Cycling in Penang


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

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Cycling is bodoh in Malaysia.

Don Anamalai

Channel News Asia examines the progress of Singapore Public Transportation Masterplan:

By 2020, the Masterplan is to get its citizen from his front door to his destination within the hour – by using public transport.


Not sure if LGE engages Ho Ching (Temasek boss, wife of Spore PM) on public transport matter during her visit some time back. One thing for sure we knew Penang Gomen has consulted Spore HDB on creating an affordable & integrated housing masterplan at Batu Kawan (Bandar Carissa). I hope YB Chow KY can do a “lawatan sambil belajar” trip to SingLand to incorporate successful public transport plan. As for those who yet to realise SingLand public transport being way of life there, no harm visit there besides exploring the way our local food has been mushrooming there (hope original… Read more »

Don Anamalai

Last October, Channel News Asia examines the challenges of making cycling a more viable option and a way of life in Singapore:

Cyclists can soon find more reasons to hop on their bicycles for leisure, or as a means to commute to work in the future, with a national plan to promote cycling as an alternative mode of transport in the works. Central to that plan is an extensive network of cycling paths to be built across the Singapore island.

We could learn something from Singapore’s experience.


Certainly we could learn from the Singapore experience. Thank you Don for the video link. It is very useful for us to benchmark the effort done in Singapore given the similar environment that we have. I am glad that Penang is taking the fist step to promote cycling in the city ina bid to reduce traffic congestion and contribute towards less carbon emission. Thanks to Anil too to highlight this issue.