Go ride a bike!

I’ve taken bike rides in Laos, Cambodia, Christchurch, NZ; and Bangkok, Thailand – sometimes as a  guided day tour, mostly just hiring or borrowing bikes and doing my own thing. I’ve now also taken a bike tour in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and despite being caught in a tropical downpour it was fun. I’d not been on a bike for sometime so my nether regions where very aware of the saddle by the end of my time🙂

As a guest of KL tourism I had a guide to myself, but groups of travellers can also have a guide – if booked beforehand – or you can just grab a map and enjoy the day stopping and  starting as it suits – which is ideal especially for photographers – and of course it’s quick getting from place to places. The bikes have baskets (on the ‘women’s’ bikes) and a bell to warn pedestrians of your approach.

Many of the connections between footpaths and roads need you to get off as footpaths are often raised – I believe the council is looking at smoothing the way where possible. It was not a car-free time when I took the tour, but my guide was very aware of the traffic and car-drivers seemed considerate of us. I enjoyed the garden area in particular as it was mostly vehicle-free.

Beginning and ending at Merdeka Square, with bike route signs along  the way,  the  ride showcased some of the city’s attractions such as the Perdana Botanical Park, KL Bird Park, the National Mosque, Merdeka Square and a number of other monuments and museums.


use IMG_0248Mederka Square
 is full of  historical sites and I believe you could spend a day here alone. It has buildings which date from the late 1800s This was where the British flag was lowered in 1957 and the Malayan flag raised for the first time – signalling the end of British rule and the beginning of  the country being a sovereign nation member of the Commonwealth.

Before the ride I visited the interesting, and free, Kuala Lumpur City Gallery (just opposite the bike hire place and home to ARCH ) which is a beautiful Mogul-India inspired building and the amazing miniature model of the city certainly helps get your bearings.

Cycling is being promoted by the city council to encourage visitors and residents to explore this captivating city. In January, Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib led more than 300 cyclists along closed public roads to give them a taste of what they could enjoy under their own steam. The ride followed the launch of “Kuala Lumpur by Cycle” in February last year (2013) and now KL has monthly Car-Free Days during which 6 kilometres  city roads are closed to traffic for two hours on the first Sunday of every month. A cycling track on roads along the Gombak River is also planned so watch for more cycle routes.

“This is a very imaginative idea,” says Zalina Ahmad, director of Tourism Malaysia in New Zealand. “Cycling is a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around and this will give people the opportunity to explore KL. Cycling is one of the best ways to get to know a city.”

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So if you are eco-friendly or just want an enjoyable way to get around this often ignored city go ride a bike and visit KLs oldest parks and heritage buildings. Just remember no matter the season, in Asia make sure you have sunblock, umbrellas and waterproof gear in your bag at all times – and a plastic bag for your camera!

Other great ways to explore this city are:

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Horse and Carriage ride

FREE Dataran Mederka Heritage Guided Tour (Mon, Wed, Sat)

FREE Little India Walking Guided Tour (Saturday)

And, soon I’ll bog about my day of travel on the jump on jump off bus 

While in KL I stayed at the Berjaya Times Square hotel … Read about my experiences there and the Theme Park

Malaysia Airlines’ has daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland (and every other part of the world)  For information about visiting Malaysia  – and do a search in my Malaysia category on this blog page for many more stories about my favourite Asian country.

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Cycling in KL … spinning your wheels by night or day!

FANCY SPINNING YOUR WHEELS BY MOONLIGHT?

I’ve taken bike rides in Laos, Cambodia and Thailand – some as a day tour, mostly just hiring or borrowing a bike and doing my own thing. this is one I’d like to do too.

Night cycling around Kuala Lumpur is being promoted by the council to encourage visitors and residents to explore this captivating city. In January, Mayor Datuk Seri Ahmad Phesal Talib led more than 300 cyclists on a 5.4km route along closed public roads around KL to give them a taste of what they could enjoy under their own steam.

Starting and ending at Merdeka Square, the 45-minute night ride showcased some of the city’s attractions such as the Perdana Botanical Park, KL Bird Park, the National Mosque, Merdeka Square and a number of other monuments and museums.

The night ride follows the launch of “Kuala Lumpur by Cycle” in February last year and KL’s first Car-Free Day recently. Under the programme, a 6km stretch of city roads will be closed to traffic for two hours on the first Sunday of every month. A cycling track on roads along the Gombak River is also planned.

“This is a very imaginative idea,” says Zalina Ahmad, director of Tourism Malaysia in New Zealand. “Cycling is a healthy and environmentally friendly way to get around and this will give people the opportunity to explore KL at night, without the bustling crowds the city attracts during the day. Cycling is one of the best ways to get to know a city and fewer cars on the roads is better for everyone.”

And, of course, you can do it all again in the daylight for a totally different but no less magical experience!

Malaysia Airlines’ introduction of daily flights from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland in March will make it even easier to get to Malaysia and start exploring.

For information about visiting Malaysia go to http://www.tourism.gov.my/en/intl and do a search in my Malaysia category on the this blog page for many more stories about the country.

Christchurch Bike Tours in quake re-build zone

Now is the time  to visit post-quake Christchurch, New Zealand,  and take a Christchurch Bike Tour in the Rebuild Zone,  This  two-hour, personalised tour of the cordoned-off Rebuild Zone allows you to see the Christchurch CBD rebuild in a safe, personalised and interactive way. It is the first opportunity the public have had to go into the Rebuild Zone on bikes.

You  will enjoy a sensory experience within the cordon as Christchurch Bike Tours guides’ offer information on the new city vision, including the new precincts, community projects and local business stories incorporating the strength and resilience of the people from Christchurch.
Christchurch Bike Tours owner Stephanie Fitts says the tour is designed to give locals and visitors the opportunity to understand the changed nature of the Christchurch CBD and the future of Christchurch as a 21st century city.
Tours are  limited to six people to allow for a personalised and safe experience and you will be required to stay on the bikes throughout the tour and wear closed-in footwear. Of course the route may vary depending on safety conditions.
Tour departures are at 10am and 2pm. Tours are two-hours long, and cost $40 per person, which includes the bike, helmet, hi-visibility safety vest and a local guide.
Bookings are essential by phoning 0800 733 257 or online at www.chchbiketours.co.nz
Christchurch Bike Tours was awarded the contract by CERA to run the tours in the Christchurch Rebuild Zone.

Note: this is New Zealand’s only guided city bike tour.

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Little River Rail Trail for cyclists – near Christchurch

The 20 kilometre long ‘Little River Rail Trail’ runs alongside the road to Akaroa: past Motukarara,  Lake Ellesmere, (Te Waihora) Birdlings Flat, and Lake Forsyth, before  it ends at Little River.

part of the rail trail

This is the area where I used to camp and eel every March and April, and where my parents, and many others, collected gemstones for polishing and jewellery making.  Seems the agates and all the other stones that come down  Canterbury rivers tumble along the coastal beaches until they are stopped on Birdlings Fiat by the barrier of Banks Peninsula.
I haven’t cycled it – yet – but know much of it from before it became the popular place it is now. Some 10,000 cyclists use it every year and the numbers are growing annually.  With both fresh and salt water, swamp, beach and field, this is one of New Zealand’s significant wetlands.  This means it’s a great birding area, providing the perfect habitat for many species – including flocks of up to 500 wrybill – and other waders. I have heard there are over 170 species here and tens of thousands of various birds.

bike riding in my city (plus food!)

Spent a wonderful Saturday morning in Christchurch recently … here are just a  few of the photos from that day – for your enjoyment. Read the story here

Simply Scrumptious, Victoria St

market in Poplar Lanes
Poplar Lanes
Cupcake Parlour, Salisbury St
C1 espresso, High St and Poplar Lane - Sam pours Samoan hot chocolate

Read the this story here