I remember my first bike. It was light blue and had white handles. I was not a natural, so my cautious parents attached tiny training wheels to the bike. Even after that, they had great trouble teaching me how to ride my bike. But, like most other things in life, I finally mastered it. How ‘bikeable’ are you?!
How flat can you get?
The Netherlands, where I grew up, is a very flat country, which makes it ideal to ride a bike. Wind and rain are very common, but on the odd days when the weather is not nasty, riding a bicycle can be very pleasurable.
The city of Kuala Lumpur has got similar flat features and beside that, the weather is always nice. So why not make use of these perfect conditions to ride a bike?! Dutchmen Maurice and Mike Janssen (same last name but no family!) discovered this for themselves, when they first visited KL five years ago. After a lot of preparations, including exploring all roads, alleys and lanes in the city to find those that are suitable for bikes, Maurice started to offer guided bicycle rides through KL with local guides. Today, he is the proud co-owner of MikeBikes together with his business partner.
We’d been studying the ‘menu’ on the website of MikeBikes and we decided to join the Sunset Tour, which starts at 5 o’clock in the afternoon. I also read on their page about their commitment to promote a ‘cleaner and more liveable Kuala Lumpur’. Hm, I like that. For example, they collect and recycle all the water bottles used during our tours, which are then sent for recycling and the profits donated to the foundation’s charity funds. They also work together with the local community and their ultimate goal is to provide children of socially disadvantaged families a second hand bicycle that they must maintain by means of free workshops given by Bike Kitchen KL to teach them how to do so. Great idea as well!
A steel orange horse with wheels
“The bike looks so orange, mum!”
My youngest looks weary. The sturdy Dutch style ‘grandma’ children’s bike 2.0 looks great to me and it seems to have good brakes as well as three gears. And yes, it is very orange indeed.
“Nothing wrong with the colour, darling. Hop on!”
After some instructions from our two charming guides, we soon climb on our steel horses and start the tour into town. Like a giant orange snake, we slither our way through the Saturday evening traffic of Kuala Lumpur. Our bright orange bikes are equipped with bells and we love to use them!
Narrow streets and a meat market
The first part of the tour leads us to Kampung Baru, an old neighbourhood of Kuala Lumpur where a lot of traditional houses are still intact. The streets here are narrow, but there is barely any traffic, so it is very easy to make our way through the surprisingly quiet area. Although we’ve lived in KL for five years now, we enjoy the inside information our guide Krishna tells us about Kampung Baru. I am impressed by the way the guides take safety very seriously. While we ride the KL streets, one of them is always at the front to stop traffic at the intersections, so we can safely get to the other side.
Our next stop is Chow Kit, where we park our bikes at the wet market for a walk. Warning: if you’re not into dead cows heads, you better look away. I personally enjoyed the fruit and vegetables sector more!
Soon after, it is time for dinner and we’re taken to a local restaurant nearby. The delicious samosas were definitely our favorites.
What to wear?
So are you ready to jump on an orange bike? Make sure to wear comfortable clothes and closed shoes, which are safest for riding a bike in the city. The tour includes a temple visit. Wear either long trousers or bring a sarong.
All bikes have got baskets attached to the front, which is very handy to store your bag in, any additional clothes and a water bottle under a netting.
The cost of a bike tour starts at RM130 for adults, children between 6-12 years old pay RM115. Children under 6 years old, who can follow on the back seat of the bike, can join for free. The kiddie bikes are perfectly safe, as long as the child can ride a bike properly.
For more information, visit their website. MikeBikes is open again since 19 July and offers a special tour from 1 August until 30 September 2020: the Local Limited Edition Bike Tour KL. Check out their discounts here.
Check out other ideas for what to do with kids in KL here.