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The R@SKLs Like Penang – Day Three

Sunday AM CFAL Banner

The Tien Hotel was buzzing at 5.30am.  R@SKLs were getting coffees and filling bottles. Pumping up tires.  Filling jersey pockets with ride essentials.

At 6.10am sharp we rode down Lebuh Chulia toward the Residence carpark on the corner of Jalan Penang, where the rest of the R@SKLs were waiting.  A headcount confirmed that we had twenty four riders in our group.

Local boy Lay led us over the 6km / 3.7mi from the Residence to the CFAL start line at the Youth Park.  There were reportedly 3,500 participants in this ninth edition of the Campaign for a Lane.

We positioned ourselves at the back of the pack.  We didn’t want to get caught up in the starting rush and crush.

Sunday AM Start Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

The excitement, or pressure, of the event must have got to some of the R@SKLs.  They developed a sudden interest in the surrounding bushes.

Sunday AM CFAL Start Leakage TH

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

The CFAL event has developed a reputation as one of the better organised rides.  The organisers get most things right.  Like starting the event on time.  Cyclists began pouring out of the part at 7.15am.  Right on time.

Sunday AM CFAL Start Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

The CFAL route has remained unchanged for a number of years now.  Out of the Youth Park to Persiaran Gurney, and then clockwise roughly following the coast, down to Bayan Lepas in the south-eastern corner of the island.

Our new jerseys stood out well against the sea of purple CFAL jerseys that most of the other participants were wearing.  That made staying together as a group easier.

A very popular photo spot along the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Highway is within view of the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge, more commonly known as the Penang Second Bridge.

Sunday AM Penang Bridge Leslie Tong

Photograph courtesy of Leslie Tong

It took a few tries, but we did get that bridge in the background.

We had our first proper rest stop at the Caltex station, just the other side of the Sungai Bayan Lepas, about 30km / 18.5mi into the ride.  We raided the station shop for drinks and food.  And queued for the toilet.

From the Caltex station the route curved inland to the right for a kilometer or two, and then curved back down toward Teluk Kumbar on the coast.  At Teluk Kumbar the route headed due north to the Puspakom vehicle inspection site in Kampung Tengah.

That Puspakom compound marked the start of the first of the two climbs on the CFAL route.  It is about 2km / 1.2mi long, and has 115 meters / 377 feet of elevation.

Everyone was looking good on the slopes.

We went past this guy on the lower slope of the climb.

Sunday AM CFAL Penny Farthing Dennis Tan

Photograph courtesy of Dennis Tan

He gave it a good effort, but it wasn’t long before he was walking his penny-farthing up the hill.

We regrouped at the bottom of the descent of Jalan Balik Pulau, where the road takes a sharp left onto state route P239 toward Pulau Betong.  Once we were all together again, we cruised over the next 15km / 9.3mi to the row of shophouses opposite the Sin Min primary school.

Sunday AM Kampung Tomoe Suga.png

We stopped so that riders could buy water, 100 Plus etc. from the sundry shop there.  It is a good place to stop for a rest and a drink.  The small temple on the end of the row of shophouses marks the start of the second climb.  This one is 4.8km / 3mi long, with an elevation of 259 meters / 850 feet.

We agreed to meet on the other side of the hill, at the Teluk Bahang Dam.  Most of us know the spot, because we took photographs there the last time we rode in Penang.  This is one of those photographs.  We were standing on the dam.

R@SKLs Penang Day 2 Reservoir View 1 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

I got to the dam first.  I stopped in the shade of a tree opposite the dam, and waited for the other pink jerseys to appear.

5 minutes went by.  No pink jerseys.

10 minutes went by.  Still no pinks jerseys.

15 minutes went by.  Aha!  There is a pink jersey.  Damn (pardon the pun).  Not one of ours.

I started to wonder if someone had suffered a puncture, or worse, had suffered a fall.

20 minutes went by.  Then a participant shouted at me as he rode past.  “I think your friends are resting up the hill.”

I pedaled 300 meters back up the hill and around a corner, and there they were.

Sprawled on the grass.  Looking comfortable and relaxed.

Leslie, who wasn’t in Penang with us the last time, pulled off at this spot.  Everyone else followed him, instead of continuing down to the dam.

Sunday PM Teluk Bahang Dam CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of Lim Heng Keng

I do admit that it was a nice place to stop.

But for next time guys.  This is what the dam looks like.

Sunday PM Teluk Bahang Dam

There were about 20km / 12.4mi to ride back to the Youth Park.  It started raining as we got to Batu Ferringhi.  Jalan Batu Ferringhi is a winding, rolling, narrow stretch of road, with a hill on one side and a drop-off to the sea on the other side.  It would be a pleasant road for a bike ride, if only there wasn’t so much traffic.

Sunday PM Batu Ferringhi Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Add rain to the mix, and the ride along Jalan Batu Ferringhi to the Penang Swimming Club is a bit stressful.  Sometimes the safest place to be is in the middle of the slender lane.  It can upset drivers, but it stops them trying to squeeze past you, and in the process forcing you right to the edge of the road, or worse, off the road.

The last 5km / 3mi along Jalan Tanjung Bungah is also busy with cars, lorries, and buses, but the road is wider and has a proper shoulder, so you are not riding in amongst the traffic.

It was still raining when we got to the Youth Park.  3,500 riders quickly turned sections of the grass field into a quagmire.  The large marquee tent was packed with people sheltering from the rain.  As I was looking for somewhere to leave my bike, I saw Husher from Meng Thai Bicycle Centre.  He was manning a stall at one corner of the marquee, where he was displaying some of the Rikulau stainless steel bikes that he sells.

Husher’s stall became the area for the R@SKLs to park their bikes.  It was close to the medal, water, and food pickup points.

Sunday PM CFAL Food Tomoe Suga.png

And also close to the backdrop for finisher photographs.  Thank you Husher.

The lucky draw was in progress as we waited for all the R@SKLs to finish and to collect their medals.  I don’t think any of us expected to win a prize, although it does appear that one of us did have a winning number.  Number 2276 was called.  One R@SKL had number 2275, and another had number 2277.  So someone in the group must have had number 2276.  Oh well!

It was still raining after everyone had their medal in hand.  So we decided to ride back to the hotel, rather than looking for somewhere to eat along the way.  Halfway to the hotel the rain stopped.  It was sunny and hot at the Tien Hotel.

Lunch was at Goh Thew Chik Hainan Chicken Rice, which is a few doors away from the Tien.  Simon reserved four whole chickens for us.  Two roasted, and two poached.

That wasn’t enough.  It took two more chickens, and more rice, to satisfy the R@SKLs.

Lay and Leslie couldn’t join us for lunch.  Their ride back to KL left Penang at 2pm.  Heng Keng left for the airport right after lunch.

Others went straight from the chicken rice shop to look for dessert.

Sunday PM Chendol 1 Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Those of us on evening flights were able to linger at the Tien.

Sunday PM Time to Relax 2 Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Sunday PM Time to Relax 3 Tomoe Suga

Pai was a true team player.  He brought cendol back to the hotel for those of us who were too idle to walk to the stall with him.  Thank you Pai.

Sunday PM Chendol 2 Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Most of the remaining R@SKLs were on an 8pm flight.  Which gave them time to devour one last plate of char koay teow and oyster omelette before bidding farewell to Penang.

Sunday PM Last Food Run Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The Hong Kong trio flew out on Monday.  TH looked after them very well.  Champagne even!

Sunday PM HK Crew TH

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

Our bikes and bags had been loaded onto the van at 4pm.  ETA at Pegasus Cycles was 10pm.  Collecting our bikes marked the end of a wonderful weekend with great friends and great food, with some cycling thrown in for good measure.

Sunday PM Bike Unloading Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Thank you TH and your staff for looking after us so well.

Thank you CK and Danial for providing much valued support.

Thank you R@SKLs for being excellent company.

When is our next trip?

Sunday PM Medal.png

 

The R@SKLs Like Penang – Day Two

Saturday AM Banner

Our Penangite friends who were going to lead our Saturday morning ride, and the young chaps on motorbikes who were our outriders, were outside the Tien Hotel and ready to go at 7.15am.

It’s too bad that the R@SKLs weren’t.

The story we are sticking to is that Tomoe’s bus didn’t get onto the island until about 8am.  It would have been churlish not to wait for her, after all the effort she took to get to Penang.

In truth it took us some time as a group to get organised.  About twenty minutes after the agreed start time, we were finally ready for a group photograph.

Saturday AM Ride Start Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

Then we rode six hundred meters (the distance sounds much more impressive when expressed in meters) to breakfast at a coffee shop on Jalan Kuala Kangsar.

There were twenty six cyclists, and four outriders.  Too many to fit in the shop.  So we sat in the lane behind the shop.  We were perfectly comfortable, and it was easy to keep an eye on our bikes.

The breakfast dish of choice was the koay teow soup.

Saturday AM Breakfast Lai Voon Keat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Von Keat

The toast with butter and kaya, and the soft-boiled eggs were very good too.

After breakfast we rode a further one thousand one hundred meters to the car park outside the Residence, where we met Tomoe.  And waited fifteen minutes for various R@SKLs to use the toilet.

Better late than never, as they say.  By 8.45am we were heading south on the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Highway.  We were on our way at last.

Err, not quite.  This McDonald’s was a convenient spot for one last toilet stop.

Saturday AM Outriders Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

The guys in the fluorescent vests were our outriders.  They helped us the last time we rode in Penang.  See R@SKLs Do Penang – Day One for details..

They did an excellent job for us this time too.  With an added weapon.  One of the guys has outfitted his motorbike with a horn which would do a container truck proud.  We all nearly jumped out of our skins the first time he blasted that klaxon!

We took a short diversion off the Tun Dr. Lim Chong Eu Highway and onto Persiaran Bayan Indah.  A popular photo stop on Persiaran Bayan Indah is where you can get Pulau Jerejak in the background.

Saturday AM near Bridge Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

The main destinations for our Saturday morning ride, apart from coffee shops and restaurants, were the Snake Temple, and the Kek Lok Si Temple.  We got to the Snake Temple first, about 22km / 14mi into the ride.

Saturday AM Snake Temple 1 Lai Voon Keat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Keat

The temple is known for its namesake snakes, in this case a variety of pit vipers.

Saturday AM Snake Temple Snake Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

As we left the Snake Temple, one of our Penangite friends, Dennis, told me that we would soon be on a climb.  He then asked if the R@SKLs would be okay to climb about 500 meters to 1km / 0.3 to 0.6mi of “quite steep” slopes.

“No problem” I replied.

I owe the R@SKLs an apology.  As you can see, “quite steep” was actually very steep in places.  And the climb was longer than advertised.  2.5km / 1.5mi, with 167 meters / 548 feet of elevation.

That climb claimed one victim.  Voon Keat’s rear derailleur.

 

Saturday AM Broken RD Lai Voon Keat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Keat

Fortunately our outriders knew just where to go to get a replacement installed.  Voon Keat was up and running again by the time we finished lunch.

We regrouped to catch our breath at the Petronas station at the bottom of the descent of Jalan Paya Terubong.  If a shot of RON 97 would have helped me recover, I would have been in the queue behind Ralf.

Saturday AM Electrolytes Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

More preferable refreshment was available 2km / 1.2mi down the road, at Serrena’s business premises.  She kindly laid on a variety of cold liquids for us.

Saturday AM Serena Refreshment Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We needed the drinks and the breather.  Less than 3km / 1.9mi further on was the start of the ascent to the Kek Lok Si Temple.

First we had to negotiate Jalan Pasar, or Market Street.  It is an aptly named road.  Both sides of the road are lined with market stalls that make up the Air Itam market.  We were competing with pedestrians, cars, and buses for what little road space there was.

Sometimes you just had to stop and wait for an opening to ride through.  The riders who faced fewer blockages waited at the junction of Jalan Pasar and Jalan Balik Pulau for the others.

Saturday AM Ready to Attack Kek Lok Si Hill Martin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

We were aiming for the base of the Kek Lok Si pavilion and the pagoda, 90 meters / 295 feet above where we regrouped.

Saturday AM Kek Lok Si Arne Müseler www.arne-mueseler.de

Photograph courtesy of Arne Müseler at http://www.arne-mueseler.de

We all got there!

Saturday AM Kek Lok Si Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

It is a spectacular temple complex.  The bronze statue of the Goddess of Mercy, Guanyin, is 30.2 meters / 99 feet high.

The view from up there isn’t too shabby either.

 

Saturday AM Kek Lok Si View Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

As we were about to leave the Kek Lok Si Temple, those dark clouds started delivering their payload.  The rain made the descent – 18.5% gradient in places – rather tricky.

Everyone got down without incident.  The rain was getting heavier, so there were no complaints when we were ushered into the Sin Yong Wah coffeeshop for a Penang speciality.  Asam Laksa.

Asam Laksa is made with mackerel soup, and its main distinguishing feature is the asam or tamarind which gives the soup a sour taste. The fish is poached and then flaked.  Other ingredients that give asam laksa its distinctive flavour include lemongrass, galangal, and chilli. Typical garnishes include mint, pineapple slices, thinly sliced onion, ginger flower, and  petis or haε-ko, a thick sweet prawn paste.

Saturday AM Sin Yong Wah Coffee Shop Assam Laksa Kevin Chin

Photograph courtesy of Kevin Chin

Our Penangite guides know their food.  The asam laksa at the Air Itam market is rated amongst the best on the island.

Their char koay teow is pretty good too!

Saturday AM Sin Yong Wah Coffee Shop Char Koay Toew Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

We sat at Sin Yong Wah for an hour.  Not because we were stuffing our faces the entire time mind you.  The rain got heavier and heavier as we ate.

Saturday PM Sin Yong Wah Coffee Shop Rain 2

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C. Pai

The rain didn’t let up.  So we ordered tea and coffee, and waited.  And waited.  And waited.  Eventually the rain eased a bit.  It didn’t look like it was going to stop anytime soon, so we headed out and rode the very wet 12km / 7.5mi back to the hotel.

We had the Tien staff chasing after us with towels to wipe up the water we left behind as we splashed our way up the stairs and into our rooms for a shower and some dry clothes.

It is a good thing we had the Tien Hotel and Residence all to ourselves.  I don’t think any non-cyclists would have been impressed with our use of the space!

Saturday PM Residence 3 Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Pretty soon it was time for tea and nyonya cakes.

Saturday PM Snacks Martin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

And some vino by the pool after the rain stopped.

Saturday PM at the pool Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

While we were getting rained on at lunch, Leslie, Lay and Philip were getting rained on as well.  They had been riding from Ipoh, where they had spent Friday night, after eight hours in the saddle from KL.  At 3pm they hit heavy rain, which persisted for the hour that it took for them to get to the ferry terminal at Butterworth.  Fortunately the rain stopped by the time they were on the ferry to the island.  They were on track to be at the hotel by about 5.30pm.

Saturday PM Ferry Leslie Tong

Photograph courtesy of Leslie Tong

It is hard to believe, but by 6.30pm we were hungry, and ready for dinner.  It was threatening to rain again, but we risked it and walked the 1km / 0.6mi to Auntie Gaik Lean’s.

The restaurant is housed in what used to be a jewelery shop.  The safe door is still in place at the back of the shop.

Saturday PM Auntie Gaik Lean's Safe Door Hsing C Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C. Pai

The nyonya food?  Delicious!

Saturday PM Auntie Gaik Lean's Dinner Menu TH.png

The R@SKLs?  Happy!

Saturday PM Auntie Gaik Lean's Kevin Chin

Photograph courtesy of Kevin Chin

Perhaps a bit too happy.  I suspect we were too loud for some of the other patrons in Gaik Lean’s that evening.  They can’t deny that we had ourselves a good time though.

It was drizzling when we left the restaurant.  Some of us walked anyway.  I certainly needed some gentle exercise after all that I ate.

I was stuffed, happy and ready for bed by the time I got back to the hotel.  Others, however, went out for supper later that night.  I don’t know where they put more food.

The R@SKLs staying at the Tien Hotel planned to met the others at the Residence car park at 6.15am.  We would then ride as a group to the Youth Park for the start of the CFAL event.

We would have to be up before this guy.

Saturday PM Kek Lok Si View Rooster.png

The R@SKLs Like Penang – Day 1

Penang Banner

A well-earned reputation for great food, and a very good annual cycling event, make Penang an attractive destination in August each year.

The R@SKLs started planning the trip to this year’s Campaign for a Lane (CFAL), at the end of May.  First a WhatsApp chat group for interested R@SKLs was created.  By early June sixteen of us had registered for the event (thank you Simon), and we had booked accommodation at the Tien Hotel-Residence (thank you TH).

By July flight reservations had been made, and a van to transport bicycles had been booked.  We had also ordered a new jersey, to be debuted at CFAL.

Friday AM Jersey

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

By early August a cycling itinerary for Saturday had been agreed, and a dinner venue for that evening had been confirmed.  The R@SKLs were set for another Penang adventure.

The action started last Friday Friday morning, when fifteen bikes and assorted bags were loaded into the van for the trip to Penang.

Friday AM Van Loaded Start.png

The day had started even earlier for Leslie and Lay, who together with their friend Philip, were cycling from Kuala Lumpur to Penang.

Friday PM Cycling to Penang Leslie Tong

Photograph courtesy of Leslie Tong

The next to start their travels were probably Ralf, Voon Keat and Aaron.  They flew to Penang from Hong Kong.

Friday PM Hong Kong Team Arrival Lai Voon Keat

Photograph courtesy of Lai Voon Keat

Three colourful bike cases, and their owners, got to Penang around midday.

Most likely starting their travels at about the same time as the Hong Kong trio were Martin and CC, who drove to Penang.  This is Martin and his son, and of course a bike, just about to start the drive.

Friday AM Driving Martin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Martin Lee

Danial and CK drove as well, but they weren’t leaving until Saturday.

The rest of the R@SKLs had to get to the Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport in Subang for evening fights.  Which proved more difficult than anticipated for some.  Rain made the Friday evening crawl even worse than usual.

Friday PM Subang Traffic Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Luanne made it to the airport just in time for her flight.

Tomoe did not.  Nevertheless, she was determined to ride with us on Saturday morning, so she caught the midnight bus to Penang.

Friday PM Bus Station Tomoe

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Meanwhile, the early arrivals wasted no time getting stuck into the famous Penang food.

Friday PM Early Arrivals Dinner Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

And a bottle or two.

Friday PM Party Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

Thomas, Zulfa and I were on a much-delayed flight, so we were the last to arrive.  The Tien Hotel was a welcome sight at midnight.

 

 

As was the newly-opened Residence, which was home to twelve R@SKLs, including Thomas.

Some stayed up late for a last glass of wine.  Most called it a night at about 12.30am.  The aim was to start riding at 7.15am.

Friday PM Dreaming

 

I Hope I Don’t Get One Tonight

A flat tire.  What a buzzkill!

Most cyclists are prepared for a flat.  All cyclists hope that they don’t get one.  The odds are against us though.  Flat tires are inevitable.  It is not a case of “if,” but “when.”

On rare occasions inner tubes have manufacturing defects.  This causes tubes to split along a seam, or tear at the junction with the valve.  There is not much you can do to prevent inner tube failures.

A self-inflicted inner tube failure is the pinch flat, also known as a snake bite.

Puncture Pinch Flat

A pinch flat most commonly occurs when you run over something that causes the tire to deform enough that the inner tube is squashed against the wheel rim.  This puts two small holes in the inner tube, at the pinch points.

I said ‘self inflicted’ because pinch flats are much more likely to occur with under-inflated tires.  Bike tires leak over time.  You will need to add more air from time-to-time to maintain the proper pressure.  Run your tires too soft, and you will be snake bit.

I have been guilty of doing this.  I like to run my tires at between 80psi and 90psi.  Softer tires means a more comfortable ride.  I have let my tires get too soft, with predictable results.

In most cases flats happen because you ran over something sharp.  Roads are littered with sharp objects.

Bits of glass, either from broken bottles or shattered windscreens, are usually visible.  If you see it in time, you can avoid running over glass.  Unless you are riding at night, which is when I picked up this chunk.

Puncture Glass

Small stones are less visible.  It is worth examining your tires after every ride to remove any sharp stones stuck in the tread.  Before they work their way through the tire and into the inner tube.

Puncture Flint 2

Then there are the pointy things which are invisible while you are riding.  So small that a thorough search is often needed before you find the offending object, embedded in your tire.

The majority of my flats are caused by staples or Michelin wire.  Those fine bits of steel wire on the right come from steel-belted radial tires, which were invented by Monsieur Michelin.  Hence the name.

Given that most flat tires are caused by essentially invisible road debris. there is little you can do to avoid them.  Even “puncture proof” tires are not 100% resistant to being pierced by staples, Michelin wire and the like.

So learn how to repair a flat tire, and carry tire levers, a spare tube, and a pump or CO2 inflator on your rides.

And be thankful that we don’t have these in Malaysia.

Puncture Goathead Thorns

Anatomy of an Adrenaline Rush

Adrenaline Rush De Wallen Industry

Illustration courtesy of De Wallen Industry

Cycling is a safe activity, posing little risk either to cyclists themselves or to other road users.  The degree of risk assumed by cyclists depends on a variety of factors:  where they are riding, the condition of the road surface, the speed they are riding (especially on descents), the condition of their bikes, how visible they are at night, and so on.

Kuala Lumpur is a relatively safe place to cycle, even in the city center.

Safe Urban

Illustration courtesy of Lucas Varela (FT Magazine)

Accidents involving cyclists do happen though.  Sometimes fatal ones.  So my friends and I do what we can to stay away from dangerous situations.  They cannot be avoided entirely however, for example when crossing junctions.  With proper care, those can be negotiated safely.

Nevertheless, there is one place along a popular route where the risk level rises significantly.  This is before and after the Persiaran Kewajipan intersection on the KESAS highway from Kota Kemuning toward Subang Jaya.  There are in fact three danger points to be negotiated during that 2km /  1.2mi stretch.  There is no motorcycle lane along that stretch, so cyclists have to ride on the highway.

KESAS Kewajipan Map

Map courtesy of Google

The first danger point comes 400 meters / 1,300 feet after the motorcycle lane ends, and we are spat out onto the highway.

A lane of traffic filters down onto the highway from the left.  We cyclists have to hold our line while watching for vehicles cutting across from left to right.  At this point we are already riding in the middle of the highway, with three lanes to our left, and three lanes to our right.

KESAS Kewajipan 1

Map courtesy of Google

The second danger point immediately follows.  We have to switch our attention to our right.  We must watch for traffic merging from the right and moving into the three exit lanes on our left.  That is the most adrenaline-inducing section, because the traffic approaching from behind and to our right is travelling at highway speeds.  The speed limit there is 90kph / 65mph, but some vehicles are moving faster.

Our strategy is to ride together as one group, in double-file, and as fast as we can, along that section.  Fortunately it is slightly downhill, and we can spin up to about 60kph / 37mph.  The adrenaline rush helps as well!

KESAS Kewajipan 2

Map courtesy of Google

We then get a rest as the highway separates from the off-ramp, and we can roll along the road shoulder under the Persiaran Kewajipan overpass.  The shoulder is wide, and we can ride a few yards to the left of traffic.

We have about 500 meters / 1,600 feet to catch our breath.  Then we have to cross the two lanes of traffic coming from the left down the ramp from Persiaran Kewajipan onto KESAS.

There is about 200 meters / 660 feet for us to get over to the far left and back onto the safety of the motorcycle lane.

KESAS Kewajipan 3

Map courtesy of Google

It is an unavoidable gauntlet for anyone riding from the west of Bandar Sunway towards Bukit Jalil.  We have ridden that section many times, and have, so far, been lucky.  No near misses.

I have ridden that section alone.  Which raises the adrenaline level even more.  I make sure that I am as visible as possible.  Bright clothes, flashing lights, and an arm waving in the air.  I also make sure that I get there before dark.  Riding that section of KESAS at night would really be tempting fate.

We seal our fate

Two things that thoughtless drivers do to upset cyclists – i.e. me

Inconsiderate Bike Banner

There are more than two things that thoughtless drivers (this is a more family-friendly and safe-for-work term than the label I would prefer to use) do that upset me, but these two are at the top of my list.

First is the driver who overtakes a cyclist . . .

Inconsiderate Braking 1

 

 

and then immediately brakes, usually to make a left turn.  Often without indicating said left turn.

Inconsiderate Braking 2

 

Which forces the cyclist to take evasive action.

Suggestion for drivers reading this (you don’t want the label I have in mind for you if you do the above)

Slow down behind the cyclist.  It will take mere seconds for the cyclist to ride past the left turn / parking space that you want to take.  Then you can make your left turn without endangering anyone.

Number two on my list is the driver who doesn’t look, or looks and chooses anyway to . . .

Inconsiderate Pulling Out 1

 

pull out into the road in front of the cyclist.

Inconsiderate Pulling Out 2

 

Which forces the cyclist to take evasive action.

Suggestions for drivers reading this (you don’t want the label I have in mind for you if you do the above)

  1.  Look over your shoulder to the right before you pull onto the road
  2. If you see a cyclist approaching, wait for a few seconds until the cyclist has ridden past you.  Then you can pull out without endangering anyone.

Why do some drivers do these two things that upset me?

The unkind view is that they are impatient anal sphincters (I’m trying to be family friendly / SFW).  I don’t know if this can be remedied.

A more generous view is that they are bad drivers, and just don’t know any better.

Even more generously, they underestimate the speed of the cyclist, and are surprised at how quickly the cyclist is actually moving.

I can only hope that as a result of being shouted at / gesticulated at by a pissed-off cyclist, the bad drivers and poor estimators of speed realise where they went wrong, and correct their errant ways.

Then I’ll be doing less of this.

Inconsiderate Banner 2 theangrycyclist blogspot com

Graphic courtesy of theangrycyclist.blogspot.com

A bit like trying to herd cats

Morib Banner jkstakent com

Graphic courtesy of jkstalent.com

The Bangsar Cycling Group organised a Sunday ride from Kota Kemuning to Morib.  I suggested that they use the route that the R@SKLs ride to get to Morib.  It avoids the heavily-trafficked and poorly surfaced Jalan Klang Banting, except for  4.5km / 2.8mi stretch from Jenjarom to Jalan Bandar Lama.

None of the BCGers knew that route.  That is how I ended up leading the BCG ride.

Coincidentally, the R@SKLs were also riding from Kota Kemuning to Morib on Sunday.  They were starting from their usual meeting point, Restoran BR Maju.  The BCG were starting from their usual meeting point, McDonald’s.  So I arranged for both groups to meet at Bandar Rimbayu, so that we could all do the ride together.

Both groups got to Bandar Rimbayu, as planned, at 7.30am.  There were forty two riders in all, including the cameraman for this shot.

Morib 01 J Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

From the left:

Morib 07f J Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Morib 07e J Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Morib 07d J Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Morib 07c J Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Morib 07b J Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

Morib 07a J Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

I set off at the head of this large group of riders, leading them through Bandar Rimbayu and onto the bridge over the SKVE.

Morib SKVE Bridge Up Shahfiq Khairy

Photograph courtesy of Shafiq Khairy

As we rolled off the bridge I was still at the head of the group, riding at approximately the advertised moving speed of 29kph / 18mph.

Morib SKVE Bridge Down Shahfiq Khairy

Photograph courtesy of Shafiq Khairy

Just as I felt a sense of control over the group, my illusion was shattered.  Riders shot off ahead of me, clearly more interested in testing their legs than sticking to 29kph.  Oh well!

Morib 12 Winston Wong

Photograph courtesy of Winston Wong

To no one’s surprise, the faster riders missed the right turn at Kampung Seri Cheeding.  Mobile phones to the rescue.  A few back-and-forth calls, and Google map consultations, and everyone was reunited 15km / 9mi later at the junction of Jalan Bukit Jugra and Jalan Jeti.   Google maps didn’t warn of this road hazard though.

Morib Cows Wee Hwee Wang

Photograph courtesy of Wee Hwee Wang

As usually happens, there was some talk of climbing Bukit Jugra.  I thought that first getting some food and drink at Morib was the way to go.  And that was what we did.

It was about 10.30am, and getting hot, by the time we left Morib for the homeward leg.

Morib 03 Shafiq Khairy

Photograph courtesy of Shafiq Khairy

The R@SKLs left a bit before the BCGers, and they headed straight back to Kota Kemuning.  Some of the BCGers were determined to climb Bukit Jugra.  Which is why we ended up here.

Morib Jugra Climb Shahfiq Khairy

Photograph courtesy of Shafiq Khairy

Some, probably wisely, elected to wait at the bottom of the hill.  Those who braved the up to 17° gradients were rewarded with views of the Langat River from the lookout point.

Morib Jugra Viewing Shafiq Khairy

Photograph courtesy of Shafiq Khairy

And the added treat of watching a paraglider launch himself off the slope.

Morib Paragliding backpackerzmag com

Photograph courtesy of backpackerzmag.com

We probably spent a bit too long up on the hill.  I had expected that we would be back at Kota Kemuning at about noon.  It was 11.30am by the time we all got going again from the base of Bukit Jugra.  There was 45km / 28mi, and a cendol stall, between us and Kota Kemuning.

Any thoughts of skipping the cendol stall were dispelled by the 34°C / 93°F temperature.  The heat, and the distance, were starting to affect some riders, so a stop for a cold drink and a rest was well worth it.

And then the punctures started.  First at the cendol stall, when a tube spontaneously popped.  Then 5km / 3mi later.  A further 5km and it was my turn.  I rode over a rock. Eight of us clustered in the shade under a tree in someone’s front garden to review the damage to my rear rim.

Morib Flat Shafiq Khairy

Photograph courtesy of Shafiq Khairy

Not good.  Fortunately the rim was still rideable.

We weren’t done yet.  We had only just got moving again when we had puncture number four.  All in the space of 13km / 8mi.

What with one thing or the other, it is no surprise that out of the total ride time of seven hours, we were stopped for three hours.  Which explains why we didn’t get back to the McDonald’s in Kota Kemuning until 2.00pm, when the temperature was pushing 37°C / 99°F.

A salted caramel sundae never tasted so good!

Morib Salted Caramel

We all got split up between Morib and Kota Kemuning.  I haven’t heard any reports of missing cyclists, so I can only assume that everyone got back safely.  Albeit some with minor scrapes, cramps and sore muscles.

I need to practice being a ride leader.  If nothing else, it makes a good excuse!

Morib Banner north florida bicycle club

Graphic courtesy of North Florida Bicycle Club