BY CK Lam
An easy way to get around George Town, Penang is to hop on a bike. With efforts made by the state government in the last few years, there have been many great changes in the city with drawn up biking trails and lanes, cycling signboards, bicycle rental services and bicycle themed cafes well-suited for cyclist.
As bicycle commuting improves all over the island in leap and bounds, we begin to see many incoming tourists moving around the city on the bike. A simple reason – it is a fun and healthy way of exploring the surrounding area and taking in the sights and the daily life in Penang.
There are many bike rental shops in the city. All comes with affordable prices, and according to the Chin Seng Leong Bicycle Shop cum antique store on Armenian street, prices starts from RM8 for one seater and RM16 for the two seaters.
Besides that, alternative bike rental outlets are The Leaf Bicycle Rental on Penang Street, Townbikes on Chulia Lane, Lovebike on Love Lane, and Freedom Leisure Cycle Supply (Rental Bicycle) on Victoria Street.
Amazingly, there is always a suitable bike for every group with the range of bikes varies includes those with one seat, tandem (two seats) for couples and one even large enough for three!
Naturally, the growth in cycling will contribute to the expansion of more similarly themed cafes. Specialist cafe and shops are popping up where bike enthusiasts can meet, eat and catch up. There are several bike-themed cafes that come to mind, including Das Rad Cafe, The Wheelers and Arnold Cycling Cafe.
Cycle to Das Rad Cafe, conveniently located in a comfortable air-conditioned heritage shophouse on King Street. The place is a meeting place for office workers from around the area on weekdays and frequented by family on weekends. The cafe draws crowds with its dishes with German influences.
Have a German meal of Pork Schnitzel and Kaiserschmarrn (German pancake), whilst sampling on Simpang Ampat’s famous Hup Hoe roti tiau with a cup of coffee.
Wheeler’s Coffee on Love Lane with traditional bike-arts and relaxing air-conditioned ambience is a nice spot to hang out. Here you will find a great collection of bicycles decors.
The place opens for breakfast right till midnight. Hop into the place for an early breakfast and enjoy a spread of dishes – mushroom egg omelette, classic American breakfast or bacon and egg croissant. On the other hand, the drinks menu centred on coffee and tea besides beer, juices, and smoothies.
With the new wave of changes, it is clear that great efforts are being made in making Penang more cyclist-friendly – dedicated bicycle routes in the process to be completed and the state government requesting for proposals to implement Penang’s first bicycle-sharing programme.
So the next time you visit Penang, instead of getting in a car to get around George Town, consider grabbing yourself a bike instead!