Why Ride a Bicycle in Bangkok?
There are major Bangkok traffic problems that nobody can get away from, except a cyclist. In one day you could spend 4 hours or more traveling to and from work by automobile. In one week you could have already lost 24 hours of your life stuck in traffic. A full day! In one day you could spend 100 Thai Baht to travel to and from work. That’s 600 Thai Baht in one work week! Ok, this probably doesn’t sound too bad to some people, but think about what all of that can add up to in a year’s time, 50 days and over 30,000 Thai Baht.
Instead of wasting away those hours and hard-earned money, you could do something much more useful and fun.
Why don’t you try cycling for a distance of 10 kilometers or a maximum of 40 minutes a day. I cycled every province in Thailand (over 8,700km) and the last 20 kilometers from Nonthaburi to Bangkok was the scariest part of my journey. But, I refuse to remain scared of riding in Bangkok because this is my home and I believe someone must start, then a second and third person will follow. If you choose to be scared than nothing will change in this world. Riding a bicycle can help you to save your travel money, fuel cost, taxi fees. And it will help you from having a bad mood, created by crazy taxis and motorbike drivers. More people riding means less pollution in the air. The only thing that you will lose is your sweat, but you will be healthier in return.
Why Choose a Foldable Bicycle?
Very simple. You can take a foldable bicycle on the sky train, subway, airport link and ferry. These public transport systems will definitely make your journey go faster and avoid all the above traffic problems. Personally, I work as a Tour Guide. To meet my customers dripping in sweat is not a good idea. But my foldable bicycle brings me to the skytrain station, and from there straight to my customer’s hotel. This helps me go faster and arrive sooner (or with more sleep) to my place of work. I don’t have to worry about the long motorbike taxi queues, and in the evening I don’t have to worry about what time I will be returning home. Will the skytrain still be going? Or will there be any taxis available to take me home? I just jump on my bicycle and ride off. Oh!! Don’t forget some lights for your bicycle.
In fact, any bicycle that can be folded can be taken on Bangkok’s public transportation systems. But, from my own experience, I think Strida is very easy to fold (maybe not the first couple times). When you finish folding the size of a Strida bicycle it is quite small and you can still roll it around easily. In rush hour, when people are packed in the skytrain, do not be surprised if you see the “LOOK” of some of the people in the skytrain. They probably want to say “Are you serious?” or “No, no, no, this is already full.” All I can say to you is push it in and DO NOT CARE (but do take care). The size of this bicycle after folding is smaller than a baby’s pram, rolling suitcase, and most fat people.
I would recommend you practice riding your Strida in a safe area first before you take it out on the street. The handlebar is not as wide as a normal bicycle’s, so it is a bit of a different feeling to compare with riding a normal sized bicycle. Do not worry, after a while you will get use to it. My first few times riding over the speed bumps I really didn’t know how to deal with it, and I ended up doing wheelies. I’m glad that I didn’t fall off the bicycle. To prevent this my trick is very simple, when you ride over a speed bump put a little extra pressure on the handlebar and you will not do a wheelie. Ha ha! Strida comes with single or 3 speed gears, and there is a different price for the different models. My Strida is a single gear model. It feels weird at first, but you will eventually realize that you do not need to ride with gears in Bangkok because with all of the traffic you can’t get going very fast anyway. The tipping point for me to buy this bicycle was the Belt Drive. Most bicycles will use an oily chain, which requires maintenance and mucky lube. I didn’t want my work pants and legs to be dirty when I arrived to work and the belt drive system pretty much guarantees that my clothes are nice and clean when I arrive.
After using my Strida for over 2 months now I am very used to this bicycle. When I bought it, the shop owner showed me a dozen times how to fold it, which took him less than 15 seconds. When I tried, lets just say…. it took me a few minutes. I had no idea which section goes with what and where. This was my first homework for this new bicycle. Now I can fold it and look very professional doing it, but it took time. The first few times I tried to fold it in a public area (skytrain station or in a hotel lobby) people would always come and watch me. Some people even said it looked like I was doing a magic trick. I was very embarrassed, mostly because it would take me so long, at first. I still remember what the shop owner told me on the day that I bought it, “It doesn’t matter how much you’ve sweated, it is all about how long you take to fold it. If it is more than 30 seconds, I recommend you just carry it.” He was joking of course, but I do feel a lot cooler when I do it fast and my Strida is folded and ready to roll in only a few quick moments.
Article and photos by Natt
If you are interested to know more about Strida brand foldable bicycles check out One Fine Day in Bangkok.
ลองหันมาปั่นจักรยานดูดีไหม ระยะทางแค่ 10 กิโลเมตร ใช้เวลาเต็มที่ 40 นาที โอเค ไม่เถียงนะว่าปั่นจักรยานในกรุ
ง่ายมาก เพราะจักรยานพับสามารถเอาขึ้น รถไฟฟ้า รถไฟใต้ดิน แอร์พอร์ทลิงค์ และเอาลงเรือได้ด้วย จักรยานพับช่วยให้คุณเดินทางเร็
Article and photos by Natt (ณัฐรีย์)