The noted Dutch journalist Adriaan van Dis is running a series on the old colony of Nederlands-IndiŽ now, and one of the episodes is about the remnants of the colonial language in daily life in Jakarta. On of the main areas of influence is the bicycle world - a lot of Dutch words are still in use or lie at the base of the vernacular derivate, such as selot (from slot, lock), sadel, (zadel in dutch, or saddle), rem (brake) and stuur (handlebar). The word for bicycle is sepeda, coming from velocipede.
During the colonial era millions of bicycles were imported, with the most famous brands being Batavus and Gazelle and Fongers as the absolute range-topper and preferred supplier to the government and KNIL (the colonial army).
After the Japanese occupation and the Bersiap-period that followed in which a bloody struggle erupted between freedom fighters of the recently proclaimed Republika Indonesia and the colonial forces the trade in bicycles resumed. Bikes remained indespensable for the recovering country, but were imported without branding.
As it turns out, these classic Dutch bicycles have a huge following. One of the members of the club Van Dis visited estimated that there are 520 clubs for old bikes, catering to a staggering 100.000 members. In the show, a few riders were shown with bags, caps and t-shirts gifted by the Oude Fiets, the classic bike club here in The Netherlands. Every Sunday it's biking day: millions of people turn out to ride on their steel steeds. With it, there's a specialized market for old parts to cater to the growing market of restorers of these fine, solid machines.
On a related note, the blogosphere has been awash with all kinds of cool restored road bikes and fixies coming from some high-end Indonesian bike shops.
So, this all begs the question - Indonesia, the next big thing in C&V?
Let's end this post with the words of the writer Pamadu Amandatur, he describes the bicycle as a "vehicle of the wind, that runs like a horse - without grass, stables or s hit."
Here's an old silent ad for fongers, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r4RzqKAmQqc
The episode (with some things in English) is here, the biking sunday report starts at 13.54. http://www.uitzendinggemist.nl/afleveringen/1247929
Here are two sites on classic bikes, there are probably more of them out there. http://www.sepedaonthel.com/ http://sepeda.wordpress.com/
I'm currently doing a research project on pre-war Indonesian magazines and other publications, I'll scan in some adds for Gazelle, Fongers etc. so watch this space!