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Alternative Reality

I have been driving on the Federal Highway since the 1980s.  It is Malaysia’s first expressway, and it runs for 45 km from Kuala Lumpur to Klang on the west coast.  During the four years before I left Kuala Lumpur for Houston I lived just off the Federal Highway in Pantai Hill Park.  I drove along the Federal Highway almost daily.  The Mid-Valley Megamall was a frequent destination.  I took my mother for regular medical checkups at the University Malaya Medical Centre.  I ate many meals at the restaurants in the Petaling Jaya Hilton.  A corollary to all those car journeys on the Federal Highway was the number of hours I wasted whilst inching along in the traffic jams for which the highway has become infamous.

I didn’t think it was possible to cycle along the Federal Highway.  But that is exactly what I found myself doing last Saturday morning.  I had agreed to help out with a cycling safety class being run by YC and Albert K. at Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.  So after a brief talk about the do’s and don’ts of riding on city streets  Albert led us from the shop to the motorcycle lane running alongside the Federal Highway headed toward Kuala Lumpur.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Before long we were cycling under the Kota Darul Ehsan arch, which marks the border between the state of Selangor and the Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur.  From the vantage point of a bicycle saddle it certainly looks like the the biggest arch in Malaysia.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Apparently the motorcycle lanes were originally intended for bicycles.  We cyclists were definitely in the minority though.  Riding single file was essential as we were continually being passed by motorcycles.  You can see them in the distance in these photos.  That motorcyclist on the right in the picture below should be on the motorcycle lane by the way.  The skyscraper is the Menara Telekom.

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

Less than ten minutes later we were at the Mid-Valley Megamall.  It has often taken me at least three times that long to drive from the Menara Telekom to the Mid-Valley Megamall.  Now I know there is an alternative I’m going to see if there is a place to safely park a bicycle at the mall.

We turned around at the mall and headed back on the opposite side of the Federal Highway.  We took a different route from the highway back to Van’s Urban Bicycle Co.  Conveniently there is a mamak restaurant below Van’s.  Ravi’s Banana Leaf, which as the name suggests, uses banana leaves as plates.  If you read my post about the ride from Bukit Jelutong you already know what we had at Ravi’s.  Teh tarik and roti canai of course!

Photo courtesy of Albert Koo

About alchemyrider

I left Malaysia in 2008 as a non-cyclist. I am back home now with two road bikes and all the paraphernalia that goes with being addicted to cycling.

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