Hoopla Hooper: Rita Kurniawan

Cycling for Life

Biking has become an addiction to me. Before I came to the U.S., biking had never been a part of my life. I was also originally reluctant to bike in the city due to the convoluted traffic. Born and raised in Jakarta, Indonesia— a beautiful country if you didn’t live in the capital—I was accustomed to the unbearable traffic where, crossing the street was a form of “seppuku”— a ritualistic suicide undertaken by Japanese samurais.

It’s difficult to find a city in the U.S. where it’s not required to drive. I lived in Winter Park, Colorado for a short while, where I learned snowboarding and thankfully, never broke any bones. I found it was almost impossible to get around if you couldn’t drive or have anyone drive you, unless you could fly or teleport via a teleport machine.

Even though the scenery was breathtaking, I realized, I couldn’t stay in a place where going to a supermarket needed a tailored arrangement—it took at least five phone calls to make one trip possible.

Because I couldn’t drive, New York City became the most viable place for me to be. Sure I might get flashed — oh, the joy of genital exposure, sure I might smell urine or a foul stench that I couldn’t ignore or decipher — but New York’s transportation system was one of the finest in the country. I began to rely a lot on NYC’s trains and buses that I overlooked something that has always been my passion: biking. At first, like many, I was a bit nervous, but growing up in a third-world country did have its benefits.

I began to ride and, despite the city’s potholes, brain-challenged drivers and foul-mouthed citizens; I found NYC to be one the friendliest cities for cyclists.

My column will, hopefully, bring exposure of a cyclist’s life in NYC to novices, experts along with athletes and the city’s diverse community.

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11 Responses to “Hoopla Hooper: Rita Kurniawan”

  1. Desyhide says:

    Well, both of us had been living in Jakarta and i’ve visited NYC once time. speaking of Subway system i do not agree with you girl coz i found DC metro system much better.
    I like NYC, i learned a lot of this city about a freedom to be and show who you are.
    And wish one day can join you biking in this city to give you my own opinion of biking in NYC.
    Let rock the city.
    Desy

  2. Jordan Kul says:

    Good Job Girl! That’s also one of the reason I love about NY: The subway system! However unlike you sometime I got lazy and I don’t bike as often as you do! So you go girl!!!! Hullabaloo!

    You are my inspiration! you are my sunshine. Lalalala!

  3. Jermy Castro says:

    Wow! I love your article, you inspire me! now I have to go to my basement look for my old dusty bike and Re-bike!

    Thank You!

  4. Oti says:

    I live in the DMV area and I use the metro a lot in D.C. It’s pretty much helpful if you live closer to the metropolitian than where I live-which is a ways to even get to a station.
    When I would visit my sister when she did her internship, I found the NYC different from D.C. but it was more efficient.
    I enjoyed your article overall and can’t wait to see what is more to come.
    Oti

  5. Ryan says:

    Why couldn’t you drive? And you still didn’t mention how you started cycling when you said you relied on the public transportation here. And why is it that I feel that you are more charming to me here than in person? LOL. Maybe because our actual opinions don’t agree…I’m under the impression that the transportation isn’t the finest here and neither is the accommodation for the cyclist.

  6. Jin Mao Chao says:

    Your Comment
    Wow, I have to say what a nice picture! I really like you, Seems like you are a very outgoing and Cute personality.
    If you ever want to get a cup of coffe send me a email, We can go biking after the coffe and others outdoor activities.
    😉

  7. Timothy Weng says:

    biking is fun…
    i tried so hard to ride a bike and i’m not sure i still can do that anymore..
    i had bike once and i really like biking…
    i remember there’s one time my friend gimme a ride at the back seat, at i realized there is no back seat. I just stood behind her on the wheel bolts.
    It was the best moment.
    Your blog just gave me somothing to think about.
    i need a new bike lol

  8. Timothy Weng says:

    biking is fun…
    i tried so hard to ride a bike and i’m not sure i still can do that anymore..
    i had bike once and i really like biking…
    i remember there’s one time my friend gimme a ride at the back seat, at i realized there is no back seat. I just stood behind her on the wheel bolts.
    It was the best moment.
    Your blog just gave me something to think about.
    i need a new bike lol

  9. Lisandi says:

    same thing with us in japan. even salaryman or manager prefer going by bicycle than by car, which is much more costly -since the amount of parking fee and car tax for one year can be more expensive than car’s price itself-.
    japanese even make special ways for bikers, so its easy for us to go almost everywhere without disturbing other vehicle or walker.

    the thing i like the most by riding a bike is i do not need any license to ride one. i want to continue riding bike until my grow white and wrinkles on my skin, lol

  10. Katemari says:

    I just learned how to ride a bike last summer (and I’m over 30…).
    I am yet to buy a bike. I wish I could ride more in the city. Unlike you, I hate the public transport in NYC. Ok, hate is to strong, but I don’t find it efficient, and it is disgustingly dirty, smelly, and noisy.

    In your next article, you could help clueless people like me finding good deals to shop for a bike!

    (love the pics)

  11. jason calacanis says:

    Rita, You are so much fun, that inspired me to write a poem for you and your bike

    Riding Thru

    Under the wheels,
    Under my feet,
    Pass mile upon mile
    Of old fields of wheat.

    And out of the corner
    No the tip of my eye,
    There are fields of green
    Just passing right by.

    No matter how much
    I have in the bank
    Or how much I owe
    On this bike I now thank

    The mercy of nature
    For the fields I see
    And the fertile land
    In the heart of me.

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