Saturday, 5 June 2010

Cycling in Indonesia

Not too bad, the main roads are usually good quality and quite well maintained, but the layers of metalling mean you can get a disconcerting rounded shoulder, so need to keep away from the edge. Also the layers of metalling means there is a bit of drop off to the dirt. When it rained the slippery greasy slope started to scare me, I've slick tyres on this bike. Still the rain was great and refreshing, although I got pretty filthy. Another oddity, the ad hoc warning sign on the road is to stick a piece of foliage on your car. Interesting, one might think of it as camouflage... Cars are fast, but the slow lane is dominated by mopeds, so its generally not as bad as it would be (in the UK for instance). Mopeds carry massive loads, looks like desks, and 6ft long posts across the bike, but as these come up behind you have to rely on the common sense and skill of the rider. In fact the driving isn't bad, although passed by hundreds of cars I didn't have the bad experiences of drivers that I would probably have in the UK for that volume. 'Fraid the proportion of nutters in the UK is growing faster than elsewhere. Many bikes carry two (a lesson in vehicle efficiency the UK could learn). Many families, mum, dad, and one or two children in the middle. One moped had a guy playing a guitar in the back. Hmmmm live music from the back seat. You can often have a chat with them at the junctions. Pretty nice way of getting round, they are usually very friendly and interested in the bike.

In the city just heavy traffic and dual carriageways. Road names are visible, but without any sort of map you just have to ask people the way, everyone wants to help but only 30% have the language skills to do so. Hmmmm, seems that 'Stan' is the generic name for foreigners, maybe I misheard. Maybe British soldiers from Singapore were always 'Stan'. (Actually now I think its 'Mister', just caught the final syllable).

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