Tuesday, September 20, 2011

World Car Free Day, Sept 22, 2011

September 22 is 'World Car Free Day'.
I never heard of this until Ronnie, a folding bike kaki of mine had mentioned it.
My co-worker Andrew Sia confirmed this with a phone call today.
He wanted to write a piece about commuting to work on a bicycle.
I was rather hesitant because the road leading from USJ26 to the Federal Highway motorcycle lane is laden with danger.
Its like a videogame trying to get from Persiaran Tujuan to the SS19 interchange.
Subang Jaya itself, for starters, isn't bicycle friendly at all even though the town council had organised cycling programmes for residents living in the area.
I've attended two events so far, and found that the roads are literally dotted with potholes and uneven surface.
To make it worse, some sections have missing drain covers.
And to incorporate a bicycle lane around this part of the Klang Valley sounds insane.
Economically-speaking, the only people who cycle to work are foreign workers.
Everyday, I can see a handful of Bangledeshi and Nepali men cycling along Persiaran Tujuan and Kewajipan.


Known hazards
On the road, many motorists are disrespectful to cyclists. They tend to force bicyclists off the road even when they cycle along the white traffic lines. I've witnessed a few 'close calls'. 
But not all is lost. On the Federal Highway motorcycle lane, the motorcyclists tend to avoid bicyclists by giving way. 
They indicate their presence by applying their bike horns.
Missing drain cover gratings is the number one hazard for road bikes. Since they have very diameter on their tires, the gratings are a death-trap. 
Many have injured themselves.
Another apparent danger are potholes. These can damage your rims and bust your spokes.
Road debris would pose a problem if you have tires that don't provide puncture protection.
Glass, metal shrapnel, nails, even animal bones can cause downtime during your commute.


The brave ones
I know a few guys who cycles to work. 
One is a music composer who does an average of 20km daily and is also proud to declare that he is not a car owner.
He has a Facebook group called: "Cycle to work Malaysia" and organizes events. The last biggie he had was a Malaysia Day ride on Sept 16.
Another dude is actually a Rockstar. 
He's a landscape architect who lives in Bangsar and owns a sackload of bicycles.
I met him in Shanghai recently and was told by him that he had completed a ride in Beijing and Shanghai.
He cycles a Dahon Mu Uno around the Bangsar neighbourhood.
I know for a fact that some of the guys in Putrajaya are campaigning for lockers, bicycle parking space and showers at work. Good luck to them..


Will I do it? 



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