Sunday, March 02, 2008

Cycling: the adventure continues

Merida Matts SUB 40D

The pic above shows my new bike. Yes, just bought it a week ago.

So far, it has followed me everywhere daily. I put it in the trunk of my car and take it out when time, and weather, permits me to ride it.

To say that she's the new love of my life would be putting it a bit too strong. Besides, somehow I think it wouldn't go down too well with the Mem Besar.

So far I have gone on three rides with her, all right after work. I shall write about our little escapades together.

For now, I shall just give an intro to my 'cycling career'.

I started learning to ride when I was about 4 or 5 I think in Kampong Kepayang (where else), my maternal grandmother's place.

I remember there were two bikes at her house. One belonged to Tok Hussein which he used to ride to the mosque and around the kampong. This was an old Raleigh with a horizontal bar right across the frame (guy's bike).

The other was a normal (ladies bike) which was often used by my Makngah, I think. And this was the one which my brothers and I used to fight over to ride. After fighting off my brothers Mi and Man, I'd spend long happy hours riding around the kampong, excited at the new-found freedom that the bike afforded me. Sometimes, if I was feeling generous, I'd give them a ride.

When I studied in England I never went into cycling. The weather was to cold and windy for that. I kid you not. The windswept coast of Blackpool is not a place you'd want to cycle, especially during winter when the Irish Sea slams the town with rain and storms.

But when I furthered my studies in Japan I had the chance to renew my 'romance' with bikes, so to speak.

Japan is very bike friendly. But Tsukuba City, the place where my family and I stayed, was super-friendly. For, Tsukuba is a new town with properly laid out roads, as well as, pedestrian and cycling paths. Its heavan for cyclists.

The conducive environment means that people here cycle wherever and whenever they can. Professors, housewives, students, they all do it without any qualms whatsoever.

I remember after sending Sakinah and Syafiq to youchien (Japanese kindergarten) I would park my car at our home and rush to classes on a red bike. It was so easy. It was a breeze, literally, what with the cold, fresh morning air brushing against my face.

The quality in design of facilities and landscape treatment of course makes it a joy to ride. This is what we need more in Malaysia given our hot and humid climate. The other thing is of course a well-planned, integrated system which is barrier-free.

Let's hope more townships in Malaysia will be planned to be cyclists-friendly.

In the mean time, enjoy some photos of bike-friendly Tsukuba.

Tsukuba City Central Library is located along the main cycling route

Central Library bicycle parking area

Flea market on main cycling route

Bollards and proper crossing system

Maps along the routes

Crossing system

1 comment:

KotaStar said...

Dear Azizi
Thank you for the fresh view of cycling as a hobby and culture of development.It would be great if people at Putrajaya take to cycling as a grand start to popularise the trend. I know you have made a start but many more esp schools should make it compulsory' As a start it has the facilities you mentioned and no heavy traffic.
When I was attending my Form VI in Penang I rode my bicycle ( a Releigh) from Penang to Alor Star during the term break. Only 4 hrs I think. It saved me the bus fare.