In Indonesia, cycling becomes “cool and sophisticated”

Holis Sarbeni from West Java, Indonesia believes in the power of cycling. He wants his country to embrace biking as a form of practical transportation like what’s happening in the Netherlands and Denmark.

“My fellow countrymen appeared to be car-centric. Bicycles were viewed as vehicles for poor men. So most people avoided riding bikes for transportation because they didn’t want to be regarded as poor,” said Holis.

But thanks to the recent interest of Indonesia’s middle class towards “biking to work,” the perception of their society regarding utility cycling has been changing. Holis added that “biking to work” successfully turned the notion of cycling into something “cool and sophisticated.”

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen a spike in the number of Indonesians using bicycles as a form of recreation. Cycling as a form of sport quickly became popular.

Holis noted that in Indonesia, “roads are full of cyclists especially during the weekend. As a result, bicycles are becoming expensive to buy.”

Of course, it’s still far from how the Dutch and Danish are doing it in their countries. But through little steps (or should we say a few pedals), Indonesia can get there.

We asked Holis why everyone should ride a bike.

“I think the most important reason why we should cycle is that cycling is really undeniably good for our health and environment,” he said. “Ride your bike now!”

Photo courtesy of Holis Sarbeni

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