Ten female cyclists will embark on an eight-day trek today to celebrate Kartini Day on April 21 in the national women’s rights pioneer’s hometown of Jepara, Central Java.
The cyclists, from the women’s group Srikandi, will cover the 605 kilometers between Jakarta and Jepara with stops in 15 districts and towns in West and Central Java.
Glenn Salmon, the cyclists’ coach, said on Tuesday that they had been preparing for the event for the past two months and were ready for the trip.
“They’ll cycle for around eight hours every day with an hour’s rest at lunchtime,” he said.
“On the fourth day, they’ll stop for a day in Cirebon [West Java]. The key for the success of this trip is to make sure that they eat and rest properly throughout.”
He added that the Srikandi cyclists would be accompanied by a medical team and mechanics to assist them along the way.
Lucy Iskandar, one of those taking part in the event, said that once in Jepara, the cyclists would deliver a donation of books and tree seedlings to the Semai Elementary School for children with special needs.
“We want to tell them how important it is to keep the environment green with fruit trees because, in addition to helping reduce pollution, fruit trees also produce healthy food,” she said.
“This is our way of encouraging the future generations to keep the world green.”
Linda Gumelar, the minister for women’s empowerment and child protection, said the Srikandi mission was a positive one and reflected the ambition of modern women to stay healthy and show concern for future generations and for the environment.
Toto Sugito, founder of the Bike2Work Community, Indonesia’s largest commuter cycling group and a supporter of the Jepara trek, said he expected the event to take place regularly every year with a growing number of participants. “We hope this inaugural trip will encourage other women to take an interest in cycling,” said Toto, who is also the head of the event.
Kartini Day, celebrated every year since 1964, falls on the birthday of Raden Ayu Kartini, a late-19th-century Javanese noblewoman who championed women’s rights, particularly greater access to education.