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Aug252009

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Bike Riders of the Apocalypse

The Practical Pedal just unleashed the long-awaited Big Dummy (a Surly longtail cargo bike frame much acclaimed by the cargoscenti) vs MADSEN (our big blue bucket bike) shootout ... and it's fantastic! Go read it now. He takes the shootout beyond thunderdome, into a post-apocalyptic world where bikes are measured by their ability to loot and carry.

Read it already? Good. So you probably noticed more than a few digs at my "tupperware" ride. He's clearly a Big Dummy sort of guy. But I think the review missed the most essential criterion for a post-apocalyptic bike, although it was getting there by the end.

I humbly submit that MADSEN owners seem to be in an better position to propagate the species.

Not just because Mama's love MADSEN's. In the time you spend blathering on about your Big Dummy "build", and how your Paul thumbie shifters fit on that Titec H-bar, blah dee blah blah ... the MADSEN owner will be canoodling with your potential mate on one of 2 bench seats in the back. Big Dummy? Drab green. My MADSEN? It's the cutest shade of blue. With orange-tipped fenders. And orange pedals.

No ... it's just not about the reproductive advantage of the bike. It's because the MADSEN's kid-hauling capabilities are unmatched by any (except, well, the bakfiets owners, who will be telling anyone left around to listen how their bikes will outlast the cockroaches, because of that unsurpassed Dutch overbuiltness). But just look at this photo:

I'll have a bucket of offspring, to go?

Just try and put that many kids on a Big Dummy. Yeah, there's a baby in that bucket. Recreational cycling is dead, and it's not just about transportational cycling either. In the "bikeocalypse" it's the procreational cycling that's going to matter.

And my bike was designed in Salt Lake City.

What will you ride for survival in our dystopian future? Which bike riders would you naturally select to repopulate the earth? And let's not make any patriarchal assumptions here - in the end of days it's likely to be the biking mamas that call the shots (not so dystopian after all). How/who will you roll?

Addendum: A Taxonomy of Bicycle Reproductive Fitness

Big Dummy or MADSEN, you'll want to watch out for those little Brompton riders. They seem to enjoy reproductive success by sneaking up when the big cargo bike folks are busy comparing their hauls.

Be prepared for hordes of Northern Europeans, marauding on bakfietsen and stylish cargo trikes. You'll know them by their conspicuous lack of helmet. Husbands beware - their obsession with "cycle chic" evidences a love for the ladies, and their big stable cargo platforms are the post-apocalyptic equivalent of "Love Machine" vans. If the bak is a' rocking, don't bother knocking ...

Alas the poor roadie. Once their hydration sacs and Gu gels dry up, they'll wander the landscape in a piteous state, their lycra in tatters, slipping around on those carbon-soled shoes. They'll regret the time they spent shaving grams (and legs) instead of stocking up on Dinty Moore ... Their inevitable demise will be hastened by the disintegration of their fragile bikes, but assured by an epidemic of erectile dysfunction.

As for the fixters, easily spotted due to variegated "colorways", they'll whoop it up on a weeks-long real-life alley cat bender, but once the PBR taps run dry, and there's no one left to admire their whips, they'll turn to more practical bikes.

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Reader Comments (11)

You're too funny! My husband already rides a Brompton, should I be worried?

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Oh....have you heard about my bakfiets? It is the coolest thing and will outlast everything in the world. Truly. See it is built by the Dutch and....

Fun post. I would love to try a Madsen some time. I need to find someone in PDX who has one when I am at some bike function and work my way into a test drive. The design is pretty good. The look is good too. Only thing that worries me is the plastic bin. At a glance, the bin seems like it would not last, but from all that you have said in your posts, it does not seem to be a problem. The price is good too.

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTravis A. Wittwer

great post, Julian, great post. Hilarious.

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterghd3

ha! Love it. Just saw Madsen's new contest. Now I really want to win one. I'm a kid-hauling bike-riding mama and I just started babysitting too, now I've got three kids to get around town. We've switched back to walking with a jogging stroller. It's painfully slow and makes me miss my bike and trailer setup, ungainly though it may be. I love the xtracycle stuff, but for three kids- Madsen rocks the house. I'd love to surprise my husband with a Big Dummy for Christmas. Need to strike it rich and buy one of each! Since I'm replacing my car, I'm rationalizing new bikes like crazy...

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

Too funny! I would love to test out that Madsen though it is really cute

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCosmo

Yep MADSEN's got a new contest, and so does Specialized for their new Globe line. I'm a bit tempted to "sell out" for a free Globe Live or Haul. Must stock up on cargo bikes ...

@Charlotte I think you're fine. I haven't noticed folding bike riders to be especially promiscuous.

@Travis I think the bin will be the last thing standing on that bike, actually. It's really burly white-water kayak stuff. I'd expect other components or spokes to fail first ... doesn't Bike Gallery have them for test rides?

August 26, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

I'm honored that you'd choose a shot of me beside the Goat to represent the Big Dummy freakshow. Especially since my original thoughts around building a Big Dummy did in fact include the word Apocalypse.

See you at the Zombie cantina!

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDylster

HA! One bike to rule them all after TEOTWAWKI? While me thinks that my MADSEN and Xtracycle will be worth their weight in gold come the "bikeocolypse" (i.e. a large fortune), me also thinks that the Dutch would likely inherit the earth...

August 26, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMatt in Tacoma

Actually, given the ending of the story in re: the fetching barkeep, I think the Practical Pedal did a good job of making your point about the propagation of the species, He just tried to downplay it a bit, that's all.

August 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVal

@Dylster - Thanks to you for the perfect shot! I'm a fan of "the Goat". It was that one or this one:
Love the gas cans on bike concept.

@Matt The one bike to rule them all might just be Val's actually:
And if the Dutch do inherit the earth, I for one, will welcome our new Dutch overlords.

@Val Agreed that procreation was implied, but it's the end of days! Subtlety is dead. Can we count on you (and the rest of the cargo jamboree brigade) when the pestilence comes?

August 28, 2009 | Registered CommenterJulian / Totcycle

We'll be there, have no fear!

September 4, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVal

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