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Genting Sempah Feedzone

Photograph courtesy of Genting Sempah UNDERBRIDGE-Gsub

Up until 2017, there was nothing at the summit of the Genting Sempah climb. Anyone wanting to buy a drink or a snack had to continue down the other side of the mountain to the Genting Sempah R&R (and face the average 7% gradient 1km climb back up to the flyover) or turn around and go back down to the roadside restaurants 16km / 10mi away.

That changed after Encik Mohd Najib Hashim, helped by his family, started selling cold drinks out of the boot of his car which he parked under the flyover. His signature drink is kurma madu, which he makes himself from dates and honey. Most refreshing.

Over the last two years that enterprise has blossomed to include bananas and fresh cut fruit, cookies, Snickers bars and the like.

Photograph courtesy of Omrin Kamarudin

Mohd Najib also sets out plastic chairs and stools so cyclists and runners can rest their legs.

To top it off he also brings a pump and a set of tools. He has created a full-service feed zone.

Mohd Najib has become an advocate and campaigner to make Jalan Gombak safer and more attractive for cyclists and runners. This includes resurfacing the road and cleaning up the illegal rubbish dumps on the roadside.

He is now collecting signatures for a petition to the state government.

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Yusri Kamaludin

I don’t know very much about Mohd Najib. I’ll have to be nosy and ask him to tell me a bit about himself the next time I ride to Genting Sempah.

I have discovered that he is a photographer, specializing in wedding, landscape and macro photography. He is good.

Photograph courtesy of Mohd Najib Hashim
Photograph courtesy of Mohd Najib Hashim
Photograph courtesy of Mohd Najib Hashim

Thank you Encik Mohd Najib Hashim. I am sure I speak for all cyclists and runners when I say that your presence under the Genting Sempah flyover is very much appreciated.

Photograph courtesy of Omrin Kamarudin

Save a bottle of kurma madu for me.

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!

Una Leggenda Italiana

Pegoretti Italian Classics TBA.png

Photograph courtesy of The Bike Artisans

The Fiat Seicento, an update of the Cinquecento, is a classic of the automotive world.  Dario Pegoretti, on the other hand, is a bicycle frame building legend.  He is one of the most revered and respected steel frame builders in the world.  His frames, exclusively in Columbus steel, are unique.  Frames which are turned into works of art by paint that expresses his artistic passions.

The Bike Artisans brought Dario to Kuala Lumpur to meet his fans, and more importantly, to take orders from aficionados eager to own a custom-built DuendeMxxxxxxo, Responsorium, or Big Leg Emma frame.

Pegoretti Banner 3

Graphic courtesy of The Bike Artisans

Over two days Dario measured and interviewed more than thirty individuals.  He suggested which of his frames would suit each person’s build and riding style.  Then, each customer had to decide whether to have that frame finished with a stock paint scheme, or to go for the “surprise me” option of a hand-painted Ciavete design.

Pegoretti Measure 1

Photograph courtesy of The Bike Artisans

The Bike Artisans very kindly organised two events to mark Dario’s visit to Kuala Lumpur.

The first was dinner on Saturday night at Timbre, conveniently located next door to the bike shop.

It was an opportunity for Pegoretti owners to get their bikes autographed by Dario, for wish-we-were-owners to ogle the bikes and frames on display, and to get a photograph with the master.

Pegoretti Bikes 10 Alvin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

Pegoretti with Dario Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

The second was the Pego-Raduno Asia Edition ride, from The Bike Artisans to Genting Sempah and back.

Pego-Raduno Ride Griffin Yong

Photograph courtesy of Griffin Yong

Pego-Raduno Ride Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

It has been unusually cool over the past few days.  Which helped make the Sunday morning ride very pleasant.

The ride ended with a satay lunch outside The Bike Artisans.

Pegoretti Satay Alvin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

And the opportunity to look over what was probably the largest collection of Pegorettis ever assembled in Kuala Lumpur.

Pegoretti Marcelo MxxxxxO 8

Photograph courtesy of The Bike Artisans

Pegoretti Bikes 15 Alvin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

Pegoretti Bikes 11 TBA

Photograph courtesy of The Bike Artisans

Pegoretti Bikes 14 Alvin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

Pegoretti Bikes 13 Alvin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

Pegoretti Bikes 12 Alvin Lee

Photograph courtesy of Alvin Lee

The thirty or so who ordered frames now have a ten month or so wait while Dario cuts and welds tubes, and paints frames in his workshop in Verona.

Perhaps Dario will visit Kuala Lumpur again at the end of the year to deliver those eagerly awaited frames.

Pegoretti Dario

Photograph courtesy of The Bike Artisans

 

Strava Ride # 1,000

I read a WordPress post by Tempo Cyclist the other day, where he described the first ride he uploaded to Strava.  That got me thinking about all the rides I have uploaded to Strava over the years.

Riffing off Tempo Cyclist’s post, I looked at my 1,000th ride on Strava.  It was a ride to Genting Sempah, with good friends Mark and Ridzuwan, on 18th October last year.

Coincidentally, my very first ride in Malaysia, after moving back home from the Netherlands, was also up to Genting Sempah, on 7th October 2012.

The Genting Sempah climb is probably the most cycled route in the Klang Valley.  I have done the Genting Sempah climb at least forty times since that first ride in 2012.  There has always been dozens of other riders on Jalan Gombak with me.

The climb is generally considered to be from the Hospital Orang Asli (HOA) to the flyover at the summit, which is almost on top of the border between the states of Selangor and Pahang.

GS Strava Heatmap (1)

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

A lot of people start their ride from somewhere near the HOA.  It all depends on where they can find a parking space.

GS HOA 2

Photograph courtesy of Danial Lim

The ride to the flyover is very pleasant.  It is usually quite cool and shady.  The average gradient is about 3.5%, but with some kickers along the way to get the heart rate up.  And traffic is usually fairly light, although occasionally there are car clubs or motorcyclists blasting up the hill..

A number of troops of monkeys live in the jungle lining the road.  It is not unusual to see some during the ride.

GS Monkeys Rodrigo Sala at tcktcktck.org

Photograph courtesy of Rodrigo Sala at tcktcktck.org

The bridge with 1.8km / 1.1mi to go to the summit is a convenient spot to stop to get your breath back before tackling the last two steep corners on the way to the flyover.

GS Bridge Danial Marzuki

Photograph courtesy of Danial Marzuki

Near that bridge, you get a good view of the Karak Highway, which replaced Jalan Gombak as the primary route between Kuala Lumpur and Bentong.

GS Karak Highway Mark Lim

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Most riders turn around at the flyover.

If you are hungry, there is a McDonald’s one kilometer down the other side of the hill, at the Genting Sempah R&R on the Karak Highway.  We often start the Genting Sempah ride with the intention of going to the McDonald’s, but change our mind at the flyover.  The prospect of climbing 64 meters / 210 feet over 1km / 0.6mi from the McDonald’s back to the flyover puts us off.

GS McDonald's

If you want to go further afield for food, you can continue down the hill from the R&R for 5km / 3mi to the left turn to Bukit Tinggi, with its collection of kopitiams, or Hokkien coffee shops.

GS Strava Heatmap (1)

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

A popular alternative is Janda Baik.  Instead of turning left to Bukit Tinggi, you turn right and ride under this arch.

GS Janda Baik Arch

My go-to place for breakfast in Janda Baik used to be Andak’s Place.

GS Food Andak's Place

Sadly Andak’s Place has closed down.

An alternative is Kopi n Kraf.

GS Janda Baik Food Stop

Photograph courtesy of Leslie Tong

If you are looking for a longer ride, continue straight down the hill, past the turnings to Bukit Tinggi and Janda Baik, for another 30km / 18.6mi to Bentong.

There are food choices for those who turn around at the flyover and head back down the hill.  The food stall a few hundred meters from the HOA is a popular spot for a pre-ride or post-ride drink and meal.

GS Food Stall 2 Eric Siow

Photograph courtesy of Eric Siow

A few of us have taken to starting our ride to Genting Sempah from where I live.  Which adds about 40km / 25mi to the 32km / 20mi from the HOA to the flyover and back.  More importantly, it allows us to stop at Santa Chapati, near the Tawakal Hospital, for lunch on the way home.

GS Food Santa

Photograph courtesy of Mark Lim

Good riding, and good eats.  No wonder Genting Sempah is a favourite route.

I’ve Got the ‘Flu. Do I Ride my Bike, or Not?

Influenza Virus Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (1)

Graphic courtesy of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

This is the H1N1 influenza virus.  One of the three or four ‘flu viruses which are most prevalent during this 2016 / 2017 influenza season.

Perhaps the ‘flu virus that caught me (I don’t think you catch the ‘flu.  The ‘flu catches you) was the B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus.  Australia is in the midst of its worst ‘flu outbreak on record.

Whichever strain of the virus it was, I started feeling the effects of the infection ten days ago.  It started with a sore throat, which progressed to a fever, upper chest and nasal congestion, aching joints, and an annoying cough.

After a week of Hurix’s Fluaway capsules, and Strepsils lozenges, I felt better.  Not 100%, but well enough to ride to Kundang with birthday boy Mark, Marco, and Khoo.  I was following the old adage to “sweat out a cold”.

I’m was also sure the Kundang pan mee would have curative properties.

Kundang Noodles

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

The same had to be true for the chendol from Hasan’s van on Jalan Bukit Mayang Emas.

I didn’t feel any better, but I didn’t feel any worse, the next morning.  The morning of the Man Ride Day.  Lay, Khoo and Mark were coming to my apartment to start the ride with me.  There was no backing out.

Man Ride

Graphic courtesy of The Bike Artisans

There were two distances to choose from.  100km and 200km.  We all chose the 100km route, from The Bike Artisans on Jalan Doraisamy to Genting Sempah and Janda Baik, and then back to The Bike Artisans.  Hardier souls than we rode twice as far, to Raub and back.

The agreement with Lay, Khoo and Mark was that if I started coughing, the pace was too high.  Which turned out to be an effective way of controlling our speed up the climbs to Genting Sempah.  Cough cough cough!

Man Ride Day 1

Photograph courtesy of Qoo Khoo

We started the ride with about one hundred other cyclists.  Perhaps half were ahead of us by the time we got near the Orang Asli Hospital.  Then everyone moved ahead of us, because we stopped for food and drink at our regular spot, Restoran Sidek Ria.

Man Ride Day 2

Photograph courtesy of Qoo Khoo

We spent 25 minutes over roti telur and iced Milo.  Back on my bike, I coughed, spluttered, and blew snot rockets every now and then all the way up to Genting Sempah.

Snot Rocket REI com

Graphic courtesy of REI.com

At the flyover I decided that I felt good enough to continue to Bukit Tinggi.  That cut out the Janda Baik loop, which removed some steep slopes and about 15km /  9mi from our route.

We stopped for more food and drink in Bukit Tinggi.  There are a number of coffee shops to choose from.

My riding buddies kindly kept the pace low as we climbed the 415 meters / 1,360 feet of elevation over the 9km / 5.5mi from Bukit Tinggi back to Genting Sempah.  I had brought some Strepsils to help with my cough, but had nothing to boost my compromised lung capacity.

Once the last slope at Hamburger Hill was dealt with, it was downhill for 25km / 15.5mi to Jalan Taman Ibu Kota.  Then onto flat ground past the Twin Towers and back to The Bike Artisans.

Man Ride Day 4

Photograph courtesy of Qoo Khoo

The Man Ride Day ended with a nasi kandar and satay lunch, a short talk on Mens’ Mental Health by Associate Professor Dr. Amer Siddiq Amer Nordin from University of Malaya, a short talk on reaching out for help by Kenny Lim of Befrienders Malaysia, and an auction of commemorative Black Sheep Chaos kit.

Man Ride Day 3

Chaos Kit (1)

Photograph courtesy of The Bike Artisans

It was a well-organised event, and good fun.  I’m glad I rode the event, albeit for only 90km / 56mi.

My cough and upper chest congestion didn’t get any better over the weekend.  It was slightly worse on Monday morning.

So today, belatedly, I did some research.  Was there any truth to the “sweat out a cold” adage?

The answer is “it depends.”

Doctors differentiate between ‘above the neck’ symptoms such as a runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes or a mild sore throat, and ‘below the neck’ ones, such as a cough, a congested or tight chest, an upset stomach, muscle aches and fever.

A light to moderate – and brief – workout is fine if your symptoms are above the neck.

If your symptoms are below the neck?  Give workouts a miss.  Exercising with major cold symptoms will prolong your illness and can be dangerous.

Which probably explains why I still have a stuffy nose and a cough.

Sick

I have below the neck symptoms.  So no BCG Tuesday Night Fun Ride for me today.

Now where did I put those Strepsils?

Postscript

I saw a doctor.  He put his stethoscope on my chest as I took deep breaths.  Well, as deep as I could manage.

He heard lots of crackling.  Walking pneumonia was his diagnosis.  I left his clinic with an antibiotic, and something for my cough.

And with strict instructions to avoid any exercise until my lungs were clear.

Seven days later, I could ride again.

R@SKLs do Bentong

Bentong Sign gobentong com

Photograph courtesy of gobentong.com

Before 1977, all traffic across the Titiwangsa range used the winding, narrow Federal Route 68, which runs from Gombak in Kuala Lumpur to Bentong, Pahang.  Everyone going to Kuantan, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Bharu, and other points east of Kuala Lumpur drove through Bentong.

The Kuala Lumpur – Karak Highway, opened in 1977 and upgraded to a full expressway in 1997, bypasses Bentong.  Today, the majority of traffic uses the Kuala Lumpur – Karak Expressway, leaving Federal Route 68 to learner drivers and cyclists.

Regular readers will know that the climb up to Genting Sempah is popular with cyclists from the Klang Valley.  A more ambitious ride continues to Janda Baik.  Even more ambitious is a ride to Bentong.

The R@SKLs are nothing if not ambitious.  About twenty of us turned up at the Hospital Orang Asli Gombak car park for a 7am start toward Bentong.

Bentong 2

Photograph courtesy of Daniel Lim

The first 16km / 10mi is uphill to Genting Sempah.

Bentong 7 Kiat Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Yit Kiat

This was early on in the ride.  Clockwise from top left, Luanne, Tomoe and Daniel, Arthur, and Kelin.

 

We regrouped under the flyover at Genting Sempah.  Behind us is our support vehicle.  Leonard very kindly provided his pickup and driver.  Plus coolers of ice and drinks.  Top man Leonard!

Bentong 6 TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

From the flyover we let gravity take over for the 20km / 12.5mi run downhill to the Suria Hot Spring Resort.  We regrouped there before riding the flatter 17km /  10.5mi to Bentong town.

Bentong 12 Lee Heng Keng

Photograph courtesy of Lee Heng Keng

Some of us had the dubious pleasure of being dragged along from the hot spring at up to 44kph / 27mph by Daniel, as he waved his hand in the air, urging us forward.  I for one was glad to see the outskirts of Bentong.

Once in Bentong the only thought on everyone’s mind was food.  We rode into the streets where the Sunday morning market is held, and stopped at Po Lai Kam kopitiam.  We queued to fill our bowls . . .

Bentong 10 Kiat Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Yit Kiat

. . . and then filled our stomachs.

Bentong 11 Kiat Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Yit Kiat

There had been some talk of riding on to the Chamang waterfall.  The consensus on the day was that it was too hot for extra kilometers.

So we rolled back toward the hot spring.  At a much more sedate pace.  Well, some of us rode at a more sedate pace.  About half the group had shot off ahead.  We all stopped at the hot spring for a rest in the shade, and something cold to drink.

If it hadn’t been a hot spring I might have jumped in.

Bentong 8 Kiat Luanne

Photograph courtesy of Khoo Yit Kiat

We had all enjoyed the 20km / 12.5mi downhill roll to the hot spring on the way to Bentong.  Now it was time to pay the piper.

After 10km / 6mi and 270 meters / 885 feet of elevation we were ready for another rest.  This time outside the Bukit Tinggi secondary school.

Bentong 4 TH Lim

Photograph courtesy of TH Lim

We weren’t yet halfway through the grind back up to Genting Sempah.  There was another 8.5km / 5.3mi and 405 meters / 1,330 feet to climb before we got to the Genting Sempah R&R.

We all got to the Genting Sempah R&R – eventually.  But we couldn’t celebrate yet.  There was still the not insignificant obstacle of Hamburger Hill to surmount.  Exhilarating to descend, but a lung-burning, leg-breaking 81 meters / 266 feet, 6.4% average grade climb over 1.1km / 0.7mi, especially after the kilometers ridden and meters climbed to that point.

Lay, Mark and I delayed the inevitable by detouring to the McDonald’s at the R&R.  I for one needed a sugar boost – in a big way.  McDonald’s delivered.

I might not have been able to get up Hamburger Hill (you see the reason for the name now) without that pie and sundae flooding into my bloodstream.

The other R@SKLs didn’t need a McDonald’s boost.  They had made their way up Hamburger Hill and down to the Hospital Orang Asli car park, and had packed up and left by the time the three of us got there.

As Leonard said, it was fun.  Painful fun at times, but fun nonetheless.

You know what they say about ambition.  It grows.

The R@SKLs have decided that Fraser’s Hill is next.

Freeze in ‘Little England’

Photograph courtesy of malaysiasite.nl

Come Back Soon

Andak's Place Logo

There were rumours that my favourite destination in Janda Baik had closed.  No one had the details.  Recent rides by others to Janda Baik for pancakes and nasi lemak had apparently ended in disappointment.

Hope springs eternal though.  Michael from Denmark was spending a week in Malaysia visiting friends and riding his bike.  I wanted to show off some of what makes cycling here so appealing.  Andak’s Place is one of those things.

So eight of us convened at our regular meeting point near the Hospital Orang Asli on Jalan Gombak Lama.  We have all ridden this particular route many times.  Apart from Michael of course.

16km / 10mi and 700 meters / 2,300 feet up to Genting Sempah, on the border between the states of Selangor and Pahang.

Janda Baik with Michael K 05 Leslie

Photograph courtesy of Leslie Tong

Then a 6.5km / 4mi descent to the right turn under the arch that welcomes you to Janda Baik.

 

Janda Baik Arch 02

Followed by a final 7km / 4.3mi and 130 meters / 425 feet of climbing over rolling terrain before arriving at Andak’s Place.

Janda Baik Andak's Place

Illustration courtesy of Andak’s Place

The rumours were true.  Andak’s Place was closed.  Their Facebook page reveals the intention to reopen on a date to be announced.  Andak’s promises to be back with a fresh concept.  The Kuala Lumpur cycling fraternity is certainly looking forward to Andak’s reopening.

But what to do about feeding Michael and the rest of us?

We decided to try Kopi n Kraf.  We ride past it every time we complete the loop through Janda Baik after we have filled our faces at Andak’s Place.  We suppressed our hunger pangs for a further 5km / 3mi to the steps leading up to Kopi n Kraf, which is the café that serves the Danau Daun Chalets.

Janda Baik Kopi n Kraf 02

Photograph courtesy of Danau Daun Chalets

The café is certainly attractive.  Raised and nestled within the trees.  Kopi n Kraf wins the competition for scenic views.

Their menu is a little restricted on weekdays, so we weren’t able to try their nasi lemak.  They did serve us some of the Malaysian breakfast classics:  toast with kaya, soft-boiled eggs and roti canai.  One data point is not enough to form a definitive opinion, but on the basis of our visit to Kopi n Kraf, I think Andak’s Place, as it was before it closed, wins the competition for quality of food.

Janda Baik with Michael K 01 Leslie

Photograph courtesy of Leslie Tong

After breakfast there was the small matter of  345 meters / 1,130 feet of climbing over 11km / 7mi before we were back at Genting Sempah, ready to enjoy the 16km / 10 mi descent back to where we had started.

I hope Michael enjoyed his stay and the rides he did in Malaysia.  Come back soon Michael, and come back soon Andak’s Place.

Breakfast Options

What we want for breakfast often determines where we ride.  If it is roti canai, we ride to Kampung Kundang.  A hankering for duck drumstick noodles means a ride to Kota Kemuning.  There are a few options if nasi lemak is the breakfast choice du jour.  Genting Sempah, Kampung Cempedak or Kota Kemuning are all possibilities.

Breakfast options have now grown with the discovery of Andak’s Place in Janda Baik.

The ride to Janda Baik starts with the climb to Genting Sempah.

Andak's Place View

The turn around point for most of our rides along Jalan Gombak Lama is either at the summit, or at the McDonald’s at the Genting Sempah R&R, one kilometer down the other side of the hill.  4 kms further down the hill toward Bentong is the right turn toward Janda Baik.

Andak's Place Map

There are more short but steep climbs to deal with along Jalan Cherangin before this place comes into view.

Andak's Place 01

Andak’s is definitely bicycle friendly.

Andak's Place Bicycle Rack

And big bike friendly.

Andak's Place Big Bikes

There is lots of seating, both in the main building and outside under umbrellas.

Andak's Place 02

The kitchen at Andak’s Place puts out a wide variety of food.  Including this winner.

Andak's Place Pancakes

Pancakes with butter and honey.  Worth the climbing to get there.

Rapha Festive 500

Festive 500

I have not covered many kilometers in 2014.  Thanks in no small part to my extended time off the bicycle.  Both self-inflicted and health-inflicted.

My total mileage on 12th October 2014 was the lowest it has ever been on that date in the five years I have been cycling.  That was the day of my first ride in almost four months.  I rode as much as I could, and then had another month of no rides from 23rd November.  Rain and weekend travel are to blame.

Total Distance

Graph courtesy of VeloViewer

So the Rapha Festive 500 came at the perfect time to motivate me to add to my total kilometers ridden in 2014.  The challenge is to ride 500 kms between the 24th and 31st of December.

Rapha has partnered with Strava to keep track of riders’ mileage.  No small undertaking, seeing as 46,360 cyclists are currently in the challenge.

Strava is doing a great job of displaying every participant’s current mileage, and rank overall, by country, by age and by weight.  Strava is also providing additional motivation by presenting riders with ‘achievements’ as they meet interim targets.

125250375

I got the final one today.

500

I have ridden every day since Christmas Eve.  I am putting my vacation time to good use.

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

Heatmap courtesy of Strava

514kms over six days.  Mostly over the usual routes:  Genting Sempah (2), KESAS (3) and (6), and the Guthrie Corridor Expressway (4).

There were a couple of forays into new territory, starting with the first Festive 500 ride on Christmas Eve (1).  Keat, Mark, Marco, Fahmi and I started with a ride to a favourite nasi lemak stop in Kampung Cempedak.  But instead of following breakfast with a ride through Kampung Melayu Seri Kundang, we followed a back road toward Rawang.  Here we are, happy to be at the summit of the climb along Jalan Ciku.

Photograph courtesy of Marco

Photograph courtesy of Marco

The ride that took me over the 500kms target was an entirely new one.  I drove my biker chick to the airport, then parked and pulled my bike out of the car.  It was raining quite hard, but that didn’t stop me from riding alongside runway 2, and the new runway 3 serving KLIA 2, watching aircraft come and go in a cloud of spray.

AA

I didn’t want to continue onto the highway serving the airports, so I doubled back along runway 3 and went to Sepang.  I had fun, but would have enjoyed it more if it hadn’t been raining the entire time.

LCCT Map

Weather permitting, I might get to 600kms by New Year’s Eve.  A relatively large total by my current standards, but paltry in comparison with 1,644kms already ridden by the person leading the Festive 500.  He has cycled almost 14,500kms in 2014.  He must be very fit.  And not have a full-time job.

Riding into the Year of the Horse

8 Horses

Friday 31st January marked the start of the Year of the Horse.  The horse is the seventh of the twelve signs of the Chinese zodiac.

Federal Territory Day was celebrated on Monday 3rd February.  So we had a four-day weekend.  My riding buddies planned to ride on each of those days.

Four of us started the Lunar New Year with a morning ride along the KESAS Highway.  We did one and a half of the Bandar Sunway to Bukit Jalil Sports Complex loop.

Now that I think about it, four was not the most auspicious number of riders.  In Chinese tradition, certain numbers are believed by some to be auspicious or inauspicious, based on the Chinese word that the number name sounds similar to.

4 is considered the unluckiest number of all, because it is nearly homophonous to the word “death.”  Despite being a quartet, we had a fun ride.

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

Photograph courtesy of Shahfiq Abdul Manap

We did much better, numerologically speaking, the next morning.  Eight of us did the climb to Genting Sempah.

8 is an extremely auspicious number, because it sounds similar to the word “prosper” or “wealth.”

Photograph courtesy of Gary Wong

Photograph courtesy of Gary Wong

As always with our morning rides, this one ended with breakfast.

Photograph courtesy of Eric Siow

Photograph courtesy of Eric Siow

Sunday was a “Go Green Car-Free Morning.”  On the first Sunday of the month, some roads in the city center are closed to motor vehicles from 7.00 am until 9.00 am.  Giving walkers, joggers, skateboarders, rollerbladers and cyclists a chance to use these stretches.

About ten of us met here for a wake-up coffee or a teh tarik before cycling to the start.

IMG_2616

There was already quite a crowd in front of the City Hall building.

 Car Free Day 01

Including some on vintage bicycles and in period costume.  The infantrymen were a reference to the Japanese invasion of Malaya and the capture of Singapore.  One of the keys to the success of that invasion was the use of bicycles by the Japanese troops to move swiftly down the Malayan peninsula from Kota Bahru in the north to Singapore in the south.

Photograph courtesy of Tengku Nash

Photograph courtesy of Tengku Nash

Marco, Shahfiq and I did three loops of the 12 km route.

The highlight for me was cycling past my primary school.  Batu Road School.  In the 1960s a narrow access road ran in front of the school.  I remember walking out of the school gates into a group of ice cream vendors, standing next to bicycles with cold boxes mounted on rear racks.

That access road has become Jalan Raja Laut, a five-lane thoroughfare.  The school is still there.  Sadly the ice cream vendors are no more.

Batu Road Boys School Panoramio Kunawi Sokaguro

The route also took us past the PETRONAS Twin Towers.  They must be the most posed-before buildings in the country.

Car Free Day 04

Here Shahfiq and I are rolling away from the Twin Towers, along a deserted Jalan Ampang toward the junction with Jalan Sultan Ismail.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

I had a bonus ride in the afternoon.  Ronnie held a Chinese New Year open house.  Complete with chinese tea prepared with water collected from a natural spring that comes to the surface in Kuala Kubu Bahru.  Which is an hour’s drive from KL.

Photograph courtesy of Ronnie Khoo

Photograph courtesy of Ronnie Khoo

Three-quarters of the residents of KL appeared to have left the city for the long weekend.  So I took a chance that the roads to Ronnie’s place were relatively traffic-free.

Ronnie CNY Route

I stayed off the main roads as much as I could, although there were some stretches where I had no other choice.  Up the hill on Jalan Semantan for example, which was bit tricky because of the construction of the new MRT line and station.

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

Photograph courtesy of Wikipedia

It was worth the effort though.  The chinese tea and the company at Ronnie’s was great.

The plan for the Day Four ride had to be changed.  Some of us had to be back home by 11am.  That ruled out a long ride along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway and beyond.  Seven of us did the climb to Genting Sempah again instead.

It was probably good that we didn’t ride from Bukit Jelutong.  It was a public holiday in Kuala Lumpur but not in the state of Selangor.  The motorcycle lane along the Guthrie Corridor Expressway would have been crowded with people getting to work.

The road up to Genting Sempah was very quiet.  We had long stretches where we were the only ones on the road.

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

Photograph courtesy of Marco Lai

There was only one other person at the summit when I got there.  Marco soon joined me at the sign marking the border between the states of Selangor and Pahang.

JGL Summit

Once the rest of the group got to the top of the climb we all turned around and shot back down the hill.  Breakfast was waiting.

Chinese New Year social obligations prevented us from doing any long rides.  Even so I rode about 160 km over the extended weekend.  Which was a good start to the Year of the Horse.

Though not as good as it would have been if I had been on one of these.

Photograph courtesy of cmybacon.com

Photograph courtesy of cmybacon.com