Last Sunday, I rode into the Sudirman throng with a sign on my front wheel. It stated

kita bisa naik bike. d: Jakarta!


We can all ride a bicycle for transportation. I ride Jakarta!

I rode with some trepidation, not wanting to insult anyone. The bike and I moved quickly through the event, me hoping for a good workout, and the bike hoping not to get pelted with vegetables. I think we moved a little too quickly to make an impression, because no one commented at all. It was, if I have to admit, a little disappointing.

Yesterday, I’d almost entirely forgotten about the sign. I stopped to chat with my low rider friends. Several came to shake hands with me, and when I turned round a few minutes later, I noticed a small group discussing my bicycle.

As I mounted the bike again later, one of the young men touched my arm.

“Not bike,” he shook his head. “Sepeda.” He grinned conspiratorially. I had the wrong word on the sign and he wanted to help me out.

I spelled the word out to confirm to him that I understood, and then pumped his hand enthusiastically. “Sepeda!” I said with great pleasure. “I will fix it at once!”

Ten minutes later, I was stopped at a red light, part of a large pack of cyclists. A young man beside me leaned across and said, “Thanks ma’am,” and nodded at the wheel. His eyes danced.

I ride Jakarta, happily, with many friends, and with great determination and pride. I ride Jakarta.