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The Real Reason They Don't Use Bikes On The Walking Dead

Over the course of 10 seasons, we've seen dozens of survivors — some of whom met grisly fates — try to make new lives for themselves on The Walking Dead. At first, staying alive is the primary priority, but over time, they attempt to pick up the pieces and forge a new society for themselves whether that takes place in a barn or prison. Even when they think they've reached safety, there's still the ever-looming presence of walkers in their midst, threatening to plunge them back into chaos. 

There are many ways in which the characters have been resourceful, but there's one glaring oversight we just can't get over a decade into the series: Why doesn't anyone ride a bicycle in this world? It just makes sense in terms of transportation since they don't make as much noise as a car, thereby attracting less attention from any nearby zombies, and you're able to maneuver around traffic jams that still pop up years after society went in the gutter. Bikes also don't require gasoline, which is coming in increasingly short supply 10 years into the apocalypse. Plus, it's much easier to repair a bike than an automobile in case anything breaks. 

Sure, Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) rides a bike in the first episode, but then it's never seen again. Daryl (Norman Reedus) rides a motorcycle, but that kind of defeats the purpose considering it still requires a gasoline-powered engine. We did some digging and found a few possible explanations. 

The Walking Dead had a marketing deal with Hyundai for years

Product placement has gradually grown more prominent as audiences have grown savvier in skipping traditional commercials with some cases being more ridiculous than others. Whether they solely utilize ad-free streaming services or simply DVR everything to fast-forward through the breaks, many companies have realized the importance of integrating their brands directly into TV shows and movies. For several seasons of The Walking Dead, a Hyundai SUV was featured front-and-center in the series to transport characters, which undoubtedly played a role in why Rick and the gang didn't bother with bicycles. 

It was a pretty good vehicle while it lasted, too. It never ran out of gas and always looked as though it just rolled off the lot (likely as a result of Hyundai not wanting to imply its cars would break down on you when you have a horde of zombies on your tail). Granted, in an actual post-apocalyptic scenario, the SUV would break down eventually, or its users would find themselves in a situation a lot sooner where they couldn't get any gasoline. There's also the tiny matter that gasoline does go bad after a while, usually only lasting 12 to 15 months tops, so whether the characters like it or not, they'll have to ditch the cars at some point.

This behind-the-scenes explanation may be enough for some, but we also wanted to see whether there were any practical cases of using a car over a bike. You know, just in case a zombie outbreak actually does happen, and we all need to figure out what our modes or transportation are going to be.

Bikes have their drawbacks, such as lower load capacities and energy expenditure

Bicycles are lightweight and good items to have in a world where bartering would become more commonplace. However, we can still picture scenarios where bikes would be more trouble than they're worth, and we aren't the only ones. One such Reddit thread discusses this very issue, and while plenty of people are quick to nitpick The Walking Dead characters for overlooking these valuable items, others point out how bikes could actually get the cast in bigger jams. 

Redditor u/ArtaxNOOOOOO makes an important point by stating, "Food, water, ammo, gear, tools, supplies, a tent, batteries, and all the other stuff you probably want/need is gonna add up really quick. I'd guess, off the top of my head, that you're looking at around 200 – 300 lbs of stuff you have to tow around with you." Even with a trailer attached to the backside, you wouldn't really want a bike to travel long distances with. At the most, bikes would be useful when you have a secure base to go back to, and you just need to go out for a supply run. Yet, even that could have its downsides as u/ArtaxNOOOOOO goes on to say, "Bikes wouldn't really work well in a field or rough terrain. Patrolling around a place like Herschel's farm, it's probably better to go on foot or horseback." Traveling down a regular road would probably be fine, but if you end up getting run off into the woods, you may find yourself in some trouble. 

There's also the matter of how bikes require you to burn more calories than driving around. After all, an hour of spin class can have you burn 400 to 600 calories, and if you're in an apocalypse where food can be short supply, then you may need to conserve as much energy as you can. Ultimately, a mix of vehicles would be ideal and having a bicycle would be better than not having anything at all... unless you're the cast of The Walking Dead apparently.

On the whole, bicycles rarely appear in dystopian fiction

It would be unfair to focus solely on how The Walking Dead overlooks such a valuable invention throughout its run. By and large, you don't really see bicycles anywhere in post-apocalyptic landscapes. They're a rare commodity in the Mad Max franchise where gasoline is the most important commodity in the world, and they're largely absent from the likes of The Road, Into the Forest, and Revolution. Even in 28 Days Later where the protagonist worked as a bike courier prior to the zombie outbreak, he doesn't ride a bicycle at any point after getting out of the hospital. 

There are exceptions, but for the most part, characters in dystopian fiction seem dedicated to either walking or driving cars as far as they can go before stalling out. It may just be that bikes solve too many plot issues. After all, there's an increase of tension when a car breaks down in the middle of a deserted highway. You also get cooler scenes when characters drive cars around and can mow down scores of the undead by pressing down on the accelerator. Even when bicycles do show up, it's usually from secondary or tertiary characters as opposed to the main group. 

Perhaps when The Walking Dead season 11 rolls around, the cast will finally realize they've been missing out by ignoring bikes for the last decade.