Saturday, 25 October 2014

Sundays Are Fun Days (Sun Day Out At Jaya One)

On Mister Four's last birthday we bought him a bike.  It was a thing of beauty, with its shiny red paintwork and coordinating helmet.  We buffed it, checked the tyres and set it up while the little man slept.  We'd thought of everything.

Well not quite.

Because the next morning, with squeals of delight our little KL-ite jumped right on and started pedalling into the living room in the general direction of our glass sliding doors.  We'd forgotten that, like many other central KL residents, we don't have a garden.

We brushed this aside as a minor hiccup and decided to head to the park.  KL boasts some very good, spacious and well-maintained green spaces.  But in order to utilise them, you need to get your family fed, dressed and out of the house before about 9.00am.  If you fail to do this your cycling trip will produce more sweat than a bout with a sumo wrestler.  A second option is to head to the park sometime after 4pm.  This is of course a careful balancing act.  You need to make it late enough to avoid the piercing heat but early enough that you have not entered the dreaded 'witching hour'.

It's doable.  You can ride a bike outdoors in KL.  It just requires military precision.

But we weren't great at it.  Six months later Mister Four's bike was almost as shiny as it had been on the morning of his birthday.

So it's fortunate that we recently found out about Sun Day Out at The School (Malaysia's first enrichment mall) at the Jaya One complex in Petaling Jaya.

 Every Sunday from 10am to 3pm (right when the sun is at its fiercest) the ground floor of The School is made available for little ones to pedal to their hearts' content.  It's free.  It's clean.  It's well organised.

You can even borrow a free bike if you don't have your own (though the selection is quite limited).  Little Miss had a blast being pushed around on her baby trike last Sunday while Mister Four zoomed around on the 'roads' that have been set up especially for little cyclists. 

Best of all though is that the smart people at The School have thought of mum and dad too.  Next door to the cycling area is a little Sunday market.  Cute little stationary, homewares and fashion stalls offer quirky finds.  A number of pop-up food stalls sell light (and unusual) bites for those who've worked up an appetite.  If you prefer something heavier, there are a number of trendy, warehouse-turned-NY-loft-appartment style restaurants with a good selection and a friendly vibe in Jaya One.  

I'm sure the brains behind the concept were parents.  On the ground floor of The School is the first men's only baby change room I've ever seen.  Hands-on dads can change baby's nappy while his other charges play or watch TV in the 'Babysitting Dads' room.  Mums needn't feel left out though.  There is a nice mums' room with a breastfeeding area upstairs.

You'll need to allow about half an hour to get to The School on a Sunday from central KL.  Parking is straightforward and cheap.  There's no need to book a slot.  Just show up whenever you manage to get out of the house.  

And as for the bike?  Okay, so the tyres aren't exactly muddy, but it's definitely got some pretty cool scuff marks now.

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