in a 5-pack from Amazon National N233-247 1-1/2″ ZN Single Pulley for about $35.  Saves $10-bucks from the single unit price.

The key to ANY pulley you hang up in the rafters is tdo make sure they are big enough.  Take a few minutes and read up on “turning friction” of pulleys.

Last few tools will include a bike stand – fold-up variety. $58 bucks for a Yaheetech Adjustable 52″ to 75″ Pro Bike Repair Stand w/Telescopic Arm & Balancing Pole Cycle Bicycle Rack makes sense, depending on your long-term outlook.

That just leaves a good Allen wrench assortment – real sockets since the metal those easy-to-carry dog bone type wrenches isn’t very sturdy.  And then, of course, a set of screwdrivers!

Make absolutely certain than you have the odd kinds of sizes including Torx wrenches.

Last, but not least, a good manual on bike repair, tire-changing tools and spare tubes in several sizes.  Be sure to have a good selection of bike tire patches (vulcanizing are better than glue-type, but nothing ever beat the old tire-shop “flame-on vulcanizing” back in the day).

Half a dozen chains and extra links, chain tool, and some oil, sure.  Brake pads…eventually.  Add spare tires, too.

Before collapse, don’t bother with trying to be a dealer.  Just sell Amazon bikes that you assemble and tune to perfection.  People will pay for service.  Kevlar tire liners are great, too..

If you have a router and an old 2-by-12 you can make up a Bike Shop sign.  And, depending on zoning requirements, you could be in business in no time.  Zoining won’t matter when collapse comes calling.

In the event of an economic crack-up, people will still be looking for ways to get around, and if you’re clever about it, your skill at fixing things could be turned into food, medicine, or whatever else might be available.  Most simulations of “life afer the big one” seem to neglect some obvious opportunities for business development and expansion.

In our next  (thrilling and exciting) preview of home-scale business after collapse, we’ll talk about expanding into other areas.  First, though, you need a book on bike repairs so how about a copy of Leonard Zinn’s Zinn & the Art of Mountain Bike Maintenance: The World’s Best-Selling Guide to Mountain Bike Repair.  On any book for after collapse, get real paper, non ebooks!

Note to self:  Look up what bike and power equipment solvents kill viruses!

My dream of dispersed manufacturing and “making” may come sooner than anyone thought.

Write when you get rich!