Best Steel Toe Boots That Are Fashionable For Engineer Indonesia’s 2020 Biking Craze Explained

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Indonesia’s 2020 Biking Craze Explained

Walk into any bicycle shop in Jakarta and you will find that the bikes are either sold out or the shop representative is too busy to answer you – either because they have a lot on their plates to answer orders or they have too busy fixing bikes. If you’re wondering why that is, it’s because Indonesians are ditching shopping malls and taking up cycling as their new pastime.

In 2020, data collected by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy stated that bicycle usage has increased by 1,000%, as cited in Star news. Oddly enough, not too long ago in early 2019, journalists expressed their disappointment at how little attention was given to the cycling community and how Jakarta and its municipalities were not a cycling and pedestrian friendly city. PichayadaPromchertchoo, of Channel News Asia, explicitly expressed his concern about this. But in 2020, attention to cycling has made a 180-degree turn, as almost every household in Indonesia now owns a bicycle and actively uses it. More and more people are slowly shifting their hobbies towards cycling and the reason why is perhaps a bit more abstract.

Cycling has been in Indonesia before it was even a country

To understand the cycling craze in Indonesia, it is important to briefly understand the history of cycling in Indonesia and the role it played before independence.

In Tetske T. Van der Wal’s novel, “I thought you should know”, she documented her grandparents’ life in the Dutch East Indies and partly praised the Dutch for their ideas. She brought up how influential the Dutch were in introducing first world inventions to the East Indies. Clever Dutch engineers, as described by Van der Wal, introduced roads, bridges, railways and of course bicycles and subsequently velodromes.

The bicycle was first used in Indonesia by the Indian military, but it was soon used for other activities as a means of getting from point A to point B. However, there was a catch to it.

One caveat to cycling for Indonesians was that it was limited to wealthy Dutch aristocrats. Bicycles were expensive, prestigious items and were a symbol of wealth and power that could only be enjoyed by a small minority of rulers. Fast forward to the 50s, the Dutch had already pulled out of Indonesia, but left their technology behind. Due to the political climate at the time, Sukarno had banned Western products from entering Indonesia, including European and American-made bicycles. But this in turn left a void and the market for locally made bikes was filled by Chinese-Indonesians, as stated by the website ‘Bike for Dad’ from Chungkalong University, Thailand.

Bicycles began to lose popularity in the 60s and 70s, with the introduction of motorcycles and automobiles. They began to go out of fashion and were no longer a convenient form of transportation. What was once a cutting edge invention was no longer àla mode. The problem is that Van der Wal’s grandparents didn’t realize how big a craze cycling would be 80 years later.

In Syaiful Afif’s research paper “The Rising of Middle Class in Indonesia: Opportunity and Challenge”, he predicted in 1998 that there would be 85 million people in the consuming class by 2020. He was right. Indonesia’s middle class has more money to spend than ever, and that has probably helped spur at least one industry: bicycles.

Despite no more car-free days Nowadays, more people cycle than ever before. The answer to this phenomenon: Coronavirus. With new restrictions on how many people can fit in a car and closed shopping malls, people are starting to come up with new ideas on how to deal with boredom and spend their money. In addition, the roads are also quieter. There is also agreement that cycling will keep you fitter, and being fit is a good way to fight the coronavirus – although research shows otherwise. Pollution levels have also fallen to an all-time low, according to data from IQAir. Recent data showed that Jakarta’s air had an air quality index (AQI) of only 74 on average (July 2020). All these factors came together nicely and thus resulted in the new cycling fashion.

Cycling has now seen a resurgence and is fast becoming Indonesia’s favorite past time. But the reasons are more than just a “past time” to do when teenagers are bored or when office workers are idle at home.

What is different from then and now? Cycling has changed to become a form of identity – it is a way for individuals to feel part of a community and have a sense of belonging. The uniforms that some groups wear when they ride can be compared to that of Harley Davidson groups or even more extreme groups such as American west coast gangsters and the punk subculture. It symbolizes a kind of camaraderie, just like any other sports team. It is an unwritten agreement to ride together and be friends.

Much like how cycling became associated with status, wealth and power during the Dutch colonial period, it has re-emerged to have its own branding, not necessarily about wealth, but about health, fitness, camaraderie and solidarity – which are important values ​​for Indonesians. The filter known as social media has helped spread these values ​​to younger Indonesians which in turn spread to other groups and this is where we are today and just like how everyone has a different Harley, everyone has their own unique bike, which can tell a story about the person himself.

This is why cycling has had a more powerful presence because we live in times where we lean on each other for support instead of being individualistic. Helping each other has meant so much more recently, and cycling serves as a channel to express these ideas of solidarity. It is also an activity that appeals to everyone, something not just for rich aristocrats, but we take bicycles for granted today, but we should remember that at one time, bicycles were seen as first world technology introduced to the new world . What we consider today a primitive form of transportation was once considered a marvelous feat of engineering. Right now, it is uncertain whether this hype will continue, or whether it will once again become a relic of history, a mere fad that was “fun in its day” but never taken seriously.

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