Blog guest Michael shares with us his experience of cycling in Penang:
Currently my wife and I cycle regularly to/from our home in Pepper Estate.
The bicycles we have are second-hand Japanese imports and were bought about eight months ago in Armenian street. They have three gears and both bikes run well. We brought the bikes for RM550.
We enjoy the round trip from Pepper Estate to George Street, and can park them anywhere; enjoying a stop to view the sights, or have a teh tarik or kopi wherever we like.
There are no deadlines to keep and no cost involved. In fact, apart from breathing in the haze on many days, our fitness levels and weight loss just have to be good for us.
This decision (for a bike share system) is to be applauded if it contributes to a reawakening of Penangites to the benefits of cycling for leisure and for getting to /from work. I agree with Kevin that it needs to go beyond the tourist belt to attract locals to use it and help make it viable.
What does irk me however, is that activities have to be turned into business-making ventures, i.e turn a profit before they are deemed viable.
What is wrong with the State Government running an efficient bike network through the most populated parts of the island? Those who are well off can buy their own bikes and those who fit the State’s criteria for a bike subsidy also get to bike wherever they want to.
The State can ensure the bicycle lanes are smooth, well marked, wide enough, have traffic lights giving preference to bicycles and deliver heavy penalties to any car that infringes on the cyclists. That way we may see a revolution … healthier, fitter people, less pollution, less cars (and their massive drain on the world’s resources) … back to the not-so-distant past whizzing us into the future.
Soon roads can revert to being narrower, with trees once again being planted along grass verges, providing shade for the cyclists and cooling the Island down. Even the highways could be planted out with grass and trees and redundant highways could be turned into playgrounds.
Get on yer bike, Penangites
They don’t need to be fancy types
Two wheels, some spokes, a handle bar
Two or so brakes, two tubes
and you, you and you are rolling
Batu Ferringhi to The Quay less than an hour or more
no worry no hurry one