Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kuala Lumpur : Merdeka 2012 Bike Ride 2012/08/31

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Kuala Lumpur / Merdeka 2012 Ride 31st August 2012
                                    AhPek Biker - Riding Adventures                                 
Kuala Lumpur  : Merdeka Ride
Merdeka Stadium to National Monument : 31st August 2012
Social Leisure Ride from Merdeka Stadium to  National Monument Kuala Lumpur & back.
Distance covered : 22.33km.
Starting Time : 7:30am
Time Taken : approx. 3:37:58hrs.


This was a ride many had been waiting for. So when Jimmy Chow created the event Merdeka City Ride 2012 and invited people to participate, the numbers slowly grew day by day and escalated to 69 as the event neared. 

Merdeka City Ride 2012 Map  (click for Map Link)
Coming in by the MRT
Many were concerned about the traffic jams resulting from the Merdeka Parade and planned various means to get to the starting point, Merdeka Stadium on time. Some parked their cars in the suburbs, folded their bikes, and came in by the LRT & MRT - and alighted at the Maharajalela Station, just next to the stadium. Others parked further away and rode in (some from as far away as Sungei Way).
Still others like me, packed our bikes into our cars, took the chance (hoping for the best) and drove in. I had planned to drive from Petaling Jaya via the Kerinci Link cutting to the Taman Desa by-pass and reaching the stadium through Jalan Istana. But on the day itself, the early hours traffic was light at the Federal Highway and I drove all the way in without any detour, reaching much earlier than anticipated.

Having spare time, a few friends and I rode down to Petaling Street to have a light Chee Cheong Fun breakfast. 

Chee Cheong Fun at Chee Cheong Kai - Hmm, have a nice rhythmic ring to it!

Many others came even earlier, and went to Yook Woo Hin Restaurant, famed for its dim sum, to literally savor a last meal there.

The Star Article of Yook Woo Hin Closing
The place was closing down after eighty-four years in business, it's premises having been acquired for extension of the MRT line. And by coincidence on Merdeka Day, I wonder what's the significance behind this.

With hearty-filled tummies, we went back to the stadium. The rest of the riders had arrived and a memorable group photo (see top-most photo) was taken. Fearing that our faces will be lost in the large group, we also took a smaller group photo.

The Ride

We started off, and were soon riding fast down Jalan Hang Jebat, all eager and excited to be part of the national day celebration. But then.....

..... But then less than three minute after starting we had to slow down. A metal drain grating, with gaps wide enough for the smaller wheels of the foldies to sink in, stretched right across the road. Some with thicker wheels road diagonally across it but many played safe and pushed their bikes over.

And soon we were riding down Petaling Street. The traffic was heavier now and we couldn't go fast. In the humdrum, the people in the street hardly took notice of us - such is the pace of the place.

But going slow was ok as we could soak in the spirit of  the place that was all dressed up in gaiety, with Malaysian flags hanging across the street and draping down buildings too.

From there we turned and did a short stint on Jalan Tun Tan Cheng Lok. This being a holiday, the normally busy road was quiet devoid of traffic.

With another quick left turn, we were off the main road and into Jalan Tun HS Lee (formely Jalan Bandar) and into the heart of Chinatown of Kuala Lumpur.

We are back onto a main road again, Jalan Maharajalela and stop for our first regroup below the MRT station - the one many alighted from to reach the start point.

After this quick regroup, we did a quick swing over just before Jalan Hang Tuah and did a U-turn above the road tunnel.

Now cycling on the other side of this main road, we could see the city high-rise skyline, shining brightly in the morning sun.

This being a big group, the faster riders stopped by for the rest to catch up.

Moving up Jalan Kinabalu and turning into Jalan Cendasari, many of us noticed the colorful portable toilets at that junction.

On the opposite side oft the roads, marching teams were getting ready for their turn for the Merdeka Parade march pass at the Selangor Padang. Oh! so those colorful toilets must be for these people, could the cross the divided road in time for their toilet duties?

Slightly further down, we stopped at the famous Nasi Lemak Tanglin, many of us sat down and savored this delicious meal.

By coincidence, marching horses were temporarily stationed there, waiting for their turn for in the National Day Parade. Our bikers were most intrigued by these beautiful creatures.

Our precious bikes seems to pale in comparison to these magnificent horses. Many took turns to pose with the horses and their riders.

With fond memories of the horses  we continued riding on - the shady, soothing roads here were a welcomed contrast to the main roads earlier on.

Approaching one of the small round-about at Jalan Kebun Bunga, we got ready to get off-road.

And getting over a kerb, we were onto the paths of the Lake Gardens.

This approach path was nice and full of green undergrowth. The city forefathers really had a foresight in planning this large niche of greenery in an ever-growing metropolis.

That narrow path through the woods led to the park proper, and we were soon cycling in the park, sharing the place with many strollers and others who came to exercise in the early morning.

The lake at the Lake Gardens is scenic and well preserved for the enjoyment of all. We hope that it will thus be preserved for future generations to come.

A group photo was here taken for our future keepsake.

Leaving the Lake Gardens we were soon at the junction of Jalan Parlimen and Jalan Cenderawashi, waiting to cross over to the National Monument.

Appropriately waving a Malaysian Flag on Merdeka Day at the Centopath. This was the original national monument.

Shouting Merdeka! in front of the National Monument during Malaysia's National Day.

The view from here was panoramic, with the city's skyscrapers jutting out from the greenery.

Here we are, taking a rest at the approach area towards the National Monument. A smaller group of us wanting to have a quicker ride with less stops for regrouping decided to move on on our own.

The seven of us cycled off, heading towards the Kuala Lumpur City Center via Jalan Kuching and up the ramp onward to Jalan Sultan Ismail.

On our right, we could see the KL Tower looming skywards.

Along the way, near Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman at a shady sitting area, we took a group photo.

Along shady Jalan Ampang.

Turning right into Jalan P Ramlee, we were at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers.

Looking up, we could see the twin skyscrapers looming over us. It was. for a brief period of few years, the tallest building in the world. The movie Entrapment starring Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones even used it as a major back-drop of the show.

Circling the base, we rode to the rear of the Petronas Twin Towers and was soon riding on the paths of the KLCC Park.

View from the park over the fountain pool.

We took a group photo here - the Magnificent Seven!

The towers were ever present, majestic and overshadowing everything else.

But soon our presence were noted by the park's security personnel, blowing whistles at us , they shooed us off the park. Oddly, there were no signage indicating that cycling was not allowed. Such is the lot of cyclists in Malaysia - hardly any cycling lanes for us.
So we rode off the park, the Magnifiecent Seven feeling not so magnificent then.

So we cycled off, feeling quite frustrated, down towards Jalan Pinang.....

..... where we stopped at this fountain at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Center, the rush of the water fountain soothing us and lifting our spirits again.

Our lifted spirits help us lift our bikes in this group photo here.

Going through Jalan Kia Peng and via Jalan Raja Chulan we turned passed Pavilion KL and was soon into the busy Bukit Bintang area.

Even on a holiday, this area was busy with locals and tourists alike.

We stopped at this bright street sculpture next to Lot 10 to take a last group photo for the ride. Rivern's color was even brighter than the sculpture!

Using the side and back lanes, we headed toward Jalan Imbi. Here we are at Jalan Bulan, behind Sungei Wang Plaza.

At Jalan Imbi, we were cycling along the building driveways, hurrying to reach our lunch destination.

Soon we were at Restoran Ali Mama at Plaza Berjaya. This place opens 24-hrs a day, 7-days per week. So one can eat here anytime, but it is not advisable to cycle there during working days or at night!

We parked our bicycles nicely, some even folded their handles down as a precaution against theft. One can never be too careful these days.

They serve a good variety of curries, all of them looking delicious.

Having made our orders we sat down. Even though the ride was leisurely, this break would be restful.

I had curry fish with lady fingers and egg omelette with my white rice. The fish was fresh while the omelette although thick was just nicely cooked. Everything just blended in well and I had a good lunch. At RM4-50 it was cheap when compared to many other 24-hr joints.

With a good lunch in our stomachs, we headed down Jalan Pudu towards our finishing point. It was already noon time and the traffic was very heavy. Turning into Jalan Sultan, we reached our finishing point, the Merdeka Stadium car-park.

We folded our bikes and packed them into our cars. Saying our goodbyes to each other we headed home.

The rest of the group had proceeded on without us and  took interesting photos at the Twin Towers

They also rode up to Taman Titiwangsa and took this beautiful photo with the Istana Budaya in the background.

For lunch they rode to the Pudu Area and ate at Restoran Siew Ngap Fai.....

..... where they had delicious roast goose, roast duck and char siew.

Overall, it was a nice comfortable ride, meeting a lot of other bikers and making new friends with some of them. It was memorable to be a part of the Merdeka Celebrations in an indirect way. But our ride did catch the eyes of the press, and an article was featured on us in the following day's issue of the China Press!


Jimmy Chow (Organizer & Ride Leader)

Well Tan

And many, many more. For full list -  see FaceBook Event Merdeka City Ride 2012

You are at - Jotaro's Blog / AhPek Biker / Cycling Malaysia / Kuala Lumpur Merdeka 2012 Ride 31st August 2012
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