RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: December 2019

SJICC Fellowship Ride

Graphic courtesy of St. John’s Institution Alumni Association

I went to St. John’s Institution (SJI) in the 1970s. The SJI alumni, known as Johannians, maintains strong ties with each other and to the school. One of these alumni groups is the SJI Cycling Club (SJICC).

An SJICC WhatsApp group discussion about a Fellowship ride started in July. A suggestion to ride from Kota Warisan to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and back turned into a plan. About forty SJI alumni signed up for the ride.

It was gloomy and damp when I left home this morning. The drizzle started when I was on the MEX Highway. It got heavier as I drove through Cyberjaya and Dengkil. It was still drizzling at the ride start time of 7:30 am.

Map courtesy of Rainviewer Storm Tracker

The wet weather put some people off. Twenty-three cyclists had turned up at Kota Warisan. As well as several friends on scooters and motorbikes. They had volunteered to be our outriders. All of us were wondering if we would ride, or just stay put and order more teh tarik, nasi lemak and roti canai.

At 8:00 am the drizzle eased up a bit. We decided to go for it. As Rashid said, it was time to apply Velominati rules #5 and #9.

Rule #5: Harden The F*** Up

Rule #9: If you are out riding in bad weather, it means you are a badass. Period.


Most wore their club jerseys. I don’t own one, so I hid at the back for this pre-start photograph. Jeff, the other rider in pink, is an old boy of Cochrane Road School. He was allowed to join us because he sells very nice bicycles 😂.

Photograph courtesy of Rashid Ghazali

Not long after we started riding, the drizzle turned into rain. We were thoroughly soaked when we got to our first stop at the Sepang International Circuit.

Photograph courtesy of Yasser Yaacob
Photograph courtesy of Rashid Ghazali
Photograph courtesy of Aston Choong
Photograph courtesy of Bernard Chong

The next stop was at the L32 end of KLIA runway 2. By that time, it had stopped raining.

Photograph courtesy of Khalid.

After watching a few aircraft landings, we rode the length of runway 3.

Photograph courtesy of ZackJ

Our last stop to regroup and buy a drink was at the PETRONAS station on Lebuhraya KLIA Extension.

Photograph courtesy of Nageb Abdul Majid

9.5kkm after that we were back at the Restoran Nasi Lemak Royale.

Photograph courtesy of FariQue

We hadn’t ridden very far. We had long forgotten all thoughts of a second loop. What was more important after a very wet ride was some signature nasi lemak and fried chicken.

It was a fun ride. Due in no small measure to the support car and the outriders who kept us safe on the roads.

There is already some chat about doing a longer ride.

A Half Dozen to Port Dickson and Back

Some of the best rides happen with very little planning. A chat on the 5th led quickly to an agreement to ride from Kuala Lumpur to Port Dickson on the 11th. And back again the next day. We had four others opt-in within a few days.

Brian, Kellie, Kenneth and I started before sunrise from Petaling Jaya. We rode to the Sanctuary Mall in Bandar Rimbayu, where we met Jake and Mark. There was time for coffee, Milo and roti canai before we pointed our bikes towards Port Dickson.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We took our regular route to Jenjarom, and then rode the quiet secondary roads to Tanjung Sepat.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe
Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe
Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

The only animal life we saw on the way to Tanjung Sepat was of the domesticated variety.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

It took us about two and a half hours to get from Rimbayu to Tanjung Sepat. Which meant it was time for food and drink. We went to Hai Yew Hin. Home of excellent rice porridge.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

And pretty good fish balls too.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

20km later we were waiting for the ferry across the Sepang River.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Kenneth asked where the river originates. I didn’t know the name of the river then, let alone its origin. Thanks to Google Maps I know know its name, that it originates in Sepang, and forms the border between the states of Selangor and Negri Sembilan.

Map courtesy of Google Maps

It was 1:30 pm and 34ºC when we got to Port Dickson. Our first stop was for bowls of . . .

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

We checked in to our usual PD accommodation. The Waterfront Boutique Hotel.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

After a shower, it was time for a late lunch. We got into the Double Queue Thai Cuisine restaurant just in time. The kitchen closes for a two-hour break at 3:00 pm. A lamp post outside the restaurant was a convenient place to hang my laundered kit to dry 😂.

After a post-lunch nap it was dessert time. There is a McDonald’s within walking distance of the hotel. Mark has the McDonald’s app. As luck would have it, there was an ice cream promotion that he could redeem. A soft-serve cone, an Oreo McFlurry and the choice of a strawberry or a chocolate sundae for something like RM8.00.

Photograph courtesy of McDonald’s

Mark had the McFlurry. I had the cone and the chocolate sundae.

Mark and I sat in McDonald’s until dinner time. The others joined us there, and Jake researched dinner options. Gerai Hock Kee was on the opposite side of the hotel from the McDonald’s. We walked along the waterfront and past Port Dickson Public Library to Gerai Hock Kee.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The restaurant is small and unpretentious. No flashing neon sign here. The food – thick noodles in dark soya sauce, fried mantis prawns, fried shark, oyster omelet, and green leafy veg – hit the spot.

There was beer at dinner. Which was enough for most of us. But not for two, who had couple of nightcaps at the Pattaya Pie Kitchen & Bar.

Photograph courtesy of Kellie Itoe

It was bedtime for the rest of us.

There used to be a bhangra pub beside the Waterfront Boutique Hotel. The loud music kept us awake for most of the night on a previous visit. The pub is gone, so we all had a good night’s sleep.

We were on the road at 6:00 am, with a breakfast stop 10km away in Lukut. Dawn broke through cloudy skies as we headed to the ferry at Sungai Pelek.

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Our route back was slightly different from the one we took to get to PD.

Maps courtesy of Ride With GPS

We took a detour to Avani Sepang Gold Coast.

Photograph courtesy of Kenneth Lim
Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

We also took the more direct route along Federal Route 5 from Tanjung Sepat to Morib. We stayed on Federal Route 5 through Banting before turning right onto Jalan Kampung Sri Cheeding.

Restoran Al-Arefin Bistro is our regular hangout in Rimbayu. And for many other cyclists. So much so that the restaurant recently installed a sturdy bike rack out front.

Photograph courtesy of Kenneth Lim

Jake and Mark ended their ride in Rimbayu. Brian, Kellie, Kenneth and I made it safely back to Petaling Jaya. Once again, lots of kilometres ridden without any punctures.

Murphy’s Law – If something can go wrong, it will – didn’t strike.

Yhprum’s Law – Everything that can work, will work – held instead.

Bentong – Raub Golden Ride V2

I have ridden from Genting Sempah to Bentong and back many times. Only once have I ventured beyond Bentong. The route for this ride was new to me.

A few days before the event there was a landslide at the Lembah Klau area which made the road connecting Jalan Felda Mempaga – Klau and Jalan Utama Mempaga unsafe for cyclists.

Photograph courtesy of Roadcare BentongRaub

The detour through Kampung RTP Lebu added 6km to the route, making the ride 108km long.

Map courtesy of Ride With GPS

This event got off to a good start. Jersey and ride number plate collection were fast and friendly.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

Seven R@SKLs joined the five hundred registered riders at Dataran Bentong.

Photograph courtesy of Zeus
Photograph courtesy of Zeus

We were off at exactly 7:15 am. One of my pet peeves is events that start late. This event was one of the few which I have participated in that started on time.

It was cool and misty for the first ninety minutes.

Photograph courtesy of Jay Han

The first relatively steep climb came early in the ride.

The Raub area is well-known for its durian orchards. We smelt durian in the air as we rode through Sang Lee Durian Valley.

I should have seen the Durian Monument at Kampung Baru Sang Lee. It was only 18km into the ride, and I missed it.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

The police and volunteers marshalled the route very well. They stopped vehicles while we rode past. They manned every junction, and in most cases, we had the right of way through traffic lights.

All the durian orchards mean many lorries during the fruiting seasons. The roads in many places were quite rough as a result. The green surroundings made up for the damaged road surface.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

The first water stop was after 28km at Taman Muhibah. We took the opportunity to refill water bottles. One can never be sure that there will be water left at the stops down the road.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

Our small group of R@SKLs got separated at that stop. As we restarted, AiLei noticed that one of her tires was flat. Bin Soo and Zeus helped to replace the inner tube.

Ally, Lokesh and I were already on our way. Zeus called me to tell me about the problem. I stopped and waited. Ally and Lokesh were ahead of me, and we didn’t see them again until after the finish.

The second water stop was after 52km at Kampung Tok Machang. There were water, ice and bananas at that stop. Things were looking good for the rest of the ride.

Photograph courtesy of Zeus

The third water stop was after 70km. Once again, water, ice and bananas were available. Kudos to the organizers for keeping all the rest stops well-stocked.

More climbs with some bite in them came just after the third water stop. The dragonback rollers at Ulu Gali – Lembah Klau.

42% of the route was uphill.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

The ride was starting to take some prisoners.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

Stop four came after 90km. The overcast skies of the early morning had cleared, and it was 33ºC / 91ºF. The stop was at the Bamboo Restaurant. The restaurant was closed, but their tables and chairs were available. It was nice to sit in the shade while eating a banana and drinking iced water.

That stop was before the last big climb of the day, which came with 10km left to ride. The final upward kick was 100 metres of elevation over 1.5km.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

It was one climb too many for some.

Photograph courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride

Then it was downhill to the finish.

Photographs courtesy of Bentong-Raub Golden Ride
Photograph courtesy of Ally

There were a few surprises at the finish. One was a lucky draw. It was no surprise that none of the R@SKLs was a winner.

The other surprise was the food. All you can eat satay, apam balik and cendol. The satay and apam balik were hot and the cendol was ice cold. Much nicer than the packet of cold rice and curry that passes for post-ride food at other events.

Everyone had a very nice time. We could be back for V3 next year.