So there I was, riding my bike along Sudirman and minding my own business, taking the occasional photograph and generally enjoying the carfree Sundays event as always. Suddenly, these two bikes came into view. I was smitten on sight.

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I had already spent an hour or so connecting with diverse cyclists. Because I am a regular now, and because I’m bule and female (and have very recognizable hair), I have developed many friendships with total strangers. I frequently hear, “Hello, Miss!” shouted from some distant corner of the street, to which I wave and smile, feeling part of a large community of good people. 

On these rides, I’ve come to expect lots of tandems and because of where I am, I am becoming unsurprised by the peculiarity of some of the designs, or how people choose to ride.

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What always makes me smile are the family bikes. Entire families hop on any available bar, seemingly oblivious to dangers and discomfort. They are together, on a bicycle.

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The tall bikes were parked off to one side.

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Immediately, I dismounted and began taking shots of every possible angle, so my tall bike designers in Toronto could admire their handiwork. Here is the steering column, which is relatively simple given that these are not stacked bikes at all, just bikes with incredibly long handlebars and frames. 

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The braking system is unique. It rests beneath the seat. My family will be pleased to know that I am not the least interested in experimenting with this particular part of the design.

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These bikes use a single a single diagonal chain, where you pedal using the upper frame and the chain is a direct go-between to the lower frame, which powers the wheels. I have seen designs that use two chains, in Toronto. 

Finally, the pedals were kinda surprising. The original pedals are obviously only for show now; one pedal is actually missing, giving me pause. It can’t be used for mounting because there are pegs on the back wheel. It’s a headscratcher.

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Someone asked me recently how you mount a tall bike. It’s actually pretty easy. There are usually pegs located on or near the back wheel. You can also take advantage of another structure beside the bike and just climb up that way. When I rode a tall bike in Toronto last year, the mounting and dismounting were easy. The hard part really is designing the thing in the first place.

I discovered as I was photographing them that the two young men were waiting for a couple of other riders, who appeared momentarily. We all took off together for Thamrin.

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I’m afraid I don’t have many shots of the actual bike designers, nor were they willing to discuss their passion with me. Of all the Indonesians I have met, these are the only ones who were reluctant to be photographed by or with a bule. They will, however, have a hard time shaking me whenever I see them on the Sunday route. I, like so many others today, am very keen to watch their progress.

 

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