While the use of motorcycles in the military and other branches of the government has declined in recent decades, Rider has uncovered information about a top secret, elite motorized unit created by the Department of Homeland Security to address an unlikely but potentially terrifying threat: a zombie outbreak.
Considered by most to be nothing more than a figure from Haitian folklore and the product of filmmakers’ imaginations, zombies are nonetheless part of government preparedness efforts. In 2011, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control printed a booklet called Preparedness 101: Zombie Pandemic. Presented in graphic novel form, the booklet’s true purpose was to encourage people to make a plan and be prepared in case of a disaster or emergency. The zombie angle was a lighthearted way to grab attention, under the premise that if you were ready for a zombie apocalypse you’d be ready for just about anything. The CDC did not actually suggest a zombie apocalypse was a real threat.
The motorcycle-based zombie response unit uncovered by Rider, however, does not consider a zombie apocalypse as a threat to be treated lightly. Vector studies of the spread of other diseases clearly demonstrate the importance of a fast response to prevent outbreaks from becoming so large that they overwhelm both the health care system and, in the case of a zombie outbreak, public safety forces. The spread of disease from the undead to living victims could quickly result in an exponential increase in the numbers of undead seeking to feed on ever smaller numbers of besieged, living victims.
As we know, when it comes to fast response, motorcycles can be very useful. It will be no surprise to Rider readers, therefore, that the response units created to address a zombie outbreak (and prevent it from turning into a zombie apocalypse) have been equipped with specially prepared motorcycles. Government planners clearly believe that relatively lightweight motorcycles will be one of the best means for getting specially trained personnel to the site of a zombie outbreak, despite the widespread panic and chaos and potential social collapse that would quickly follow.
Two classes of motorcycles have been chosen for zombie response duty, as shown in these spy photos exclusive to Rider. The Ducati Monster shown is an example of a machine outfitted for response in urban areas. The Kawasaki KLR650, bearing the “zombie survival vehicle” identification sticker, is an example of the kind of motorcycle equipped for response in rural areas where all-terrain capability is critical. These relatively lightweight motorcycles with their upright riding positions better allow their specially trained riders to deploy weapons even when in motion. Top speed is not an essential capability for attacking or evading zombie hordes, but maneuverability is critical, so motorcycles in the 650cc to 900cc range were deemed most appropriate.
As the photo of the Monster shows, the motorcycles have been equipped with a variety of special tools and weaponry. Grenades, spare ammunition and even weapons for hand-to-zombie combat are within quick reach of the rider. Motorcycles carry an official “United States Zombie Hunting Permit” as shown in the photo.
I first learned about the zombie response unit and obtained these photos when I took a wrong turn and found myself entering a small compound of buildings in the Green Mountains of Vermont that apparently (in retrospect) was a zombie response team training site. Nobody noticed at first as I shot some photos of the motorcycles from a distance, but when several very fit-looking men with short haircuts who were elsewhere in the compound saw me, shouted and started running toward me, I abandoned my idea of asking for friendly directions. A few miles down the road, I saw a black SUV approaching in my mirrors, but fortunately I was coming to a particularly curvy section of the road and we all know those three-ton SUVs handle like garbage scows on a tight mountain road, so I was able to elude my pursuers.
After fleeing the state, I later attempted to get confirmation of the response team’s existence by calling Homeland Security from the last existing public pay phone in Newark, New Jersey, hoping my call could not be traced. But a spokesperson declined comment. “We neither confirm nor deny rumors and speculation about classified activity,” said the official, who refused to give his name. “And that includes M-ZORT, the Motorized Zombie Outbreak Response Team, which may or may not exist. I’m not saying.”
There is one more critical element to this story. Though we have no way of knowing exactly what day you will be reading this article, the date of this post definitely says April. So it could be April 1.