Foodie cycling tour at KL Car Free Morning December 2014
Ringing in the festive cheers and the school holidays, DBKL Square (Dataran) was bustling with thousands of families, friends and soon-to-be new friends alike whom had gathered for Car Free Morning’s last edition of the year right in the heart of Kuala Lumpur.
Daylight was breaking through the cloudy sky, with the sun casting a hue of soft orange colours. Such a beautiful sight to behold indeed, always makes getting up early well worth the effort. As we searched for parking first at Padang Merbok then at the National Monument (Tugu Negara), we realised there were numerous runs and activities going on simultaneously.
At the DBKL Square, OCBC had bicycles and tandem bicycles plus helmets up for rent. For next time, you could invite family or friends and rent these bicycles if you don’t own one. On the main road of Jalan Raja Laut, some traditional dances were underway, there was a person on a colourful penny-farthing, and everyone was eagerly awaiting the flag-off.
It was a joy to see everyone setting off with great excitement and enthusiasm. There were so many people cycling this time round, that I had to wait a good five to ten minutes before I joined in.
Parents brought out their children in full force on striders (bicycles without pedals), tricycles, bicycles, or in the child seat on their bicycle. Some donned Christmas hats on top of the helmets to ring in the Christmas cheer.
Many policemen were on duty stationed at critical points to ward off cars and motorcycles from veering into the cordoned off roads of Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Dang Wangi, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman and Jalan Ampang. They did well to provide a safe environment along the 6 kilometer route.
When we lingered around nearer to 9am, the policemen did well to remind us that the roads would be reopen soon. There was also a ‘Sweeper Police Car’ which signalled the end of the Car Free Morning period.
‘Jalan Cari Makan’ aka ‘Gastronomical Excursion’
With family and friends in tow on a ‘Jalan Cari Makan’ aka ‘Gastronomical Excursion’ on wheels, we had admired the city sights as ‘far’ as a mere kilometer near Jalan Dang Wangi before we stopped for our first culinary experience at the legendary 86 year old restaurant fondly known as Yut Kee, which had reluctantly moved to a new premise on Jalan Kamunting. Oops!
We weren’t shy about being the early birds though two other cyclists did beat us there. Alas the charm of the old shop with classic aged tiles on the walls, the creaky wooden shutter windows and the unsightly electrical wirings were gone, replaced by modern yet traditionally designed decorations, reminiscence of a certain coffee chain store.
Sunday proceedings began by ordering the signature Hainanese chicken chop, steamed bread and toast bread which was served with scrumptious lumpy kaya to adorn my hot coffee served in old school cup and saucers. This was very much my motivation for waking up earlier than the first bird who gets the worm.
Usually on any given Sunday, Yut Kee would have been packed to the brim on weekend mornings and you would have to wait for your turn to share a table with other strangers. However, with cars prevented from getting into this main vein, cyclists rubbed their hands in glee and dutifully parked their bicycles outside the premise, although all of us wished that we could’ve parked our precious two wheels within the courtyard which had ample space. Oh well, just keep your eyes glued in the direction of your (only) means of transport. Coincidently, my cousin JS also had the same thought in mind as he cycled into the city from Petaling Jaya and headed straight for Yut Kee. Great minds think alike!
More cycling families trickled in as we got along our merry way onto Jalan Sultan Ismail, passing a bunch of cyclists whom had chosen to stop in front of Hard Rock Cafe for a photo opportunity.
Cycling along the usually-ever-busy main vein of KL, the very heart of the city center was indeed amazing.
Never did I imagine, some day I would be cycling in the city center on my bicycle on completely clear roads!
Cruising along, I took the time to observe all the new developments in the area and spotted new buildings along the way. We took a turn down Jalan P. Ramlee onto KLCC and joined many others dutifully stopping for the obligatory portrait, selfies and ‘we-fie’ at the magnificent Petronas Twin Towers.
As we sauntered along Jalan Ampang passing the Renaissance hotel and onto Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman via Jalan Sultan Ismail, I was sad that this merry excursion was coming to an end. As a person who has lived in KL as a second home, this is something you have to do.
This is an experience you’ll be talking about for generations, a memory to be shared and we also spotted a young couple having their wedding photos taken. Now that’s an idea to eternalise too!
It was an honour to be escorted by the ‘Sweeper Police Car’ behind us as they ushered us towards the finishing area near Dataran Merdeka, where a few booths had been set up.
Spot the Milo van!
Our aim of utmost importance was to locate the Milo van alas, our search was in vain. We left with dampened spirits as we made our way back to Tugu Negara, and we unnoticingly took a wrong turn. Alas, the detour led us straight into the White Ribbon run finishing area where lo and behold, we spotted the Milo van!
We were probably the only ones wearing a cycling helmet amongst the sea of runners, as we queued up for our share of Milo. The Milo drink from the Milo van can never be replicated elsewhere and it has always been an irreplaceable thrill dating back to my schooling days where the Milo van would only appear once a year at our school’s Sports Day.
We love KL Car Free Morning
Indeed, KL Car Free Morning has been a resounding success and I sincerely hope they continue it next year for I have many more ideas on how to maximize this priceless opportunity next year. I shall organize more ‘Gastronomical excursions’, explore the older part of KL which lies outside of the Car Free Morning Zone and perhaps organise a game of badminton in the middle of the street.
Tell your friends, neighbours and family, encourage them to explore KL City on wheels, skates or on foot, on the first Sunday of each month and be sure to make the moment count.