Transportation is a huge problem in Kuala Lumpur. There is no way we can justify or afford the expense of a car. Malaysia imposes an excise tax of 100% on all imported vehicles and their local product, the Proton, is notoriously unreliable. Scooters and motorbikes abound, and while they are an attractive option for me, it would be a pretty selfish, and possibly career ending decision. There is just not enough respect on the roads to make it a wise move. Even the young teachers over here are wary.
Public transport, including cabs when necessary, is the way we have chosen to go, and while that option can be extremely frustrating given the lack of expenditure by this city on buses and trains, it has the twin virtues of safety and economy to commend it. But public transport won’t get me to school, or up to the 7-Eleven, and so I have decided to buy a bike.
I wish I had done it when I got here; I love it! I always had a bike in Canada, but they just are not seen on the roads over here. I guess the need for speed is just too all consuming in Malaysia. Obviously I would never take it out of the city, or even out of Subang Jaya, the little college community where we live, but around here it has been just great. There are plenty of little trails leading from one residential area to the next, so I basically never have to go out on the main streets. When I do I am given far more consideration that I am given when I am walking (which is all Asian countries is zero), and I feel pretty safe out there.
But even more important I feel free. My poor feet, which have degenerated from occasional pain to chronic disfunctionality, have some relief, and perhaps the possibility of recovery over the long term, and already I have been able to get out far more than I could. The knees, well they are letting me know that they do not like this new regime, but I think they will come around in time, and once I have relaxed the death grip I am presently employing on the handle bars, my hands should feel better as well!