A bicycle pitstop in Penang

If you are in Penang with your bike, why not stop by si Tigun bicycle café ? (note: closed Mondays) That’s exactly what we did on Sunday afternoon. They have indoor bicycle parking, free Wi-Fi, and they make real cappuccinos. Upon arriving, we were immediately greeted by Sandra and her 2-month old son.

We had a delightful meal with fresh squeezed Orange juice (they never add sugar), spaghetti, a croissant with rendang (yummy) and homemade Tiramisu and chocolate mousse cake (double yummy).

Sandra, Tigun and Zee
Sandra, Tigun and Zee
After a wonderful meal, we had a brief visit with Tigun (Sandra’s other half) as he was holding his 2-month old son. Tigun is trying to get a cycling movement going in Penang to raise awareness about cycling lifestyles and road safety. The current view in Malaysia is that you only ride a bicycle if you can’t afford a scooter (or motorbike), and only drive a scooter if you can’t afford a car. The concept of choosing to cycle is completely foreign to most people, so cycle-commuting is virtually non-existent.

As white tourists, and especially tourists riding very strange bikes, we have been insulated from all this, but it helps to explain why people are always asking how much our bicycles cost. We have been saying that they start at 3000 MYR (about 800 USD), which, while an accurate starting price for a recumbent, is much less than ours cost. Even at that, people were surprised at the price – it’s about the price of a scooter here. We wonder what they would think if we told them the actual cost?

Tigun also has a complete set of bike tools and he is happy to provide advice and road recommendations. So if you are in town, stop by and say hi to Sandra, Tigun, and little Zee. Tell them, Scott and Becky (the Canucks with the ‘bents) say Hi.

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