These days, as cycling journalist, Carlton Reid points out, there seems to be a lot of press coverage of the "bike boom" caused by higher petrol prices. As if riding is something you do if you are too poor to afford a car and rising petrol prices.
Even the Straits Times recently ran a story about people turning to other modes of transport like buses and bicycles because of the fuel hike (er, the Straits Times article kept saying the dude rides a Strida folding bike, but the photos were of a Brompton leh).
Not that I am unhappy to see bicycles being mentioned in mainstream media, but like Carlton Reid says, surely this bicycling thing is not only about economics and petrol prices. I started cycling not because of car prices, or petrol prices, or even the environment. I did it because it was fun. I continue to do it, more than ever, because it is fun.
Saving money and the environment, and getting healthier — all just icing on the cake.
It got so fun for me that I went from riding to work daily, to riding to the MRT for longer distances, to riding all the bloody way to my destinations.
Was it to save those few dollars on the MRT? Nah. I just enjoyed the longer rides because the rides to work were no longer far enough. Tak shiok.
It got so fun that I sold the damn car which was getting to be a pain to maintain. It just made no sense, economic or otherwise, to have a car I just drove to work every day, only to be parked there for 8 to 12 hours a day (which I paid season parking for), and then driving it home.
I wouldn't say I am car-free, as I still sometimes drive a shared car on weekends. But I am certainly less dependent on it. I am car-light.
I am no environmentalist, or health nut, or bicycle athlete. Just a regular bloke who enjoys riding and decided to make it my primary means of transport.
And who is not bothered as much any more, when the pump prices go up, or when parking prices go up, or when another ERP gantry goes up.
And who is seeing, hearing and smelling my country like never before, all because I got out of the cage of my car, and onto my 2 wheels.
Because it was fun.
P.S. If you think riding is fun for me, wait till you try scooting to nearby shops and an MRT station less than 1.5km away on a Xootr kick scooter.
P.P.S. That is a Cruiser bike I was riding for The WTF! Show, tv editon. Lovely to look at, quite a beast to ride (coaster brakes, weighs a ton, a little difficult to control). But once you get used to it, it was fun (there's that word again) to ride. Just don't try it up Mount Faber, as I did on the show.