Citi Bike And The Apocalypse: Those Who Ride Survive

Citi Bike: dignified, progressive, worldly, healthy. Right?
On the surface, maybe. But, what if it also signifies...the end of the world?
Advertisement
Slate writer Paul Ford brilliantly toys with this idea in "The Official Transportation of the Apocalypse," one of the more imaginative reads we've enjoyed this month. Perhaps Citi Bike raises locals' suspicions, because it's so optimistically novel, logical, and pristine (the opposite of "gritty" New York City values). When anything actually works with relative ease, New Yorkers gain suspicion (check out Lou Reed's fear of Sweden). And, if it's good for you, cue even more cynicism. Then, of course, there's the fact that New Yorkers ride bikes like homicidal missiles.
Where you appreciate Citi Bike's durability, Ford is thinking how this human-pedaled (read: fueled) machine might fare under otherworldly attack: "...If you think post-apocalyptically, that gear ratio means a very efficient bike for carrying heavy loads [...] You could find a way to attach a hitch to the back of a Citi Bike and that could carry, say, a laser cannon, or a seat for the local warlord," he quips. We'd add that in a "Last Person Alive" scenario, Citi Bike could provide the ultimate breezy getaway: Just imagine pedaling cross-country without having to look out for other traffic (minus all the bombed-out cars). You'd also be able to escape a leisurely-paced chemical spill, or stand a chance against invasions — unless, of course, they were the speed-zombie variety a la 28 Days Later.
It's a shame more doomsday films don't recognize this potential. Ford, too, is annoyed by its glaring absence, citing the TV Tropes' "No Bikes in the Apocalypse" page as proof that bicycles — which don't require electricity or gas! — are overlooked by the genre. When they are included, as in World War Z, they immediately signify vulnerability and imminent doom. "It was obvious from the moment you first saw these old janky bikes that they were going to cause trouble," Ford sighs. Not fair, he says, and we agree: Those who ride are those who survive.
But, it's not just Citi Bike's Darwinian-proof hardiness that makes it conducive to the end times. Where some see a utopian, socialistic transit-share program, Ford sees great potential for dystopian surveillance. He reminds us: "Three million rides have been made, three million swipes of the little Citi Bike keyfob that is used to keep track of who has which bike for how long." And, of course, where you end up, but that kind of monitoring will be necessary for our quarantined colony to remain secure. When it comes time to ensure the survival of the fittest, we'll be going Citi Bike. [SLATE]
citibikeembedPhoto via: Citi Bike
Advertisement

More from New York

This may be news to you, but living in New York is kind of expensive. But, while it may always be the land of $17 cocktails and unmentionable rents, the ...
We won't call this list definitive, because rooftops are, after all, all about spontaneity. And, with three summer months to get your toes wet (literally ...
Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to eat roasted guinea pig in Flushing, Queens. Oh, is that not how the Statue of Liberty poem ...
Just because you aren't wearing "short-shorts" doesn't mean your dress qualifies as office-and-everywhere appropriate. In fact, a short dress can be more ...
The West Village may get all the attention as the fancy foodie haven of New York City, but that’s just fine for the East Village. All that means is that ...
Appetizers are nice and entrées are essential, but we adore dessert. For real — we feel about ice cream and cookies and brownies the way Liz Lemon feels ...
The only thing more depressing than the end of summer is the number of days between now and the next long weekend. We know: All you want is to sit by a ...
(Paid Content) When a movie like Disney's Queen of Katwe comes out, you know award season is upon us. The inspiring new film has all the makings of an ...
The Lower East Side may be best known to you as the home of rowdy, rollicking nightlife, but that adventure extends to the food scene as well. Restaurants ...
Is there anything better on a Saturday afternoon than a spicy Bloody Mary and some simple — but delicious — bacon and eggs? Didn't think so. Brunch is the ...
You've probably heard about how gritty Soho was back in the '70s and '80s, when artists flocked to the downtown 'hood in search of affordable living and ...
As New Yorkers, we take our pizza seriously. Whether you prefer thin-crust or deep-dish, extra sauce or more cheese, simple-and-plain or loaded with ...
Bars are as bountiful as Starbucks in New York City, but there are a few that raise their drinks — and their dishes — to an art form. So don’t just settle ...
Finding a good facialist is kind of like finding a good partner: Most of us have to shop around a little before we settle on "the one." And, much like bad ...