I watch a lot of zombie movies, and am a huge fan of The Walking Dead. But there’s one glaring oversight in every single zombie movie and TV show that bugs me to no end. The characters spend an inordinate amount of time trying to escape zombies in cars and trucks. Automobiles are great, except for the fact that they need gas, and are prone to mechanical failure. Plus, the roads are littered with abandoned vehicles, making transportation difficult and unreliable. So, here’s my question:
Why doesn’t anybody ever ride a bike?!
Bicycles, for some reason, are inexplicably absent from every single zombie-related show. It’s as if the Zombie Apocalypse killed most of the people while simultaneously vaporizing all the bikes, because they simply do not exist in the post-apocalyptic zombie-strewn wasteland. What’s up with that? Every other vehicle is still around. Cars, trucks, SUVs, motorcycles. An RV played a big role in The Walking Dead. So did a tank. And a horse, for crying out loud! But we have never once seen a bicycle. And how convenient would they be? They’re certainly fast enough to escape from zombies, who shuffle and lurch along at insanely slow speeds. They don’t require fuel, which is a good thing since gas pumps no longer work, and you never have to worry about changing the oil or swapping out spark plugs. Sure, you need to keep the tires full of air, but I’m pretty confident you’d be able to find an abandoned bike pump easily enough. And, they’re completely maneuverable. You could simply pedal around all those abandoned cars and trucks clogging the freeways. Hell, you don’t even need to stick to roads with a bike!
You know where else bikes are conspicuously absent? From The Road, Cormac McCarthy’s oh-so-cheery depiction of a man (played by Viggo Mortensen in the film version) and his young son who are forced to walk all across the Eastern Seaboard, traversing abandoned roads while dodging marauding bands of crazed survivors who aren’t actually zombies but are somehow much, much worse. Because they can actually run and shoot guns and stuff. Plus, they too want to eat people. The only thing with wheels in this book/movie is a freakin’ grocery shopping cart. How much easier would their journey have been had they nabbed a couple of Schwinn 10-speeds along the way? And yet, they don’t. Because apparently whatever catastrophe that has wiped out 99.9% of the population also mysteriously destroyed all the bikes in the world (while leaving the shopping carts intact). Weird, huh?
It’s not like bikes have never appeared in movies before. Am I right, Pee-Wee Herman? Would you second that, E.T.? Even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid took a memorable bicycle ride. Just last year, Tara and I saw a great movie about bike messengers called Premium Rush. Clearly, bikes exist in other movies where the main plot device doesn’t involve escaping from the undead. I guess we’re just supposed to conveniently forget about them when watching these zombie shows. And I’ll admit, for awhile there, I did. But this is Portland, the most bike-friendly city in America. One day last weekend we were sitting at a red light while about a dozen cyclists – a whole family, as a matter of fact, and then some – pedaled on by. And suddenly, I was like, hey, wait a minute here…
Either Lance Armstrong really sullied everything having to do with bicycles, or these television and movie executives are hoping we’ll all just forget about this convenient two-wheeled invention that has been a popular mode of transportation worldwide for 200 years…
Categories: Pop Culture