Sunday, August 26, 2012

The Social or Fun Ride

Does social ride helps you to have the confidence to take the streets?

The more you ride on the road, the more confidence you become. You will understand the challenges and dangers of commuting on the road as well as how traffic responds to cyclists. Personally, I feel that all those social rides with the marshals and police escort will not help much for you to gain the confidence when you are riding alone on the road.

Yes, I could agree on the security point on view. However, during social rides with marshals and police escort around, with all the roads closed, we tend to enjoy more on the ride rather than thinking much about learning to negotiate with traffic. Social rides for recreational purposes are not meant to educate so much about road safety. It’s  just, we wanna have fun thingy.

How about social rides without all those helps? The group rides organized by those informal groups and clubs. As far as I know, all those rides are meant for sports and recreational purposes. It focuses more on performances and burning fats rather than on road safety. Yeah, maybe it might help in a small way but personally I think we need something more formal to teach people on how to ride safe on the road. We need a classroom sessions like the one when we are getting our driving license. We need practical trainings in a simulation situation. Remember long time ago we had the Shell Road Safety Contest?

When we have social ride with all those escort, we tend to send the message to other road users, Hey...look… it's fun to ride a bike, so come and join us! NOT so much to tell them, Hey...look…we are part of traffic, so do respect us when we cycle alone...yea. The problem here is we are marketing cycling as a sport and recreation thingy. Not so much as an alternative need transportation.

Will the cyclists clad in lycra clothing really earn the respect of other road users? Actually there is no need to. Just wear your daily clothes when you cycle. To earn the respect of motorists here, when we ride alone, we need to send the message that… Hey...I ride because I choose to ride not because I don't have a choice like the migrant workers. It will take time to change that kind of perception, and the way to do that is by
marketing bicycle as an alternative need transportation.

Riding as a transport


Anonymous said...

I hope you didn't demean these migrant workers riding a bike. I am sure they have a choice. Could've walked or taken the bus, but chose to bike.

I used to like interested in joining those social rides, but I find these so superficial. As a daily commuter, I don't dress in Lycra and wear helmet. I am a slow rider. I am a commuter. I am dressed in street clothes.

I do agree we have a long way to go to have bicycle
as alternative transportation. Government still do not recognized us commuter. For example, what is MBPJ doing building a network of cycling paths connecting parks? Who will cycle up and down hilly terrain to go somewhere?

MPSJ finding housing back lanes as cycling path? Only for recreation. Some newer housing estates in KL/Selangor don't even provide for a safe pedestrian walkway.

So, it is up to us to help ourselves to cycle safely, thru maze of housing estate, trying to avoid main roads of high traffic. I live in Cheras, I still have no idea how to cycle safely to puchong or PJ without risking my life.

Anonymous said...

I have been cycling to work for more than 4 years now. It helps me be a better weekend cyclist for recreation or in a group.

Cycling to work shaped my road safety attitudes. I just want to get to work and back home safely everyday.

Anonymous said...

i cycle for recreation. but i do wear the safety gear i.e. helmet, cycling pants (but with shorts over) and gloves. since i had experience of cycling on tour in group and now currently alone, I guess I picked up safety tips along the way. i mean its the same as driving, be a defensive driver/cyclist. just that its more risky being on a bike, so we just have to take more caution.

Alan Tan said...

A bike commuter plus weekend warrior from Penang here. It doesn't matter what to wear during bike commuting IMHO. What matters is to oneself visible to motorist. I tend to wear something bright in color during bike commuting. And yes, we are not immune to traffic law. I have seen others on bicycle flaunting the law just because they thought they do not need to follow it. Little do they know that they have set a bad example and not been fair to other cyclists who choose to abide by the law. Just my two sens.

azizan abd aziz said...

In fact the foreign workers are the one that gave me the idea to start cycling to work:-) Perhaps you could recce the safe route with a motorbike first to get to Puchong or PJ. If you want to cycle, I would recommend to do it on weekend or public holiday as the traffic is not that busy.