Bike2Work : A Biker’s Sharing Story

by: Pu  Mekpipat

I am one of those who “bike to work” jointly with traveling by BTS.  Many may take it for unbelievable for death challenging activity! So today I would like to share with you that it is quite possible and safe to bike along the road with proper awareness, and certainly not be mindless.

And I share to you my personal experiences as the Bangkok biker for “almost everyday” from April 2010 until the entering month to 2018, which is of over 7 years.  

This abnormal thinking actually came from my defeated heart toward Bangkok road traffics for which I sacrificed my mental health behind my car’s wheel for years and years.  Then on one great day in April 2010 I decided to “Bike to Work” after a period of information studying and being warned by many friends of possible dangerous accidents.  They said “It’s dangerous! Are you mad? 

I nonetheless, get one foldable bicycle which has changed my life since then. 

In that year I started biking from my condo on Sukhumvit 77 road to change into BTS at the beginning of On Nuj (there was no extension part to Baring then).  It was the “first daily BTS round” at about 6.00 am. with less passengers.  I folded my bicycle to keep it at the back of the train driver for not disturbing other passengers.  Almost at the end of the route – at Saphan Kwai station, I left BTS for another 3 km. biking to reach my office at Bang Sue.  It’s no sweating trip!

Such a trip was of approximately the same time of driving to work, but with a better health and having almost 200 baht daily left in my pocket. 

For investment perspective... I did get the bicycle money back within the first 5 months.  I could save 5,000 baht monthly from not paying for gasoline and easy pass.  I only paid some 1,000 bath monthly for BTS pass-card, Additionally, I’ve gained what I’ve never expected…. the “free time”  

  • Time... to be with my family while the others are still frustrating behind the wheel 
  • Time... for more rest, and 
  • Time... for reading those books I bought from the Bookfairs Weeks, about one hour daily on BTS.

Then the rest is for my gaining profits.  I keep biking during the weekend all around Bangkok…..into those small lanes I never realize they do locate here in Bangkok.  

Well, moreover, I dared to bike with one of my friend….from Bangkok to Chiang Mai….within a few years, later on. 

Currently, I am living in Praves area and still “Bike to Work”, but instead of BTS I’m riding the Airport Rail link.  I’m still getting on the “first round of the daily riding” then transfer to the MRT at Petchburi station for arriving at Bangsue station.  So I’m more or less of the same travelling facility. 

Today, while I’m writing this article my mind is on my 7th year biker anniversary with another 4 new bicycles.  My personal ideology is to have Thai people pay more attention to daily biking.  I’ve once read about Bogota, the capital city of Columbia where the strong leader announced that Bogota was the city of bicycle and allocated more space for biking:  Apparently, criminal incident had reduced by a real interesting rate.  In more details it specified higher number of bikers who were happier to smile and greet each other while Biking together on the road at the same speed.  Less pressure replaced by higher friendliness amidst happier environment. 

Suggestions for the new biker-to-be in Bangkok from my own 7- year experiences: 

  1. Wearing proper protection equipment i.e. biking helmet, protective eyewear, front and back light is a must “to have”.  A bell and a back-looking mirror are of a perfect supporter.  

  2. Knowing your route so well, if it is of any pit or hole, being patched, speed bump, bus stop sign and so on, to avoid possible risky incidents. 

  3. Avoid biking along side with or closer to any big vehicle i.e. a bus or a truck since its driver may not see your bicycle. 

  4. Be of careful awareness since any unexpected incident might occur at all time including reversing motorcycle, car-door opening carelessly, a sudden turning car and those 4 leg-land-lords which might harm you if your are not of hyper-sensitivity.

  5. On the main road with crowded traffic and high-speed driving, perhaps bringing the bicycle up the bridge for road crossing might be an interesting alternative.

  6. Certain footpaths allow for biking, but better keep in mind of good manner that walkers are of first priority, biking should be of a lower speed and only sending bell signal as it is required.

  7. Biking jointly with each mass transport category is of different condition.  Therefore, proper understanding is certainly required.

  8. It is easy to own a bicycle today of various brands, designs and pricing to suit your passion and budget.  Promotion is apparently offered by many companies with reducing price and free gifts as well as payment by your available credit cards. 

Let’s try... biking in a big city is not at all frightening event.  We used to have biking fun in our childhood.  So why not once again finding your young at heart joyfulness.