I did an organized sightseeing ride around Shah Alam today with the Cyclistis. “Ride and Shine” is the best translation of the Bahasa Malaysia name for this ride that I can come up with.
This was a family-oriented event. There were 100 or so men, women and children on the start line at 7.30am, including the Cyclistis group.
The majority were on mountain bikes, with the rest on a mix of road bikes, fixies and foldies, including a few Moultons with their frames made up of a lattice of small-diameter tubes. This Moulton TSR 30 has a Campagnolo Veloce groupset and a colour-matched Brooks B17 saddle to boot.
Full marks to the Shah Alam City Council for their excellent organization. There was no entry fee to participate in this ride. Despite this there were police personnel who ensured we had the right-of-way at all intersections, a lead vehicle with flashing lights to clear the lane for us, six motorcycle outriders to keep us separated from other traffic on the roads, a minibus and lorry to provide SAG support, and three rest stops with water and food.
I worked in Shah Alam from 1985 to 1990. Apart from being the state capital of Selangor, Shah Alam was best known then for the main campus of the MARA Institute of Technology. The campus was surrounded by homes and there was a small commercial centre. Shah Alam has grown by leaps and bounds since I worked there. It gained city status in 2000. The 42 km route took us north of the Shah Alam city center into what was jungle twenty five years ago. Now the wilderness has been replaced by a series of residential neighborhoods: Bukit Jelutong, Sunway Kayangan, Kayangan Heights, Desa Subang Permai, Denai Alam and others.
The weather was thankfully overcast so we stayed as cool as is possible in the tropics. The pace was gentle so there was no need to work too hard on the climbs. There was plenty of time to enjoy the views and, in these connected times, to get caught up at the rest stops.
It was noon when we finished the ride. Adzuan, Farid and I decided to have a nasi kandar lunch. The name derives from the time when hawkers would carry rice (nasi) and a variety of curries and side dishes in two large containers hanging from opposite ends of a long pole or yoke (kandar).
Hawkers walking the streets balancing a pole on one shoulder have been replaced by nasi kandar restaurants. There is a Nasi Kandar Pelita restaurant within a kilometer of where the ride ended. My lunch was a plate of steaming rice, chicken, cabbage, green beans, curry gravy and, naturally, a teh tarik. I think I replaced the calories I burned on this morning’s ride.