KL CAR FREE DAY (KLCFD) is an initiative started by the KL Mayor, En. Ahmad Phesal under his KL Municipality office (DBKL). Since January 2014, on every first Sunday of the month, a 6.5km stretch of road is blocked-off from motorists from 7am to 9am. The closed loop starts & finishes at DBKL headquarters, No.1 Jalan Raja Laut, and it passes through the heart of Kuala Lumpur (Jalan Raja Laut, Jalan P. Ramlee, Jalan Pinang, Jalan Ampang, Jalan Tun Abdul Rahman).
On a normal day, with the busy traffic, KL is like many other capital cities – vibrant, chaotic, noisy, congested. For a couple of hours every month, the public, cyclists, joggers, rollerbladers, skateboarders, have the unique opportunity to enjoy the beauty of KL, some of her majestic landmarks such as Dataran Merdeka & KLCC Twin Towers, in a tranquil setting.
For the participants, KLCFD offers them an attractive and convenient venue to enjoy their hobbies with their families and friends.
For DBKL, KLCFD is to promote a greener KL. Judging by the good response from the
public, it appears that KLCFD is here to stay. Some quarters are already calling for more Car Free Sundays. How long will KLCFD continue to exist? Will they change the format of KLCFD? These are important questions which only the high-ranking civil servants & politicians can decide. Meantime, I will continue to support this super campaign as much as I can and enjoy the free ride as long as I can because without any guarantees, we should not take for granted that this cozy situation can or will last forever.
The 12th Instalment: To celebrate the last KL Car Free Day on 07 December, I invited Sandra Loh, the author of “Pedalling Around The Peninsula” to ride together and arrange for her to sign her books for our cycling friends and the KLCFD participants.
As we lined-up at the STARTING LINE, a group of professional dancers dressed in traditional Malay costume provided us with some perky entertainment. Other times, the organiser had booked a live marching band as part of the fanfare. The bicycles on display came in all sorts of shapes, sizes and colour – an appropriate reflection of the multi-cultural diversity of Malaysia, herself.
The weather was perfectly clear and the morning temperature was comfortably mild.
As usual, the Mayor is at the front & centre of the crowd on his well-used & colour-fading mountain bike as we rolled-off amidst the clicking of cameras.
It’s a special feeling to be kings of the road. It was like going back in time when there were much less cars in KL, and life was alot simpler then. Exhilarating. Carefree. Liberating.
At the half way point, Sandra & I parked our bicycles next to KLCC where we chatted with friends and posed for photographs. I saw groups of young boys riding colourful fixees and young girls rollerblading. There were runners bobbing along. Skateboarders gliding past. Foldies, antique bicycles, bicycle train, and many other rare and unique bicycles. Everyone was happy and smiling as they enjoyed the cool climate & clear blue skies.
After just one loop, Sandra & I decided to hang-out near the FINISH LINE, and spend some time comparing notes & stories with other cyclists. Sandra was riding the same bicycle as the one on which she rode on her epic journey around the Peninsula Malaysia. Luckily, Sandra brought some of her newly printed 3rd edition book inside her panniers because there were some friends who wanted to get their copies personally signed by the obliging author. At 9am sharp, the crowd were ushered off the main road as the traffic police and DBKL officers re-opened the roads for cars to reclaim their territory.
On the way back to our parked cars, I was stopped by a jogger who wanted to take a closer look at my ElliptiGO bicycle. I introduced him to Sandra, and being a fan of touring himself, he bought a signed copy of Sandra’s inspirational book. Before long, Sandra was approached by another runner who also wanted a sign copy for herself.
A Big Thank You to those who stopped-by to say “hello”, and to those who gave us their invaluable support.
On an end note, I would like to wish KL Mayor & his DBKL Crew all the success for their popular KL Car Free Day.