Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cycling Everywhere

Hmm..the electric scooter on The Star does look pretty promising. All it does is running on electricity generated from lead acid battery, hence you got to charge it to run. While it doesn't consume petrol, it does not mean that the cost of running the scooter is way much cheaper than running a petrol equivalent machine. Electricity comes with a cost as well.

The only real free from fuel vehicle is the bicycle, powered by your legs.

Having to cycle around for the past few weeks, I've discovered a few things:

1. Kuala Lumpur is actually pretty small. Klang valley is not as big as it looks like. I've cycled the furthest to Shah Alam (took around 1 hour from KL). In fact if you want to travel within KL, it's much faster on a 2 wheeler compared to cars. I had whizzed by Jln Sultan Ismail, while the cars piled up in a bumper to bumper crawl. And finding parking space is free, and convenient. Just find a pole, and lock in your bike.

2. Cycling exposes your senses to your surroundings. Driving and cycling along the road is 2 different experience. You get exposed to sunshine, dust, noise, smells that you won't get while driving. While sometimes exhaust gets in your face, you feel connected to your place and time you are in. Driving cut all that off in your comfortable, airconditioned small confined space.

3. You get sweaty. I don't deny this is kind of troubling. But you could look it from another point of view. What's wrong with getting sweaty? You had put in the energy and effort to move from point A to point B by your own power, and in the process, get a bit healthier. To solve this problem, just get another piece of new shirt and packed in plastic. Change when you get to your destination.

Look at it this way. Our population is getting bigger. People need to get around. But buying cars and building more highways is not the most cost effective solution. A typical house in KL has 2 or 3 more cars. One each for mom and dad, and the third for the teen who had just gotten his/her license.

Government needs to build a good public transport system (bus, MRT), so we don't need cars as the base line of traveling around. Roads needs to be friendly for 2 wheelers like bicycles, and motor bikes, to promote usage. Cars actually takes up a lot of road space causing traffic jams.

Here's a comparison of spaces it takes to transport 72 person.

So, get a bicycle and pedal around for a start.


KeatSeong said...

dude, as much as i love cycling... it would take a hell lot out of people to start cycling to work and everywhere else... we live in a valley where the favourite passtime is going to malls and going out for food... no way people are going to cycle out to the mall, movies, dinner, lunch, mamak etc etc ... :P

yipwt said...

keat seong,

Well...somebody got to start it. I already have.

We can start small. Cycle to nearby places like shops, and places to eat. And it's important to support our local mom and pop shop instead of tesco and carrefour.

Every time you cycle instead of driving, you save fuel, and time stuck in jams.

azizan fixie said...

Hi Yipwt

Nice article:-) agreed with you. I have started cycling to work, running errands and meeting friends for "teh tarik" for quite sometime already. Really enjoy it. If we don't start it, who else will? Now my bike has become my first choice of transport. It's the most efficient and economical.