Our very first experience to ride in Kuala Lumpur City Centre was on the first day of Chinese New Year, which was organized by Redza. We had so much fun and our sons were with me for that ride.
When I saw the opportunity to ride again in city centre, I registered for the event without any second thoughts, although I knew I will be having some traveling to do for my work, but chances like this, is something not to be missed.
Organised by Share Our Roads, campaign 2, Ride of Silence, which aimed to remember the cyclists that fell during the course of riding around the world. This was the very first time such event being organized in Malaysia. There was also similar ride took place in Petaling Jaya at the same time as the Kuala Lumpur main event. Not sure whether was organized by the same team.
I would like to congratulate the 3 or 4 core team members in the organizing committee for making this event, happened and a success.
It was the first time I ride with other cyclists, in various kind of bicycles in Kuala Lumpur, to be precise, about 800 cyclists, whom registered. For cyclists whom decided to join on the day of the event, estimated in another few hundred, if so. The path was really congested right from the flag off, I decided to pull my bike to the side, waiting for more cyclists to pass through first. It was a test of patient, because just so many cyclists stopped in the middle of the path or lane, taking pictures, worst of all, self-portrait. I remember I knocked onto 2 cyclists, decided to stop in front of SOGO KL without prior notice. Another incident was with a teenage, whom unable to decide which lane he wanted to stay on, left and right, I then shouted him, and later overtook him.
Before the flag off to the ride, the organizer invited 2 guests from Ride of Silence, think one is from USA and the other is from Japan. They both shared the safety tips, like hand signal turning left, right, planning to stop etc. Seriously, their briefing was too general and seriously the American has underestimated Malaysian. Malaysian knew about the hand signal, and we have been practicing it for years. I was looking forward to how the organizer would brief the cyclists, especially certain group of cyclists, the hero, heroin type that need to be in front, overtaking, faster pace. The organizer should have informed the cyclists, this is a Ride of Silence, to remember the cyclists, and also to spread the words about sharing the roads together. It did not, in some ways.
During the ride, the cyclists have been warned by the traffic police outriders, repeatedly not to speed, not to move to the opposite lane, not to follow them or tailing them from the back. Well, I wish I have taken the pictures to show proof how cyclists violated that, no difference from Mat Rempit. If I have taken the pictures during the ride, I am not just endangering myself, but other road users too.
I could hear the words of encouragement while passing through places like Bukit Bintang, but when passing through the quiet Chow Kit, I could hear the shoutings from the addicts, “Balik la, pergi mampui la.”
When male cyclists are together, quite often the topics or things they like to do are surrounded by sex, disturbing females passer by. I am not generalizing the male cyclists, not all of them. But some of the cyclists seriously give the cycling in Malaysia a bad reputation. In an unplanned stop last night, a group of cyclists approached 2 Japanese tourists, asking if they would like to ride them. I remember while we were in Japan, we did not see any male cyclist doing likewise to female. Even while in Shinjuku, I did not see it neither.
However, this campaign is just a beginning. It is heading to a good start. More cyclists need to learn about the road ethic and respects for one another. Similarly, for the car, motorcycles and heavy vehicles to realize in some areas or roads they use, there could be a cyclist.
Sometimes, some road users might envy about the cyclists, mainly because of the price they paid for the bikes, similarly, there is no reason for one to dislike a Porsche or Ferrari owner right? We are all road users, respect one another.