The Star Malaysia, 1st Nov 2014 – Car-Free KL Once a Month
Who wants to join me for December’s KL Car Free Day ? Let’s go on a historical or makan theme. My article below on the October 2014 KL Car Free Day was featured on Nov 1st in The Star newspapers. #KLCarFreeDay
Not enough publicity has been spread about KL Car Free Morning on the first Sunday of every month. It’s the perfect time to bond with family and friends, whether you choose to run, cycle, skate or just walk around taking in the sights of our much loved historical KL city.
As the morning mist lifts across Klang Valley, Dataran DBKL comes alive with Malaysians of all walks of life whom have travelled from far and wide to experience a car-free morning feel of the city, without the hustle and bustle and fear of motorised vehicles. KL Car-Free mornings allows everyone to step into the city, and explore the landmarks of Sogo, Pertama Complex, Hard Rock Cafe along Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Dang Wangi and looping around to Jalan P. Ramlee and Jalan Ampang for 6.5 kilometers. Take your time to soak in the sights and smells as you would only usually whiz by hurriedly in a car or bus in this area.
There’s usually an organised bicycle ride which flags off at Dataran DBKL and leads everyone along the said route. However you will be free to do as you please as the multiple lanes along the main veins allows plenty of space for everyone to cycle, run, skate, just enjoy a leisurely stroll. If you’re feeling creative, you could even hold a picnic or play a few strokes of badminton.
Gan CG from Klang, drove and parked at Taman Jaya LRT before taking the LRT with a friend to let him have a taste of KL Car Free Day. A brilliant option compared to scouting for parking within the city. Both of them have foldable bicycles also known as ‘Foldie’ and boards the LRT smoothly without needing to bag their bikes either. From her chats with other commuters, she has also helped to spread the awareness & interest on KL Car Free Mornings. Usually, Gan cycles for leisure with at least four different groups and it’s at KL Car Free Mornings that they get to rekindle and renew their friendships. Gan has only taken up cycling 16 months ago as a retirement hobby and she hadn’t cycled since 1974. It’s never too late to dust off that rusty old bicycle and get going with it.
One big positive note Gan takes from cycling, coming from a Chinese heritage and living in a pre-dominantly Chinese community, cycling allows her to fraternise and make friends from other racial communities which helps to foster racial harmony in the truest sense. Memories frozen in photos will then be shared online for her Facebook community. The sharing sessions continues after the ride as eating is Malaysia’s national pastime and they adjourned to Jalan Tun HS Lee for decadent beef noodles.
Alicia Teoh also drove from Setia Alam specially to catch the once a month KL Car Free Morning and revelled in cycling alongside her husband and 9 year old son, learning the roads which leads to KLCC. Ferrying 3 bicycles using a rear rack on their car, parking was also conveniently available for the duration alongside Dataran DBKL. Due to the heavy volume of traffic and errant drivers, they usually refrain from riding on roads and prefer mountain biking instead. However, KL Car Free Morning has provided the perfect worry-free opportunity for parents to run or cycle alongside their children as they cycled on the cordoned streets. Mothers were also seen happily pushing the strollers amongst others whom took to skateboards and roller skates. These are memories which will be shared amongst families and generations for a lifetime.
A group of runners including Chan Kin Hou ran past happily chatting while enjoying the clean crisp cool morning air you’d seldom get to experienced in the city. Usually they’d run cautiously alongside Bukit Tunku, avoiding the main veins of KL due to motor vehicles. Chan chose to park at the Lake Gardens to extend his running distance for the day with his usual running buddies. Car-Free mornings allows them to step into the city, and take snapshots at the landmarks namely the Petronas Twin Towers affectionately known as KLCC. A place when everyone gathers to share some stories and chatter while giving a lending hand to take photos of each other, who says unity is dead?
Much of the old city has been redeveloped and new buildings have taken its place. The young generation could do with a historical tour through the streets, preferably with running commentary about how Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman used to be the commercial center plying with textile traders for every festive season and how the city came to life with traditional businesses in all the nooks and crannies. Perhaps my next KL Car Free Morning ride shall be oriented around the historical bits of the city which will soon be lost in time. You could organised themed visits around the city on street life, breakfast or cafe hopping, or take a tour round to the National Monument, Bird Park in the Lake Gardens area after the car-free hours have ended. I’m all for more KL Car-Free mornings, let’s spread the word and create a new revolution in KL City once a month.
Read it here for as long as the link is valid: http://www.thestar.com.my/Lifestyle/Features/2014/11/01/Carfree-KL-once-a-month/
PDF copy of the article: TheStarOnline-KL-Car-Free