Illustration by Ness Lee
Avoiding the zombie apocalypse by bike
Save your braaaaaaaaaaaaaaains: ride a bike!
story by Albert Koehl
~originally published on Oct. 19, 2013 ~
Cycling advocates often rely on peer-reviewed research papers, energy consumption statistics, and comprehensive health studies to promote cycling and advance their cause for better infrastructure. Another convincing rationale for an aggressive cycling agenda is routinely overlooked …
The thing about zombies is that although they are relentlessly determined to sink their teeth into your flesh their speed is limited by sloppy foot wear and an awkward gait. (The hyper zombies in Brad Pitt’s recent movie are actually computer-enhanced.)
In a zombie invasion, most people think they will simply hop into their cars and then, perhaps with the wind blowing through their hair, speed towards freedom along a winding seaside highway. In reality, it will take just a few hundred metres before you meet all of your fleeing neighbours in a bumper to bumper dead stop (similar to morning rush hour).
Traffic congestion is frustrating but being stuck in traffic is significantly worse when you have a hungry zombie staring at you in the rear view mirror.
The gasoline supply will only last for several days. Oil executives will quickly lose their zeal for extracting oil or upgrading bitumen. A CEO evacuation plan will be in place, likely involving an off-grid renewable energy-powered facility where executives can live out their days reminiscing about how world leaders once worshiped at their feet. In the meantime, the rest of us will be in a search for scarce fuel that exposes us to ever-greater risks.
A car-based system also tends to make many of us rather soft around the belly. True, even a couch potato commuter can run pretty fast with a zombie on his tail, but in the absence of regular exercise a slow-footed motorist is likely to become a high protein snack in shorter order.
All of these facts point to the bicycle as the best way to prepare for slow-approaching calamities such as a zombie apocalypse.
Bicycles are agile, light, and fast. I see this every morning on my way to work along Bloor street in downtown Toronto. My bicycle may not be equipped with 350 horsepower or a head-turning, status-enhancing logo but I’m the one zipping by cars and trucks.
Bicycles don’t need much oil and have unlimited range. The little oil they need to lubricate chains will be plentiful even in times of turmoil given the abundance of stranded cars whose owners, perhaps mesmerized by a cell phone-enabled audio entertainment system, failed to notice the undead squeezing through the passenger side window.
Bicycles are abundant, even in suburban areas. Well over a million people in Toronto alone own bikes. After a zombie attack, it will be easy to retrieve an unlocked bike from a garage for a silent get-away. The notion that you will find a car with a set of keys conveniently behind the sunscreen is pure science fiction.
Cycling keeps people fit and nimble. The cyclist’s toned thighs provide the jump necessary to escape the initial encounter. Once on a bike a speed of 20 km/h is sufficient to outpace any (normal) zombie. In fact, cyclists — already adept at avoiding hazards created by big trucks, texting motorists, and car doors carelessly opened — may treat the presence of soul-less zombies on the streetscape as simply one more peril to attend.
It’s not enough to be quick, of course. Adequate firepower is essential too. Fortunately, bicycles can carry a lot of weaponry and ammo — based on my own experience carrying hockey equipment on my bike. A bicycle can be easily adapted to holster zombie-neutralizing equipment such as a gun, machete, or hockey stick.
Our leaders and transport planners need to begin preparing now for zombie attacks – instead of sitting around aimlessly, repeating the same transport mistakes over and over and over again like ….
The sooner we start planning for zombies by becoming more cycle-ready, the more survivors we’ll have following the initial onslaught, to start organizing the counter-attack.
Albert Koehl is an environmental lawyer and writer.
Ness Lee is an illustrator in Toronto. She’s at Canzine this Sunday Oct. 20.
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