Stickshifts and Motorcycles


I was really tempted to call this post Stickshifts and Safety Belts, but that doesn’t actually work.

I drive an automatic. Most people in the US do. It’s the easy option. But, come the Day of Apocalypse (DoA – very appropriate, no?) you may need to know how to drive something else. Just imagine:

You’re running from a horde of zombies. Up ahead you see a car. Maybe the door is unlocked. Maybe you break the window to get in. Doesn’t matter. You get in the car thinking, oh, thank god, I can get out of here. And then you realize – it’s a stickshift. Shit. What do you do now? You kinda vaguely remember that one time you tried to drive stick and you stalled out the car in the middle of an intersection and your cousin, who was teaching you, laughed. Not promising.

Meanwhile, the zombie horde has caught up. They’re pounding on the car. If you didn’t break the window, well, they’re about to. You could get out. You could flee, and potentially mow a bunch of them down, except you don’t know how to drive the car. As the first one lays a clammy hand on you, you find yourself wishing you’d punched that cousin in the face and then gotten a better teacher to show you how to actually drive stick.

I do not want to be that person. Which means I’d better get someone to teach me stick shift. Someone other than Jason, since I’m specifically excluded from his insurance policy (thanks awfully, AAA). He’s also specifically excluded by my policy (thanks again, AAA).

Then, motorcycles. Not actually good defensive vehicles. Or good offensive vehicles. But, when you need to move fast and you’ve got your legs or a motorcycle… motorcycle. Those puppies are fast and maneuverable. They can go around turns and through small blocked areas that cars cannot. Admittedly, you’re road sushi as soon as you stop or get thrown anywhere near a zombie.

In a Mad Max world, you drive what you can get.

So. Time to learn to drive stick. But motorcycles… I’m not so sure about motorcycles. They kinda freak me out.

(In the process of writing this I realized there’s another skill you’ll need – hotwiring cars. Somehow, I suspect it’s gonna be harder for me to find a teacher for that one.)

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  1. Adam says:

    MSF course! Not only is it a good way to learn how to ride a motorcycle, but it’s a good refresher on situational awareness.


  2. Mark Z says:

    I’m with Adam. The motorcycle safety course teaches you how to ride assuming no experience.

    Maneuvering through all the abandoned cars that choke up the roads going out of town is of course a major plus.

    And, something quirky that is taught in the MSF class (and is even in the DMV handbook for motorcycles) that is probably relevant to zombies:

    “Motorcycles seem to attract dogs. If you are chased, downshift and approach the animal slowly. As you approach it, accelerate away and leave the animal behind. Don’t kick at an animal. Keep control of your motorcycle.”


  3. Erik T says:

    I also think you need to practiced riding on hard pack dirt roads, sure the MSF coarse teaches you how to ride on the street, but riding on dirt requires a completely different style of braking and throttle control. I also think bicycles should be taken into consideration as well. They are nearly silent, it is easy to cruise close to 20 MPH and it requires no gas. Feel it!


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