Zombies Ahead

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Why is interest in cyclocross exploding across the country and the world? In the past four or five years we’ve seen cyclocross events popping up everywhere. The resulting heightened awareness has even led to new UCI regulations that embrace xc technologies; so is it just a passing fad? I think not. The answer is: zombies! They’re not just for Halloween anymore. Read on.

The evidence is all around us, and everybody’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse. First, the small screen came out with a zombie-themed series. (AMC’s The Walking Dead, now in its second season.) And coming in December, a major-studio zombie movie, (World War Z) starring Brad Pitt! The mainstream press, and even the CDC website (.gov!) is weighing in with guidelines as to how to best weather a hypothetical zombie outbreak. Most importantly, the definitive handbook to the zombie threat, “The Zombie Survival Guide” by Max Brooks (former Saturday Night Live writer and son of Mel Brooks), explicitly states that the bicycle is the mode of transport with the best features for escaping from zombie hordes.

Bilenky Cycle Works is also getting ready for this potential/eventual catastrophe. BCW has added zombie historian and certified thoeretical zombiologist Jake Christiansen to the staff. (He’s also working in the paint department, and sometimes, if you call, it just might be Jake answering the phone.) Jake is an expert. When not working at Bilenky Cycle Works, he portrays a zombie at Terror Behind the Walls- the famed haunted house located at the historic former Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia. Known to insiders as “the Haunt”, Terror Behind the Walls (TBTW) is five minutes by bike from the 23rd Street Armory where the 2011 Philly Bike Expo will again be held on October 29 and 30.

Jake has been sharing his extensive zombie knowledge with BCW’s Isis Shiffer . Isis is directing the presentation of the Philly Bike Expo’s first annual, ZombieCat. This is a world premier! Utilizing Jake as a resource ensures authenticity. ZombieCat- yes, you guessed right: it’s an alleycat- but with zombies! Test your skills against the undead! Win prizes! (Brett Novick of Pedal Pushers’ Club has designed a limited edition commemorative T-shirt!)

Until reading “The Zombie Survival Guide” myself, I had only heard rumors about the connection between bicycles and escaping from zombies. I was under the impression that a cargo bike would be perfect: one could suit up in protective gear, load up with his or her supplies, (weapons, food and water) and go! However, since studying the book and doing my own further research, I have now realized that it is the portage aspect of a bicycle (in addition to its human-powered and essentially noiseless operation) that earns it the Guide’s high recommendation. See, this is where cyclocross comes in again. As more and more people become aware of and involved in the sport, there is increased opportunity for the public to hone the necessary abilities for (un)real and present dangers. And come to think of it- maybe Richard Sachs has been an agent of the FVZA (Federal Vampire and Zombie Agency) all along. Look it up! And maybe Jed Kornbluh’s Philadelphia Cyclocross School is really the FVZA’s new secret academy! (Since the closing of the FVZA’s Santa Rosa facility in 1975, it’s not outside the realm of possibility.) At the time of this writing, neither Mr. Sachs nor Mr. Kornbluh could be reached for comment.

Serious cyclists already ride with strength and precision. We’re tough and not afraid to get dirty. We will be in a unique position to help others in the weeks ahead by encouraging them to get in shape and get on a bike. And when the terrible time arrives, the owners of the best equipped, lightest, and most maneuverable bicycles (and those who know how to use them) will be able to make a quick getaway. And don’t forget the helmet. It’ll shield your brain in more ways than one!



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