Homegrown & Well Known: MARLOWE BANDEM

One word to describe him: Multitasking. And sharp. And slick. (Oh, that’s three.)

These last few months, you’ve been busy with cycling—running a bank, being a creative think tank for the local government, DJ-ing, now cycling. Quite a shifting.
I tend to be all over the place when it comes to doing. Some would say it’s multitasking responsibilities, others would affirm it’s overlapping duties. Microbanking has positioned me in the micro-financing frontline and DJ-ing has advanced me centre stage, both alike; close to the hearts of people, to satisfy their senses, to cater their needs and wants.

I just can’t ignore the fact that I’m a social animal, highly interactive to the point of distinct engagements. From ICT road-shows with STIKOM Bali all over the island to managing financial portfolios for the masses, from creative discourses to playing music aloud to communities, I do enjoy it all and take pride in what I may and can contribute to the cause.

But, consciously, cycling is my “me” time. It still puts me in a crowd, in a band of brothers, part of a pack; but at a relative distance. Whether it’s me leading the peloton or me left stranded, abandoned far behind the eager pack.

Cycling is my constant contemplation.

What makes you decide to turn to cycling? Eco-friendly reason? Hipsterism background? Is this how you pacify yourself these days?
When it comes to one’s leisure time for pleasure, while a few would go golfing, many would go fishing and the rest would procrastinate, tinkering their smart-phones, I choose fixed gear cycling. I’m not sure if scientists have really discovered why we never forget how to ride a bicycle, but I do believe cycling is cheaper than therapy in this age of insanity. With a ton of health as well as a lengthy fact sheet of environmental related benefits, let’s say cycling will make sure I outlive my enemies.

As I became serious about my cycling over the year, the non coasting-always pedaling fixed gear has brought me to a clearer domain of personalities and communities, a new-fangled mutual respect about one’s ability, capacity and shared dreams. While fixed gear cycling has taught me going brakeless uphill is bad and going downhill is even worse, it has shown me the light about going the distance, about getting the task done.
Cycling teaches you that even though you might share the same physical fitness, your spirit endurance defines who you are.

In a creative plane, I’ve seen that gung-ho, never yield trait in many personalities and communities in Bali. For instance, the Green Gentlemen of Grunge Navicula, who currently is on call of duty in Hollywood, completing their recording session at the legendary Record Plant Recording Studio. Pushing the theme against moral decadence and environmental degradation, not only did they compete and fought winning the hearts of supporters for votes, but as they won the Rode Rockers Competition, they also came down to earth, leveling to sponsors to make sure they would survive the frantic recording session and the freezing Stateside coast to coast tour.  It’s just like cycling, you keep pedaling your way in life.

…Oh, I should also mention Psyclo100K!

First of all, meet Psyclo, the motley crew-speed freak fanatics, mix of eco-defender urban cyclists—mashing the hustle and bustle of Bali on fixed gears. We’re the biggest fixed gear crew in Bali with over 50 members, and most importantly, we are the most active fixed gear enthusiasts in the island. We ride daily from Bike To Work, Morning Rides, Sunset Rides, Night Rides, Critical Mass, Criterium Rides, Bali Balap Liar (Alley Cat Races), and for sure, our signature ride, the signature-mentally taxing Long Distance Ride every weekends.

Just last month, we successfully organized Psyclo100K, a 100 kilometers long ride to East Bali, cycling from Denpasar passing through serene green hills of Gianyar, the smooth glaring hot tarmacs of Klungkung coastline, peaking at Sang Hyang Ambu Hill near Karangasem before a long downhill stretch of dusty-rocky-fun-crazy cyclo-cross track nearing the finish line a Virgin Beach, Bugbug Karangasem. For the 90 riders coming from all over Indonesia as well as Australia, Finland, Malaysia and Singapore, the ride was surely a challenge but nonetheless rewarding.

The event has surely put Bali on the map for adventure and sport tourism, particularly in an urban-underground sense.

Compare to bicycle-friendly city like Amsterdam, Copenhagen, even Sydney (not on Top 10 bicycle-friendly cities), Denpasar/Bali is oh-so far from ideal. How do you adjust, reduce the risk of having traffic accident, pollution issue? What should the government do? What have they done?
Living in Bali where tradition blends endlessly with modernity has it advantages for cycling adventures. It stimulates you to take your cycling outdoor, not to be confined, cornered statically in gyms with pumping music to get you going.

Bali offers dynamic urban bike paths; a perfect blend of fun, fitness and nature as the landscape changes rapidly and seamlessly, from green lush scenery of Ubud to cosmo-cultivated sights of Seminyak to crazy car dodging-unforgiving traffic jams encircling Denpasar.

Herein, urban cyclists are surely accident prone, at risk like in other places all over the world, but it’s a challenge and a blessing at once. Trust me, you can really feel the beat of the island through cycling. We have the sun, sea, and mountains, go out and absorb the energy.

Towns like Denpasar, Tabanan, and Gianyar has enforced Car Free Day zones every Sunday, let’s make the initiative count by having more cyclists on the road. For once, let’s become the traffic.

As mentioned above, you socialise a lot with the creative community—you’ve always been. How do you find the creative movement in Bali? They get bigger? Get bigger but a bit too slow? Are you optimistic? Psyclo can be included as creative movement, right?
The openness of Bali has proven to hearten creativity in our DNA. The creative community thrives, blossoming in great numbers by the day, and most promising is the heighten implementation of solid strategic arts and culture management in its liberation.

I’m fortunate to be enclosed in such milieu, from discoursing mind-bending ideas with Bali Creative Community to environmental awareness campaigns with the menacing punk band Superman Is Dead, Komunitas Anak Alam and Generasi Putih, from reclaiming public spaces through Ebullience art collaboration during Denpasar Festival to urban-youth art initiatives at Wisnu Open Space, the latest dynamic compound of art, library, radio, and coffee connoisseur house near Kerobokan.

While keep pushing the techno barriers with Deeper Shades of Wax Radio Mix at our beloved The Beat Radio Plus 98.5 FM, my cycling has opened doors for me in terms of plenty exciting creative collaboration at Wisnu Open Space. This December, the proprietors of Wisnu Open Space and creative minds alike including Ridwan Rudianto, Soundbwoy Dodix, Arief Budiman, Lecir, Jerinx SID and myself–oh, and you too, Dethu, of course! Haha—have ventured into the launching  of an online radio Rebel Radio Indonesia, the dissenting voices of urban and contemporary Bali that will go live and revolting in wavestreaming packages on 12.12.12.

While we’re at it, as cycling brings out the creative zest in you, on December 19, 2012, still at Wisnu Open Space, I’m co-curator of the Eco Defender music and art showcasing in support to the environmental awareness campaign of RMBL and WALHI Bali. Therein, the youngster members of Psyclo will unearth the #KudaMacan (Prancing Horse Legs and Pounding Heart of a Tiger) visual exhibition, doing a live mural featuring Made Bayak, guitar whiz of Geekssmile and painter, at the core of the blistering-rocking performance of Navicula, Dj Soundbwoy Dodix, Superman is Dead and many more.

I will perform at the Kopi Kultur compound during the night, giving a sneak preview of my new radio mix show “Manic Metronomes” at Rebel Radio Indonesia. One really has to shift mindset, be the reflection you want to see in the mirror, change yourself before getting down dirty and gritty changing the world.

Any last nagging words?
Cycling surely is the new smart, fixed gear is the new cool and bike legs are always sexy!

Rock-n-Roll Exhibition: MARLOWE BANDEM
Homegrown & Well Known: ARIEF ‘AYIP’ BUDIMAN
Homegrown & Well Known: DODIX
Homegrown & Well Known: RIDWAN RUDIANTO


Homegrown & Well Known is my biweekly column in The Beat (Bali) mag. Basically it’s an interview via e-mail with Bali’s local big shots. This is the 19th edition, was firstly published—shorter version—on The Beat (Bali) #326, Dec 07-20, 2012

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