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INFINITI Drive & Ride 2017


Photographs courtesy of TopGear Malaysia magazine

A former colleague and long-time friend, Louis Foo, asked me if I could round up some cyclists to take part in the INFINITI Drive & Ride 2017.  Louis is the Managing Director of Big Road Media, the publishers of TopGear Malaysia and Cycling Plus Malaysia magazines.  Those magazines were collaborating with INFINITI to put on this event.

Participants would get the opportunity to ride in an INFINITI car to Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB) and back.  And take a turn at the wheel.  Why Kuala Kubu Bharu?  Because that is the natural place to start the Ride portion of the event.  Up to Fraser’s Hill and back down again.

That is why I, together with 31 other riders, ended up at the INFINITI Center in Kuala Lumpur at 5.00am.


Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

We were greeted by a crew which provided excellent support throughout the event.  Starting with the registration of participants.

Registration 01

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

We were each assigned a car for the day.  We also received an identification tag for our bicycles.  Those tags told the support crew which car we would be in, so that our bikes were in the Thule racks above us as we made the 80km / 50mi drive to KKB.  Cyclists get nervous when they are separated from their bikes!

Loading Bikes

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Registration formalities over, it was time to get a coffee and a banana, and to say hello to the other participants.

Coffee before the drive 03

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Next on the agenda was a welcome speech by Tiffany Tan, the General Manager of Inspired Motors, and technical briefings about driving in a convoy to KKB, and about hazards along the ride route up to Fraser’s Hill.

Pre-Ride briefing

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

You learn something new everyday.  On this day it was that the INFINITI logo represents “two central lines leading off into an infinite point on the horizon,” symbolizing this “luxury performance brand’s desire to be always looking forward – to new horizons, to infinity.”

Infiniti Logo

Photograph courtesy of INFINITI

After the briefings, all that was left to do was to pose for some group photographs, chose drivers, and start our engines.

There was a team from the Institute Jantung Negara (National Heart Institute).  If anyone were to have a cardiovascular incident, this was the time and place for it.  Some of the best cardiac surgeons in the country are serious cyclists.

Team IJN

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Team NATO Bicycle Club were well represented.

Team NATO Drive

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

And there were five R@SKLs.

Team R@SKLKs

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Everyone squeezed together for a final photograph.

Ready to roll 01

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Tiffany and Louis dropped the TopGear Malaysia flag.

Tiffany Tan GM & Louis Foo GM

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

And we were away.  The stars of the show were, of course, the cars.


Infiniti Q50

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Infiniti Q50 02

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine


Infiniti Q60

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Infiniti Q60 02

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

And the INFINITI QX70.

Infiniti QX70

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Infiniti QX70 02

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Inside each car was a walkie talkie for incoming instructions from the convoy leader.  Each car also had a pre-loaded Touch & Go card for the toll booths on the North-South Highway.  We also found ziploc bags full of bananas and munchies.  We were in no risk of being short of calories on this ride.

Sustenance We made a quick stop at the Rawang R&R to use the toilets, and to switch drivers.  It wasn’t long before the instruction came over the walkie-talkie to restart our engines, and to head back out onto the North-South Highway.

As you can see, it was a misty morning.  We all hoped that the weather would be on our side, and we would have an overcast and cool ride.


Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

We got to the car park outside Restoran Fazlina Maju in KKB safely, albeit behind schedule.  It is always difficult to get a large group to stick to a schedule.

As the support crew were pulling bikes off the Thule racks, some of us had a last minute teh tarik before putting on our cycling shoes and helmets.

Restoran Fazlina Maju

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

It wasn’t long before we all had our bikes, and were ready to start riding.

Time to ride

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Let's ride

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Team IJN led the way.

Team IJN setting the pace

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Then came the NATO Cycling Club.

Team Nato Up

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Team ACT were riding with us too.

Team ACT Up

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

The R@SKLs were in our customary position toward the rear.

Team Rascals Up

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

It is a 38km / 24mi climb from KKB to the clock tower at Fraser’s Hill.  We had a number of support vehicles, and an ambulance, accompanying us as we made our way to The Gap.  Water and bananas were available for anyone who wanted them at the halfway point.  Many of us took a breather at The Gap, which marks the start of the one-way section of road to Fraser’s Hill.

It is 7km / 4.4mi from The Gap to the clock tower.  The steepest slopes of the climb are within those 7km.  The lighter-bodied amongst us shot up those slopes.  The more well-padded weren’t as rapid.

After getting to the clock tower – the de facto finish of the climb to Fraser’s Hill – we headed 200 meters up the road to the Shahzan Inn for brunch.


Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

There was a nice spread of fruit, pancakes with honey, scones with jam, roti jala with chicken curry, juice, coffee, and tea.

I hid my teh tarik from the guys at the IJN table.  I don’t think teh tarik, with all its condensed milk, counts as heart-healthy.

No teh tarik here

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

The NATO Cycling Club riders got to the Shahzan Inn well ahead of the R@SKLs.  So they had time to relax in the garden.

Tean Nato Shahzan Inn

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

The support crew deserves a huge round of applause from all the riders.  They made us feel like professional cyclists.  All we had to do was ride our bikes.  Everything else – food, drinks, mechanical help, etc. – was taken care of by the support crew.  They were outstanding.

Support Staff

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

There were three or four photographers amongst the support crew.  Hence all the excellent shots in this blog.  They pulled out their cameras for another series of group photographs at the clock tower, before we headed back down the hill.

Team NATO Top

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Team IJN Top

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Team R@SKLs Top

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

We weren’t photographed just with hand-held cameras.  This was shot from a drone.

Everyone Top

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Then it was time for the fun part of the ride.  Woohoo!!

This is the fun part

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

All 32 of us, and the support vehicles, got to the Restoran Fazlina Maju car park without incident.  Well, almost without incident.  One of the IJN riders had a crank arm come loose early in the descent, which sadly put an end to his ride.  But I believe that was it for mechanicals.  I don’t think anyone had a puncture.

Everyone had an excellent time.  There wasn’t much traffic on the roads.  And as you can see from the photographs, the weather was kind to us.  It was overcast and cool the entire time we were on our bikes.

In fact the weather did give us a bit of a scare, just as we headed down the hill after brunch.  It started to drizzle, right where the steepest slopes and tightest corners are.  Fortunately it lasted just a few minutes.  There were some damp patches further down the road, so care was required.  Happily the conditions weren’t so poor that they took the fun out of the descent.

The rain may have held off while we were riding, but it was waiting for us as we drove into KL.  It poured as we passed through the Jalan Duta toll plaza and onto Jalan Tuanku Abdul Halim.  At least our bikes got a wash!

The rain had stopped by the time we got to the INFINITI Center.

Back in KL

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

The festivities didn’t stop though.  While the support crew – they were amazing – took our bikes off the Thule racks, we were served more food inside the INFINITI showroom.

More food

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Perhaps to ensure that we had enough energy to jump up if our name was called in the lucky draw.

Thule donated a hiking pack and a laptop pack as lucky draw prizes.

Lucky Draw 02

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

Lucky Draw 01

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

The lucky draw marked the end of a wonderful event.  Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Azhari Yakub, the CEO of IJN, stepped forward to say some words of appreciation on behalf of all the participants.

Datuk Seri Dr. Mohd Azhari Yakub CEO IJN

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine

I am sure I speak for all the participants when I echo Datuk Seri’s sentiments.  A very big and sincere “Thank You” to Louis Foo, Tiffany Tan, Adam Aubrey, who is the editor of Cycling Plus Malaysia magazine, Eugene Wong from Thule, and not least, to all the support crew.

We all thoroughly enjoyed the INFINITI Drive & Ride.

Closing Eugene Wong

Photograph courtesy of Cycling Plus Magazine


R@SKLs do Fraser’s Hill

The Goal

Fraser's Sign Kelin Chan

Photograph courtesy of Kelin Chan

38km / 23.6mi from, and 1,200 meters / 3,937 feet higher than Kuala Kubu Bharu (KKB).

 It Almost Didn’t Happen

Fraser's Weather Lee Heng Keng

Graphic courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

The weather forecasts from Weather Underground, Dark Sky, Accuweather, Yahoo etc. were unanimous.  Thunderstorms were coming to Fraser’s Hill.

A quick 5.00am WhatsApp conversation decided the issue.  The R@SKLs would be badass.  Fraser's Bad AssThe ride was on.

Eager Beaver

Fraser's Early Morning Alfred

Photograph courtesy of Alfred Chan

Alfred was knocking on the door of this coffee shop in KKB at 6.25am.


Fraser's Daniel Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

As the rest of us were driving to KKB, we passed Daniel, who rode from his home.  He had a bit more than a 60km / 37mi warmup, before the 30km / 18.5mi climb up Fraser’s Hill.  That was not enough to tire him out.  After getting to the summit, he rode back down to the slower riders and proceeded to push them up the hill.

Daniel cemented his Superman status later in the ride – see below.

A Big Group

Fraser's Start Daniel Lim

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Twenty of us rolled up the road from KKB.

Views Along The Way

Fraser's Hill - Sungai Selangor Dam

The lake at the Sungai Selangor Dam.

Fraser's Hill - Waterfall

One of the bigger waterfalls.

Success Part One

Fraser's Gap Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Fraser's Gap Simon Soo Hu

Photograph courtesy of Simon Soo Hu

Fraser's Gap Normal Shot Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Part One of the climb is to get to The Gap.  The Gap used to be the point where the two-way road became a one-way road for the final 8km to Fraser’s Hill.  Traffic went up on even hours and came down on odd hours.  If you missed the gate time at the Gap you waited at the Gap Resthouse.

Sadly, The Gap Resthouse is No More

Fraser's Hill - Gap Rest House

It was closed for renovations and never reopened.

Success Part Two

Fraser's Clock Tower Alfred Daniel Lim

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

Fraser's Clock Tower Leonard Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

The Clock Tower shot was particularly sweet for Alfred and Leonard.  It was their first time riding up to Fraser’s Hill.

Fraser's Clock Tower Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng


Fraser's D'Olio Restaurant Daniel Lim

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

We are in the middle of Ramadan.  The oddly named Restoran D’Olio (Oil Restaurant) was the only eatery in the vicinity of the Clock Tower that was open.  Actually it was barely open.  Everyone had to wait for about thirty minutes for the kitchen to fire up.

You wouldn’t have guessed it by how quickly the food was gulped down, but reports are that it wasn’t worth the wait.

No Sudden End to the Ride This Time

Fraser's Crash Corner

The last time I rode down from Fraser’s Hill, I crashed at this corner.  No such mishaps
Fraser's Hooraythis time.

Take Photo Take Photo

Fraser's Bridge 1 Kelin Chan

Photograph courtesy of Kelin Chan

Fraser's Bridge 2 Kelin Chan

Photograph courtesy of Kelin Chan

Fraser's Bridge 3 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Fraser's Scenery 1

There is a bridge over a ravine about 5km / 3mi into the descent.  A good place for a last set of photographs before the non-stop ride back to KKB.

Good Samaritans

Fraser's Puppy Tomoe Suga

Photograph courtesy of Tomoe Suga

Photograph of the day!

Fraser's Puppies Luanne Sieh

Photograph courtesy of Luanne Sieh

About 7km / 4.5mi from Kuala Kubu Bharu, there is a lay by overlooking the lake behind the Sungai Selangor Dam.  Someone had dumped a litter of puppies there.  Being puppies, they were gamboling along the side of the busy road connecting KKB and Teranum, near Raub.  We tried, with limited success, to usher the puppies off the road shoulder and onto the grass.

On the way back down, Luanne, Tomoe, Chen Li, Daniel and a few others went looking for the puppies.  They found two.  Superman Daniel carried one in the front of his jersey.

Luanne delivered the two puppies to the Paws Animal Welfare Society.  Fingers crossed that they get adopted.

Kapitan!  Again??

Fraser's Simon Flat Leonard Yee

Photograph courtesy of Leonard Yee

Three rides.  Three rear tire punctures.  Perhaps we need to buy Simon a protective charm.  Thank you Meng for getting Simon back on the road.

Did it Rain?

Fraser's No Rain.png

So much for the accuracy of the weather forecasts.

Did Everyone Have Fun?

Fraser's Yes

Photograph courtesy of

The fun didn’t stop with the ride.  Some of us met up in the evening at Via Pre Italian Restaurant for coffee, dessert, and sake.  An excellent end to an excellent day.



All Clear



Back in the Saddle

My last bike ride was on July 5th.  The day I crashed on the descent of Fraser’s Hill.  On July 14th I had surgery to drain an anorectal abscess.  On 23rd August I had a second surgery to repair a fistula that was the cause of the abscess.

While recovery from the injuries incurred in the crash is still ongoing, I could have started riding again at least a month ago.  However my surgeon had other ideas.  He did not want me to risk compromising the healing of the wound that he created when he opened up the fistula.  So instead of sitting on my saddle, I spent seven weeks sitting in a sitz bath twice a day.

I got the ‘all clear’ to ride last Saturday.  Some of my Flipside friends agreed to spend their Sunday morning riding with me to Kampung Kundang and back.  It is a route that we have ridden many times.


We followed the Guthrie Corridor Expressway to the Kuala Selangor exit.  Here we are at that exit, waiting for Marco and Natasha.

Reintroduction Ride 04

Photograph courtesy of Eric Seow


Our intermediate destination was Seleria Ria along Jalan Kuang.  I didn’t eat all those packets of nasi lemak.

Reintroduction Ride 03

Photograph courtesy of Eric Seow


They were shared amongst us all.

Reintroduction Ride 01

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

I throughly enjoyed the 56km ride.  The weather was mild, and my riding companions maintained a reasonable pace.

Nevertheless, it felt like hard work.  The three-month layoff clearly eroded my fitness levels.  A comparison of my heart rate during this ride, and my heart rate during a very similar ride in June, illustrates this.

My average heart rate during this ride was 130 beats per minute.  My average speed was 25 kilometers per hour.


My average heart rate four months ago was 120 bpm, at an average speed of 26.5 kph.



I need to rebuild my fitness.  I also need to continue to strengthen my left arm.  The nerves I damaged in the Fraser’s Hill crash will take at least another two months to repair.  My arm is significantly stronger than it was a few months ago, but it has not returned to full-strength, and it still tires easily.  I struggled to hold my position on my bike in the last forty five minutes of the ride.

I have another week to build up my fitness in preparation for the Melaka Century Ride.  Wish me well!

I Want To Ride My Bicycle

Bicycle Race (I Want To Ride My Bicycle) by Queen

It has been seven weeks since I crashed on the descent of Fraser’s Hill.  My recovery has been slow, but that is not surprising given the extent of the injury to my left arm and shoulder.

I spent the first two weeks trying to do physical therapy.  Unsuccessfully because of the pain in my shoulder.  So the rotator cuff injury was treated with a Ultrasound Guided Left Glenohumeral Joint Injection. This is a fancy name for injecting steroids into the joint capsule to reduce inflammation and pain. In my case inflammation and pain in the long head of the biceps tendon.

Diagram courtesy of

The steroid injection did the trick.  The inflammation and pain subsided in a few days, and I was able to work on increasing the range of motion in my left shoulder.

However the rotator cuff injury was the lesser of my concerns.  I also had a Brachial Plexus injury.  This was the more serious injury.  The injury that was causing muscle weakness, finger numbness, and neuropathic pain.

I already knew that I had been extremely lucky not to have been more seriously injured in the crash.  My orthopedic surgeon pointed out yet another lucky escape.  A frequent outcome of high-speed falls is the complete tearing of the nerve root from the  spinal cord.  This is known as an avulsion, and can cause pain and loss of function in the arms, shoulders, and hands.  Neuropathic pain can be treated with medication, but muscle function can only be restored through surgical reattachment or nerve grafts.

Fortunately mine was a stretching injury rather than a tearing injury.  It has taken a while, but the nerves are repairing themselves.  I am regaining muscle strength, although there is some way to go before my arm is 100% again.

More importantly the neuropathic pain, which at times had been debilitating, has stopped.

So my upper body is ready to handle a bike ride.  At least a short one to start with.

But since the Fraser’s Hill crash another, unrelated issue has presented itself.  An issue that is going to keep me off my bikes for a while longer.

A month ago I had surgery to drain an anorectal abscess.  The formation of the abscess was unrelated to my cycling.  It was just an unfortunate coincidence that the abscess developed so soon after my crash.

If all goes well, the cavity formed by the abscess heals from the inside within a few weeks.  However in approximately 50% of cases, patients will develop a fistula after the abscess has been drained.  The fistula prevents the cavity from healing.  Which is what has happened to me.  So I will have a second surgery on Friday to repair the fistula.

The initial indication is that the type of fistula that I have is easy to repair.  My surgeon will have a more definitive view after my operation.  Hopefully I will be back on my bike six weeks after the operation.

Graphic courtesy of Christopher Martin at

Graphic courtesy of Christopher Martin at

Better an Ounce of Luck Than a Pound of Gold

Posted on


After more than four years of fall-free cycling, not counting the tumbles I took when I first started using clipless pedals, I have had two crashes in as many months.  The first is described in Oh 🔥💀💣💩⚡!!  I was lucky to come away from that crash with only two injuries of note.  The bruise on my upper thigh turned into a haematoma that needed draining twice before it healed into a lump of scar tissue.  What I thought was a slightly separated shoulder turned out to be a rotator cuff injury.  I had some pain and restricted movement of the left arm, but nothing that required me to stop riding.

“What about the bike” you ask?  My bike had only two injuries of note as well.  A broken right shifter and brake, and a front rim that needed to be trued.  Both of which were expertly repaired by Husher and his crew at Meng Thai Bicycle Centre.

Since that crash I did a lot of rides, including the Shah Alam Enduride 2014, the Klang Premiere Century Ride 2014, and the Kuantan Century Ride 2014.  All without incident.  There was no reason to expect that the climb from Kuala Kubu Bahru to Fraser’s Hill and back would be any different.

The first time I did the Fraser’s Hill ride was in February 2013.  I was looking forward to seeing if my revised hydration regimen would get me to the top in better shape than I was the first time.

All went well on the way up.  I was able to hold a faster average speed, and did get to the clock tower without cramping this time.  My rear tire had a slow leak after our stop for coffee at the stall at the Gap.  The 8 kilometers from the Gap to the clock tower is the steepest part of the climb.  I elected to make a couple of stops to pump more air into the tire, rather than change the tube whilst in a sweaty mess.  I swapped tubes at the top before we made the final short climb to the food court for lunch.  A piece of fine wire that looked like it came from a casing or a car of truck tire was the culprit.

All was going well on the way down.  The food court is at 1,290 meters above sea level. The Gap is at 860 meters above sea level.  The road between the two is 12 kilometers of descending delight.  Lots of sweeping curves, but with a few tight ones as well.  Riders have to stay alert for the tight turns, and areas where the road surface is less than optimal.

Frasers Hill Crash

I made it down to 995 meters.  As I came into a left-hand turn at 50kph my front tire gave out.  Perhaps I had picked up a piece of that fine wire in the front as well.  I’ll never know.

I do know I had that “Oh 🔥💀💣💩⚡ !!” moment before I started preparing as well as I could for the inevitable crash.

There are lots of articles on the web about how to fall off your bike.  These are the things they all tell you.

Wear a helmet.  Excellent advice.  This is what my helmet looked like after the crash.


Much better the helmet cracked rather than my head.  All I had was a slight bruise on my right temple.

Wear your cycling gloves.  Gloves will provide some protection for your hands.  I wasn’t wearing gloves.  I didn’t scrape my hands because I did the following three things.

Choose your surface.  I did not want to fall onto the tarmac.  As my bike started sliding I worked to stay upright long enough to get to the side of the road.  I managed to feather my braking so my tires kept rolling rather than sliding out from under me.  I also tried to steer so that I was as parallel as possible to the curb.  The last thing I remember seeing before impact was the concrete curb and open drain that I was flying over.  And that I was going to land on the grassy verge.

Don’t lock your elbows and knees.  I fell on head and right shoulder first.  Grass and mud were jammed into the large ventilation slot on the right side of my helmet, and there was a grass stain on my right shoulder.  The rest of my jersey was unmarked.  Oddly enough my first thought was that I had broken my left arm.  My upper arm hurt the most.  A quick check showed that my left arm was intact.  As were my other limbs and my collar bones.

I didn’t land on my hands.  I had no cuts or scrapes on my elbows or knees.  I had scratches on my calves, which I can only assume came from my lower legs running through a thorny plant.  I assume that I rolled on impact, which dissipated some of the force of the crash.

Tuck your head.  This is to protect your neck.  I must admit this must have been an unconscious reflex.  Or I was lucky not to land on my face.  My neck is intact, but as you can see from the x-ray of the back of my neck, the vertebrae weren’t exactly in a straight line.

JM Neck

Practice falling.  This is the last piece of advice from the web.  I think I have practiced enough.

The outcome of this 50kph shunt was that my upper back was incredibly sore for a week.  I sprained every muscle in my neck and shoulder blades.  I also aggravated the rotator cuff injury.  So I have a limited range of motion in my left shoulder.  I also severely compressed the nerves leading from my neck to my left arm.  That was the cause of the burning pain in my upper arm at the time of the crash.  I have ongoing numbness and tingling in my left hand, weakness in that arm, and pain in the areas illustrated below.

Illustration courtesy of at

Illustration courtesy of at

The short-term outcome of my visit to the orthopedic surgeon is a collection of pills.

Methycobal 500mg

Methycobal.  500mg three times a day, to help with nerve repair.

Myonal 50mg

Myonal.  50mg three times a day to help relax muscles which are spasmodic.

Celebrex 200mg

Celebrex.  200mg twice a day to combat inflammation.

Ultracet 375mg

Ultracet.  375mg three times a day to combat pain.

Motilium 10mg

Motilium.  10mg three times a day to combat nausea caused by the Ultracet.

The longer-term outcome is physiotherapy three times per week.  This includes decompression of the vertebrae in my neck through traction, and treatment of the rotator cuff injury with laser, ultrasound and electrotherapy.

And perhaps most painful of all – no bike riding until the injuries heal.

It could have been much, much worse though.  I could have crashed on the valley side of the road and fallen who knows how far down the side of the hill.  I could have hit a tree, or a guard rail, or a electricity pole.  I could have crashed on the tarmac.  On my face.

I was very, very lucky.  Hence the title of this post.  A Yiddish saying that I now firmly believe in.

After my last crash I resolved to ‘Look Forward’ whenever I am on a bike.  After this crash I added a second mantra . . .



“What about the bike” you ask?  No damage to the bike, apart from some scratches on the left front fork.

How does that Yiddish saying go again?


Fraser’s Hill Revisited

Fraser’s Hill was a favorite holiday destination when I was growing up.  Sometimes my family and my cousins’ family would occupy an entire stone and wood-framed bungalow.  We would spend the days going on walks, or when we were older, trying to play golf.  Evenings were spent first scoffing dinner prepared by the bungalow cook, and then playing board games or just lounging in front of the stone fireplace.

Louis James Fraser is one of a number of Scotsmen who have places in Malaysia named after them.  Cameron, Dickson and Darvel are others.  Fraser operated a tin mine high in the Titiwangsa Range in the 1890s.  He disappeared some twenty five years later.  A search party sent by the Bishop of Singapore found no trace of Fraser.  What the Bishop did find was the the perfect place for a hill station.  In the years of empire the British were fond of recreating a slice of home in highland areas where they could retreat from the heat of the lowlands.

Hence the mock Tudor-styled bungalows, and the cooks who could make the best Yorkshire pudding east of the River Tees.  My last visit to Fraser’s Hill, or Bukit Fraser as it is now properly known, was at least ten years ago.  I have fond memories of Fraser’s Hill.  I have less fond memories of the road to get there.  A winding, nausea-inducing stretch of tarmac that gets even narrower and twistier over the final 8km to the top.   A section of road that some say was created by a snake being chased uphill by a mongoose being chased by a monkey being chased by a tiger being chased by an elephant.

Fraser's Hill Route

Chon, Mark, Marvin, Shahfiq, Wan and I met at the Sungai Buloh R&R on the North-South Highway at 5am.  We were either very keen or certifiably mad!  By 5.45am we were in Kuala Kubu Bahru.  Just in time for breakfast at the 24 hour Restoran Fazlina Maju.

Fraser's Hill - Racun Breakfast at KKB

The meeting point was at the mini stadium in Kuala Kubu Bharu.  The ride was organised by Dave Ern.  Dave is very well known for organising cycling events.  The Fraser’s Hill ride was Stage 1 of the King of 9 Mountains series that Dave is organising.  Check out Dave Ern’s Facebook page at to see what other events he has and is organising for cyclists.

Dave does a great job.  He posted riding rules on his Facebook page.  As riders arrived at the start point he handed out a list of the names and mobile numbers for the lead riders, the mid-ride and rear sweepers, and the support car drivers.  He gave us a rousing pre-ride briefing, and we all had excellent support from his crew of volunteers.

Photo courtesy of Ann Daim

Photo courtesy of Ann Daim

Then we were on our way.  Our first photo stop was at the Sungai Selangor dam lookout point.  Dave Ern was already there, briefing the riders that had chosen to start their ride at the lake.

Fraser's Hill - Sungai Selangor Dam

We made regular stops along the 32km from Kuala Kubu Bharu to the Gap.  It is a pretty ride with lots of photo opportunities.  And we needed regular breaks from the non-stop climbing!

Fraser's Hill - River

Fraser's Hill - Waterfall

We even had spectators.

Fraser's Hill - Spectators

The Gap used to be the point where the two-way road became a one-way road for the final 8km to Fraser’s Hill.  Traffic went up on even hours and came down on odd hours.  The drive took about twenty minutes so you weren’t allowed through the gate later than 40 minutes past the hour.  If you missed the gate time at the Gap you waited at the Gap Resthouse.  In the days when the drive from Kuala Lumpur to the Gap took the better part of three hours, a fresh orange (that’s what the kids got anyway) on the veranda at the Gap Resthouse was a treat.

Sadly the Gap Resthouse is no more.  It was closed for renovations and never reopened.

Fraser's Hill - Gap Rest House

A second road from Fraser’s Hill to the Gap was built in 2001.  So today the old road from the Gap up to Fraser’s Hill is open all the time to traffic heading up.  The new road is the one-way route down.

Fraser's Hill - 8km to go

That last 8km includes 400 meters / 1,300 feet of climbing.  Suffice to say were all pleased to get to the top.

A friend asked me if Fraser’s Hill was as I remembered it.  My answer was “yes and no.”  The police station is the same.  It will probably stand unchanged for the next hundred years.

Fraser's Hill - Police Station

Scott’s Pub and Restaurant used to be known as the Tavern.  I remember it for its dart board and billiard table.  And of course for its food and drink.

Fraser's Hill - Scott's Pub and Restaurant

The golf club across the road from Scott’s has expanded greatly.  You don’t have much of a view of the course from Scott’s anymore.  This is the course to the right of the clubhouse.

Fraser's Hill - Golf Course

What used to be the Merlin Hotel is now the Shahzan Inn.

This photo is courtesy of TripAdvisor

This photo is courtesy of TripAdvisor

The few bungalows that we saw looked to be in good shape.  This is Glen, which overlooks the golf course.

Fraser's Hill - Glen

Here is our “We made it!” shot.

Fraser's Hill - We Made It

We didn’t take a tour of Fraser’s Hill.  It was all we could do to ride up one last slope from the clock tower to get to the the food court (also new) next to the old roller skating rink for lunch.

It started to drizzle just as we finished lunch so we bolted for the road downhill.  We didn’t get caught in the rain but the road was very wet in places.  There are no descent photos.  I was too busy having some high-speed fun.

There is now talk of a ride to Cameron Highlands.  Another place named after a wandering Scotsman.  And 600 meters / 2,000 feet higher than Fraser’s Hill.  Hmmmmm.