Saturday, January 31, 2015

Easy Scenic 11km MTB Core Island Bike Route

I just realised that although this blog is about cyclists in Putrajaya, we hardly post about the scenic routes available in Putrajaya, especially routes suitable for family rides. Allow me to rectify that with an easy, totally flat, scenic 11 km route around the Putrajaya's Core Island which is quite safe, and isolated from the road traffic.
This is a screen capture of my ride today with my two teenage children. I believe you would immediately understand what I meant with the phrase "Core Island" after looking at the image. The route follows the lakeside jogging/cycling path around the core island.
You can start any where along this route but my favourite starting point is the parking area (N2.92193 E101.68289) near the Umai Cafe, between the Iron Mosque and the Millennium Tower. Best to start right after sunrise around 7.30 am so that it would not be too hot for your kids. Once you are ready, just head towards the Millennium Tower, so that you would be circling the island clockwise. Most of the cyclists ride clockwise, so it is better to follow suit. By going clockwise, there would be less issue of taking blind corners or getting stuck at a dead-end after missing a critical turn (such as the one near Jalan P18D).
1. The first significant building that you would see on this route would be the Millennium Tower. It is uniquely shaped like an obelisk with etchings denoting important periods and milestones in the nation’s history. The monument is 68 metres tall.

2. The second significant building along this route is a bridge, the Seri Wawasan Bridge. This futuristic cable-stayed bridge which has a sail ship appearance, connects Precinct 2 on the Core Island to the residential area of Precinct 8.
It also looks like Rama VIII bridge in Thailand or Golden Gate Bridge, or any other cable-stayed bridge in the world, for that matter. But the sail ship appearance is unique for the Seri Wawasan Bridge. In fact, the bridge reminded me of the BURJ AL ARAB JUMEIRAH building in Dubai.

3. The next significant building along this route is the "Pink Mosque" or Masjid Putra. It was completed in 1999 and it is the principal mosque of Putrajaya, Malaysia. It's dome was inspired by the Sheikh Omar Mosque in Baghdad. Their dome has blue tiles, ours has pink tiles. Hmmm .... male and female version?

4. Right beside the Putra Mosque is the Putra Bridge. The bridge design was inspired by the 17th century Khaju Bridge in Isfahan, Iran. With a span of 435 metres, this Putra bridge connects the Government Precinct to the Mixed Development Precinct and links Putra Square with the Boulevard. It was constructed in 1997.

4. After this bridge, you would be entering the beautiful Taman Wawasan. It used to be even more beautiful in 2008 but some of the water features such as the lotus pool is no longer there.

But it is still worth a visit.
The park ends at Seri Bestari Bridge, is a large arch bridge connecting Precinct 16 and Wisma Putra on Core Island. The bridge has a total length of 152.6 meters with a main span of 60 meters.

5. After the Seri Bestari Bridge, you would be entering the Precinct 18 residential area. You would be cycling behind these exclusive homes. Once the residential area ends, you would see Seri Setia Bridge, which provides a vital link between Precinct 19 and the Commercial Precinct and the main route to the core island from the southeast. The bridge is made up of eight equal spans of 30 metres each, it also has lancet-arch designs on its railing that complement the fascia panels on its side.

6. After the Seri Setia bridge, you would be passing the many government towering complexes in Heritage Square. If you look across the lake, you would be able to see the "Forbidden Bridge", which is part of the dam wall which created the artificial lakes of Putrajaya. It is because these man-made lakes, that all these bridges becomes a necessity. At the end of the dam wall, you can see the Putrajaya International Convention Centre (PICC), towering over Putrajaya from it's highest vantage point. Then you will see the Seri Gemilang Bridge, a ceremonial bridge which connects the Heritage Square with Putrajaya Convention Centre. The bridge has a main span 120 metres (394 ft) long, with a 60-metre (197 ft) span at each end, for a total length of 240 metres (787 ft). There are six traffic lanes, each 3.5 metres (11.5 ft) wide. The deck level above the water is 36.75 metres (121 ft) at the centre of the bridge. It is supposed to resemble Pont Alexandre III, a deck arch bridge that spans the Seine in Paris.

7. After admiring the beautiful Seri Gemilang bridge, time to press on north towards Seri Saujana bridge. The bridge's design is unique cable-stayed arch bridge and it is similar to the Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Seri Saujana bridge links the core island towards Cyberjaya and the ELITE Highway.
Right beside the beautiful bridge however is an unfinished bridge, which is suppose to be part of the monorail servicing Putrajaya. Sad.

8. The last but not the least significant building along this route is the "Iron Mosque" or Masjid Sultan Al-Mizan. When it was a "sick project", it was an eyesore along this route. Now it is a beautiful addition to the route.

Just a few hundred metres ahead is where you have parked your car. After enjoying the ride, now you can put away your bikes and enjoy a nice breakfast at the nearby cafe. Ride Safe!

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