22 July 2009

To bike or not to bike

A friend's recent conversion from public transportation to biking for commute reminded me of the one dilemma I've been struggling with for almost a year. To bike or not to bike. Her conversion was relatively easy. She lives in Washington DC and between her and her girlfriend, they had four bikes that I saw when I visited. My scenario, not so simple.

Despite the fact that we are talking about an Asian city, Bangkok is not a biking city. First, there are no shoulders on the streets. Second, there are no reliable sidewalks that haven't been treated more like a plot of land for mobile street storefronts than a strip for pedestrians to walk safely out of the street. Between one and two, there is no consistent area or side that a biker can conceivably stick to.

Oh, I haven't even started on the motorised vehicles. Road stripes? Decoration. If they still exist. A three lane street? May well be a four lane one. Or a two lane with two and a half additional lanes of taxi and bus pull over. The motorcycles, probably are the worst danger, really. They weave in and out of lanes, between cars, onto the sidewalk, whichever way they can fine space to avoid coming to a stop.

So to bike or not to bike? Despite all this.. I'd get the basic bike with a basket on front. Like those bikes you envision people riding leisurely through the French countryside. That's right. I don't actually own a bike right now. I haven't had one in years because...

I'm horrible on a bike. I have scars to prove it. My last bike was used the grand total of once. Then I left it tied to the balcony, for the squirrels to have a feast off the handles. My last year of biking while in college? On each separate occasion, I hit a car door, got my front wheel stuck on a crack and went heels over head in a somersault, got pushed off a sidewalk into oncoming traffic. I gladly gave my bike away.

Yes, now, I want a bike. A cherry red one. With basket a on the front.

2 comments:

this.scott said...

The trick is to find out which big hotels and condos have parking lots/driveways you can cut through or alleys to stay off sukhumvit. From Soi 11 to the wife's building (yours?) I think i was on Sukumvit for a block and a half. I might have a google earth file of the route, if i can find it, will shoot it your way.

Jane said...

I didn't know you biked around town. I would definitely love to see the route. I'm on 16 but any little bit helps. Now, next.. where to get a bike...