The music school is about 10 minutes walking distance from my apartment, and I have been traveling the two by foot and never felt the urge to use a motorbike even though I have the option to, except when the road is flooded due to heavy rain. I want to take the advantage of walking for health benefits. Until recently, the city of Khon Kaen offered something that brought some speed into my commute.
A bike sharing company from China has set up many bicycle stations in Thailand to promotes lower carbon footprint in people’s short distance travels. These GPS tracked bicycles are sturdy with solid tires and pedal-powered lights on both front and back, and you can only open them with the app on cellphones. Khon Kaen city has the station in the university that’s about 3 miles away and I decided to ride one back and give it a try. These bikes are in their promotional free period, but the city wants to encourage more people to use it so the company just keeps extending the free period. Not bad at all for a free bike, even though you can only have it outside of the recommended parking area for about 10 days, and after that 10 days a truck will come and bring the bike back.
The bike is bright yellow, basic and functional and satisfactory for me to get around faster than walking. I can go the longer distance with lesser time, more importantly, I can have more breeze on these hot summer days.
While this bike makes me very happy, some people don’t understand why. In Khon Kaen I rarely see anyone rides a bicycle, the ones who do are mostly middle age foreigners, and anyone else here would at least ride a motorbike to get around. Me looking virtually identical to the locals I’d sometimes get some looks of confusion. I don’t know if they are either confused or just because the yellow bike is eye-catching.
Whatever they might think, it did give me a moment of thinking “do I look poor? Do I need to correct them by showing I am not poor somehow?” When I think to myself, I know that material wise I don’t lack anything and I have a bachelor degree in the very least debt free. However, none of these things are the reason I can ride a bike with confidence and happiness, the reason I can because I know Jesus and who am I to Him.
Maybe they are just confused why a “local” can be content with riding a bicycle that’s free.
Yea, that should be it. I will no longer take the strange look from people as a negative indication, but a potential opportunity to start conversations, and I will ride these bicycles as long as I can while I am here.