Where Are All The Bicycles??

I have an issue in general with scifi totally ignoring the existence of bicycles, but star trek is particularly fun to think about since in so many situations beaming down in an away team with electric mountain bicycles would be incredibly useful in a basic utilitarian sense. Like shuttles, bicycles could be treated as disposable if needed, you can always replicate more right?

You also don’t need to build up any infrastructure on a planet for bicycles to function as transit system for huge amounts of people. A starship could arrive into a humanitarian aid situation, quickly adjust a bicycle blueprint for whatever bipedal humanoid lived on the planet, replicate a metric sh*&ton of alien bicycles and beam them down to the planet on mass. It wouldn’t require longterm maintenance, lengthy training of local aliens on how to use, or return visits to resupply complex parts. A starship could drop bicycles, spare parts and maintenance gear and then leave and the citizens of that planet would be able to benefit from that for… decades? Even more? I am sure the instruction manuals would get super long with all the alien languages though…

Even if bicycles weren’t being used as tools or transportation in a far future like star trek, there is no reason humans would stop wanting to bicycle recreationally or for exercise. Also you could go on crazy mountain biking rides on the holodeck right? I can’t see how people wouldn’t be doing that all the time along with skiing, surfing and other sports that are scary but exhilarating. Further, I think it is likely most bipedal aliens would have discovered bicycles at some point along the development into advanced technological civilizations. It would be really weird if only humans discovered them.

TNG in particular is egregious for not having bicycles since the NCC-1701 is so cavernous that unless you always used the turbolifts you probably are going to need a bicycle to get anywhere quickly…

What do yall think? Should star trek have more bicycles?

@Kolanaki@yiffit.net avatar

Neelix had a bicycle… On the holodeck… While being brainwashed into believing he was a French resistance fighter in WW2…

But I mean… Why would you use a bicycle when you can just instantly teleport to your destination in cities that are also incredibly walkable?


Because bicycling is pleasant af, why walk when you can glide? Yeah, you can just teleport everywhere but that is kind of something you can say about everything in star trek.


The thing that has always bugged me is the lack of bicycles in post-apocalyptic movies.


It will definitely be a meme in the future that post apocalyptic US movies from the late 20th and early 21st century always have a protagonist driving around some kind of badass exotic car (?!?) that probably gets horrendous gas mileage even if you could get the gas… There is no food, medicine, water or even much oil but everybody is still driving the coolest car they can.

Meanwhile, if you raided a run of the mill bike store you could outfit probably a hundred or more people with easy to repair transportation that could transport them 40 miles in a day if need be.

Idk, I hope those future memes make fun of us good at least.

(I give the newest mad max a pass on this though since the cars are purposefully over the top and lots of people have dirt bikes at least)


The Expanse is the only sci-fi franchise I know that has bicycles. They’re the perfect means of transportation in a post-apocalyptic world, no need for fuel except for food that you need anyway.


You might have pointed out one of the biggest flaws of the whole sci-fi genre here. Well done!


They’re scientists that are exploring. You can’t see the forest for the trees when you’re barreling down a trail at 15-30kmh. You’re going to see a lot more hiking methodically through kilometers of new alien landscape than you would on a bike. If they want more range or speed they can shuttle, transport, or send a drone. When I explore a new city these days, I take a smart device and a wallet wearing my contemporary version space PJs, jeans and a T-shirt; either walking, ubering, or public transporting where I need to go. I’d miss a lot of interesting stuff by biking because my focus would be on biking, and less on the landscape around me.


Interesting, for me unless I am riding a road bike with a really heads down sitting posture, I find leisurely bicycling around to be a fantastic way to see explore a place and notice things (as long as the place is bike friendly… which in the US…). Far more than getting around by car.

insomniac_lemon avatar

I can't go very fast even on my (small/cheap) ebike and have definitely noticed (even with not-the-best-eyesight) plants/animals, flooding, nearby infrastructure/locations, smells etc. on the trail. I wouldn't say 15kmh is "barreling" and is my average comfortable speed. Slowing down or stopping to walking around a bit is also incredibly easy (and a thing already you stop to rest/drink/eat anyways), but you can still make up for lost time if needed.

In the context of a show, I could see a lot of angles to this. From somebody remembering something they briefly saw to 1 person in a group investigating something (staying behind, rushing ahead, taking a sample etc), also successfully evading chases and camp-y rock ambushes.

Personally I'd also say that biking long distances just seems easier than walking/hiking. Maybe mechanical advantage (esp. w/derailleur) or the speed, maybe health issues, or maybe there's just something about the feel of it that's boring/taxing to me. I can't imagine walking 20 km but is something I've done a few times on my weak ebike.


I’m always reminded of Star Trek when I’m watching… Bond movies. The smorgasbord of over-the-top tech he’s using and the casual manner in which he keeps pulling them out at the right moment feels like should be right at home in the Federation.


hahaha yup good comparison


Although you are using it and pronouncing it correctly, the correct spelling for the phrase meaning “in a whole bunch” is “en masse” because it’s stolen from French.

I never had good enough balance or left-right coordination to learn to ride a bike, so I don’t miss them. But it would add an element.


You can’t steal something that was forced on by a conqueror.


The Norman invasion was a thousand years ago. I think it’s time we forgave the French.

FaceDeer avatar

Spock casually flies up a mountain using hoverboots in one of the movies. Why this isn't standard issue on away missions is beyond me. They don't need bicycles, they can fly.


Also in Stargate they apparently forgot cars exist

FaceDeer avatar

To be fair, most planets they went to had pretty rugged terrain with no roads near the Stargate. They did use UAVs and MALPs sometimes.

Though one thing they could have found useful going through the Stargate would be dirtbikes, that would have been a fun addition.

@Swedneck@discuss.tchncs.de avatar

missed opportunity for the cast to get to have fun, too


Well the whole franchise has issues with away mission equipment. They just beam down in their pajama uniforms, when they carry a phaser and a tricorder it’s already a lot.


Yup and then they constantly seem to end up embarrassed by the lack of preparation. Any EDC nerd would have more useful tools for an away mission compared to the average Star Trek explorer.


There’s no point asking questions like this. Star Trek has routinely featured technology that is so powerful that it’s world-breaking, and then promptly ignored it. The greatest modern example is the spore drive from discovery, but TNG has several as well.

anonionfinelyminced avatar

We love hoverbikes!

Seraph avatar

Wheeled transit when flight or hovering is so easy is just plain clumsy.

There's not a lot of cars either, outside of episodes set in the past.


I mean once you have flight/hovering vehicles than practically the only transportation that doesn’t make obsolete is a bicycle for transporting someone a mile or two daily from their spaceship to a residence or wherever.

How is using a bicycle clumsy? I mean I get if people don’t like bicycles but honestly a bicycle is just fun to cruise around on, they are the opposite of clumsy.


Then =/= than


I am a dog tho


THAN go AEt somA kibblA THAN go for a walk. Its bAttAr THEN writing shit on the IntArnAt ENYwey


Id prefer to just watch you bounce your water polo ball off the wall over and over again for hours while you brood like an angsty teenager.


THAN just go do thet



Seraph avatar

It needs relatively flat terrain. Even mountain bikes need trails. Off the trail they're not fun to ride, though a wash will do in a pinch.


Bicycles don’t necessarily need flat terrain, especially with electric bikes that have futuristic insanely efficient batteries.

Yes bicycles do best on trails but anywhere that has humanoids is going to have trails. Anywhere that has any kind of large animal is going to probably have some degree of path system as well. I don’t think it’s that big of an issue compared to any other kind of ground vehicle.


You sound like someone who has never ridden a bike through broken terrain.

I'll argue that the "flat" used by the comment above might be better taken on a more granular level. You can go up and down mountains just fine so long as there are no logs, large rocks, pits, or gullies that are in the way.

I was doing some D&D world building a while back and wanted to really dive into transportation of people/goods and found the same problem. Tenser’s Floating Disk is a very low level wizard spell that basically does away with all but the heaviest ships and carts.

It's the same for the trek universe. They have personal transportation methods that mean there's literally zero need for a bicycle for anything other than recreation.

Hell, Lower Decks opens with Mariner pushing around a hover cart full of stuff. It's literally the cold open of the entire series.

If you can have a hover cart like that, then why bother with a bike? Need to move stuff to a remote area? Get the hover cart, you don't need to cut a trail, just go over the obstacles. And that's if the transporter doesn't work if the first place to beam the people and equipment to a nearby area.


I was doing some D&D world building a while back and wanted to really dive into transportation of people/goods and found the same problem. Tenser’s Floating Disk is a very low level wizard spell that basically does away with all but the heaviest ships and carts. It’s the same for the trek universe. They have personal transportation methods that mean there’s literally zero need for a bicycle for anything other than recreation.

I mean, its all just “magic” at a certain point, they could do everything with a transporter… but they dont so presumably there are reasons not to (even though the real reason is it is a tv show). I have never seen hovercarts used prominently in the live action shows, especially not as a vehicle.


Cycling on rough trails can be exhausting, and requires regular training, riding completely off road is more difficult, if even possible.

The starfleet academy grounds should be littered with bycicles though.

@Corgana@startrek.website avatar

I agree, in my utopian future it’s possible to leisurely bike everywhere. Why hurry anywhere in a post-scarcity society when you can cruise around and take in the scenery?


It would be a matter of public health policy that people had some kind of access to a short, physical commute to whatever place they worked/spent their day at, right? That is at least how I rationalize why they just don’t teleport people everywhere. They COULD technically teleport everywhere all the time… but the mental and physical health consequences to not getting some kind of mild daily exercise like bicycling are too intense (also having some kind of short, stress free commute helps one get into the mindset of work anyways).


I never thought of that before, but I agree. Also, now all I can imagine is Riker walking up behind a bicycle and just effortlessly gliding onto the seat, swinging his leg gracefully.

@Zagorath@aussie.zone avatar

Riker would be so good at Transition 1 if he did a triathlon.


I imagine Riker rolling up to home on his bicycle. He swoops up to Troi on his danish commuter bicycle, and in a stupendously effortless fashion goes from bicycling to standing while barely shifting his body in a reverse Riker sit that draws your eyes into those sweet, high hips if only to admire their power and charisma (that is what you tell yourself). As Riker extends his kickstand with a supple cock of the foot he he looks at the camera, rings the bicycle bell and says “Daddy’s home” with a smile.

@Sanctus@lemmy.world avatar

Its honestly because its not interesting to watch people beam down and bike all the time. Usually shit happens almost immediately after the beam anyway. But yeah where are my turbo maglift bikes.


They could just take bmx bikes and beam down right into the action though, maybe even in the middle of a sweet handlebar spin. Are you going to tell me you don’t want to see bmx star trek action?

@Sanctus@lemmy.world avatar

I do, but that sounds like some Lower Decks stuff lol the handlebar spin. The bikes are clearly a good idea anytime they beam and hike in their uniforms. Might as well if you aren’t carrying equipment.

@Corgana@startrek.website avatar

I used to like Star Trek until this comment. I realize now that it’s all garbage and we have been robbed of happiness.


Now that you mention it, yes. However it’s probably so deeply ingrained in American authors that bicycles seem like uncool garbage that’s not very useful so they don’t even think about it.


I am so tired of sci-fi futuristic cities that just replicate a highway in the sky complete with crazy stressful traffic and all. It is kind of embarrassing how big of a flaw this is for sci-fi art when a fundamental aspect of the genre is the attempt to gaze far into real and unreal futures.

@Swedneck@discuss.tchncs.de avatar

trek has had at least one place where people actively reject modernity because they simply don’t like it, so there’s that.

i think the expanse is the best portrayal of the future i’ve seen in terms of this, things generally look like they do now except everything’s walkable and public transport is utterly bog standard, and they casually use holograms for shop signs.

just like how we’re basically the same as in the past, except walking around with technology in our pockets that was idle speculation 100 years ago and would be considered magic 1000 years ago


Interesting, I have heard the expanse is good and that it is more realistic scifi than most. Honestly the reason I haven’t watched it is that people only really seem to mention the fact that the space combat is realistic in the expanse and I just don’t give two flying sh$%s how realistic a scifi universe’s space wars are… I am watching star trek for a reason and that reason is that it isn’t myopically obsessed with war and gritty dark grim universes like 99% of the rest of scifi is sigh. I am fine with space wars, I am fine with grim or dark visions of the future to a certain extent but most scifi can’t ever seem to tell stories about literally anything else. Everything is just black mirror it feels like.

On the subject of black mirror though, I really want to see a black mirror parody episode where bicycles aren’t invented until the 2020s when a techbro invents the “segway 2.0” which is just a normal bicycle. Everyone becomes so addicted to this invention that it tears apart families, society and economies (no more cars being sold??? no oil being sold?? all the car plants close and the economy crashes). Kids overthrow society because they all get bicycles and become addicted to them first and no one can stop them because they are too fast…


ST:Picard showed that Earth basically had a public transporter network around the world. It is how Picard goes from his vineyard in France to Starfleet headquarters. So, it isn’t all car flying cities.

However, if these are the people making decisions to deploy resources, why would they think of having ground vehicles at all? The only reason why the dune buggy was in Nemesis was because Patrick Stewart wanted it. Otherwise, it doesn’t really make sense.


I have already made my arguments about this elsewhere on this thread.

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