RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: July 2018

Actual Route May Vary

Janda Baik Elevation

Sunday’s ride was posted as HOA to Sempah to Janda Baik.  What this usually means in practice is that we get to the Genting Sempah flyover after 765  metres / 2,500 feet of climbing over 16.5km / 10mi and only then decide whether to continue to Janda Baik, or to turn around and ride back to the Hospital Orang Asli (HOA).

I didn’t count, but I think eighteen of us started from the HOA.  And all who started got to the Genting Sempah flyover.

 

The consensus was to continue down the other side of the hill.  What was not so clear was continue to where?  The plan I heard was to go to Bukit Tinggi for breakfast, and then do a loop through Janda Baik.  We know of lots of places for breakfast in Bukit Tinggi.  Restaurant and coffee shop choices in Janda Baik are more limited.

It is a high-speed run from the flyover all the way to the slightly offset four-way junction to either Bukit Tinggi to the left or Janda Baik to the right.  Much more pleasant since much of the road has been repaved.

Janda Baik Route

I anticipated turning left onto the blue section in the map above.  Instead of turning left to Bukit Tinggi, the lead riders turned right.  I had misunderstood or was unaware that the plan had changed.  Now we were doing the Jands Baik loop first (green in the map above) and then going to Bukit Tinggi for breakfast.

That upset things for a few of the group who needed to get back to the HOA by 11.00am or so.  It was 8.40am when we got to the four-way junction.  The Bukit Tinggi loop is 6.5km / 4mi long and includes 180 metres / 590 feet of climbing.  With a thirty minute stop for breakfast, the guys could have been back at the four-way junction with enough time to climb the 280 meters / 920 feet over 6km / 3.7mi to the flyover and then roll down the rest of the way to the HOA by 11.00am.

Getting back to the HOA by 11.00am would not be possible after doing the Janda Baik loop.  The run through Janda Baik is 17km / 10,5 mi long with 375 metres / 1,230 feet of climbing.  So the three who had a time crunch turned around and headed back to the HOA.

The rest of us pedalled up the steep initial slope under the arch and over the rolling terrain through Kampung Janda Baik.  Near the small Janda Baik police station is a sundry shop.  A short stop there to buy drinks morphed into a long stop at Warung Janda Baik next door for breakfast.

Janda Baik Breakfast 1Janda Baik Breakfast 2

There were a lot of patrons at the restaurant when we got there.  The fifteen of us stretched the restaurant’s capacity to the limit.  We finished off all the food they had immediately available.  We had to wait while they cooked more nasi lemak for us.

An hour later we got on our bikes again.  Having already fed ourselves, Bukit Tinggi was off the agenda.

I wish I could say that we all had an uneventful ride back to HOA.  Unfortunately, a patch of sand caught one of our group out.  Road rash and an unrideable bike were the results.

The rest of us were more than 4km / 2.5mi up the road, literally, when we heard about the mishap.  Leonard commandeered this tow truck parked outside the police station at the Genting Sempah R&R to head back down the hill to pick up Henry and his bike.  Nothing but the best for a R@SKL!

Janda Baik Tow Truck CK Lim

Photograph courtesy of CK Lim

TH had ridden past us at the R&R and gone on ahead of the rest of us, oblivious to what had happened behind him.

Janda Baik TH TH

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

So he was the first to the HOA car park and was able to drive back up to the Genting Sempah R&R to ferry Henry and his bike.

Janda Baik Henry TH

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

It was not the best end to what had been a very enjoyable ride.  But falling is a hazard of our sport.  We are all glad that Henry suffered only some road rash.  On a more positive note, many have already volunteered to help him shop for a new frame!

Road and Rail Back to Kepong

Day 2 Mini Bus

We were a bit slow to get going in the morning.  There was some not-necessarily joking about taking the bus or train all the way back to Kuala Lumpur or getting a ride with someone.

We did make the walk to Hollywood at 7.30am.  Plates of prawn chee cheong fun, char kway teow, and lor bak, washed down with glasses of leng chee kang (lotus seed drink) perked everyone up.

Day 2 Breakfast 2 Danial Marzuki

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

Day 2 Breakfast Danial Marzuki

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

At 9.0am we were packed and ready to roll.  Danial’s friend Eric rode with us to Gopeng before turning around and heading back home.

Day 2 Start

Photograph courtesy of Eric

We made a quick stop at the 7-Eleven in the same row of shophouses as the Ampang Cycle House.  Our first proper stop was at a Petron station in Gopeng.  The breakfast drinks had made their way through our bodily systems by then.

The day had started out cooler than it had been the previous day.  Everyone was pleased about that.

Day 2 Road Danial Marzuki

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

37km / 23mi into our ride we were in Kampar.  A Petron station was a convenient place to stop for ten minutes.

At 12.30pm were in Tapah.  The KFC there was a lot less appealing as a lunch venue than it had been the day before.  After some scouting around, we ended up at . . .

Day 2 Pizza Hut Ozairi Othman

Photograph courtesy of Ozairi Othman

Pizza Hut!  That was an underwhelming experience.  The pizzas were smaller than we had expected, there was no ice for our drinks, and the air conditioning wasn’t working very well.  Nevertheless, between us, we polished off three regular pizzas and four 1.5 litre bottles of Pepsi Cola.

The cool of the early morning had given way to full-on heat.  It was 35° C / 95° F outside.  The plan had been to spend an hour in Pizza Hut.  The ineffective air conditioning while we were eating made that seem unlikely.  By the time we were finished eating the air conditioning had upped its game and we finally began to cool off.  And so we stayed there for seventy minutes.

We then spent fifteen minutes at the Petronas station 200 metres down the road eating ice cream for dessert.

Thirty-five minutes later we were in Bidor.  The iced mango and other fresh fruit at the Sakinah stall, where we had stopped on the way to Ipoh, were calling our names.  That was another fifteen-minute break.

Day 2 Bidor Fruit Stall Ozairi Othman

Photograph courtesy of Ozairi Othman

It was past 2.30pm.  The temperature would stay in the mid to low 30s° C / low 90s° F for the next three hours.  We would be stopping a lot.  So no change from the MO of the day before.

Day 2 It Is Hot Danial Marzuki

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

One of the benefits of riding on what used to be the main trunk road linking Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh is that you pass through lots of small towns.  Towns which have at least one petrol station with an air-conditioned convenience store where we could stop and rest.

Sungkai was the next of these towns.  We spent twenty minutes in the BHP station there.  We were not in a rush.  The first non-peak train leaves Tanjung Malim at 7.00pm on weekends.  We had about 45km / 28mi to go, and more than four hours to cover that distance.

It is 22km / 14mi from Sungkai to Slim River.  Just a bit too far to do all in one go, given the temperature and the rolling terrain.  There isn’t much between Sungkai and Slim River, so we stopped in some shade beside the road at the junction to Trolak.

We spent forty minutes at the Petronas station in Slim River.  More ice cream and cold drinks.  That was the good news.

Day 2 Cursing

The bad news was that I dropped my mobile phone and broke the screen.

25km / 16mi to Tanjung Malim.  It was 5.30pm when we left Slim River.  The temperature had dropped to 29° C / 84° F.  Enough of the cutting edge had been taken off the heat that we were able to cover those last kilometres to Tanjung Malim in one go.  We stopped at a Petronas station a couple of kilometres from the Komuter station to regroup and get a drink.

Day 2 Last Petronas Halim Zin

Photograph courtesy of Halim Zin

We then rode to the KTM station to get tickets for the 8.00pm train to Kepong.  We planned to have dinner during the hour or so before that train departed.  We got to the KTM station at 6.50pm and were told that we could board the 7.00pm train with our bikes.  The train was already at the station.  We quickly hauled our bikes up and across the overpass to the platform on the other side of the tracks and hopped onto the train.

Day 2 Train Danial Marzuki

Photograph courtesy of Danial Martzuki

Once again we had the entire carriage to ourselves.

It was dark when we pulled into the KTM Kepong station.  There had been talk about getting dinner before riding home, but by the time we wheeled our bikes off the train at 8.30pm the gloss had worn off that idea.  It had been a long and hot weekend, and everyone just wanted to get home.  Which we all accomplished safely.

This was my first ride to Ipoh.  It was a lot of fun (double pinch flats and broken phone screen aside).  I would do it again.  Any town with its own Hollywood-style sign is worth another visit.

 

Day 2 Ipoh Sign

Photograph courtesy of The Malaysian Times

Rail and Road to Ipoh

Ipoh Banner

Vegas and Hollywood were two of the highlights of our weekend trip to Ipoh.  More on that later.

Canning Garden in Ipoh, where we spent the night, is just over 200km / 124mi from Kuala Lumpur.  Which is just a bit further than we wanted to cycle.

So we went by train for part of the way.  Tanjung Malim is as far as you can go northwards on the KTM Komuter train.  The KTM Electric Train Service (ETS) goes beyond Tanjung Malim to Ipoh and onwards to the Thai border, but full-sized bicycles are not allowed on board the ETS trains.

Early on Saturday morning six of us met up at various points along the way to the Kepong Komuter station.  We would normally have boarded the train in Kuala Lumpur.  Track upgrading work means that there is temporarily no service between Kuala Lumpur and Kepong.

Day 1 Kepong Station Danial Marzuki

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

Danial, Halim, Choo Chian, Safwan, Ozzy and I caught the 7.10am train ride from Kepong to Tanjung Malim.  That was the last weekend non-peak hours train until 8.00pm.  Bicycles are allowed on Komuter trains during non-peak hours only.  The train ride took about 75 minutes.  We had the last carriage almost entirely to ourselves.  At 9.00am we were scouting the area around the Tanjung Malim station for a place to have breakfast.

The stop at Restoran Hijas was the first of many.

By 9.45am we were on the road northwards to Ipoh.  We cycled along Federal Route 1, which as the name implies is the first and oldest federal road in Malaysia.  Federal Route 1 was the backbone of the road system in the western states of Peninsular Malaysia before being supplanted by the North–South Expressway (E1 and E2).

Day 1 Traffic Light Ozzy

Photograph courtesy of Ozairi Othman

Our next stop was at the Shell station in Slim River.  So named for a Captain Slim, who in the nineteenth century sailed up the river, mistaking it for the larger Perak River, which was the main waterway at that time.

We were trundling along at a relatively relaxed pace.  We were all carrying clothes, toiletries etc. in our saddle packs.  Some of us had handlebar bags as well.  Danial was on a Marin touring bike.  We weren’t set up for speed.

So it was two and a half hours before we got to Restoran Shakir in Sungkai, where we had drinks and topped up our bottles with ice.

A word about the state of the road is appropriate here.  The entire length of the ride was about 125km / 78mi.  There were some badly rutted and patched sections, but in the main, the road surface was reasonable to good.  However, there was enough debris on the road that you had to keep your eyes glued to the road ahead.

3km after leaving Restoran Shakir I got distracted by a motorcyclist pulling off the road to my left and clanged straight over a substantial lump of stone.  The noise that made was loud enough to make me think that I had damaged a rim.  Not the case as it turned out, but I had pinch-flatted both my tires.

Thank goodness for riding with friends whom I could borrow an inner tube from.

Day 1 Flat Ozzy

Photograph courtesy of Ozairi Othman

Danial and Ozzy rode on while my three assistants and I fixed two flat tires.  We caught up with them about 10km / 6mi later at a row of fresh fruit stalls in Bidor.  It was 1.00pm and 33° C / 91° F by then.  Iced mango slices hit the spot.

We got to Tapah about thirty minutes later.  A good time to stop for lunch.

Day 1 KFC Safwan Siddiq

Photograph courtesy of Safwan Siddiq

The KFC in Tapah was packed but we went in any way.  The air conditioning was the main attraction.

My lunch was pretty good too.

638E96DD-2E04-4D40-83E4-DA088D7F99BD.png

70km / 43mi done.  55km / 31mi to go.

After forty-five minutes in the cool of the KFC, we headed out into the sun again.  Not for long though.  It was 35° C / 95° F.  Twenty minutes later we stopped at the Shell station in Temoh for ice cream and drinks.

Thirty minutes after that we were inside a Petron station at Kampar.  I told you we stopped a lot.

The next ice cream and drinks stop was at a Shell station in Gopeng.  It was 4.30pm, and we had 18km / 11mi to go.  But we had two more stops to make before w got to Canning Garden.

All the Way from Tanjung Malim we had ridden past a multitude of roadside stalls, some quite makeshift, selling durians.  Durians are regarded by many in Southeast Asia as the “king of fruits.”

Day 1 Durian

Photograph courtesy of The Star Online

Durians are a seasonal fruit, and prices have soared in recent years as more and more of the local crop is exported to places like China.  But this year, a combination of unusually hot weather and heavy rainfall resulted in a long durian season.  This has produced an oversupply that has pushed down prices.

Danial could not resist the temptation.  We stopped in Simpang Pulai for a mini durian feast.  While the others were delving into durians, I noticed, set back from the road, the ruins of this mansion.

Day 1 Ruin Closeup

In its heyday in the 1920s and 1930s, Ipoh was the epicentre of a tin mining boom.  Newly minted millionaires built mansions like this one.  Following the depletion of its tin deposits and the collapse of tin prices in the 1970s, Ipoh suffered decades of decline and neglect.  Epitomised by these remains of what was once a stately home.

Our last stop was at the Ampang Cycle House, where I bought inner tubes and CO2 cartridges to replace what I had borrowed.

4km / 2.5mi away from the bike shop is this terraced house which was our home for the night.  Choo Chian booked it online for us.  Very comfortable and well-equipped it was too.

Day 1 Home Stay

So why Vegas and Hollywood?  They are the names of famous eating places in Canning Garden.  Both are coffee shops housing a collection of food stalls, so there is a variety of dishes on offer.

It was 6.30pm when we arrived at Canning Garden.  After storing our bikes in the house, we walked, in our cycling kits, to dinner at Vegas.  Vegas is open at night but not in the morning.  Hollywood, 100 metres away in the next block of shophouses, is closed at night and open in the morning. We would be at Hollywood for breakfast.

There are no dinner food photographs to show, but I assure you the food was good.

Day 1 Dinner Danial Marzuki

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

After dinner, we washed ourselves and our cycling kits, and lounged in the sitting room for a while.  Some of the guys went back out at about 10.00pm for a teh tarik.  It was lights out time for Halim and I.

 

Teluk Intan with the R@SKLs – Day 2

Teluk Intan Day 1 Menara Chondong Night Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

While we were cooling down in the lobby after arriving at the Yew Boutique Hotel, we talked about a start time for our ride back to Kapar.  6.00am was mentioned.  Jake asked me if that start time eas confirmed.  I told him to wait until after dinner.

Sure enough.  10kg / 22lbs of udang galah in our collective stomachs prompted some recalibration.  Breakfast at the coffee shop across the road from the hotel at 6.30am, and wheels rolling at 7.00am.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Breakfast Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We didn’t quite meet our 7.00am departure goal.  Heng Keng took the photograph below.  No prizes for figuring out who was the last person out of the hotel door.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Ready to Roll Pai

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We have developed a routine for Day 2 of these Teluk Intan rides.  Breakfast across the road from the hotel.  Followed by a stop at the 7 Eleven 400 meters down the road for ice and water.  Then onto Jalan Maharajalela and southward out of town.

We thoroughly enjoyed the tailwind from Sabak Bernam to Teluk Intan the previous afternoon.  “Effortless” was one description for that 35km / 22mi section where we hit 40kph / 25mph at times.  Well, we paid the full price for that tailwind, plus interest, on the way back to Kapar.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Wind bicyclenetwork com au

Photograph courtesy of bicyclenetwork.com.au

Kapar is almost directly south of Teluk Intan.  As we left Teluk Intan the wind was blowing north-westward at 4kph.  At 8.00am we were at Hutan Melintang, where the wind was blowing westward at 4kph.  At 9.30am we were at Sabak Bernam, and the wind was blowing north-westward again, but stronger at 13kph.

We turned off Route 5 at Sabak Bernam to follow the secondary roads which run along the coast.  While waiting for the others to ensure that they didn’t miss the turn, Pai handed out kokuto, which is brown sugar candy from Okinawa.  Although kokuto is made from sugar cane, it tastes a lot like gula kabung or gula melaka, which are types of palm sugar.

Kokuto Oikinawan brown sugar candy jpninfo com

Photograph courtesy of jpninfo.com

Around this time a good friend to the R@SKLs, Daniel, was well into his Olympic Distance Race at the Port Dickson International Triathlon 2018.  That consists of a 1.5km open water swim, a 40km bike ride and a 10km run.

Respect!

Teluk Intan Day 2 Danial Tri Danial

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Despite being on more sheltered roads south of Sabak Bernam, the headwind was just as bad.  The roads were very nice though.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Back Roads Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We planned to make our first stop at Sungai Besar, which is 50km / 31km from Teluk Intan.   The extra effort against the headwind meant that we were more than ready for a break in Sungai Besar.  One of the first stalls we came upon was selling fresh coconut water.  After drinking the water straight out of the coconut, it is split open so you can spoon out the jellylike flesh.

Pai’s thirst had been slaked, but he was hungry.  So he crossed the road to the 988 Restaurant for a plate of chicken rice.  Before long three or four others were sitting beside him, eating red bean paste filled pau, and toast with kaya (coconut jam).

We weren’t back on the road for very long before we realised that we had lost Natasha and Marco.  Marco had loaded the route onto his Bryton.  However, the mapped route showed a right turn which didn’t exist in reality.  If you turned right at the next opportunity instead of making a u-turn and backtracking, you were on the wrong road.

Everyone found a shady spot while Lay and I went to find Natasha and Marco.  Despite the headwind now blowing straight into our faces at 16kph, it was getting hot.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Waiting For Lost Trio Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We were still on country roads after 75km, with just the odd motorcycle for company.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Back Roads 2 Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Then we came upon a Malay wedding kenduri (feast) in full swing.  As sometimes happens in rural villages, the entire width of the road had been taken over by marquees which provided shade for buffet tables and guests eating lunch.

Rather than detour around the blocked section of road, which would have required us to get back onto Route 5, we decided to walk our bikes around the edge of the marquees.

Traditional village hospitality then came to the fore.  We were invited to stay and eat something.  When we declined, we were plied with drinks instead.  The emcee announced that we were coming through, and asked everyone to make way for us as we wound our way between tables.

Quite amazing!

 

Having declined a meal at the wedding feast, we were ready for lunch when we got to Sekinchan.  Marvin said he knew a good restaurant, but wasn’t sure if

a) it was open, and
b) if it was open, whether it would be full by the time we got there.

I wouldn’t have guessed that this is a restaurant.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Lunch Restaurant Jake

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

Redang Station No. 15 was open, and there was room for us.  The restaurant is essentially a big room on stilts.  The floor is wood planking, as are the tables and benches.  The back of the restaurant opens out to the jetties where fishing boats unload their catch of the day.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Fishing Boats

Alfred was certainly comfortable.  Admittedly it was 36° C / 97° F outside, and he was done riding for the day.  His wife was going to pick him up after lunch.

Teluk Intan Day 2 No 15 Simon

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The online reviews for Redang Station No. 15 are either glowing or damning.  There doesn’t seem to be a middle ground.  Marvin had already prepped us for what to expect.  The restaurant serves seafood only.  Either steamed or fried.  No fancy sauces.  No rice.  No vegetables.  Just fresh seafood.  And fried noodles if you insist.

Everything we ate was delicious.  The freshest ingredients simply prepared.  Thank you for taking us there Marvin.

 

Apart from its seafood restaurants, Sekinchan in also noted for Redang Beach and the Wishing Tree.

Redang Beach, like almost all beaches on the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia, is nothing special.  The lack of storm activity in the Straits of Melaka limits the scouring action of the sea.  Which means that a layer of silt has built up over the years, making the beaches muddy.

Those kites illustrate the 17kph wind blowing northward straight up the coast.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Pantai Redang 2 Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The Wishing Tree gets lots of visitors.  It came to fame after being featured in the Hong Kong TVB drama “Outbound Love.”  You write a wish on a strip of red cloth, tie each end to a coin with a hole in the middle, and toss the cloth strip into the branches of the tree.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Wishing Tree Jake

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

There are about 70km / 43mi between Sekinchan and Kapar.  We knew that the heat and the headwind would make a rest stop essential.  Conveniently, there is a McDonald’s in Kuala Selangor, which is midway between Sekinchan and Kapar.

We spent an hour at that McDonald’s, drinking iced lemon tea, 100 Plus, and Coke.  And eating french fries and chocolate sundaes.  And waiting for Marco and Natasha.  Marco had a mechanical problem with his touring bike, and that was slowing him down.

Not that we were complaining about having to wait in the air conditioning.  It was hot outside.  How hot?  That is crusted salt on Jake’s sleeve, from all the sweating he was doing.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Salt Jake Sow

Photograph courtesy of Jake Sow

We debated staying on Route 5 back to Kapar but decided it wouldn’t be worth riding on a heavily trafficked and rough road to save few kilometres.  So we stayed on the back roads.   This herd of cattle was going with the wind is it meandered all over the road.  The cows and bull appeared to be relatively used to sharing the road.  They weren’t in the least bothered by us riding past them.

Teluk Intan Day 2 Cows Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

We had to get back onto Route 5 about 10km / 6mi from Adtek. The road surface is very rutted, and the shoulder is covered in all sorts of debris, including broken glass.  The odds of getting a flat tire are high.  I picked up a flat tire on that section the last time we did this ride.  Now it was Marvin’s turn.

The only good thing was that Marvin flatted next to a shaded culvert.  I assure you we did help Marvin fix his flat!

Teluk Intan Day 2 Marvin Flat Lay

Photograph courtesy of Lay Hoi Cheong

We all got back to Adtek safely, which is the most important thing.  Despite the constant headwind, everyone enjoyed the ride.

Being able to shower at Adtek before driving home was a real treat.  Thank you again Pai for giving us access to the facilities at your factory.

We are already thinking about when to do the next Teluk Intan ride.  It could well become a quarterly event.

Let’s get through CFAL first though!

Teluk Intan with the R@SKLs – Day 1

Teluk Intan Day 1 River View 2 Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

The two-day ride to Teluk Intan and back has become a favourite for the R@SKLs.  Seven of us did this ride in January 2018.  The main attraction of riding to Teluk Intan is a dinner of Macrobrachium rosenbergii, better known as giant freshwater prawn.

BCG Tour Teluk Intan Udang Galah

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

Other attractions of this ride are the doable-in-one-day distance of about 145km / 90mi, the number of quiet backroads along the route, and the cyclist-friendly Yew Boutique Hotel in Teluk Intan.

Not to mention being able to start and end the ride from Pai’s factory premises in Kapar.  For a start, we get assigned parking in a secure parking lot.

teluk-intan-day-0-parking-prep-pai.png

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Plus access to restrooms, showers, and a water cooler.  Wonderful!

Fourteen of us were ready to roll out of the Adtek car park at 6.00am.  Including Natasha and Marco, who were celebrating one year of wedded bliss.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Anniversay Couple Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The first forty minutes of the ride was spent negotiating roads which have been damaged by a constant flow of heavy lorries.  Street lighting was poor in places, so everyone had to be on full alert for potholes, bad patch jobs, and road debris.

The sun was peeking over the horizon as we turned right off Route 5 and onto Jalan Suara.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Sunrise Marvin

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

These were the roads we were looking forward to riding on.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Empty Road Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Naturally, everyone was glad to be off the main trunk road that is Route 5.

 

Whenever there was a river to cross we had no choice but to get back onto Route 5.  The first of the bridges was at the small town of Sungai Buloh (literally Bamboo River).  One would expect the river there to be the Sungai Buloh, but it is not.  We crossed the Sungai Sembilang and endured Route 5 for 1.5km / 0.9mi before we were able to turn right onto Jalan Tok Empat Yusuf.

We had 10km / 6mi of quiet backroad almost entirely to ourselves before we had to get onto Route 5 again for the Sungai Selangor crossing at Kuala Selangor.

I had planned for our breakfast stop to be between Sungai Buloh and Kuala Selangor, in a roadside stall at the crossroads between Jalan Teluk Piah Kanan and Jalan Kuala Selangor.  We had stopped there for breakfast the last time we rode to Teluk Intan.

So imagine my dismay when I got there, with thirteen hungry cyclists behind me, to find the stall partially demolished.  Some of the R@SKLs were very hungry.  I know from past experience that hungry cyclists tend to lack a sense of humour.

Luckily for me, some scouting around by the group revealed that the now-demolished stall had morphed into a bigger and better restaurant just around the corner.

Phew!  Good humour restored.

 

Around the time we were finishing breakfast, some other R@Skls were starting their Sprint Race at the Port Dickson International Triathlon 2018.  750 meter open water swim, 20km bike ride and 5km run.  Way to go!

Teluk Intan Day 1 PD Tri Robyn Lim

Photograph courtesy of Robyn Lim

After breakfast, we made it safely back onto Route 5 and over the bridge at Kuala Selangor.

Teluk Intan Day 1 All Smiles Mark

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

After exiting Route 5 at Jalan Sungai Tunggul, we would be on roads through paddy fields and rural countryside for the next 67km / 42mi.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Paddy Fields 2 Marvin

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

 

We had covered about 58km / 36mi at a reasonable moving average of 25kph / 15.5mph by the time we got to the far edge of the paddy fields.  We turned left onto Jalan Terusan Utama, which we would stay on for the next 30km / 19mi.

That was the plan.

A group of seven pulled ahead on the flat, straight and quiet road.  The rest of us were rolling along at a slightly more restrained pace when Jeff went down.  He was clearly in pain from an injured shoulder and was unable to continue.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Jeff Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

We tried hailing down passers-by in vehicles big enough to carry both Jeff and his bicycle but were unsuccessful.  Fortuitously, there is a rice milling plant, Dataran Pusaka Sdn. Bhd., 300 meters from where Jeff had his accident.  Even more fortuitously, someone from there was willing to load Jeff and bike into his pickup truck and to take them to the nearest town, Sekinchan.

The seven of us who had stopped at the scene rode the 7km / 4mi to Sekinchan.  Jeff was in a clinic waiting to be checked out.  In the meantime, Simon had been on the ‘phone with Alfred, whose family was en route to Teluk Intan in an MPV.  Alfred’s wife agreed to stop in Sekinchan to pick Jeff up from the clinic.

Once we were sure that Jeff was in good hands at the clinic, and that he would be picked up from there, we headed back to Jalan Terusan Utama to continue along our route toward Sabak Bernam, which was our predetermined lunch stop.

The group ahead of us had stopped at a roadside shop while awaiting an update on the situation in Sekinchan.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Waiting and Snacking Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

With Jeff sorted out, they rode on to Sabak Bernam.  The rest of us were at least an hour behind them, so they had lunch as soon as they arrived in Sabak Bernam.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Lunch 1 Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Then, clearly overcome with concern for Jeff, they had a massage!

Teluk Intan Day 1 Massage Pai

Photograph courtesy of Hsing C Pai

Lay and Heng Keng were waiting for us at Kedai Kopi Nam May.  It was almost 2.00pm.  The coffee shop staff were a bit concerned that they did not have enough food left to feed us.  But their worry turned out to be unwarranted.  We shared three platters of delicious fried noodles with fish cake.

Massages over and reunited as a group again, we got rolling.  It is a bit under 40km  / 25mi from Sabak Bernam to Teluk Intan.  Those who had done the ride in January were not looking forward to the first five or six kilometers.  For a start, we would be back on Route 5.  In January there were major roadworks in progress between the town and the bridge over the Sungai Bernam.  Lane closures and an awful road surface made riding that section a nightmare.

We needn’t have worried.  The roadworks are complete and that section of road is now a pleasure to ride on.  We also had a significant tailwind to help us along.

Having averaged 34kph / 21mph for 13km / 8mi in 35° C / 97° F heat, we need to cool down when we got to the Petron station at Hutan Melintang.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Petrol Station Ice Crwams Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

The wind was still a help over the final 16km / 10mi to Teluk Intan.  The Menara Chondong (Leaning Tower) in Teluk Intan is the symbolic finishing line for this ride.

Congratulations to the first-time riders to Teluk Intan:  Kenix, Natasha, Martin, Jake, and Alfred.

 

Teluk Intan Day 1 Menara Chondong Group Simon

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

My Biker Chick had checked everyone into the Yew Boutique Hotel and was waiting with room keys for us.  We parked our bikes in the Cyclists’ Corner off the lobby and headed to our rooms to shower and change into fresh clothes.  All except Alfred.

Jeff had been diagnosed with a suspected fracture, and Alfred’s wife had driven him from Sekinchan back to a hospital in Kuala Lumpur for further checks.  It wasn’t until she had driven back to Teluk Intan that Alfred got a change of clothes.

Some people, including me, dashed off so quickly to their rooms that they left things behind in the hotel lobby.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Lost and Found Marvin

Photograph courtesy of Marvin Tan

After getting cleaned up, some of us met at the food court next door to the hotel for the famous chee cheong fun, and to claim our forgotten belongings.

 

We gathered in the hotel lobby at 7.10pm to either walk, cycle or drive to Restoran d’Tepian Sungai for aforementioned udang galah (giant fresh water prawn) dinner.  11.5kg / 25lbs of udang galah.

I have waxed lyrical in the past about the udang galah dishes at Restoran d’Tepian Sungai.  They were just as good this time.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Dinner 3 Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

We had the pleasure of some non-cyclists this time too.  Apart from my biker chick and Alfred’s wife and daughters, we were joined by Marvin’s wife, his two young children and his mother.

We missed Jeff though.  We all hope he heals up fast and completely.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Dinner Group Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

You would have thought that after all we ate throughout the day, we would have been stuffed.  If you did think that, then you don’t know the R@SKLs.

After dinner, we walked to the Menara Chondong to take some more photographs.

Teluk Intan Day 1 Menara Chondong 13 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

That worked up a thirst in some of us.  On the way back to the hotel six of us stopped at the Chris Café for a coffee and lemon cheesecake tarts.

 

I was in bed and fast asleep by 10.30pm.  The FIFA World Cup 3rd and 4th place playoff match was broadcast starting at 11.00pm.  I don’t think anyone stayed awake to watch it.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018

Posted on
CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Banner cimbcycle com

Graphic courtesy of cimbcycle.com

The CIMB Cycle events for this year were originally scheduled for 21st April 2018.  The 14th General Elections got in the way, so the rides were postponed until 7th July 2018.

Read about the 2017 CIMB Cycle event here.

The start and finish were at the Sepang International Circuit, which hosted the Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix for many years.

CIMB Challenge 2018 Start Nicole Andrian

Photograph courtesy of Nicole Andrian

There were two CIMB Cycle options.  Either the 90km Challenge Ride or the 160km Endurance Ride.  The R@SKLs opted for the Challenge Ride.

In retrospect that was a good decision.  A few of us had stayed up almost the entire previous night to watch the World Cup quarterfinals.  One of us, having flown into Kuala Lumpur late on the eve of the ride, had to sleep in a chair at the airport after discovering that he had booked an airport hotel room for the wrong night.

The first of the R@SKLs got to the Sepang International Circuit at just after 6.00am.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Early Girls Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

Pretty in pink!  With some men in the mix for gender balance!

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Early Arrivals Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

The rest of us got caught up in the queue with 3,000 other participants, first, to get into the parking area, and second, to find a parking spot.

We all eventually made it to the starting point.  I didn’t count how many were in our group.  I reckon about 30.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Ready to Roll Johan Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Ready to Roll 2 Johan Sopiee

Photograph courtesy of Johan Sopiee

The event was very well organised.  The only complaint I had – and it is a common complaint of mine – is that we were flagged off late.  One explanation I heard for this was that the start was delayed to give more time to those who got caught in the traffic jam to join the rest of us who were ready to roll.

The delay did give us more time for photographs though.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Guadalupe and Annie and Luanne Annie Lim

Photograph courtesy of Annie Lim

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Waiting for the Rest Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Guadalupe and Manuel Guadalupe Cernusco

Photograph courtesy of Guadalupe Cernusco

The Challenge Ride route started with a loop around the SIC race track, followed by a roughly 10km long speed-controlled stretch before we were all let loose on the road to Sepang.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Around the Track Bin Soo

Photograph courtesy of Bin Soo

The police and marshalls did an excellent job along the route.  All junctions and intersections were actively manned, and traffic was stopped to allow riders to proceed uninterrupted.  This alone is usually enough to win kudos for an event organiser.  The police and marshalls at this event outdid themselves by taking traffic off the road completely whenever they could.

I estimate that for 80% of the route, the police and marshalls pulled vehicles over onto the road shoulders, giving riders a clear road.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Quiet Roads Chiam GH

Photograph courtesy of Chiam GH

This was fantastic for the participants.  However, the organiser’s Facebook page quickly filled up with complaints from motorists who were delayed by the traffic controls for the event.  Apparently, some people missed flights because they were held up while on the way to the airport.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Route cimbcycle com

Map courtesy of cimbcycle.com

Unlike last year’s CIMB Cycle event, there were no big climbs to get over this time.  Nevertheless, the rolling terrain presented lots of short, punchy climbs.  This was no flat easy run.

We were ready for the aid stations when they came along.  More kudos to the organisers for having enough water, bananas and ice on hand.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Bananas Nelson Chen

Photograph courtesy of Nelson Chen

By the time we got to the second aid station almost all the climbing was behind us.  That was the positive.  The negative was that it was hot.  The heat was radiating off the road surface.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Hot AiLin Ku Pinky

Photograph courtesy of AiLin Ku Pinky

It felt even hotter during the final loop on the Sepang racetrack before the finish.  I think we were all glad to pass under the Start / Finish banner.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Finish Line 1

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Finish Line 2

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Finish Line 3

Then it was time to cool off in the shade.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Finished Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

We all got finisher’s medals.

I  must give a big shout out to Danial Lim, who backtracked a number of times along the route to make sure that all the R@SKLs to safely to the finish line.  Thank you Danial.

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Danial Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

Much appreciation also to Heng Keng, for helping the R@SKLs with registration for this event, and for picking up our race packs for us.

Heng Keng even managed to get us a photo opportunity with Zafrul Aziz, the CEO of CIMB Group Holdings (in the red shirt to the left) and Azizul Awang, the first Malaysian to win a UCI World Championship (in the red shirt on the right).

CIMB Challenge Ride 2018 Zafrul Azizul Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

The highlight of the day was, as always, the camaraderie and laughter that is the hallmark of the R@SKLs.

A close second was the experience of riding on the Sepang track where Formula One champions like Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Sebastian Vettel, and Louis Hamilton once raced.  The SIC does occasionally open the race track to cyclists.  The R@SKLs may be back at the Sepang International Circuit the next time that happens.

SIC

Photograph courtesy of marca.com

 

Fabric Chamber Ratchet Head Multitool

Posted on

Dorel Sports is one of the world’s leading bike portfolio companies. Their brands include Cannondale, GT, Schwinn, Mongoose, Sugio, Guru, and Fabric.

Fabric creates unique and innovative cycling products. Like the Chamber Ratchet Multitool. I like my Silca T-Ratchet + Ti Torque kit a lot. However, the waxed cloth case makes the kit too bulky to fit in my KEG Storage Vessel. I had been carrying a rusting Lezyne multitool, and the Fabric Chamber looked like a good replacement.

The base of the cylinder unscrews to reveal a set of double-ended stainless steel bits.

ac1fd688-6e97-45de-b9c5-36815d8a2f6a

Photograph courtesy of fabric.cc

The cylinder is 99mm tall and 25mm wide.  In a holder in the base are 2, 2.5, 3, 4, 5 and 6mm hex bits, T10 and T25 Torx bits, SL3 and SL5 flat head bits, PH1 and PH2 Phillips head bits, and an 8mm hex adapter.

Apart from the small size, I was attracted by the two-way ratchet head.  Bits can be positioned centrally in the ratchet.

c2760edd-499a-462a-be60-aa5300b4e7b5

Photograph courtesy of fabric.cc

Or at one end of the bit for a longer reach.

farbic-chamber-tool-silver-long

Photograph courtesy of fabric.cc

The Fabric Chamber Ratchet Head Multitool has replaced the Lezyne multitool in my KEG Storage Vessel.  The Chamber Ratchet Head is smaller than the Silca T-Ratchet + Ti-Torque kit.  It weighs less too, at 170gms compared to 232gms for the T-Ratchet.

6C6C925E-7C6F-406E-AD7F-147FD4E9B938

Photograph courtesy of fabric.cc

The Chamber tool lacks a torque function.  However, I feel this does not detract from its usefulness for repairs while on the road.  Loose bolts can be tightened just enough to hold until the end of the ride.  Tightening to specification with my Silca Ti-Torque wrench can be done once at home.

The Fabric Chamber Ratchet Head Multitool is a good-looking design that fits inside my KEG Storage Vessel along with tire levers, a spare tube, a CO2 canister and an inflator head.

Neat, tidy, and ready to roll.