Tuesday, September 24, 2013

2013 World Car Free Day - Part 1

Off to an early start...

We've had a good rest and woke up at 05:30am.
I set up the bikes the night before and this is actually the first time we were riding our 24" folding bikes into the city centre.
The plan was to cycle from our home in USJ 26, ride up to USJ 20 and take persiaran Tujuan towards the Federal Highway motorcycle lane.
Michelle had earlier set up a meeting point with her friend Anita who is cycling with us into the city for the first time.

Last-minute announcement

The guy who runs the Malaysian National Federation of Cyclists (MNCF) was quoted in the newspapers for organizing a Car Free Day event in the city.
At the same time, he also mentioned about a criterium road race where sections of the city's main roads are closed to traffic.
The Kuala Lumpur City Hall was involved in this and Leisure cyclists were encouraged to join the ride with the Mayor.
We took this as a cue to ride into the city. There were just the three of us.


Getting ready to hit the road

Riding along the edge of the LDP

On the Federal Highway motorcycle lane
There were no issues at all getting to the Federal Highway bike lane that connects Klang to Kuala Lumpur's City Centre.
Last year, I organized a ride from KL - Klang on the same route.
It took as about an hour to get to Jalan 223 where we met Anita. From there, we made our way into the city centre via Jalan Bangsar.
By the time we got to Jalan Travers, traffic began to pick up in terms of the number of vehicles on the road.

Posing for a shot at the refurbished Majestic Hotel

The Army had their open day in Dataran Merdeka

Michelle, checking out a howitzer
We found that certain sections along this route was really dangerous - especially from Jalan Travers to the Museum. The road splits and we had to cross two lanes to get to the city centre.
The hoarding in front of the Museum didn't really help either as the road becomes really narrow.
Lucky for us, it was just a short distance to cover before reaching the old KL Railway station.
I called for some photo opportunity at the refurbished Majestic Hotel before we rode off to Jalan Raja Laut.
At Dataran Merdeka, the Army had their field day where some of their hardware were shown to the public.
We reached the Sultan Abdul Samad building and noticed a group of cyclists wearing lime-green tee shirts.
Jalan Raja Laut was closed and when we entered the road, a traffic cop directed us to move aside as a peloton of cyclists approached.

Breakfast in Jalan Doraisamy

The KL skyline

The road race in Jalan Ampang

We wait..

I led the gang to Jalan Doraisamy for breakfast.
While our day was about to begin, the night owls were having their last meal of the day before heading back to their barn for hibernation.
I noticed a group of sexy chicks in their night dressing having breakfast at a stall opposite the spot where we had our nasi lemak. These people must have been partying late till the early hours of the morning.
We made our way to Jalan Ampang near the Dang Wangi LRT station where the road race took place.

Chilling out by the roadside
In terms of organization, the DBKL World Car Free Day event was haphazardly done. 
There were no indication as to where cyclists were supposed to gather.
On the race part, there were only a handful of roadies racing each other.
Last I checked there were three groups..
No one even bothered to cheer the peloton as they made their way to the timing sensor along the race route.
I don't think there's any appeal for racing on a Car Free Day.

The irritating announcer..

Some dude who had the mike on his hand was commentating. 
The less-enthusiastic crowd were more interested in socialising than to listen to him.
And while he was at it, a couple rode past on their road bike. They were riding on the side of the road.
Out of the blue, the announcer yelled: "Hey you, father and son team, please get out of the road, there is a race going on!".
The guys shouted back: "This is a car free Sunday!!!"
Later, I found out that the duo was actually a couple - a caucasian dude and an asian lady.
Way I see it, the traffic management and crowd control was pretty bad. 
Leisure cyclists were riding on their own pace while the race was going on.
Even the whole motivation of making money on a Car Free Day seemed morally wrong..
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