Advanced Cyclist Tactics

by David N. Searle

HTML conversion by Michael P. Owen, April 2000

It's been over two years since Larry Sewel illuminated the biking world to the art of intelligent cycle tactics (see ADQ 3/2, "Bikers Are People Too." --- Ed.). Since then, both the men and the machines they ride have changed drastically. The following is not meant to be a replacement for the original article, but a supplement to it. Using the tactics described in Larry Sewel's article and the techniques outlined below, anything on wheels can be yours to plunder.


A lone biker is no threat to anyone but himself. On the other hand, a group of 20 or more will put fear in any man, and attract unwanted attention from local authorities and rival bike gangs.

Try not to let more than eight (but no fewer than five) bikers ride in a group. Any more than eight, and they will only get in each other's way. Run with less than five, and your gang will be road cookies in no time. While most gangs are much larger than eight members, you will usually only see eight of them at a time. This not only helps to keep the the attrition rate down (the most you can lose is 8 bikes), but it also keeps everyone in the dark about your gang's true size.


With the advanced technology now on the market, attack range has become your most trusted ally and your worst enemy. You have two choices: Close fast with your target (within 8") and destroy him quickly, or hang back about 18" and hope you hit more than he does. Get caught in the middle and Splat-o. When fighting within the 8" range, make sure the battle doesn't last long. Most drivers won't miss at that range, so use high-output weaponry like HRs, lasers and the like.

If fighting from long range is your preferred method, use weapons you are certain to hit with (MGs, lasers again, guided rockets, etc.) and be sure you have a targeting computer and a lot of ammo. Don't be overly concerned with getting hit; trying to hit a cycle front at 18 + " range is a tough job for even the best electronically aided gunners. Just make sure you don't miss.

Fighting from a distance has an added benefit: Your prey's dropped weapons are rendered practically useless. With an 18" lead, you have plenty of time to react and adjust. Provided, of course, you are in a good formation.


Simply PLAN, PLAN, PLAN! Plan your attacks well in advance. Don't jump all over the first vehicle you see whenever you're on the road. Not attacking every vehicle will create an air of doubt (and some paranoia) in the locals. They will wonder if you are attacking or just passing by every time they see you. Most will wait for you to take the tirst shot; this will let you get within 8" easily . . .

Know the area, and use it. Place several gang members under cover on the roadside. When you route your victim past them, they open fire with hand weapons, aiming for tires or weak armor positions. Footwarriors can spell the difference between failure and success, especially with the new, more powerful hand weapons available.

Even after Larry's warning on traveling in tight formations, many still practice this suicidal technique and wonder why they lose so many men. Dropped weapons are much more deadly now, with exploding spikes, proximity mines and the dreaded Flame Clouds. A pack must be able to flow smoothly around hazards like this, so travel in parallel lines of two or three.

"Never give a sucker an even break." This classic quote still applies today. Too many gangs are just pulling up from behind and opening fire. Some of the brighter ones have a bike or two in front. This is called by some a Fair Fight. Wrongo, bucky! Never, never fight fair unless you have to, and even then try to find some way to weasel out of it. Can you spell a-m-b-u-s-h? Be subtle, and always be creative. Use that Trenchfoot Opener against them. Don't drop that tree until it's far too late for them to stop. Don't be afraid to use an old classic; the Fake Toll Booth. Just remember not to do this more than two or three times in one location, or the local authorities will shut you down permanently. Of course, if all they do is demand a cut, then you have their unofficial approval.

Use "cycle fodder" whenever possible. If Johnny really wants to join the Mad Dogs, he and three other bright-eyed "initiates" on Shogun 200s will "prove their worth" by attacking that courier you've had your eye on. It's an effective way to find out what a potential victim's defenses are, and, if nothing else, it's a good way to get rid of Johnny. If they die, you've lost some bikes (unless they provided their own) and learned something about your target. If they manage to pull it off, let them join!


Keep your gang balanced. Have about 25% of the bikes built for defense, with dropped and rear weaponry. Another 25% should be made up of heavy weapons and light armor for close combat, or light weapons and heavy armor for longer engagements. The rest of the bikes should be more general in design, able to fill out any needed position. When building, purchasing or stealing your bikes, do your best to have at least some side protection; either component armor around the biker, or an armored windshell.

Always accept surrender; never kill someone unless you have to. Excellent arguments for this have already been printed in ADQ in the recent past.

And when you are successful, keep in mind that you need to sell your salvage somewhere. A recent poll in Car & Duellist magazine showed that 43% of all small towns have good connections with at least one cycle gang. Keep a town safe from crazies, other cycle gangs and anything else that threatens it, and the people will more than return the favor. Getting information on who is gunning for you, a safe place to hide out, and a good place to sell your salvage is a big plus for any gang.

As a gang leader, play it smart and keep at least three hideouts; one for the whole gang, one for your elite, and one, for yourself and, at most, three friends. There is always a chance of a gang being infiltrated by rival gangs, police and other do-gooders. Having a place to vanish to can save yourself and the core of your gang.

By keeping your wits about you, and following the suggestions in ADQ 3/2 and this article, your gang can quickly become rich and powerful. And hey, that's what it's all about, right?

ADQ 6/4 Index

Car Wars*Steve Jackson Games*ADQ Index