Connect with us

Thai Life

Blazing Saddles: Bicycles as positive ‘change agents’ in Phuket



PHUKET: As so often happens in the frenetic super-connected era in which we now live, new terms and expressions go from obscurity to inhabiting the tips of our globally-connected tongues almost overnight.

So it is with the term ‘change agent’ which Bill Clinton memorably used to describe his wife Hillary at the Democratic Convention last week. Bill let us in on his secret that his missus was, “the best darn change agent I have ever met”.

If I were being unkind, I might suggest that Hillary might apply some of her amazing talent for change to her ubiquitous dowdy pant-suits, or that if Bill’s friend Monica had been a better ‘change agent’ of her dresses, then he might not have got caught. But then I’m not unkind, so I won’t.

Bicycles are without doubt monumental agents of change and many bicycles would, in my opinion, make better presidents than the candidates currently offered.

Bicycles change those who regularly ride them in all sorts of wonderfully positive ways. From physical health benefits, to mental outlook and focus, to better eating and sleeping patterns, to sociability and camaraderie, all the changes that cycling brings about are highly positive, if you don’t get involved in an accident… which is a big ‘if’ in the current Phuket environment.

Bicycles can also act as immensely positive change agents for the environment in which they are deployed and for the social and organizational structure of communities. This becomes abundantly clear if you compare commutes in bicycle-friendly cities, such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Brisbane, and even post Boris-Bikes London, to the daily commuter hell in which Phuketians are mired.

Last week I planned to use my bicycle as I always do, to run a few errands around the Chalong area where I live. Exciting visits to the laundry, Home Pro, Villa Market and my favorite wine shop were on my agenda. Imagine my chagrin then, when upon trying to get out onto Wiset Road I found a tailback of almost a kilometer, stretching back well past Fisherman’s Way where I live.

Undeterred, I plunged into the stationary traffic replete with its retinue of fuming drivers and tailpipes and cycled down to the traffic-clogged Chalong turning circle and managed to complete my errands in about 30 minutes.

While I had to endure the horrible pollution being pumped out by all those stationary vehicles, had I tried to do the same errands by car, I might well be stuck in that traffic to this day.

The point is, that as an agent of changing the way we live, interact and move about, bicycles could have an enormously positive impact on the lives of all Phuketians if only we could give them a chance.

Of course not all journeys could be switched to bicycles overnight, but a lot of them could be, and the effects on our health, well being, environment and overall contentment would be dramatic.

The two key progenitors of such a positive change in Phuket are clearly marked cycle-paths separated from vehicular traffic and a pay-as-you-go bike rental scheme, both of which are simple and inexpensive to implement.

Sadly, though, it seems that the likelihood of such a positive agent for change being introduced into Phuket is about the same as a sane billionaire property developer becoming the next incumbent of the White House.

— Baz Daniel


Get more from The Thaiger

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Visa10 hours ago

CCSA to consider extending Thailand tourist visa to 45 days

Bangkok10 hours ago

Man caught taking drugs inside a Bangkok police booth didn’t give a crap

Thailand10 hours ago

Thailand News Today | Thailand no longer considers Covid “dangerous infectious disease” 

Sponsored19 hours ago

Enjoy a splashing time and immerse yourself in Thai Mythology in Andamanda Phuket

Crime11 hours ago

Wife says boss of Mountain B in Pattaya is ‘not a villain’

Crime11 hours ago

Policeman poses as Buddhist monk to trick drug dealers in central Thailand

Travel11 hours ago

Stress-free travel with AXA Travel Insurance

Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
Guides11 hours ago

Mother’s Day in Thailand 2022: 5 fun ways to pamper your mom

Thailand11 hours ago

Thai minister insists minimum wage increase is not electioneering

Bangkok12 hours ago

Swedish Embassy hailed for giving 6-month parental leave to Thai staff

Travel13 hours ago

Everything you need to know about the Bangkok Skytrain (BTS)

Environment13 hours ago

PM warns Thailand to brace itself for potential flooding

Travel14 hours ago

Watch Koh Samui’s magical sunset from these sunset bars

Thailand14 hours ago

Local hero predicts building collapse, saves countless lives in eastern Thailand

Phuket14 hours ago

9 year old boy kills a 7 year old girl with a police pistol in Phuket

Press Room15 hours ago

Southeast Asia’s sauciest tech event, Techsauce Global Summit to return to Bangkok in physical form

Thailand11 months ago

Morning Top Stories Thailand | Police to end protests, Human Trafficking | September 14

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism1 year ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand1 year ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism1 year ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand2 years ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11