Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Selangor: Shah Alam Car Free Day (Hari Tanpa Kenderaan Shah Alam)

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Shah Alam Car Free Day May 2018
(Hari Tanpa Kenderaan Shah Alam)
: More Than Just a Car-free Day!
Shah Alam : 13th May 2018
Distance Covered: About 5.0 km. per loop.     |     Level: Very easy.
Time: 7:00 am to 9:30 am Duration: 2-1/2 hrs.
The first Shah Alam Car Free Day (in Bahasa Malaysia called Hari Tanpa Kenderaan Shah Alam) was inaugurated on January 22nd 2017 and is held on the second Tuesday of every month. To facilitate this event, several roads in Section 14 of the city are closed 6:30am to 9:30 am. Some friends had participated a few times and said that it's one of the best and enjoyable car free days in the country, one that goes through the beautiful city with tall landmark buildings, beautiful parks and well landscaped streets. And one that is full of life and activities.

Brompton riders at street art lane Section 2, Shah Alam.
I have rode in Shah Alam, the state capital of Selangor, several times; in fact one of my earlier rides was the Light Riders Ride at the city's Bukit Cahaya Botanical Gardens. Out Brompton Malaysia Group had also had the their group ride there in 2014. Also the city has dedicated cycling lanes that are easily accessible by residents.
Since then I had only rode a couple of times at the city, so here I am now back again to ride in the city and have some easy, casual and definitely fun ride at their car-free day!


Route of Shah Alam Car-free Day
(Note: This is an approximate mapping of the route, do follow the directions of the civil personnel present)
Cycle Route: Around Section 14 of Shah Alam CitySelangor.
Distance Covered: About 5.0 km. per loop.     |     Level: Very easy.
This is the route of the Shah Alam Car Free Day that goes on the major roads of Section 14 of Shah Alam. The roads are very flat and passes through several landmark buildings and parks of the city.
This loop is closed to motorized traffic from 6:30am to 9:30am on the second Tuesday of each month; so one can just go as many rounds as possible before the cars come in again.

The loop officially start at Shah Alam Independence Square (Dataran Kermerdekaan Shah Alam) where an archway marks the start and end point; but one can just join in at any point along the route (see map above). Here many temporary tents have been set up for stalls to cater to participants, and here too many activities were being held, but we will come back to that later. For those with a mighty appetite, there is a food truck corner nearby.

Here we are riding past the iconic Shah Alam Blue Mosque (Masjid Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz); it's not on the car-free day loop but can be seen from afar. We had parked our cars near some shop-houses in Section 9 and rode in from there passing through this mosque. Nearby the mosque are several parking areas too.

The Shah Alam City Council building, an easily recognisable building with it's tall vertical fins leading up to a wedge top.
Behind it is the Sultan Alam Shah Museum (Muzium Sultan Alam Shah) which is housed in a unique building based on the design of a Minangkabau traditional house (part of the blue roof can just be seen at the far left of the above photo).

The Shah Alam Lake Gardens (Taman Tasik Shah Alam), was opened in 1985 and designed by landscape architect Fumiaki Takano, it spreads over 43 hectares of beautifully landscaped grounds. This massive parkland is equipped with gazebos, a lakeside promenade, raised walkways that extend over the water, reflexology paths, jogging and cycling trails, and childrens’ playgrounds. There are three man-made lakes, each with its own unique features and characteristics. Visitors may rent paddle boats and kayaks to explore the interconnected lakes. Fishing competitions are regularly held here too. Several species of animals including peacocks, geese, storks and forest chickens are also reared here, so remember to be on the lookout for them.


Car-free day events are always casual, some may come to race but most come to do light exercises and have fun with each other. When we rode in at around 7:30 am, the morning's rain had abated to a light drizzle. Undettered by the rain, many had still come, some carrying umbrellas, some in their raincoats while others had just wrapped a towel or spare t-shirt over their heads.
Families came out to walk, jog or ride. Little kids brought their little bicycles along too, to experience cycling at an area beyond their neighbourhood streets.

This couple, with their young son, cycled along happily in special a tandem bike with a child's seat, the father holding an umbrella to protect his little ward. A friend came along, escorting them with his folding bike.

Although barricades had been set up, the local council personnel were at hand at the turns and junctions to ensure that participants went in the correct directions. They too were clad in rain coat like this smiling lady, who was wet, cold yet smilingly doing her duty.

Although there were many cyclists around, most came to walk or jog like this family the youngest sibling wearing a cute Angry Bird hat! There were a few who went roller-blading around.

Cycling is also a good time for young couples to get to know each other better, the car-free day provides just the right opportunity in a safe zone.

But it is the parents who bring along their young kids who always intrigue me, nothing like starting them at a young age to appreciate the great outdoors.
This lady just simply rode with her young son sitting on the middle post; further away a father rode with his toddler sitting on a special baby chair attached to the rear carrier of his bike.

A couple of young sibling laughing away as they rode along on their foldies.

This mother pushed her toddle along on a blue Doraemon tricycle; next to them the slightly older sister cycled along on her little bike.

And this little tot was on his toy skate board, the mother following closely behind like a guardian angel.

And this man made it easier on himself, riding a mini electric scooter with his young son standing in between his lap.


What makes the Shah Alam Car Free Day all the more interesting and warm are the many station/stops along the way. Some were booths like this one which distributed free drinks and food.

Others invited participants to sit down for a casual game of Chongkak, a traditional Malay game more often played in the rural areas.

Another station had participants in a few rounds of bowling, not the ten-pin type but one played with an irregularly round old coconut bowled to knock down a pyramid of tin cans, a no frills and simple game played by rural kampung (village )kids.
This AhPek seems to have lost his kampung roots, his three coconuts just went helter-skelter, not hitting any cans at all 😔😞. My friend Andrew (seen above) was in his element, his kampung boy alter-ego manifested and striked each time! And yes, there are prizes to be won, simple but gratifying ones.
It's really good to see the council promoting such rural games to ensure that they will continue on even in these days of computer games.

To make things more interesting for the walkers and joggers, en route are wooden pallets (safely marked in hazard yellow and black stripes) for them to walk/on or run up and down. At another corner are taller man-high yellow-black walls made from similar crates, a sort of obstacle course. See... one don't have to really spend much for such amenities.
Other stations had limbo rock and hula hoop games, another one had large catapult shooting rubber balls at spinning targets.

A most interesting station is the one manned by a couple of youngsters who brought their well-trained colourful macaws (South American parrots). We had the birds feeding from our hands, had them perching on our arms or shoulders. The birds are so well trained that they are not even chained; at a command from their owner they flew a big round and came back settling onto his arm!

My buddy was most amused by this cockatoo, called Burung Kakak Tua in Malay. This brings back memories of young school days when we used to sing the Malay mursery rhyme Burung Kakak Tua.

Further along, a trio had taken the opportunity to entertain us with some songs and at the same time get themselves some exposure; their instrument were ingeniously connected to amps in their van behind.
I am not sure whether these stations are manned my the council personnel or by resident association groups or perhaps even both; whichever the case is, it is a good community melding exercise.

But all is not just fun, one station had put up a board for willing participants to sign a petition that states: "We, citizens of Shah Alam, choose Integrity!".


We did a couple of loops but always ended up spending a long time at Dataran Kermerdekaan (Independence Square), this is where most of the actions is. Up on a permanent stage a band was belting out popular songs and even invited the audience to go up and sing, This local Supergirl volunteered and I must say she sang very sweetly, enough to get my super heart beating in tune.
Down below a couple of guys were performing juggling acts.

A row of white tents lined one side of the square, among them was a stall that gave away freebie packs that held buns, biscuits and bottled water.

On the opposite side, a stall was manned by PANTAS (Pasukan Tindakan Segara), the council's quick-response squad that helps out in emergencies like floods, fire, landslides and even quickly clearing trees fallen during storms, etc.
Another stall was manned by the Health Department personnel, residents could check the statistics of occurrence of Dengue in their neighbourhood and steps to avoid the spread of the disease.

A few boys were playing Sepak Takraw along the road in front of the square, one of them kicking the rattan ball high; Sin was most HaPpY hApPy to join them! Sepak Takraw or Sepak Raga is a national sports in Malaysia, it's played with a net (something like badminton, another national sports). A team of Players can use any part of their body to handle a rattan ball (head, shoulders, knee, feet, etc.) except the hands, and kick/head it over the net to the opponent.

A group of teens came dressed as Superman, Batman and Spiderman ...
Hey! Where's Supergirl? Oh Yah... she's up at the stage singing 😆.

The council had also provided several mocked-up cars for participants to pedal around, this one is a cute red one.

The young ones are not forgotten. They could be seen riding a train made from oil barrels, each coach painted yellow with black stripes like a bumble bee.

Thinking of cycling and did not bring a bicycle? No worries, to one side were a row of yellow bicycles from "ofo" for rent.

Yes, the Shah Alam Car Free Day is one that is lively and fun-filled, one that offers more than roads devoid of traffic, one that has been well planned and supported by the local council, residents and sponsors.
6:30am to 9:30 am
Every second Sunday of the month.
Start point location:
Dataran Kermerdekaan, Persiaran Bandar Raya, Seksyen 14, 40000 Shah Alam, Selangor.
Tel: +603-5522 2743

GPS & Directions Map: (3.07531, 101.52222)

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