Indonesian cyclists to highlight environmental conference in Bali

A group of dedicated Indonesian cyclists is to salute the upcoming United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (UNFCCC) starting December 3rd in Bali, by cycling from Jakarta to Bali. Here’s more from the Jakarta Post.

Cyclists gear up to pedal to Bali

Adianto P. Simamora, The Jakarta Post, Jakarta

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono is scheduled to send off 15 cyclists on a 20-day trip from Jakarta to Bali ahead of a major conference on climate change.

The trip, to start on Nov. 11 from Merdeka Palace, aims to raise awareness of climate change issues and promote environmentally friendly transportation.

Yudhoyono and Cabinet members are expected to ride bicycles to start the event.

The team, consisting of members of the Bike to Work (B2W) community, will traverse 40 cities over the 1,433-kilometer route. They are expecting to pedal approximately 100 kilometers a day.

“The team is expected to arrive in Bali on Nov. 30. They will raise the United Nations flag in Bali to welcome the UNFCCC meeting on climate change,” B2W chairman, Toto Sugito, told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

He was referring to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference, the world’s highest level meeting on global warming issues.

Indonesia will host the UNFCCC meeting in Bali from Dec. 3 to 14.

Around 10,000 participants, including heads of state, ministers and activists from 191 countries will attend the conference.

The conference will discuss topics including greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

Toto said Home Minister Mardiyanto had asked the governors of Jakarta, West Java, Yogyakarta, Central Java, East Java and Bali to support the cycling event.

“The governors will provide accommodation for the cyclists. They will also organize side events in their areas, such as fun bike rides or tree-planting, to welcome the cyclists.”

The event, themed “Bike for Earth Goes to Bali”, also aims to encourage people to choose bicycles for their daily transportation needs, he said.

“This is not a competition. Our target is to invite people to reduce their emissions in order to help fight climate change,” Toto said.

“Riding bicycles is a clean transportation alternative.”

Experts say human-induced global warming is largely caused by the burning of fossil-fuels — from industry and transportation.

Established last year, B2W has intensively promoted fun bike events to encourage bicycle use, particularly in urban areas like Jakarta.

There are currently 7,000 members of the community in Indonesia and 90 percent of them are workers.

Jakarta, with some 4,000 B2W members, is also home to more than 2.5 million private cars and 3 million motorcycles which consume at least 6 million kiloliters of fuel a year.

State Minister for the Environment Rachmat Witoelar, Trade Minister Fahmi Idris, State Minister for Research and Technology Kusmayanto Kadiman, Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo and presidential spokesman Andi Malarangeng are B2W members.

Toto said Andi Malarangeng was expected to join the team to Bekasi, around 40 kilometers from Jakarta.

Indonesia is a beautiful country, but it is not suited for bicycle travel. That goes for Bali also, the strong sun, humidity, traffic and hills, not to mention potholes making a pleasant cruise something that is not likely to happen. If you are coming to Bali and enjoy bicycle riding in your own country, your 2 best options are 1) to rent a scooter and see if that is enjoyable to you, and 2) take one of the ‘downhill bike tours’ from companies such as SOBEK, that take you up to Besakih and let you cruise back through quieter villages.