Wednesday, May 30, 2007


PASKAS (6th May 2007)

Indonesians are great at acronyms. "WARTEL" is Warong Telephone. In the cyber age, they now have "WARNET". Yes, you guess right. It stands for Warong Internet, or Internet Cafe. JATIM stands for Jawa Timor. I haven't heard though of JARAT for Jawa Barat or JANGAH for Jawa Tengah. Anyway, their use of acronyms can fill pages and pages. But what is PASKAS?

Well, PASKAS stands for PAGUYUBAN SEPEDA KUNO AREK SURABAYA. "Sepeda" and "Kuno" we know -- "speda" for bicycle and kuno for "classic". Paguyuban? Well, it stands for Persatuan and "arek" stands for teman. So, if you read my blog often, you are my "arek":-) and I'll belanja you teh tarek.

PASKAS therefore is a group of friends in Surabaya who shares the common love for antique bicycles.

So it was very early morning on Day 3 of my visit that I met a group of very friendly Indonesians who shared a common love -- bicycles. My destination today was Kota Madya, a stone's throw from my hotel. As I walked out of my hotel lobby, I was already greeted with activities on the road. Jay walkers, cyclists and joggers were all heading towards Kota Madya. Made up of individuals, families with kids, young and old it was a great sight to see an active population having one common love for health.

An old man was resting on his bicycle, in batik and songkok, head nodding in tune probably with Keroncong Kemayuran plugged to his MP3. He must have travelled some distance to come to Kota Madya.

Another gentleman, as classic as his bicyle was doing some stretching excercise before a ride.

A group of younger and not so young cyclists were having some early carbo-loading and offered me a piece of Indonesian kueh which I can't refuse. Everyone was enjoying the morning.

I was enjoying the photographic opportunities and the warmth of the Indonesians. I was enjoying the sights of youths enjoying the weekend outing, and families out for a day of fun with little kids. I enjoyed watching the petty traders enjoying brisk business, selling food and drinks, and toys.

More so, I was enjoying scrutinising the classic bicycles that the owners proudly exhibited. If you have a bicycle dated 1945 or earlier, you are an "arek" of PASKAS. The President of America was there too! Mr Kennedy proudly showed me his 1936 Simplex, a bicycle imported from the Netherlands. He insisted that his picture be recorded in my blog. No problemo Mr President Sir!

Mr Kennedy, minus the J.F. initial

So, what about these classic bicycles? I enjoyed looking at the components. Let me start with that comfy thing you place your sensitive butt on -- the saddles. Leather was the thing to go, the only material to go those years. To soften the rigid steel frame of the 1940's and 1950's, springs helped soften the ride. So, here they are, the leather springed saddles of yesteryears.

This must have been made from crocodile skin!
I noted a bicycle bell that required some G-force of your palm to ring. It didn't ring. It cried out a loud "BONG". I believed it didn't come with the bike, but invented by the classic owner.

Mr Kennedy proudly showed off his 1955 bell with a European motif on his 1936 Simplex bike.

What about panniers? The leather panniers on some of the bikes made my recently purchased fabric pannier looked cheap in comparison.

And the trusted dynamo to generate electricity for the night cycling.

And the locks to ensure the safety of the bikes.

The chain cover to minimise chain maintenance

And if you got to carry something fragile for your wife, do invest in a shock-absorber rack. I do hope you can still find them at Boon Foo.

Aiya....I have overstayed. Mem is waiting in the hotel for something more "interesting" her. I better leave. "Pak....saya sudah kelewatan ni. Bisa pinjam sepeda kuno mini bapak?"

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