While Cart and I were passing the Lakeside MRT station, we both saw a most interesting sight – it was a double tiered bicycle stand and it made us so intrigued, we had to stop and look closer.
I liked how rather space efficient it is. You could put twice the amount of bicycles in the same amount of space. I remember some years back, the area would be all full of bicycles, haphazardly strewn around. This looks so much tidier.
We were puzzled however, on how it functions though. Are you supposed to lift the bicycle up on the second tier yourself? That sounds challenging for me, considering that a regular bicycle can weigh about 10 – 20 kg.
It was only later that we found out that you could pull and slide out a lever to the ground where you could just push the bicycle in. Genius! And I think it’s free to use too.
There is also an interesting way how bicycles are parked in Japan, which I really like. Here is a video explaining about the process. It’s about 4 minutes long, but I was so impressed the entire duration.
The service is not free, but the good thing is, the bicycles will be protected from natural elements such as rain, and also the risk of thieves running off with it.
I really like that there are so many people around the world that use the bicycle to commute. I think it’s a very cost effective way as well as a very healthy way of travelling. It’s not only an Asian phenomenon, but also in certain European countries such as Finland, where Juli was at, not too long ago. And she told me how almost everyone there cycled everywhere.
I don’t really see much of this in Rome though. Not to say that there isn’t, there are. But the amount is minuscule. It seems that most prefer to commute using cars or scooters. I don’t even see kids and teenagers using bicycles to get to school. Instead, the vehicle of choice (apart from public transportation) would be a 50cc scooter or a those 50cc microcars.
It probably has got to do with the frequent strikes that we have in Rome that makes people lose faith in taking public transportation. Or perhaps the risk of bad weather in Autumn and Winter.
I myself don’t have a bicycle as I travel a significant amount of distance, which makes a scooter (or the car when it is raining) more practical.
Nevertheless, I’d love to have my own bicycle (one with a pannier would be ideal) at least for going around the neighbourhood, getting some groceries and whatnots – it doesn’t seem to make sense wasting petrol just for the sake of getting some milk and bread.
In any case, I see more and more people in my neighbourhood each day, taking bicycles while going around. It’s a good sign.