It’s Sunday, so you know where I was this morning. But what you don’t know is who I met. I met Djoko Nugroho. Djoko introduced me to a network of industrious young Indonesian men who weld long bikes, or as they’re called here, Low Riders. As you can imagine, I was pee-my-pants excited.
Djoko is my age–55. He is, by his own admission, the elder of the crowd. HIs outstanding bike cost him a measly two million rupiah (about $200 CDN) to build; a brand new Schwinn low rider costs more than twice that. The bikes are heavy to ride but spectacularly beautiful–absolute showpieces that you ride for bragging rights. When asked whether he rides this terrific bicycle in daily traffic, he shook his head in disappointment. No, he rides mostly in Carfree Sunday events, although Djoko (like me) can’t resist occasionally doing an errand in his neighbourhood using the bike.
Djoko then introduced me to his friend, another welder (whose name I am completely ashamed to admit I didn’t write down). Yes, this engaging young man built this really gorgeous bike.
They both insisted I try it out. So, I did. Vroom! Vroom! I especially love the spider web-like detail.
Then, we three headed over to the main intersection of Sudirman and Thamrin, where I was introduced to da boyz. And their bikes. My favourites are those with what Djoko describes as a swivel design, although I’m pretty taken with the chain work, too.
They tell me that if I come by at the end of September, I can be introduced to over FOUR HUNDRED low riders. This is one big network, the like of which I had never considered. Yesterday, I’d had so much frustration and disappointment at the hands of this city that I was ready to poke my eyes out with sharp objects. Today, this city has my rapt attention. Nice work, JKT.