1979's 'Americathon' Depicted a Bike-Friendly America

I’ve never seen this movie, but 1979’s Americathon depicted a 1998 “future” America where the USA has run out of oil, and Americans have begun riding bicycles for transportation.

Yet it’s apparently not a future that the country chose by redesigning and tweaking infrastructure, and consciously changing transportation and energy policies. It seems as though the writers of this film showed the results of the country running out the clock with business as usual.

I often imagine that we will get to a bike-friendly country one way or another — with or without the political and public will to change course.

We will either make these necessary changes with foresight and thrive because of them, or the changes will be forced upon us …and hilarity will ensue.

Is the film prophetic?

Although it looks one of those “brilliant in concept but awful in it’s execution” films, it somewhat accurately predicted a number of things:*

  • The People's Republic of China embracing capitalism and becoming a global economic superpower.
  • Cliques of Native Americans becoming wealthy (although in reality much of their wealth would come from the gaming industry, mostly from tribal casinos).
  • Nike becoming a huge multinational conglomerate
  • Vietnam becoming a major tourist attraction among Asia's wealthy and powerful
  • The continued existence and popularity of The Beach Boys in 1998.
  • The collapse of the USSR.
  • The depletion of US crude oil production.
  • Jogging suits becoming fashionable as "casual wear."
  • Reality television reaching absurd limits.
  • An America with a devalued dollar and heavily in debt to foreign lenders.
  • Network television dealing with previously taboo subjects accepted as normal.
  • Smoking being banned.
  • A great increase in homelessness

*List adapted from this list on Peak Oil News and Message Boards.

Post navigation