Have you ever imagine to cycling in polluted cities like Jakarta? Of course not! Most people prefer to use their own car or motorcycle to conquer the traffic in Jakarta. Forget the public transportation which is unreliable, not comfortable, and not safe. With down payment only Rp.2,000,000 (about US$205), you could buy brand new Yamaha Mio, the most common motorbike in the city. There are 14 million vehicles in Jakarta, its exceed the citizen of Jakarta it self which about 11 million people who live in 740.3 km² area. No wonder that Jakarta is so crowded. Stressful traffic jam, ‘crazy’ motorists which like scramble eggs in streets, bajaj, angkot and buses which stop and go whenever and where ever they want, made Jakarta became unfriendly city for cyclist and pedestrian.
If you live in suburb, such as Bekasi, Tangerang, or Depok, you must go to the office before the sun rise, so you don’t want to get stuck in traffic. Actually it’s the only way to get to your office on time 😀
I live in South Jakarta, 20 km from my office in Central Jakarta. If I have to bring my car to the office, I must start driving at half past five and arrive at the office an hour later with no traffic jam. The situation change in the evening after office hour. If I go home on time at five o’clock, I’ll arrive at seven o’clock. It takes two-hour drive by car, only ten kmh average speed. Amazing!
So, how about cycling? Is it possible thing to do in crowded city like Jakarta? Could you breath with all of the polluted air from million of vehicle mufflers? Is it comfortable and safe to cycling with many motorbikes, buses, and cars around us?
Well, I always cycling everyday to my office. It’s 40 km daily ride.
It only takes 70 minutes from my house to my office. I hit the road at six o’clock in the morning and arrive at the office at ten past seven. After work, I go home at five o’clock and reach home safely at ten past six in the evening, which is impossible to do if I went home by car. I feel happy and enjoy my trip every single day. Its like a child who go out and play with his bicycle. Freedom! Especially free from traffic jam! It is often to see expatriate commute in Kemang, Sudirman, and Kuningan with their bike.
Find your comfortable route by Google Maps, and try it on weekend. Wear a mask to minimize pollution. Put on your glasses, helmet and shoes for your safety and don’t forget to wear colorful clothes and get some head and tail lights for your bike if you want to go home at sundown. Do you want to have some adrenaline rush? Speeding on HR Rasuna Said Fast lane or Sudirman-Thamrin fast lane is a good idea:p Usually in the evening, I speed up my bike on HR Rasuna Said fast lane and cycling through the heavy traffic.
You can also find friends that have same commuter routes. So, by cycling together with your friends, it’s more safe, feel secured, and more enthusiast to commute by bike. Join Bike 2 Work mailing list or mention on twitter to have new friends to commute with. Those are some tips to commute in Jakarta.
There are many benefits to go to work by bicycle. It’s faster than car, free from traffic, go green, no need to pay for gasoline and expensive parking fee, and more healthy (if you choose less polluted route and wear mask). I don’t have much time to exercise, so by cycling to the office every day, I get enough sports and feel more fresh. What are you waiting for? Get on your bike and start pedaling 🙂