->''"In most of these films, there always seems to be a gap between having a vehicle and gas and being shit out of luck, as if no other possibility existed."''
-->-- '''Website/{{Cracked}}''', ''[[http://www.cracked.com/article_19325_6-technologies-conspicuously-absent-from-sci-fi-movies.html "6 Technologies Conspicuously Absent From Sci-Fi Movies"]]''

So somebody [[NukeEm dropped the nuke]]. Maybe the zombies showed up and [[ZombieApocalypse ruined society]]. Or it was the [[AlienInvasion aliens and their battle lasers]]. But somehow, you're stuck in a [[CrapsackWorld crapsack]] [[AfterTheEnd post-apocalyptic world]], and you need to [[WalkTheEarth stay on the move]].

You hear that there's some [[SafeZoneHopeSpot nice little place to hole up in]] somewhere in Maine, and you jump in your car to drive there. What's this? You're almost out of gasoline, and nobody owns a gas station any more? Well, you'd better hope that you used to own a horse ranch, because otherwise you're walking. After all, bicycles never seem to stick around for Ragnarok.

This odd anomaly in transportation availability seems to manifest in many stories where it logically shouldn't. Sure, of ''course'' Frodo can't [[WalkIntoMordor mountainbike his way into Mordor]], and his pal Aragorn can't grab a BMX to reach Gondor with some fancy wheelies. But that doesn't stop [[ActorAllusion Viggo Mortensen]] from somehow forgetting that bikes exist in ''Film/TheRoad''. Whether you're watching ''Film/TwentyEightDaysLater'' or ''MadMax'', the problem remains. Fantasy and Sci-fi works involving post-apocalyptic worlds all have [[LaserGuidedAmnesia selective amnesia]] when it comes to the world-changing invention of the bicycle. Maybe it's because horses are just [[RuleofCool cooler than bikes]], or maybe it's because all the [[IdiotPlot idiots in the plot]] don't know how to pedal, or maybe it's because those [[GreyGoo world-destroying nanobots have a specific affinity for aluminum frames]].

At some point, the [[FridgeLogic fridge logic]] sets in and viewers start wondering just what's wrong with post-apocalyptic humanity for them to completely ignore the world's most popular form of mechanical transportation. Heck, bikes at the very least are ''silent''. An engine in a depopulated world would surely be heard from ''miles away''. They don't even keep one in the trunk for when/if their car breaks down or are low on fuel.

This can be somewhat justified if it's more than a few decades AfterTheEnd, because roads would break down and become overgrown, which Jeeps and such could handle, but bikes couldn't. Unless it's a mountain bike. In fact, a movement for "good roads" (i.e. any paving at all) began mostly on the insistence of cyclists in the late 19th century, only later getting taken over by motorists.

For a little history: The forerunner of the bicycle was the dandy horse, which was just two wheels and no pedals. Your feet were the drive. It was patented in 1818. The first with pedals was built in 1839 by a blacksmith. Because of this there's really no reason (aside from the fact that TropesAreTools) that a post-apocalyptic world couldn't maintain or manufacture their own bikes. They might not be as complicated or as comfortable as modern bikes, but they'd still get you places without having to worry about fuel or animal care.

Now, if the ancient technology is randomly picked at and put together improperly, you've got yourself a ScavengerWorld, and it might at least make a bit of sense not to have ''too'' many bikes. That's at least a bit excusable. But if you're watching or reading a story where gas-powered vehicles exist and foot-powered ones mysteriously don't, then there are No Bikes In The Apocalypse.

So why do writers have their characters do this? First off, [[CoolCar people like cars and trucks]], and [[{{Escapism}} want to live vicariously through the characters]]. Secondly, the very reasons why having a motor vehicle is a bad idea in real life are why [[TropesAreTools it's helpful for writers]]. You can ''instantly'' [[RuleOfDrama add drama]] by having the characters [[TheAllegedCar break down]], run out of fuel, [[JammedSeatbelts or be stuck inside]] while the zombie hordes/mutants/creatures/bandits try to get at them. Lastly there is the reason of MoneyDearBoy - a TV show or movie simply can't ignore the money ProductPlacement gives the production, and car companies give a LOT of money.

One however should be careful not to overlook the fact that no matter how good a bike is, it's not a car. A bike can't carry more weight than can be pulled by the muscle-power of its rider. A bike provides no shelter to the rider, be it from rain, bullets, or the hands of zombies. One can't rest while riding a bike, since the rider is powering the bike. As well as a host of other limitations. In Real Life, many who are into "prepping" debate the intelligence of keeping a bike for transportation in the event of catastrophe. Namely because the bike doesn't provide the protection of a motor-vehicle, is nowhere near as fast as a motor-vehicle, but like a motor-vehicle can paint a huge target on the back of the owner in the eyes of other (possibly hostile) survivors. Of course gasoline goes bad after a year or so (so no, you ''can't'' stockpile enough of it) and in countries such as UsefulNotes/TheNetherlands or UsefulNotes/Denmark there are more bikes than people so while people might steal ''good'' bikes, anybody stealing a bike if they're literally just sitting on the street stretches belief. And turning murderously violent over something like a bike would just seem silly, if you can take one off the countless corpses in Amsterdam or Portland.

Compare SchizoTech and ScavengerWorld. Contrast RagnarokProofing, for those rare cases where bicycles ''are'' still around and in working order, 500 years after the fact.



* In ''ComicBook/TheDarkKnightReturns'', [[spoiler: Franchise/{{Superman}} foils a nuclear strike. The resulting blast causes massive electronic failure. The inhabitants of Gotham then travels either on foot or, in the case of the Sons of Batman, on horseback.]]

* ''Film/TheBookOfEli'' could potentially have this be a JustifiedTrope, since the main character [[spoiler: is blind, even if he also has a DisabilitySuperpower]]. It doesn't explain why nobody else has them, though.
* Lampshaded in ''Film/{{Zombieland}}'', when the main character remarks on the useful attributes of a bike during a zombie apocalypse. Notably, the main cast ''still'' doesn't bother using any of them. Justified in that abandoned cars with at least partially full gas tanks are everywhere.
* ''Film/TwentyEightDaysLater''. Ironic, since Jim's character was a bicycle courier before the accident that got him into a coma in the first place. Particularly strange in that, as the title of the film says, the movie takes place only a month after.
* The four main characters in ''Film/{{Carriers}}'' are perfectly willing to shoot innocent people for their gas, even though the world is almost entirely intact. The idea of getting gas from other cars or finding bikes never comes up. The only justified instance is with the father and his sick daughter because he needs to get her to medical attention ASAP.
* ''Film/TheRoad'': No one rides bikes. The main character at least has the excuse of having a cart filled with all of his supplies to push around.

* Played straight in ''Literature/EarthAbides'', despite that novel's general attempt at realism on most other possible issues related to a DepopulationBomb. Early in the novel the main character drives around for a while, and later in the novel some of his sons fix up a car and drive around a while, but eventually these cars break down past their ability to repair. After that point they and everyone else in the novel either travels on foot or by horse.
* Lampshaded (sorta) in the German Bavarian Apocalypse (sorta) "MUC" [[note]] after the Munich airport [[/note]] by Anna Mocikat. The characters in-universe describe seeing a thingie which we immediately recognize as a bicycle. Maybe they all rusted away in centuries after, maybe only the very powerful after-apocalyptic dudes own one.
* Justified in ''Literature/ZForZachariah''. The scientist Mr Loomis has to traverse on foot across a nuclear-polluted United States in a radiation-proof suit, after finding his car is too radioactive to safely drive in, and the suit is too bulky to ride a bike on.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/FallingSkies'': The 2nd Mass seems to only use a vehicle if it requires gas.
* ''Series/{{Revolution}}'': No electricity? Okay, that is the premise. No steam power? No, until we see the Georgia Federation using it in "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E14TheNightTheLightsWentOutInGeorgia The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia]]". No bikes? Okay, that's just odd. AvertedTrope in "[[Recap/RevolutionS1E2ChainedHeat Chained Heat]]", a woman and child are briefly seen riding one in flashback, one week after the blackout. Later on, bikes are seen for sale on a market.
* ''Series/TheWalkingDead'':
** The group doesn't seem to grab a bike from anywhere, despite having practically the whole world to pick from. Averted in the pilot, though: after getting out the hospital, Rick rides a bike for a few minutes before abandoning it. Bikes show up again quite a bit later in the Season 7 finale, being used alongside garbage trucks by the Scavengers.
** The light green [[ProductPlacement 2011 Hyundai Tucson Limited]] continues to not only be used, but it seems someone has found the time to keep washing it.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* A bike-riding Nuka-Cola Delivery man briefly appears in ''VideoGame/FalloutTacticsBrotherhoodOfSteel''. Outside of that, the series plays it straight as an arrow: all you can find is kiddie tricycles that no PlayerCharacter has any use for. ''VideoGame/Fallout2'' is the only game that has any transport for the player character and friends that doesn't involve walking; the Chosen One can find a broken down old Highwayman (that's big enough to hold a Super Mutant or Robobrain) can repair and upgrade it from mechanics by finding the parts.
* Inverted in ''VideoGame/HalfLife2''. There ''are'' bikes, but you never see anybody using them. You can find several of them and indications of the rebels using them (eg. "Highway 17", where one is found next to a corpse and a crossbow), but they are all rusted beyond usage, and work as little more than decorations and Gravity Gun ammo.
** The inversion is subverted in the derivative ''WebComic/{{Concerned}}'' WebComic: Gordon Frohman's vehicle of choice is a rusty bike.
* Justifed in ''VideoGame/DevilSurvivor'', it's mentioned the ruins of Tokyo aren't suited to anything but walking.
* Lampshaded - twice - in ''VideoGame/ZombiesRun''. In the training missions, one of the Runners - for whom a bicycle would be INSANELY useful - is mentioned to be constantly on the lookout for bicycle parts (and failing to find enough.)
** More cruelly, it's also possible to unlock a bicycle rack as an add-on for the housing units in Abel Township, where the flavor text rather [[HandWave vaguely notes]] that they are 'unsuited for use outside of Abel.'
* Played straight in ''VideoGame/SevenDaysToDie''. Despite there being mechanical parts for different items that look like they could be cobbled into a halfway decent bicycle, the only vehicle available is a gas-guzzling motorized minibike. According to WordOfGod, it's planned for Alpha 17 to feature an actual bicycle that uses the player's SprintMeter to move as a lower-tier, more easily accessible alternative to the minibike.

* Bikes seem suspiciously absent from ''Webcomic/StandStillStaySilent''. There are horse carriages, trains, ships and [[TankGoodness giant tanks]], but apart from that, people are seen only walking. On the other hand, we haven't seen much of the inhabited cities (and we probably won't, as the premise of webcomic is exploration of the Silent World), and bikes might be quite unsuited in mountainous, troll-infested Scandinavia.
* Inverted in ''Webcomic/BicycleBoy''. The protagonist travels on a bicycle--however, all the other characters walk.


[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/HighschoolOfTheDead'' has this in one of the arcs. It's explained that, aside from their advantage in speed, they can also be used for survey and see if a herd is ahead of the group. It actually helps them escape for a while. And then Alice falls from her bicycle...

[[folder: Comics]]
* ''ComicBook/BatmanNoMansLand'' has one person specifically mention that to most people in abandoned Gotham bikes are worth more than cars because gas is so hard to come by.
* In ''ComicBook/ElEternauta'' the main characters use bikes to flee from the [[spoiler: soon to be nuked]] Buenos Aires, if only briefly due to the roads being littered with an entire army. They mostly use trucks for conviniency.

* Massively averted in the horror/romantic comedy ''Film/TurboKid'', where bikes are the ONLY mode of transportation used throughout the post-apocalyptic wasteland. This leads to humorous juxtapositions of ferocious wasteland warriors mounted on 1980s-style BMX bikes.
* A ''tandem'' bicycle is used in the latter half ''Film/SixStringSamurai.''
* Used as transportation inside the safe zone in ''Film/WarmBodies''.
* Used by the heroes at one point in the alien-bug movie ''Film/{{Infestation}}'', if only because the bugs hunt by sound.
* ''Film/WorldWarZ'' has an extended scene of military personnel riding bikes along a runway to refuel a plane in silence. For the most part it works.
* ''Film/MadMaxBeyondThunderdome'' shows various velocipedes being used by people to transport things around alongside animal-drawn carts.
* Averted in ''WesternAnimation/TheBoyAndTheWorld'', where a bike is the main form of transportation for Cuca and the rainbow hat man.

* In ''Literature/TheStand'', one of the characters, after crashing a motorcycle and walking for a while thereafter because of his fear of a serious accident with no one around, suddenly realizes that he can just use a bicycle. He even chides himself as being foolish for not thinking of this. Several other characters also use bicycles to get around.
* ZigZagged in the ''Literature/{{Emberverse}}''. In the first trilogy, bicycles are in fact one of the better ways of getting large groups of infantry around the post-Change United States, and can turn a unit of archers into FragileSpeedster {{Glass Cannon}}s capable of rapidly getting into the best possible position to rain arrow-y death on their enemies. They are quietly phased out after that as [[AuthorAppeal the writer expands the fantasy elements and makes the whole thing more like an Arthurian saga]] although still sometimes used for scouting and carrying messages. In the anthology "The Change" they appear or are mentioned in several stories especially "Phil, Lord of the Apes" where the bad guys are a biker gang that, since internal combustion is a thing of the past, ride bicycles instead of motorcycles.
* ''Literature/TheZombieSurvivalGuide'' specifically states bikes are the best option for escaping zombies because they're quick, versatile, easy to use and maintain, and almost noiseless.
* In ''Literature/TheEnemy'' Sam makes use of a bike temporarily, but crashes it before he can get far and so is forced to abandon it.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* The original version of ''Series/{{Survivors}}'' subverts this in one episode, where one of the characters introduces bicycles to the group, but it is never really picked up on; the characters drive cars until the gas runs out, then switch to riding horses.
* Bikes were used quite heavily in the first season of ''Series/FallingSkies''.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Averted in ''VideoGame/DayZ''. The bike is the slowest of the vehicles, but it's quiet, doesn't tire out the PC like sprinting does, and doesn't rely on parts and gas like other vehicles do. It's still not very popular with the players, because it is very easy to shoot a player riding a bike, and ARMA II's clunky engine makes it very hard to exit a vehicle and fire back before the other guy has put half a magazine into you.
* Averted in ''VideoGame/{{Cataclysm}}'', although bicycles can be somewhat uncommon if the RNG is in a bad mood. It's also possible to build your own with the right parts, and bicycle-like designs are the simplest designs short of simply putting foot pedals on a shopping cart.
* Averted in ''VideoGame/{{Unturned}}'' as of version The Bicycle consumes the player's stamina for fuel, with stamina drain and speed regulated by the user's Exercise skill. It also makes no noise while moving unless you ring the bell. Although since it's coded as a vehicle, [[MadeOfExplodium it can explode if its health reaches 0]].

[[folder:Real Life]]
* There are some notable examples of bicycles being used in major battles during UsefulNotes/WorldWarII:
** Danish forces used [[http://warisboring.com/articles/april-9th-is-a-focused-portrayal-of-denmarks-world-war-ii/ bicycle platoons]] to try and hold off the invading German army.
** Japanese forces took over most of Southeast Asia (most notably Singapore) largely by riding on bicycles to get to places that tanks and artillery couldn't get to.
** British forces took bikes to the D-Day landings, but for the most part ditched them as they were hard to carry up the beach while under fire.
** Throughout the world old shoe soles, curved pieces of wood, cut-down car tires (in places where cars existed but fuel couldn't be had) and other improvisations were used to replace unavailable bike tires.
* During UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar cargo-loaded bicycles were a significant component of the North's Ho Chi Minh Trail supply train, although motorized vehicles were also used there. And earlier than that, they had already used them at Dien Bien Phu, which enabled them to supply the besieging forces in ways French high command had not thought possible. [[http://warisboring.com/articles/south-vietnamese-troops-almost-fought-from-battle-bicycles The Pentagon tried to supply the South Vietnamese]] with bicycles as well for added mobility during combat patrols, but this effort didn't go very far and was abandoned.