Sometime in 2010, I was called by Putrajaya Corporation, the administrative body of the government of Malaysia that looks after the national capital to attend a meeting on cycling. It was chaired by Mohd. Niza Bin Abdul Aziz. I was grateful and delighted to know that Putrajaya Corporation was interested in launching a cycling program called Putrajaya Inter Park Ride(PIPR) with a tag line-Healthy Park Healthy People. It was all music to my ears and the rest of the cycling enthusiasts who love cycling in Putrajaya. I started cycling in Putrajaya in 2008 but our presence on the roads was not welcome.
We began the program in 2010 with 23 riders. There were my cycling buddies members of the Putrajaya Critical Mass group. At that time, only hardcore riders know about cycling in Putrajaya. After more than 15 months organising a monthly ride, we managed to get in the Guinness Book of Record where 3084 riders took part on a Sunday Ride! Our first few rides were to get awareness for the people to come to ride in Putrajaya. At the same time, we planned the routes and pitstops along with the gardens of Putrajaya. The riders enjoyed the rides and at the same time visited the gardens. It was like killing two birds with one stone.
Nowadays, fast forward to 2022, no advertisements and organised rides are necessary. The public comes to ride every day on their own with their own tribes. We now have parking problems on weekends. It is a usual growing pain. A little bird has told me that Putrajaya Corporation is embarking to upgrade and create fourteen cycling routes with better pitstop facilities. The cycling hub is next to the Roral Floria site is under construction and will be ready in April 2022. By the way, Cycle Cafe is now open. It is a full house on weekends. Personally, I lead the Putrajaya Riders club with 1,300 members! We cycle here two times a month.
How did we build the monthly group ride from 23 riders to 3000 riders? It was a program of change through monthly projects. Every ride we organise is a project. We did marketing to the target groups through public relations, via social media by cycling groups and words of mouths and fingers.(Whatsapp groups).
For every monthly ride, we had to plan the route, pitstops and activities for the riders. At every pitstop, we provide food and drinks. To ensure safety, we provided marshalls on motorcycles and bicycles to manage and take care of the riders so that they feel safe and reduce the risks of accidents. At the same time, we also got an ambulance following the riders. Looking back ten years ago, it was like a VIP ride. The only thing we did not have was the Police Outriders!
To do all those we need good planning. To ensure route safety, a few of us in the Cycling Committee will ride the proposed route identify any problems that riders may encounter during the ride. To manage 20 riders is easy, but when our riding party swell to 200 riders is another story.
As our monthly ride grew from 20 to 2000, we had to engage professional event managers, marshals equipped with walkie-talkies to manage the riders. We learned a lot during every ride. For me, every ride is a lesson in project management.
The main objectives of the Putrajaya Inter Park Ride are to inculcate the culture of cycling and to get people to visit and enjoy the gardens and parks in Putrajaya. From what I observe every weekend, hundreds of people are cycling in the city and the parks are full. After more than ten years, I am witnessing our success story in social change for Malaysians to lead and live a healthy lifestyle. This success story should be repeated by all the cities and towns in Malaysia. I am glad and grateful to be part of the change movement for a better Malaysia.
We cannot change the world but we can change our world. The desire and talking about change lead to nowhere. We must be taking part in the change and better still join the movement to change for the better.