Entering the sixth year of my biking to work
This July 2013 I have been doing the so-called ‘saving environment’ effort : bike to work for more than five years! This writing is, in fact, the English version of my writing a year ago. You can click the Bahasa Indonesia version here. :)
It all started on 26 June 2008 where some people including me gathered together at Budianto’s (also nicknamed ‘Budenk’) house, not far from my dwelling. There were around 10 people at that time, but I don’t really remember who they were. Some people I remember were Budianto, Triyono, Nasir, Firman, my sister, and me. I didn’t have my own bike yet, just a bike given by my brother in the beginning of 1990s.
Using that bike – brand ‘winner’, produced around the same era when ‘federal’ bike was booming in Indonesia – I started my ‘history’ to bike to work. It was not an easy decision to make though since I thought biking to work was a not popular thing to do (yet). It would be a ridiculous thing to do for a teacher, like me. :( However, since biking to work was an obligatory for someone who joined a ‘bike to work community (so I thought), I decided to do it. It was not easy for the very first time, having to answer people’s questions why I did that, having to bear people’s looking at me weirdly, and stuff like that. J I felt a bit shy if my students asked me, “why biking to work?” J
|first time joining offroad biking|
In the middle of November 2008, I got a loving surprise from my buddies in B2W Semarang community: a mountain bike made by wimcycle! Wow! (Read the post here, n bahasa Indonesia) They had two reasons to buy this cute bike I nicknamed ‘Orange’ at the beginning then I changed it into ‘Orenj’ (just exactly like the pronunciation of ‘orange’ LOL) because I wanted to avoid the confusion of the meaning of ‘Orange’. In English ‘orange’ means the color of orange, just like the color of the bike. However, in informal Bahasa Indonesia, ‘orange’ means ‘the person’. The first reason was the ‘winner’ bike was too high for me who is only 150 cm tall. J The second reason was they wanted me to be able to join them in offroad adventure since ‘winner’ was no longer in good condition. At that time, spending Sundays going offroad biking was the favorite thing to do.
You can say maybe because I got a new bike, I got more enthusiastic to bike to work! With ‘bike-to-work’ tag under the seatpost, I felt like I was one heroine to save the environment since I tried reducing the pollution as well as the dependency on the fossil fuel. I should be proud to do that, shouldn’t I? J I didn’t need to feel shy to bike to work, did I?
FYI, I work for two institutions. In the morning, I work for a Permata Bangsa International School. The school is located quite far from my house, around 9 kilometer, and the location is around 190 m above sea level. In the evening, I work for LIA English course. The course is located very close to my house, only around 2,5 kilometer and the track is flat. As a newbie, I could not easily bike to the school due to the location which is 190 m above sea level. As a result, I biked to work only in the evening, only to the English course.
B2W Semarang community became more active in making Semarang roads be more friendly toward cyclists since we saw that there were more and more cyclists. It means more and more people realized to participate in reducing pollution and using fossil fuel. We proved it by having talk show to force Semarang municipal government to have bike lanes. We did it twice in 2010. Finally we proudly announced that the bike lanes were indeed made come true in the end of 2011.
Meanwhile, I started being challenged to bike long distance. With more people joining B2W Semarang community – with its new division ‘Komselis’ (folding bike cyclists Semarang community) – I participated in some events held out of town. Let us say JOGJA ATTACK event held 5-6 March 2011 where the participants biked from Jogja to Borobudur temple Magelang. Then, B2W Semarang community itself held long distance biking, such as biking from Semarang to Kudus (April 2011) and Semarang to Jepara (May 2011).
By joining some events I mentioned above, I met a ‘partner’ in biking: Ananda Ranz from Solo. With Ranz, since June 2011, we biked from one town to another, only both of us. Since we did it for days, we called our experience as ‘bikepacking’ (‘quoting’ from backpacking traveler). We went bikepacking from Solo – Jogja; Semarang – Jepara – Karimun Jawa – Jepara – Semarang; Solo – Wonogiri – Nampu beach – Solo, Semarang – Tuban, etc.
With more experiences in biking, I challenged myself to – eventually – bike to work to the school where I work in the morning! In the middle of 2012, I started challenging myself to do it around twice until three times a week. Biking for 9 kilometer and going uphill until 190 m above sea level (now 230 m above sea level after the school moved to the new location which is higher than the previous one) to go to work is no longer impossible to do. Hope I can inspire more people to bike to work despite the track!
This is my second writing to celebrate my biking to work ‘anniversary’. Keep biking. Keep the environment clean. Keep being healthy.
GG – IB 15.55 10/07/13
Versi Bahasa Indonesia bisa dilihat di link ini.
Versi Bahasa Indonesia bisa dilihat di link ini.