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Friday, September 20, 2013

The Official Transportation of the Apocalypse | Slate


Citi Bike
A Citi Bike would have made perfect sense in Cormac McCarthy's The Road
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images
There’s something post-apocalyptic about Citi Bike, the bike-sharing program that debuted a few months ago in parts of New York City. Or perhaps better terms would be "pre-post-apocalyptic" and "pre-dystopian." Because these bikes basically are designed for the end of the world.
Bike-sharing programs have arisen around the world—from Washington, D.C., to Hangzhou, China. The New York bikes are almost disturbingly durable: Human-powered, solar-charged, and with aluminum frames so sturdy that during stress testing the bike broke the testing equipment. Sure, riding one through Midtown Manhattan is like entering a speedboat race on a manatee. And yes, they're geared so that it feels you're at a very goofy spinning class when riding up Second Avenue. But if you think post-apocalyptically, that gear ratio means a very efficient bike for carrying heavy loads. With the help of the local blacksmith, as long as he's not too busy making helmets for fight-to-the-death cage matches, 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. Now all that's left to do is to attach a hipster to one of the bikes, perhaps with an iron neck collar. Voila! The Citi Bike has become the Escalade SUV in the cannibal culture that arises after peak oil.

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