Jakarta is officially called the world capital of traffic jam. In my experiences I can say that’s true. It nearly took me two hours to get from airport to town. A distance which could easily be done in 45 min. Therefore I decided to stick to my bike and not to use any other way of transportation.
But also cycling in Jakarta sounds easier than it is. Most of the main roads gor 2-3 or even more lanes and they are full of cars and inbetweeb are thousands of scooters. It’s a challenge to see the gaps, to see each scooter and how the driver reacts. It is similar to Bangkok. Actually it’s worse. Never cycle here without using your head. Beeing 100% awake was really necessary. On my first day I’ve met JeJe a bike messanger of West Bike Messangers. Actually he founded that company with two friends in 2012. Riding with him is fun, but also crazy. He sees each small gap, which he can use to pass cars and scooters. His manovers are so fast, that I had to focus a lot in the beginning. Sometimes I was a bit afraid of loosing him, but after a while I got used to the traffic and enjoyed to jump lanes with JeJe and see who finds the better gaps. Okay, he might have won that game once more than I did 😉
We cycled every day together and I enjoyed the traffic more and more.
One sad thing I also realised in Jakarta is the situation after the terrorism last week.
Short recap: 5 terrorists and 2 civilians died during suicide attacs and gunfire with the police at the … shopping mall.
Although this attack was relatively small, a city and it’s government wake up and get scared. At each corner I saw several policemen. Traffic police stopped and checked random cars. Vehicles which wanted to enter certain ares were double checked. The army and masked policemen with big mashine guns patroled in the city and protected important buildings.
However, people continue with their normal life. Everybody speaks about the attack and people are a bit scared, but they also say life needs to go on.
A friend of mine was working at that certain day in his office on the other side of the road. He heard the explosions, he saw people running amd screaming. He saw how police blocked the roads, braught gunmen in position and how they get the situation under control. For him it’s weird to be back in the office. So close to the place where everything happend. But he also said, he is happy to see that I still decided to travel to Jakarta and no get freightend too much by the attacks.
Therefore I was really pleased to cycle with JeJe and the other guys of West Bike Messangers every day. These rides where basically my way of sightseeing. We stopped at several touristy places to have a look, but what was even more important to me that the guys showed me their favorite places. Every day after work JeJe stops for a coffee at beecy, a bike shop and coffee place. This place is just really cozy and offers high quality coffee.
I think in these few days I gained three kilos. We stopped at so many food places, because the guys wanted to show me everything. Started with Nasi Goreng, tried Bokso, roast beef as a sandwich, slo steamed beef and different really sweet deserts. Everything very delicious, but too much for my weight…
On my last day we spend a few hours in a clothling store called Crooz. Crooz is a label, based in Jakarya, which focusses on skatebaord and leisure wear. We discussed a while how a trousers for commuting should look like and I ended up trying some of their clothes.
All in all Jakarta was a great stop, because I got the opportunity to make new friends to see the city not like a usual tourist, but more like a local.