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Recovery Ride

Six of us had ridden either about 110 km or 130 km on Saturday.  Four of us turned up at D’Bayu on Sunday for a recovery ride.  The idea was to have a gentle ride to a nasi lemak stall near Kampung Kundang, have breakfast, and then ride back to Bukit Jelutong.

We got to the Kuala Selangor exit fairly quickly.  A sign of things to come.

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The breakfast part went as planned.  We stopped at Selera Ria in Kampung Cempedak for the usual food and drink.

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Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

The recovery part was anything but.

We rode about 57 km at an average speed of 28.6 kph.

Granted we went twice as far the day before.  That ride hadn’t feel slow by any means.  We averaged 27.6 kph.

So much for a gentle recovery ride.

What was clear was that I had recovered from the ‘flu that had made all my rides in the preceding two weeks feel harder than normal.  That was most obvious in my heart rate.  My heart rate was at least 10 bpm higher than usual.

This was my Saturday effort.  My average heart rate was 131 bpm.

Suffer long

Graph courtesy of Strava

On Sunday my heart rate had settled down.  My average heart rate on this faster ride was 120 bpm.  I spent much less time in Zone 4 – Threshold than I had the day before.  And conversely more time in Zone 2 – Moderate.

Graph courtesy of Strava

Graph courtesy of Strava

So the ride on Sunday was a recovery ride of sorts, despite the higher speed.

Longer Than Planned

I have a full-time job now.  It is lots of fun, but it does cut into my cycling time.  I can’t get to all the weekday evening rides.

My job also cuts into my bike-fitting time.  Sometimes I have to forgo a Saturday morning ride to do a bike fit.

So it was very nice to meet up with the Flipsiders yesterday morning at Bukit Jelutong.  Mark had planned an extension to our usual Kundang route.  Perhaps an additional 20 or 30 kilometers on top of the usual 60 km.

The first stop, as usual, was for food and drink.

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Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

After teh tarik and roti canai or nasi lemak, we continued along Jalan Kuala Selangor past the Sungai Buloh Prison and onward to Ijok.

Kampung Kuantan Route

 

On the other side of Ijok we turned right onto one of the longest arrow-straight roads I have ever been on.  8 kilometers in all.

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Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

This is a rarely-used road, so we took the chance to lark around.

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Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Our next stop was for photographs at a popular tourist spot.  The location of what is reputed to be one of the biggest firefly colonies on the world.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We didn’t ride quite as far as Kuantan.  It was fun pretending minus Danny who was behind the camera.

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The anti-clockwise loop from Ijok brought us back to the LATAR Expressway.  From there we were on familiar roads.  That is until we got to the interchange with the Guthrie Corridor Expressway.

The LATAR Expressway is 32 km long, and it runs between Ijok and Templer’s Park.  We have ridden the 21 km from the Guthrie Corridor Expressway interchange to Ijok and back many times.  We had never done the 11 km from that interchange to the other end of the LATAR at Templer’s Park.

By that point in the ride we were on track to cover about 110 km.  Marco and I couldn’t convince Cedric, Chris, Danny and Mark to ride an extra 22 km.  They headed back to Bukit Jelutong, and Marco and I rode toward Templer’s Park.

There wasn’t a u-turn at the Templer’s Park end of the Expressway like there is at the Ijok end.  So we had to get across four lanes of traffic to head back to the Guthrie interchange.  Fortunately there were roadworks in progress, so traffic was forced to slow down enough for us to turn around without getting run over.

The rest of the ride was uneventful, except for the puncture I had about 10 km from Bukit Jelutong.  A piece of wire was the culprit.  The edge of a drain at the El Mina R&R stop was a convenient place to perch as I replaced the inner tube.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Marco and I rode about 130 km.  Certainly more than planned.  It is a route worth doing again though.

 

 

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes *

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

The weather has not been kind lately to Kuala Lumpur.  It has been very hot and dry.  The month-long drought has had two effects.  One is that water rationing has been imposed.   The other is that forest and peat fires have sprung up, driving air quality to unhealthy levels.

It is no wonder Dave Ern posted weather and haze updates in the days leading up to the Iron Horse ride.

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

Image courtesy of Dave Ern

The main concern was the haze.  The air quality was in the moderate range on Wednesday.  Conditions deteriorated as the weekend approached.  By Saturday the API value was in the unhealthy range.

Nevertheless about forty people gathered in the car park at GM Klang for the start of a two-day round trip ride to Port Dickson and back.

Photograph courtesy of Nelson Ng Hong Tuck

Photograph courtesy of Nelson Ng Hong Tuck

The ride would take us out to the coast at Morib.  We would then ride south along the coast to Port Dickson.

Avillion Route

The early going was not pleasant.  This was on the way out of Klang enroute to Banting.

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The air quality got worse the closer we got to Morib.  Many of us had masks or bandannas over our mouths and noses.  I had neither, but made sure that I was breathing through my nose rather than through my mouth.

There was little we could do about our stinging eyes though.  Except hope that the air would be clearer and cleaner along the coast.

At Morib we should have been able to see the beach and the sea.  We couldn’t.

It was not until we got to Tanjung Sepat, about halfway to Port Dickson, that the haze started to clear.  At that point I was in a group of six cyclists that was ahead of the other riders.  Traffic lights, flat tires and other stops had slowed the rest down.

The six of us made our first stop at Tanjung Sepat.  Soft boiled eggs, buttered toast and kaya, and iced tea for everyone.

The wind had picked up by the time we got rolling again.  Not so good that it seemed to be a constant headwind.  Very good that it cleared the smoke and haze.

Photograph courtesy of Junie Leow

Photograph courtesy of Junie Leow

At Sungai Pelek we took a detour through a housing estate and an oil palm estate to get to the little ferry that crosses the Sungai Sepang.

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

We got onto the ferry in the state of Selangor, and disembarked a few minutes later in the state of  Negeri Sembilan.  This is the Selangor side of the river.

Photograph courtesy of Junie Leow

Photograph courtesy of Junie Leow

The first half of the ride was a battle through the smoke and haze.  The second half of the ride was a battle though the heat.  We stopped for cold drinks and ice cream at Sungai Pelek.  We stopped for more cold drinks and ice cream 15 km later on the outskirts of Port Dickson.  We had only 10 km further to go, but it was so hot.  We had to rehydrate and cool down.

I dove into the freezer cabinet and discovered Nestle Apple Sourz iced lollies.  They were so good, and I was so hot,  that I had three of them.  Those frozen treats, and the air-conditioning in the 7-11, cooled me down enough to face the final 10 km to the Avillion Hotel.

Photograph courtesy of ScoopyScoop.com

Photograph courtesy of ScoopyScoop.com

Twenty five hot minutes later the six of us rode up to the lobby of the Avillion Port Dickson.

Photograph courtesy of Travel Advisor

Photograph courtesy of Travel Advisor

Our relief at arriving at our destination was short-lived.  There are two Avillions in Port Dickson, and we were at the wrong one.

So we had 5 km more to cover before we got to the Avillion Admiral Cove.

Photograph courtesy of Travel Photographer Asia

Photograph courtesy of Travel Photographer Asia

The other Flipsiders had made a stop along the way for clay pot chicken rice.  They arrived later but not as hungry as I was.

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

I was thankful for a cold shower and air-conditioning.  My young riding partners were staying at the Best Western.  A further 15 km down the road.  They hung out for quite a while in the lobby of the Avillion Admiral Cove, waiting for their friends.

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

The most adventurous ones in our group camped on the beach.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

These true tourers packed up their tents the next morning and rode the 115 m back to Klang.

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

The guys I cycled together with did the return trip also.  These guys rode an extra 20 km to get to the start at GM Klang.  They then had an extra 15 km to the Best Western Resort in Port Dickson.  So in all they rode about 315 km.

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

Photograph courtesy of Brian Tan

I took the easy way back home.  As a passenger in my biker chick’s car.

The ride was smokey.  The ride was hot.  Given the chance I am sure we all would do it again.

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

Photograph courtesy of Ann Daim

* With thanks to The Platters

Riding into the Year of the Horse

8 Horses

Friday 31st January marked the start of the Year of the Horse.  The horse is the seventh of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac.

Federal Territory Day was celebrated on Monday 3rd February.  So we had a four-day weekend.  My riding buddies planned to ride on each of those days.

Four of us started the Lunar New Year with a morning ride along the KESAS Highway.  We did one and a half of the Bandar Sunway to Bukit Jalil Sports Complex loop.

Now that I think about it, four was not the most auspicious number of riders.  In Chinese tradition, certain numbers are believed by some to be auspicious or inauspicious, based on the Chinese word that the number name sounds similar to.

4 is considered the unluckiest number of all, because it is nearly homophonous to the word “death.”  Despite being a quartet, we had a fun ride.

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

We did much better, numerologically speaking, the next morning.  Eight of us did the climb to Genting Sempah.

8 is an extremely auspicious number, because it sounds similar to the word “prosper” or “wealth.”

Photograph courtesy of Gary Wong

Photograph courtesy of Gary Wong

As always with our morning rides, this one ended with breakfast.

Photograph courtesy of Eric Siow

Photograph courtesy of Eric Siow

Sunday was a “Go Green Car-Free Morning.”  On the first Sunday of the month, some roads in the city center are closed to motor vehicles from 7.00 am until 9.00 am.  Giving walkers, joggers, skateboarders, rollerbladers and cyclists a chance to use these stretches.

About ten of us met here for a wake-up coffee or a teh tarik before cycling to the start.

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There was already quite a crowd in front of the City Hall building.

 Car Free Day 01

Including some on vintage bicycles and in period costume.  The infantrymen were a reference to the Japanese invasion of Malaya and the capture of Singapore.  One of the keys to the success of that invasion was the use of bicycles by the Japanese troops to move swiftly down the Malayan peninsula from Kota Bahru in the north to Singapore in the south.

Photograph courtesy of Tengku Nash

Photograph courtesy of Tengku Nash

Marco, Shahfiq and I did three loops of the 12 km route.

The highlight for me was cycling past my primary school.  Batu Road School.  In the 1960s a narrow access road ran in front of the school.  I remember walking out of the school gates into a group of ice cream vendors, standing next to bicycles with cold boxes mounted on rear racks.

That access road has become Jalan Raja Laut, a five-lane thoroughfare.  The school is still there.  Sadly the ice cream vendors are no more.

Batu Road Boys School Panoramio Kunawi Sokaguro

The route also took us past the PETRONAS Twin Towers.  They must be the most posed-before buildings in the country.

Car Free Day 04

Here Shahfiq and I are rolling away from the Twin Towers, along a deserted Jalan Ampang toward the junction with Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

I had a bonus ride in the afternoon.  Ronnie held a Chinese New Year open house.  Complete with chinese tea prepared with water collected from a natural spring that comes to the surface in Kuala Kubu Bahru.  Which is an hour’s drive from KL.

Photograph courtesy of Ronnie Khoo

Photograph courtesy of Ronnie Khoo

Three-quarters of the residents of KL appeared to have left the city for the long weekend.  So I took a chance that the roads to Ronnie’s place were relatively traffic-free.

Ronnie CNY Route

I stayed off the main roads as much as I could, although there were some stretches where I had no other choice.  Up the hill on Jalan Semantan for example, which was bit tricky because of the construction of the new MRT line and station.

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

It was worth the effort though.  The chinese tea and the company at Ronnie’s was great.

The plan for the Day Four ride had to be changed.  Some of us had to be back home by 11am.  That ruled out a long ride along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and beyond.  Seven of us did the climb to Genting Sempah again instead.

It was probably good that we didn’t ride from Bukit Jelutong.  It was a public holiday in Kuala Lumpur but not in the state of Selangor.  The motorcycle lane along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway would have been crowded with people getting to work.

The road up to Genting Sempah was very quiet.  We had long stretches where we were the only ones on the road.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

There was only one other person at the summit when I got there.  Marco soon joined me at the sign marking the border between the states of Selangor and Pahang.

JGL Summit

Once the rest of the group got to the top of the climb we all turned around and shot back down the hill.  Breakfast was waiting.

Chinese New Year social obligations prevented us from doing any long rides.  Even so I rode about 160 km over the extended weekend.  Which was a good start to the Year of the Horse.

Though not as good as it would have been if I had been on one of these.

Photograph courtesy of cmybacon.com

Photograph courtesy of cmybacon.com

A Good Reason to Cycle to Taman Tun

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There are more and more signs, apart from the growing number of bicycles on the roads, that cycling is increasingly popular in Kuala Lumpur.

There is now a permanent “car-free morning” on the first Sunday of every month.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall is planning to build bicycle lanes in the city.

A community-build bicycle route map project has just produced Working Draft 2.5 of trialed and tested bike routes in the city.

And now we have a bike-friendly cafe.  The Grumpy Cyclist, in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail.

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Look for the black awning and white logo at 26 Jalan Datuk Sulaiman.

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There is outdoor seating at the front of the cafe.

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The first hint that this is a cafe for cyclists. . . .

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Confirmation that this is a cafe for cyclists. . . .

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The space is warmly lit and welcoming.  The decor is of course cycling-themed, right down to the gear rings cemented into the floor and the bicycle wheel light fixtures.  The staff are friendly and helpful.  The menu tends to the cyclist’s staples of coffee and cake, but it has already expanded to include wraps and pasta.  A dinner menu is planned.

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The cycling paraphernalia gives the Grumpy Cyclist a bicycle-oriented feel.  All well and good.  But this place really earns its chops as a cafe for cyclists by providing bike racks, helmet and gear storage, and perhaps most useful, given KL’s heat and humidity, a shower.  The next time I am there I’ll have to check if the shower is stocked with toiletries and towels.

The Grumpy Cyclist welcomes everyone.  You can spot the cyclists though.  They are the ones looking closely at the bikes on display.  The piece de resistance for me is this Colnago Master 55th Anniversary bicycle on the back wall of the cafe.  This example is number 1 of 99 ever made.

Click on the photograph and then zoom in to appreciate this work of art.

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I feel the need for a latte fix.  Time to pedal over to Taman Tun.

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OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 Logo

The streets of Kuala Lumpur were taken over by bicycles between the 17th and 19th of January.  The OCBC Cycle Malaysia events were back in town for the third time.

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 02

Photograph courtesy of baikbike.com

This year there were seven events on Saturday, including a tricycle ride for 2 to 5 year olds, kids rides for various age groups, an Ultimate Foldies Challenge, and a Criterium.

Photograph courtesy of ocbc.cyclemalaysia.com.my

Photograph courtesy of ocbc.cyclemalaysia.com.my

3,000 of us rode in one of the two events on Sunday.  The 48 km Challenge ride.  Four loops on closed roads in the center of KL.  Click on the photograph below for a larger image.  Zoom in and you’ll see the PETRONAS Twin Towers just outside the loop on the right.

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 Route

The start was scheduled for 6.30am, in front of the iconic Sultan Abdul Samad Building.

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 03

The guest of honor and a participant in the Challenge Ride was the Minister of Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Encik Khairy Jamaluddin (number V9028).

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

It was nice to have his support, but I wish he had been on time.  The poor drummers had to work overtime to keep the riders entertained while we all waited.

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 06

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

We got underway at a few minutes past 7.00am.  Once the speed demons had squeezed their way through to the front we all settled down to a relaxed spin through the city.  I struck up a conversation with a rider next to me on the second lap.  Alan and I kept each other company for the rest of the ride.

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 04

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Malaysia magazine

While I was waiting after the finish a reader of this blog came up to me and said “hello.”  What a treat that was!  He came all the way from Kuala Terengganu to ride in The Challenge.

Azlan, Shahfiq and I met up here.  I’m not sure how anyone found their friends in crowds like this before we all had mobile phones.

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 02

The rest of the Racun and Flipsiders groups met up on the other side of the finishing area to take a photograph with their medals.

Photograph courtesy of Jason

Photograph courtesy of Jason

Azlan, Shahfiq and I cycled back onto the ride route to get to the Twin Towers area, where they had parked.  As we passed Kedai Makanan Yut Kee on Jalan Dang Wangi we noticed some familiar faces at one of the tables.

OCBC Cycle Malaysia 2014 01

Jason, Cedric, Keat and others were tucking into breakfast.  The three of us stopped and had soft-boiled eggs, toast with kaya and coffee too.  A great end to a fun morning on my bicycle with good friends.

Photograph courtesy of 2009.tonton.blogspot.com

Photograph courtesy of 2009.tonton.blogspot.com

Down Under

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My eldest son Arif graduated last December with a Masters in Architecture.  Attending his graduation was a high point of 2013.  Naturally my Ritchey Break-Away made the trip with me to Melbourne.

I have read a lot about the social cycling scene in Melbourne.  Much of it on the always-excellent Cycling Tips blog.  So I was keen to experience it.

I managed to ride every day I was in Melbourne.  The first was on the day I arrived.  I assembled the Ritchey and went on a very short ride along Beaconsfield Parade from Albert Park to the St. Kilda Pier.  I rode along the bike paths that are separated from the roads.

Photograph courtesy of Bicyclenetwork.com.au

Photograph courtesy of Bicyclenetwork.com.au

I rode along the pier up to the St. Kilda Pavilion.  The kiosk sits at the end of the pier, more than 400 meters from the shore.  The kiosk was destroyed in an arson attack in 2003.  Thankfully it was reconstructed to the original 1903 plans, utilising some of the salvaged components, such as the cast iron roof, decorative cresting and weather vane.  The kiosk was reopened in 2006.

Photograph courtesy of wikimedia.org

Photograph courtesy of wikimedia.org

I went further afield the next day, still sticking to the bike paths that wind beside the beach.  I was just south of the Royal Brighton Yacht Club when I turned around.  I had to get back to Albert Park in time for dinner with my hosts Nico and Jules.

Photograph courtesy of simplelives.com.au

Photograph courtesy of simplelives.com.au

It was a particularly windy day, and the kite boarders were out in force.

Photo courtesy of Luster Lai

Photo courtesy of Luster Lai

I soon learned that cyclists out for some fresh air and the view use the bike paths.  If you wear Lycra you use the bike lanes on the roads.  Safety is one consideration.  The bike paths are also used by walkers, joggers, and skate boarders.  So riding at anything more than a gentle pace on a the bike paths would be dangerous.  Another consideration is the difference in surfaces.  The bike paths are made from a variety of materials.  Concrete blocks and slabs, wood planks, and asphalt of varying quality.  The bike lanes offer a smoother and, more to tyne point, faster surface for cyclists.

Photograph courtesy of theage.com.au

Photograph courtesy of theage.com.au

The ride of the week was with Arif.  We covered 50 km or so on the road to Rickett’s Point and back to Arif’s apartment in central Melbourne.  We stopped on the outward leg for a very nice breakfast at the Brown Cow Cafe in Hampton.  Early birds get the bike racks.

Melbourne 04 Eat and be Merry

Arif and I didn’t pick the best day for a longish bike ride.

Melbourne 03

The heat made the ride back to central Melbourne a challenge.  This stop to refill our bottles was at the Foreshore Reserve.  I am not sure if Arif is smiling or grimacing.

Melbourne 02

There were lots of people on the beach, despite it being by far the hottest day of the week.  I can’t imagine that it was any cooler inside these cabañas.

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My long solo ride was on day four, to Chelsea.  That ride also included a food and coffee stop at the Brown Cow.

Melbourne Route

The views along the east bay are spectacular.  Especially in cooler weather!

Photograph courtesy of bicyclenetwork.com.au

Photograph courtesy of bicyclenetwork.com.au

I had one last ride on day five.  You guessed it.  To the Brown Cow in Hampton for a coffee, and back.  It was a Saturday.  So I had lots of other cyclists for company.

Cycling in Melbourne was a treat.  The infrastructure is generally excellent.  There are lots of places to stop for a drink and a bite.  Including the BP station near St. Kilda Marina, where Arif and I took advantage of the air-conditioning on that 38° C day.

My Ritchey Break-Away is coming with me again the next time I visit Melbourne.

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