Friday, March 7, 2008

Indonesians ditching their cars

Thousands of Jakartans biking to work
From The Jakarta Post 3.2.08

When Dany Fernando decided to start cycling to work a year ago, he was hoping to lose some weight and help reduce pollution in the city.

"There has not been any significant change with my weight," he laughed, "but I am a lot healthier."

Dany, 27, lives in Meruya, West Jakarta, and works in Mampang, South Jakarta. He covers approximately 15 kilometers to work three times a week.

He had been interested in biking to work and looked for information on the Internet. He found a biking commuters' group, Bike To Work (B2W)-Indonesia. He joined and started biking to work.
B2W-Indonesia is a group dedicated to the pedal-driven vehicle to commute; an answer to traffic congestion and air pollution in a city that consumes at least 6 million kiloliters of fuelannually.
Started in 2004 by cyclists in the capital, the group's membership has rapidly grown in recent years.

Ozy Sjarindra, chief executive of B2W-Indonesia, said the community started with less than 100 members. "We now have more than 4,600 members listed on our website. If unlisted members or unaffiliated bike-to-workers are counted, I believe there are more than 10,000 bike-to-workers in Jakarta," said Ozy, a middle-aged man who rides to work two or three timesa week.
Biking commuters ride up to 35 kilometers each day to their work place from areas such as Bekasi and Tangerang in the city's outskirts.

These cyclists wear sports clothes and carry their work outfits in backpacks. Most take a bath or shower at work, although others simply wipe off and change clothes.

Many of the B2W commuting cyclists form groups based on their residential area or work area and ride together on certain days of the week.

A group called Rombongan Bekasi, for example, rides together on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while Rombongan Selatan, in the south, get together on Wednesdays and Fridays.

There are more than seven large groups in B2W, who all agree that on Fridays they'll ride together forming a long line of bicycles, like snakes slithering through the city.

It is always interesting to see what other cultures are doing about rising gas prices and climate change. These Indonesians might be able to teach us a thing or two about ditching our cars. What a great idea to form a club like theirs to support and encourage each other. They also add a bit of fun to their commutes with their once a week group ride...must be a sight to see a long line of cyclists on their way to work in the morning! ~KT


Marcy said...

I would like to specifically request that this year's Wrencher's Ball last past 5pm. Many commuters work standard 8-5 jobs and can't attend this event unless it extends into the evening.

ThurstonBCC said...

Thanks for your comment Marcy. I will definitely make note of your request. The Wrencher's Ball is run entirely on volunteer help from local bike shop mechanics and other community members filling shifts for a 10 hour day. We provide safety checks to about 100 bikes each year. We do start at 7AM and many people bring them down before their workday starts and pick them up on their lunch break or on their way home. We hope to accomodate as many poeple as we can! Thanks for your interest and I hope the event works out for you this year. We will be posting info on the WB soon.