As promised, I visited the Cycle-lizing Bangkok Fest held on Saturday February 25 at Lumpini park. I learned that bikes are part of the Bangkok lifestyle and that cycling is the new socializing.
The event was held at Lumpini Park – a little green spot in the middle of the hussling city. Usually you can bike there only in the morning. But an exception was made for the event so that people could get there by bike. In general the event was very environmentally friendly: “To reduce the use of plastic bags and bottles in the festival, participants were encouraged to bring their own tote bag and water bottle.”
The event was in part the celebration of the 20th anniversary of Green World Foundation. The non-profit organization was created under the Royal Patronage of Princess Galyani and “collaborates closely with youth, educators, practitioners, and community leaders throughout Thailand to inspire the development and adoption of environmental ethics, and strengthen the capacity for proactively contributing to the sustainable care of the local environments.”
The event’s highlight was “a one-of-a-kind stage show with the lighting generated by human power.” Thirty bikes were needed to give power to the stage show. As a result, even those who came to the park without bike had plenty of opportunity to spin. Also most info-stands and games were human powered. I got a chance to mix my own smoothie (photo).
The bigs stars of the evening were several extravagant bikes. The owner and creator of the bamboo bike (photo) – a nice American cycler – explained that soon the bamboo bike will go into local production. “Once you have a bike in Bangkok, the city becomes a different one. You never want to be without your two wheels again!”The stage was filled with local heroes like Hugo (photo) but also several short movies were shown. Besides, there was a small tent with delicious Thai food.
At 8 pm busy Silom Road was blocked for a couple of minutes and around 200 bikes left happily into the night. The “Saturday Night Bike Fever” was leading them to China Town. I wished in that moment that I brought my own bike – it looked like pure freedom to be part of that group. So far, Bangkok does not have an offical critical mass I was told – “but if you mean groups of people coming together to cycle, that happens often. But if you want to see the cyclers of Bangkok, you must wait until the night – that’s when we all come out.”