18 June 2015

A Bike For The Zombie Apocalypse

Emergency preparedness makes sense.  All you need to know are which emergencies you need to prepare for and how to go about preparing.

Now, I'm not going to give you advice about either. I can no more predict what sorts of emergencies or disasters are likely to happen than I can turn carbon fiber into gold.  But, apparently, there are folks who make their living (or at least a pretty good supplemental income) of telling people what disaster is most likely to strike and how to prepare for it. Some think that the disaster will be the result of a war with China or some coalition of Islamic fundamentalists.    Others think that the next economic crash will trigger a breakdown in the social order.  Still others think the cataclysm will be natural, such as solar flares or climate change. 

(For what it's worth, I'd probably pick climate change, which might in turn cause societal breakdowns, which in turn could lead to wars.  But, as I said, I have absolutely no predictive powers.)

One thing I find interesting is that nearly all survivalists, however they think the apocalypse will come, believe that a bicycle is an important part of any "survival tool kit".  That makes sense when you realize that bikes will be among the few ways we'll be able to get around if fuel supplies or their distribution networks are destroyed.  But, of course, if the world comes to an end, the bike shops won't be open and, I imagine, online retailers won't be able to do business.   So I've begun to stock tires, tubes, cables, lubes and, yes, even a spare Brooks Pro along with the crates of canned food, bottled water and cases of wine. ;-)

Seriously, though:  Bicycles will be useful, but not only as transportation.  They can also help you defend against marauding packs of thugs--and zombies.

Yes, there is a bike designed to defend against zombies:

It's actually a pretty clever design, as the motor powers the front wheel as well as the chainsaw. So, I imagine, one could rev the bike up to a pretty decent speed, whether for attacking or defending.  Now as to how effective the chainsaw would be against attacking zombies...I dunno.

As for rigging one up or actually using it, all I can say is "Don't try this at home."  That is, if you still have a home when the zombies take over. 


  1. I don't know about all that weight at the front...

    I have a spare Brooks Pro but as you know I am never going to sit on it again, too darn hard.

  2. Coline--You're right about the weight on the front. I can't help but to wonder whether the weight would cause the rider to take a "header" or worse before he or she could mow down the zombies.

    Are you saving the BP for sentimental reasons?

    1. With the right pair of handlebars it would make a cheap Picasso...

    2. Coline--I don't argue with the impulse toward art. Have a Happy New Year.

  3. Using a bicycle as a fighting platform makes little sense. Their best use would be functioning as biathletes do at the winter olympics. Biathletes move on skis, stop to shoot targets, then move again. Bicycles could do the same with various light firearms. (See also: The "Toyota War" between Chad and Libya. The Chadian forces defeated Libya and its slow moving tanks by engaging in a hit-and-run war. This happened before Toyota pickups earned the name "technicals".)

    Armies have used bicycles in war zones, but never in combat. Their use was predicated on planning and reconnaissance, not fighting while riding. Most military use of bicycles was, and still is, as messengers in camps or on military bases or troop movement outside of combat.

    During the Japanese invasion of Southeast Asia during World War II, the Japanese army used bicycles to move troops quickly on narrow paths or off road to encircle the retreating British troops who moved on foot. Japanese troops would move, dismount and prepare their ambushes, successfully accomplishing this several times.

    At least once during WWII, the British used bicycles for night assaults against German targets. Paratroopers travelled by bike at night, leaving their bicycles a kilometre from the site they planned to attack. After the attack, while the Germans were still in disarray, the British ran back to their bicycles in the dark and escaped with minimal or no losses.

    Most famously, the Vietnamese didn't even ride their bicycles during the US's attempted occupation of their country. They used bicycles as equipment transport the same way pack animals were used, carrying 100-200 kilograms of food or equipment on hundreds of bikes through jungle more efficiently than the US could with trucks or planes. The US military understood the threat bicycles posed, but US politicians lacked the intelligence to understand their effect. Against the French in an earlier war, the Vietnamese army would break down artillery weapons and carry parts on separate bicycles, then reassemble them.

    And more recently in the US's attempted occupation of Afghanistan, the US has used folding mountain bikes with paratroopers. They are able to land in isolated areas, rappel up and down cliff walls and travel silently without the need for fuel.

    Ahem. Excuse me for how long that was.

  4. Reese--You're forgiven. ;-) You certainly know more about military tactics and history than I do, so your comments are very welcome.

    Have a great holiday!