Great Shows Made Greater with Bikes

02.16.2015 | 12:04 pm

A Couple of Notes About Upcoming FatChats: This week, I’ll be hosting two conversations. You should come join in for both, because taking questions from the audience is a big part of what will make these fun. Here’s the who/where/when for each:

  • Rockwell Relay: Stories, Strategies, and Bad Advice: I’ll be joining Race Director Tyler Servoss and other experienced racers from this, my favorite road race, to talk about route, equipment, strategy, rules, the spirit of the event,  favorite moments (and worst moments) from the race, and answer questions. If  you’ve signed up for this race or are considering signing up for this race, you should definitely register and listen in. This will happen Tuesday, February 17, 7pm PT / 8pm MT / 9pm CT / 10pm ET. You must be registered to attend (registration is free, however). Click here to register.
  • Training Tips, Techniques and Myths: Chad Timmerman (head coach for TrainerRoad) and Jonathan Lee (XC Cat 1 Nationals hopeful) will be joining me to talk about getting fast on a bike. I’ve got a lot of questions, and I expect you do too. This will be a great chance to get some great guidance from folks who actually know what they’re talking about. This will happen Thursday, February 19, 7pm PT / 8pm MT / 9pm CT / 10pm ET. You must be registered to attend (registration is free, however). Click here to register.

You should note that while I allow up to 1000 people to register for these FatChats, only 100 people can actually attend live. Neither are overbooked yet, though both are close. So after registering, be sure to sign in on time in order to get a “seat.” 

If, for some reason, you do not get a seat in the FatChat, when it begins, try a little later and see if you can get in; someone else may have vacated a seat. 

And if all else fails, know that I will be recording these and making them available both on Vimeo and as podcasts. (Also, if you’re familiar with launching a podcast, get in touch with me…I’ve never done it and don’t know all the steps; I’d rather not learn by trial and error).

Also, I’ve decided to call my interviews, conversations, book club meetings, and other podcasty stuff I do “FatChats.” Because “fat” rhymes with “chats,” and rhymes are awesome

Great Shows Made Greater with Bikes

Last night, The Hammer and I were watching the latest episode of The Walking Dead. Basically, this episode was designed to definitively answer — with a resounding “yes!” the question, “Is it possible to make a mind-numbingly dull episode in a TV show about a small group of post-apocalyptic survivors being pursued by zombies?”

Essentially, they just walked on a road, moping, for 50 minutes of the hour, using the defensive strategy of not quite outwalking zombies to stay alive.


As I was watching this, I thought to myself, “If a brisk, sustained walk is almost enough to keep you safe from zombies, imagine how awesome everything would be for these people if they had bicycles.”

Yes, as near as I can tell, in this alternate post-apocalypse universe, there are plenty of cars, but no bicycles. 

Which is too bad, because I can’t think of many episodes in this show where the protagonists wouldn’t have been much better off on a bike.

Seriously, try this drinking game. From now on, when watching The Walking Dead, at each commercial break, ask yourself: “How would this scene have been different if they had access to bicycles?” And if the answer is anything but “no different,” take a drink. 

Warning: Do not plan to drive after playing this game.

Anyway, after watching The Walking Dead, I took a few minutes to consider the bicycle and how profoundly absent it is from most TV shows and movies. And how tragically tragic that is.

I have examples.

The Ten Commandments

If the Egyptians would have had bikes, I’m pretty sure they would have closed the gap between the Hebrews and them before the Red Sea closed up on them. And frankly, considering what a bunch of ungrateful jerks the Hebrews started being within ten minutes or so, that might not have been a bad thing. 

Oh come on. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who had a hard time figuring out who to root for in this movie.


Jack Bauer is always running. Usually to get to a bomb that’s about to explode. Or to get away from a bomb that’s about to explode. Or running after people who are shooting at him. Or shooting at people as he runs toward them. 

If he’d just get on a bike, he’d have a little more time to get to (or away) from those bombs. Or bullets. Or crazy poisonous darts or whatever.

Fast and the Furious

Imagine: the exact same movie, but now with bicycles. It would be just as exciting, a lot less deadly, and a whole lot less illegal. 

Orange is the New Black

OK, I honestly have no idea how bikes could fit into this show. 


A loveable underdog boxer (Rocky Balboa) gets a shot at the big time. He trains in earnest, getting stronger and stronger. To mix things up and build aerobic capacity, he includes cycling as part of his regimen. His endurance triples, his legs get stronger, and his lung capacity becomes phenomenal. He defeats an exhausted Apollo Creed easily in the fifth round, then goes mountain biking in the afternoon, just because he doesn’t feel like he’s had enough.

In Rocky II, Apollo Creed takes up cycling and there is a much more evenly-matched fight, after which they agree they prefer biking to boxing anyway, and there is no Rocky 3, 4, 5, or however high they currently go.

And the world is a better place because of this.

Fifty Shades of Grey

They meet. They go for a road ride. She discovers that she can completely demolish him, in spite of the fact that his bike is much more expensive than hers. She recognizes that he is a creep who has a lot of expensive things, but no soul and no skills. She drops him hard on the first climb.

There is no second date. And the world is a much less creepy and disgusting place because of this fact.

The Wizard of Oz

OK, this movie has bikes, but only the Wicked Witch gets one. If you gave one to Dorothy, she’d just clock miles on that Yellow Brick Road about ten times faster, which means those songs would have to be much, much shorter. And I, for one, would be extremely grateful if the “Follow the Yellow Brick Road” song lasted about twelve seconds instead of its current length, which is just under nine years.


Already has bikes. I just thought we should go ahead and point out that a magical, perfect movie can have bikes in it, and people will still go see it. 

Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs

If the Dwarfs had bikes, they would’ve gotten home before Snow White would have bitten that apple. And then they’d still have their super hot maid working for free for them.

Which, at least for the Dwarfs, would have been a much better ending to the movie.

Citizen Kane

At the beginning of the movie, Charles Foster Kane mutters, “Schwinn Stingray.” Everyone immediately knows what he’s referring to and understands why it was such a central part of his life.

The film is four minutes long.


  1. Comment by Bart the Clydesdale | 02.16.2015 | 12:57 pm

    Am I the only person who saw Citizen Kane the first time and thought “really, this is what all the critics have been raving about since it was made?” That is 3 hours of over expectation I will never get back.

  2. Comment by MtlDan | 02.16.2015 | 1:11 pm

    “Cycling/Pedestrian Bridge on the River Kwai” would be about the same, I think. “Gone With the Tailwind” would have a cool evacuation of Atlanta with cargo bikes. “Ben Hur” could have a criterium instead of that violent chariot race around and around the Circus Maximus in ancient Rome.

  3. Comment by J | 02.16.2015 | 1:52 pm

    “I am Devinci Spartan”
    “I am Devinci Spartan!”

  4. Comment by Brian in VA | 02.16.2015 | 2:35 pm

    Forrest Gump – if he had been road cycling all those miles his beard would have been much shorter. He would have covered far more miles. And the Race Across America, or your Race around all of the states (or whatever it’s called in the Great Fatsby – I’m at the office and don’t have the book with me) might have actually happened. Nah!

    “I’m not a smart man, Jennie, but I know SRAM from Compagnolo.”

  5. Comment by bp | 02.16.2015 | 5:43 pm

    The Ten Commandments – “Oh come on. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who had a hard time figuring out who to root for in this movie.”

    Fatty? Seriously? wtf?

  6. Comment by Lyle Beidler | 02.16.2015 | 6:03 pm

    you’ve got to read SM Stirling’s “Dies the Fire” series. In a Changed world where internal combustion engines and gunpowder no longer work, knights on horseback come back, but foot soldiers take a new twist: bicycle-mounted infantry are able to cover much more ground and arrive fresh enough to fight. Interesting concept

  7. Comment by Bee T | 02.16.2015 | 6:44 pm

    Excellent 50 Shades review that perfectly captures allthe problems and fixes it with bikes.

  8. Comment by George | 02.16.2015 | 6:50 pm

    My list of movies-better on bikes:
    Chariots of Fire
    Trains, Planes, and Automobiles
    Any Clint Eastwood movie
    Apollo 13
    Harry Potter, wait, scratch that. Flying on broomsticks is far better.

  9. Comment by J | 02.16.2015 | 7:04 pm

    Manos: Hands of Fate would be interesting…

  10. Comment by Randy | 02.16.2015 | 8:09 pm

    One of my favorite movies of the year (nightcrawler) had a bike in it. Hey… maybe onto something…

  11. Comment by Cassidy Vare | 02.16.2015 | 8:29 pm

    I’d like to point out, for the sake of being pedantic, that the very first episode of The Walking Dead DID in fact feature a bicycle. But for some reason, they’re never seen again. It would ruin the drama, of course, to have characters using vehicles that are completely reliable and don’t need fuel…

  12. Comment by Mark in Bremerton | 02.16.2015 | 9:50 pm

    My all time favorite movie, “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” had a bike. I still laugh when I see Jonathan Winters casually tossing that bike into the ditch, as Phil Silvers hauls a** away.

  13. Comment by Jake from state farm | 02.17.2015 | 7:19 am

    Happy Days – When the Fonz jumped the shark, it would have been much better if he was on a bicycle.

  14. Comment by Tom in Albany | 02.17.2015 | 7:47 am

    The Blues Brothers racing back to Chicago on bikes to pay the Penguin’s debt off and save St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud orphanage in Calumet City, IL. They’re the early break. The Illinois State Police would be the peloton trying to close the gap and set up the sprint. Will the break survive?

  15. Comment by mjcutri | 02.17.2015 | 8:32 am

    Arrested Development has a bike(s) featured throughout the show…

  16. Comment by MattC | 02.17.2015 | 8:36 am

    I think Star Wars could have used some bikes. They did have those pretty cool moto-bikes in the forest of Endor in the lame 3rd episode.

    I just think all those light-saber fight scenes re-done on bikes would be pretty cool(Darth Vader would have to be pretty careful or he’d get his cape caught in the cassette and sucked off his bike mid-fight).

    And you have to assume Yoda would cheat and win any races he entered by using the force to pedal (much like Fabian does) which would be ok as his tiny legs wouldn’t reach the pedals anyway.

  17. Comment by Jacob | 02.17.2015 | 9:35 am

    The Goonies featured bikes extensively and is also a very entertaining movie.

    Also, talk about movies with casts that were virtual unknowns when the movie came out but made the casting directors look like geniuses later on.

  18. Comment by ScottM | 02.17.2015 | 10:37 am

    A 4 minute Citizen Kane – I could stay awake that long.

  19. Comment by Clydesteve | 02.17.2015 | 11:04 am

    What do you mean you do not know how bikes would fit into Orange is the New Black?

    You were the one, Fatty, that just recently posted provocative bedroom scenes with bicycles – that show is all about provocative!

  20. Comment by Uncle Rico | 02.17.2015 | 11:22 am

    Two of my favorite movies featured bikes – Ladri di Biciclette (The Bicycle Thief) and Breaking Away.

  21. Comment by leroy | 02.17.2015 | 12:05 pm

    My dog suggests for Orange Is The New Black: Spin Class.

    But then again, he almost convinced me that the sequel to Breaking Away was Breaking Bad.

    Everyone knows its the sequel to Premium Rush.

  22. Comment by Jim B | 02.17.2015 | 12:14 pm

    Steve McQueen catching air on San Fran hills on a cool Schwinn Fastback Stingray

  23. Comment by Jeff Dieffenbach | 02.17.2015 | 12:33 pm

    Snakes on a Bike.

    You’re welcome.

  24. Comment by MattC | 02.17.2015 | 1:18 pm

    Yeah, but snakes can only pedal on one side…that would be weird.

  25. Comment by Rob | 02.17.2015 | 3:48 pm

    There is a lengthy article about the lack of bikes in the apocalyptic future over at TVtropes.

  26. Comment by Rob | 02.17.2015 | 3:52 pm

    And when I say lengthy, I obviously mean short and to the point. It’s that kind of a day.

  27. Comment by Jill Homer (@AlaskaJill) | 02.17.2015 | 4:25 pm

    All brilliant ideas. Thanks for the laugh.

  28. Comment by Theo | 02.17.2015 | 9:04 pm

    Just saw THE BOOK THIEF (1938 Germany) bikes everywhere!

  29. Comment by Rydeordie | 02.18.2015 | 2:22 pm

    I used to rant and rave about this very fact on a weekly basis. I have simmered down and now only grumble every other month or so. I have meditated on the reason why post apocolyptic stories don’t have bicycles in them. When I think about the Reno Bike Project and the great things they are doing renovating bicycles for the homeless and near homeless I am reminded of how long you can make a bike last and the lack of bikes gets even more ridiculous. I guess we need to take responsibility for not advocating for them. But then again the bikes bear the brunt of the blame because they distract us and cause us joy instead of letting is perseverate and stress about the plot faults. Finally I think that maybe the writers did write it but the industry executives wrote it out for the almighty dollar. Has anyone read the comic book of the walking dead and care to elaborate?

  30. Trackback by game design education | 02.22.2015 | 10:12 pm

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