Now let us hear what you really think about cycling? Is it something you would consider?
For those who think it is too hot to cycle in Penang, here are the Danes cycling in Copenhagen in the snow in below freezing temperatures!
Meanwhile, blog visitor Michael Maguire shares with us his experience of cycling in Penang:
On Monday, two weeks ago, my wife and I set off determined to purchase a set of bicycles.
We walked down the hill and caught the 104 bus from the bus stop outside Island Plaza. After a short time we alighted from the bus on Chulia Street and walked a short distance to a shop in Armenian Street where we know the shopkeeper sells second hand Japanese imports – bikes that is.
He had what seemed a mountain of these bikes, all very similar looking. They were all solid with good disc brakes and a internal wheel hub dynamo to supply power to a front light mounted on the right front fork. However, like any purchase that requires a good body fit, we tested four to five bikes and then decided on two, which the shopkeeper then adjusted the seats and handlebars to fit our two different sizes.
After some tough bargaining, payment and a handshake we were off down the road at a good clip because of the threatening rain storm. What an experience interacting with the cars and motorbikes; however, to their credit all the vehicles bar one (young males in a old car who thought it fun to come up close and toot us) treated us with respect since we made the effort to keep up with the traffic which really was quite slow moving due to the congestion.
After only about thirty minutes, we were back again outside Island Plaza and ready for the challenge of the Jalan Fettes hill. Me being male, of course, had to be a hero and tried not to get off my 3 speed bike – result I am now laid-up with a sore knee, (no hash run for me for a while), but riding along the flat was exhilarating.
The lesson being – get off your bike and push it up the hills, particularly if it has no or few gears and you are not a twenty-year-old. Take your time, enjoy the views; it’s good to slow down and not rush around.
It was great to see the bikers in Copenhagen and their advanced technology for the benefit of cyclists.
I agree with Lim Mah Hui that Penang is an ideal place to cycle and a dedicated cycle lane circumventing the Island would be a worthy goal.
From our experience, the shade of the trees along Kelawei Road provided a much needed respite from the sun; so it was sad to see another tree gone on the corner of Kelawai Road and Cantonment Road.
It was fun to be able to just stop our bikes anywhere, lean them against a wall and enjoy a teh tarik at a coffee shop, or visit a mall and lock the bikes to the metal bars there. Suddenly almost, it seemed like we were once again closer to the people in the street, rather than far removed in an air-conditioned vehicle frustrated at trying to find a car park, or moving so slowly.
One suggestion for when bikes become more popular, and they will, is to instal bicycle parks at significant bus stops, or at certain distances so that bikers can use their bike and if tired use a bus for the remaining part of the journey, or better still, like in the old days, put the bike on the bus and travel with it.
So many benefits. Use up excess body-fat to fuel the bike, get fit as a result, talk to more people, no cost travel after small initial outlay. Hmm think I might sell the car….